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A never-ending story of shattered Hearts

Chapter Text

Dry wind caressed his aching face, he could feel his eyes tearing from it, it burned. His hair felt sticky and dirty, filled with sweat and sand. But focusing on that was easier, than to remember the fear, slowly crawling up within him, the sorrow, the worry.
Where were the others? Were they safe?

Stop.

Ventus shook his head in disbelief. Of COURSE, they were safe. There was no reason for them not to be.
Well…except the fact that a giant explosion had blown them away. Away from each other, into all the corners of the Keyblade Graveyard.
Now the fear finally came, eventually reaching the boy's recently awoken heart. Crawling so persistently.
“See…I knew I should’ve stopped”, he grimaced. All this anxiety and overthinking. But what could he do? He was scared. Hadn’t he just seen Aqua again? Just met the boy who saved him? He didn’t want to lose them again.
Ventus sighed. He wasn’t scared. He was terrified.
“It’s fine. I’ll find them. Looking around, I will find them.”

The Graveyard was big, but if they were still in the same world, and as long as everyone had survived, it would be fine, right?
Another sigh.
He wasn’t even sure of what had happened. Xehanort just had appeared out of nowhere, bringing eight dark figures wrapped in cloaks with him. Thinking of it, he probably didn’t just appear out of nowhere. This was kind of his world. They were expecting him to show. Just not…so soon. And unexpectedly.
Did that even make sense?
Still walking through the dry heat, Ven reminisced about what had happened.
Prepared to fight for all that they want to protect, him and the others summoned their blades. But the old man did not come to fight it seemed. Not himself, that is.
Summoning a massive amount of Heartless and Nobodies, he smiled, as always, maliciously, inscrutably. A smile, knowing everything.
Ven shivered. Scary.
Anyways, they were attacked. Everything had broken out in chaos. Chaos indeed. They were outnumbered quickly. Aqua and him immediately jumped back on back, ready to defend the others, knowing their former master’s strength and mischievous ways. King Mickey and Riku stormed into battle confidently, leaving Sora and Lea to protect Kairi, wielding off the dangers that could make their way to her. But keeping an eye on everyone was close to impossible. Dusks were meandering around them, shadows diving under their feet, forming into one tower after the other.
The inevitable, yet unexpected happened. Until now none of the cloaked figures nor the old man had interfered, but now the time had seemed to come.
A scream, in midst the clashing of keys against darkness and the armory some of the dark creatures held. Everyone fighting for their lives, confused, inside a storm, not knowing exactly what was going on.
Another scream. Ven recognized it. Sora’s voice.

“KAIRI!”

Looking around hectically, but nothing there to see. Too many yellow eyes, too many waves of darkness, too many things happening at once.
“Guys, I found you, there’s trouble!”, Riku came running towards them, suddenly appearing out of a mass of shadows, reaching Aqua still back to back with the smaller one. Now in sets of three they fought off their surroundings.
“What happened? Wasn’t that Sora? What’s going on?”, Aqua managed to cast Riku a worried look before slicing a creeper.
“It’s Kairi”, Riku said unnerved, while also still trying to concentrate on the enemy. His face turned serious behind their backs.

“Xemnas took her.”

That was it. They couldn’t even manage to react, because shortly after a bright white light had built up from somewhere, forming into an orb, growing bigger. A big explosion. Aqua had tried to reach out for his hand. But even after all this time, still no luck.
Ven remembered being blasted miles away, the flight, which seemed endless, yet so horrifically fast, then hitting his head on a rock. Then darkness.
For a close second, when he slowly regained consciousness, but his body hadn’t yet, he had been afraid, that he was trapped in slumber again. But the more he came to himself, the more relief embraced his heart. He just had been unconscious.

Enough of this. He had to – and he would – find the others!
He had searched the Realm of Light and in Between for Terra, right? So he would find his friends in this one. He had dreamed inside Sora’s heart for thirteen years, they were connected. And once he found him, Riku could never be far. And then Aqua wouldn’t be unfindable either. And Kairi would be okay. They would save her. They would all reunite. And then…only then…Terra would…
The tiniest bit of relief and hope grew in Ventus. He would find them.

“Aqua?! Sora?! Riku!! AQUAAA!”, holding his hands around his mouth, the youngest apprentice of Eraqus called for his lost friends.
No response. Hot wind whistling.
“Again.... AQUAAAAA, SORAAAAA, RIK-
“Oh boy, give me a break.”

Ventus jumped. But summoned Wayward Wind in an instant.
“VANITAS!”
An ominous, masked figure emerged out of dust and dirt, boots scuffing the sand under them.
“Congratulations, you still know my name.”
The blonde boy clenched his free hand into a fist. He knew he had fought him in the Land of Departure. He had seen him already, with his own eyes. Aqua and Sora too. Donald and Goofy as well. But why? How?

“Why are you back?!”
“Are you an idiot? Obviously, I’m here to take you, since your annoying little kindergarten group got in my way when I tried last time. And then they had the nerve to wake you up too. When that was my job.”, he clucked his tongue angrily.
“That’s not what I mean! How did you-
“See, I am not happy to see you either. But are you really angry at me for wanting to get out of that nasty prison you threw me in? Expecting me to rot in there? Not cool, loser.”
Ventus huffed. As if Vanitas hadn’t tried the same thing with him.
“It’s where you belong to! And should’ve stayed! So tell me how! How are you here?!”
A keyblade as upset as its master was held upon the other boy’s mask, reflecting on it. But the only reaction he got out of his evil other was laughter.
“Aren’t you asking the wrong questions here?”
“Wha-
“Aqua! Terra!”, Vanitas whined, imitating Ventus condescendingly, rubbing his hands over his mask, whiping away non-existent tears. “Why so alone? Haven’t found them?”
Ven’s glimpse caught the rocky ground they stood on. Damn it.
Damn Vanitas and damn their connection.
“They...They’re not far! I WILL find them..And...And Terra.”
A wide grin grew under Vanitas’ helmet. Trying to be confident and brave, huh? Yeah that was Ven. But trying was the keyword.
“Terra, hm?”, the raven-haired boy poured pure amusement in his words. This would be too funny. Way too funny.
“Hasn’t Aqua told you yet?”
Unsure if it was a trap – and with Vanitas opposing him, what else could it be – Ventus didn’t know what to respond. But curiosity overtook his tongue and so he asked:

“Told me what??”
A loud laugh. Gloating, malicious, gleeful.
“These idiots really woke you up from a thirteen yearlong nap and haven’t told you a word! That’s hilarious.”
Ventus was getting sick and tired of this. The heat was really giving him a hard time. He was tired and barely had energy left to cast cure on himself. All he wanted to do was to reunite with Aqua and the others.
“Shut up! I’m not listening to your lies!”
“Ahh...how nostalgic. Isn’t that what you told me when we first met. To get real? And yet, Terra is no more the one, you used to know. Just like I had told you.”
Now the blonde really became nervous.
“What...what do you mean?”, Damn it!
“It’s simple, really. You wanna see Terra? I’ll give you Terra.”

Void Gear was summoned into its cloaked wielder's hand, and before Ventus could even think of taking any actions, a black beam shot out of the weapon's tip. Ven's blue eyes followed the ray of darkness, until it hit a point not far away from them, summoning a Dark Corridor from emptiness.
But it wasn't that, that caught the lighter half of Vanitas off guard.
What happened next was.
A silhouette stepped out of the black hole, becoming clearer and clearer. Taking shape slowly.
It could'nt be, could it-

"...Terra"
Terra made his way to the side of the masked boy. His deep blue eyes caught Ven's immediately, as he walked.
The smaller one didn't understand what was going on. If to be happy or confused. Or worried? Again the fear grew inside him.
"Terra...finally, Terra, I looked for you. Everywhere, I-
"Pathetic little creature.", a voice so much deeper than Terra's, so much colder than Terra's. Did voices change? Did Terra's voice change? Was it cause Terra had aged? But why was he with Vanitas? Why was he so cold?
What had happened during Ven's long sleep?
And...Pathetic...? Did his best friend say, pathetic...?
The hand that had reached out to the earth shaker stopped. So many questions pierced his heart.
Had the others hidden something from him?

"...What? What are you saying?! Terra, answer me, please-
Without listening to what Ventus had to say the older one turned his attention towards the masked boy, Ven flinched.
"Vanitas. Go back to the castle and wait for instructions. I have other tasks for you. This light here...", No-Name was summoned into Terra's hand, again the blonde boy flinched, Xehanort's keyblade?! "...Belongs to me."
"Wha-
A dark energy ball escaped the eyed blade and made its way towards the blonde wielder with incredible speed.
Panic, anxiety, Ventus was stunned. The attack grew bigger and bigger right before his eyes. But his body wouldn't move. Why wouldn't it move?

"TERRA, PLEASE STOP!"

And then, shortly before reaching the boy the energy ball blew up, blowing Ventus off his feet, into the dirt. What...?
"How insufferable. Are you shitting me?", Vanitas Voice chimed into the happenings, Void Gear in his hands. He had blown the attack away. How annoying. Obiously he wouldn't just follow orders. Let the old man kill what was his? What was his to possess? To decinerate? He clenched his fist. To crush?
"What are you doing, empty creature.", Terra cast the mask a cold stare. As if everything happening hadn't been overcrowding Ventus' mind already, now the older one's hair whitened, eyes turning yellow like the moon that had shone on the three of them, on the nights they had spent in the Land of Departure. The Land of Departure, hm? Ventus sighed innerly, not daring to make any noise. Was Aqua safe...?

"I thought you're a good hundred years younger now, your eyes still don't work, geezer?", once again Vanitas' voice pulled Ven out of his thoughts, confused he looked around. Were THEY going to fight now?! What in the Worlds was going on?
"Nobody but me will get rid of my stupid brother.", the mask finally came off, yellow eyes staring back at yellow eyes. Hair as dark as pitch. Summoning Wayward Wind, which had disappeared during his panic attack, the blonde bystander jumped into attack mode, ready to swing his blade for dear life. Was his darker twin insane?! ...Okay, stupid question. But still!
What was he thinking? And wasn't he opposing his team mate?! They both had yellow eyes, so they were together?
Ven's skin crawled at the thought of his choice of words.
Imagine Vanitas and Terra...together.

"Empty creature, what makes you think you have any say in this matter?"
The aura around what slowly seemed to be not Terra anymore – it slowly dawned on Ven – darkened incredibly. Despite the heat the rocky desert brought, the keyblade wielder started feeling cold. Vanitas really seemed to be world-weary, to be picking fights with whoever this was.
Xehanort's keyblade, still in Terra's hand, pointed towards the now no more masked boy.
"Perhaps locking you inside of this boy and searching for a more obedient version of you in the past would be a good course of action."
"Would it..."
Shocked blue eyes looked at their darker half. Was that a hoarse voice...? Was the master of the unversed...intimidated? No way...
Another dark corridor was summoned by Void Gear. Vanitas made his way towards it.
"You better don't kill him, old man!"
With that, he disappeared.
Oh this wasn't good. This wasn't good at all. If Vanitas was browbeaten by this man, then he himself had all reason to be worried. And he was all alone too, none of the others were....wait.

...Old man?

Had Xehanort turned him to the dark side, after all? Hadn't Terra fought on their side? Scared but gallantly the boy clung onto his keyblade's handle. He couldn't be useless, he couldn't let himself get conquered by fear all the time. What would he do if Aqua or Terra really got hurt? This was a sign, that Terra already had gotten hurt, wasn't it? How else would he be here, hair white, eyes yellow...

"Who are you?! You're not Terra!", Ven became furious. "How dare you use Terra's appearance and taunt it like this?!"
"Had you really fallen asleep this early on in battle? Do you not recognize your own master?"

Old man...

"Huh?!"

Wait a second...

"Xehanort?!"

Chapter Text

What a mess. What an uneblievable mess. The tears wouldn't stop flowing, no matter how tight Riku pressed the other boy onto him. So much for his new jacket. Aqua had already cast a little pacification spell, but the sobbing wouldn't stop. No wonder.
"She's gone. She's gone, and it's all my fault."
Sora sniffed inconsolably. The silver-haired boy sighed.
"Sora, no. There was nothing you could do. We were not ready, despite thinking we were. Xehanort is strong, this won't be easy. Nobody said it will be, but we can't give up. We will get Kairi back."
Aqua sighed from the back. The sight of the crying Sora on his knees and the frustrated Riku made her heart sink. Poor these two...And it led her thoughts to other places as well...
Was Ven okay? His tears flew so fast too. Was he crying right now like the island boy was?
She brushed a blue strand of hair out of her face. Her heart felt heavy.
No. Ven was strong. It was her Ven. He'd be fine. They'd find him soon.
"Sora."
The oldest of them got up from where she had sat down to take a break, crawling to where Sora and Riku knelt, reaching out her arms to take the brunette out of Riku's embrace, just to press him onto her chest herself.
"You both were so strong. So brave. So diligent. Riku and you. Now it is our turn. We won't let this go to waste. Let us search for the others. Let us find Ven. Then we will search for Kairi. I promise, little one. But for now, you have to calm down. You're hurt too."
Sora grit his teeth together. It hurt so much. Not his hand, that was wounded in battle. His heart. So so much. But Aqua's calm voice and her heartbeat eased his pain slowly. Was that what Ven had left within him? He felt himself fall into tranquilization more and more, his affection for Aqua helping him. He felt like with family. He felt home.
And he behaved like such an idiot...crying, pitying himself like this. When Aqua suffered way more than he did. Sora felt his pity being replaced with shame.
She had wandered in the Realm of Darkness for years, losing herself in despair. Losing her father figure, her friends. And still, she held onto it. Onto everything she wanted to save. For all these years. And now Ven who had just reunited with them. Was lost again. And it was all his fault...and yet Aqua was here, holding him. Lifting him up. And Riku too...
I'm...I'm so sorry", his voice a quiet whisper. "When Xemnas grabbed Kairi and they disappeared I lost it. I- I didn't know what was going on, everything was in shambles, I didn't think this would happen..."
The white light. The explosion. It had been Sora. It had been his anger, his frustration, his endless fear. Not grasping what more he could do, friends in danger, Kairi gone, he had summoned Ultima in hand, casting his strongest attack. His wrist cracked, painfully. But there hadn't even been any time to realize it, cause next thing they had all been blasted away.
The brunette had heard his name, then a bigger hand grabbed his, holding onto it with all strength. The pain pierced his brain and nerves, but he didn't even think of letting Riku's hand go.
And so, they both had come back to their senses, covered in hot sand and soil. In the middle of the graveyard of ancient wars.
They had found Aqua pretty fast, it was pure luck honestly. But once agan, unfortunately, they had been separated from the others. Now it was back to the three of them. Donald, Goofy, Lea and Ventus missing, and Kairi probably not even on this world again.
Aqua gifted Sora a sad smile and held his hand, startling the youngest out of his thoughts.
"Don't worry about it. It will be fine. Like Riku said, none of us expected all this. It'll be okay."
"Guys.", Riku got up, a serious expression growing on his face.
"There's trouble."
Sora tilted his head, rubbing away remaining tears with his healthy hand. "Hm??"
Now Aqua slowly got on her feet too, helping Sora up.
"What is it Riku?"
Turqoise eyes met sky blue ones.
"I can smell darkness. It reeks, although it's still far away."
The other two wielders looked at each other worried.
Sora looked up.
"Could it be that..."
"I don't know, but I'm sure they're not still here for no reason. We should check it out."
"Alright."
The only female of the wayfinder trio summoned her Master's Defender to quickly cast cure on Sora's wounded hand. That's all her magic was capable of now, and she had to split it up responsibly, in case more unexpected events happened. Having no potions and no magic at all would be too dangerous. Also, with the brunette not able to wield right now and Riku only being able to cast the three elementary spells, Aqua was the only one left, that knew curing spells.
"Let's go, we have quite the walk before us..."

 

Ventus felt as he was drowning. So much was happening at once. So much had happened. So many new events taking place.
Terra? Possessed by Xehanort?! For thirteen years?!
Tears crawled into the corners of his eyes. How awful. How disgusting. He started feeling sick. Poor Terra.
"Where is he?! WHERE?!"
Amused Terra-Xehanort looked at the former pure light part of theχ-Blade. It seemed like it wasn't so much of pureness anymore. But who would be surprised, thirteen years in the realm of sleep must have left their mark. Even on a being of pure light like this boy. It was impressive, that the child's heart had found a way back in his body in the first place.
"I am afraid Terra is no more. Didn't your friends tell you any of this? Did they perhaps lie to you, because they already had given up on this precious Terra of yours?"
The blonde boy hesitated. Lies. All of it. Xehanort was playing mind games with him. Just like he did all these years ago. Ven wouldn't fall for that...
...But seeing the face of Terra say all these horrible things was hurtful, the boy wouldn't pretend it wasn't.
"S-Stop lying! Where is Terra?! I don't believe you! The others just yesterday said, that they wanted to search for Terra next!"
A deep, throaty laugh sounded from the old man.
"Is that so? Then how come nobody informed you about...this?", ostentatious he used his free hand to present Terra's built and strong body.
There it was again. Hesitation. Damn it. Damn it. It was working. Xehanort was getting to him.
"No..."
Why? Why hadn't anyone told him? This is what happened after the battle? And he hadn't been able to help? Terra had been alone. All these years. No body to return to, literally...And now they didn't even know where he was. Had the others given up on him? Was Aqua still blaming him for all this? Anger and sadness grew inside Ven's heart. Didn't Terra get in this situation because of their master and Aqua in the first place?
Xehanort nodded. Good. This was what he wanted. If they couldn't make the χ-blade with this boy, then they could still make a vessel out of him. He and Vanitas would surely make a great appendix to their thirteen.
Hot tears started flowing down the young ex-apprentice's face.
He felt so much sorrow and guilt. Poor Terra. Poor, poor Terra.
Darkness started escaping his chest. Shocked the blonde’s hand grabbed the place where his heart was, seeing dark fog escape from it.
Was this for real? But how? Hadn't his masked other and him been separated? Then why...
Ventus slowly lost control. The darkness kept pouring out, he started feeling dizzy. Aqua, Terra, Master Eraqus, would he never see any of them again? Would he become another Vanitas? Would he disappear? Was this it?
Would he lose his whole family, once again? Just after waking up? Was he that useless?
"Yes...let it consume you. Let it devour you. Let it numb your emotions, Ventus. Maybe in the deepest hellhole of darkness, you will meet your beloved Terra again."
Blue eyes slowly closing, his eyelids heavy. Darkness. Despair. Wouldn't it be easier to let go? He was alone. Terra was "no more". As Xehanort had said. Nothing but a vessel now. He wouldn't come back.
And Aqua...she was at fault. She hated him.

Don't! Don't say that! She came to wake me up, she saved us! Xehanort tricked all of us!

But she distrusted Terra. She drove him into this, with the master.

Don't talk like that about the master! He was like my father!

But he tried to kill me...

The dark fog started embracing Ventus' body. Was that relief? Was it exasperation? He started feeling so flimsy. So light-weighted. Was he drifting? Downwards. But his lungs burned. Was he choking? He was sinking. Into nonentity. Would he finally meet Terra there...?
"I'm...", only a whiff. "I'm so sorry Terra..."
His eyes closed.

"VENTUS!"

A far away voice. So distant. He felt as if he heard it through a pillow.

"VENTUS! ...VENTUS! WAKE UP! WAKE UP VENTUS!"

Was somebody...calling his name? It didn't even sound like a voice. But he could hear it. How? How did it have a tone? If it didn't have a sound? It felt like he heard it in his heart...loud and clear...yet quiet.

"Who..."

"Ven... Please, you have to be strong now. "

Suddenly his shoulders were grabbed pretty harshly. He was pulled back. The dark fog slowly withdrawing from him, leaving the boy off its grasp. No...no...the easy feeling, the floating, it abandoned him. He felt gravity getting a hold of his body again. He started feeling Wayward Wind in his hands again. The obscurity before his eyes started clearing. Rocks, cliffs, sand, keyblades...all returning. Ven slowly came back. Was able to move his hands. Then his sight fully opened up again. And then...it was there. His end.
During Ven's unconsciousness Terra-Xehanort had raised the keyblade bearing a blue eye, ready to strike down on the pure light, it was too late. The boy would never dodge this in time. And so No-Name came crashing down towards him, making him await the final blow with closed eyes. But the end never came. Instead an ear-shattering, metallic clank resonated from the graveyard's cliffs. Never in his life had Ventus opened his eyes as quick, as in this moment. In this moment, where a golden, haughty armor stood tall in front of him, heavy keyblade opposing the old man's in hand.
"Ven...", a soft voice, full of love and regret. It was toneless just like when it had called him, but Ventus still recognized it. He would've recognized it anywhere and always.
"Get it together! Get up and go!"
Taken by surprise said boy didn't know what to do. His legs felt numb, already adjusted to the delusion, that here the blonde boy would find his end. Get up and go? ...How?
"...Terra..." eyes that hadn't even completely dried yet got wet once again. Ventus coughed. "You're okay..."
And then he fainted.

Chapter Text

With a banging headache a black glove touched a sweaty face covered in dust. The heat started making him feel trapped inside all the leather he was wearing. No more able to resist the process of waking up green eyes were opened, seeing a sky dipped in the colors of a melancholic, almost unnerving sunset. Groaning under his breath Lea rubbed over his eyes, trying to make his head stop hurting. In fact, his whole body felt sore. Arms and legs heavy. What the hell had happened?
With another groan the tall redhead tried to get himself up and managed to position his body so, that he could at least sit. He felt sand in his boots.
Great.
His attention shifted away from his uncomfortable boots back to the unnerving sunset. He spotted cliffs surrounding him.
“Goddammit!”
The Graveyard. He was still at that god forsaken graveyard of that god forsaken old man. Piece by piece it all came back to Lea’s memory.
They had been attacked! By Xehanort…s. A lot of them. All in the same cursed cloaks as the one he was wearing right now. He hummed. What had happened next? He had been told to take care of Kairi… A bright light, screams, then he had been blasted away.
Finally standing up, knocking the dust off himself Lea sighed. Since there was no sign of Kairi anywhere he must have had failed the task given to him.
“Fuck…”, the redhead mumbled. He clenched his fists. Was he unable to protect anything in the slightest? He couldn’t protect Roxas, he couldn’t protect Kairi. He couldn’t protect her. Wait…
Another wave of pain, he grabbed his temple. What was this. Kairi? Her?
No, no. Just like in the World master Yen Sid had sent him and Kairi to.
What was his head trying to tell him…?
“I’ll always be there to bring you back…”, he mumbled to himself confused, feeling sadness growing inside him from an unknown source.

“Hey, Donald! He’s awake!”
“Mh?”
Lea turned around to the loud noises, grabbing his temple a little firmer. Not good for his headache. But he truly felt a little bit of relief growing in his heart when he saw Donald and Goofy running towards him.
“Axel!”, Donald cheered, just arriving in front him a few seconds later than Goofy did. Lea smiled.
“Hey guys…looks like you toughed this one out too, huh…”
“Yup!”, Goofy patted his back. “We woke up a few hours before ya did. You were wounded pretty badly, so Donald gotcha patched up a little. We thought it was better to let ‘cha rest a while longer. But it’s great you finally woke up.”
Donald just nodded along to everything the king’s knight said, sunning himself in the praise. Lea lowered his gaze pensively, looked back up in their faces a moment later though.
“Is that so, huh…thanks you two…”
“You’re welcome!”, Donald crossed his arms in front of his chest.
“So…”, Lea scratched the head of his back a little embarrassed. “Kinda messed up there with taking care of Kairi…hope Sora won’t completely hate me…”
Goofy shook his head. “No way. It wasn’t your fault, Axel. We all were overwhelmed there.”
“Yes”, Donald agreed. “We couldn’t know that Xehanort would overpower us this easily”
“Although we did run to the keyblade graveyard unprepared and with one of our lights still missing…”, Goofy annexed, which made Donald give a “hush!” in his direction. Lea sighed deeply.
“I’m hoping with all my heart, that she’s fine…I don’t want to lose her again”
Donald and Goofy cast each other a confused look.
“Again?”
“Hm?”
The redhead gave the drake magician a glazed look, before he snapped out of it and started stuttering. What was his mind doing?
“E-Eh...like, when I kidnapped...her and...Saïx got her and I...I felt so bad about that so errr..." Lea stumbled over his own excuses. "So I don't want that to happen again!"
He felt a hand yet again pat his back.
“It’s alright. You’re one of the good guys now.”
“We’ll get Kairi back!”
A little smile grew on the former nobody’s face, as he looked at Donald and Goofy, he couldn’t help it. He couldn’t believe he deserved to not only get another chance, but also find such wonderful, understanding and strong friends.
Reminiscing how he had met Ven, in which felt like another life.
Remembering how close Isa and he used to be. Thinking of the girl that had been with them and then disappeared from Ansem's castle dungeons...
A face appeared in front of his inner eye. That...girl. That used to be with them. The headache came back.

Did she have black hair? She had huge eyes. They were brown, or were they blue? Did they eat ice cream together? No...Isa and him never met her outside of the castle...Roxas and him did...she was there. But he didn't know Roxas at that time didn't he? And he couldn't remember ever telling Ventus about her...So what were these memories of Roxas and him eating ice cream with...a.....girl.....?

Grabbing his temples again, Lea almost sunk to his knees. The pain almost made him faint.
“Axel!”, Donald stepped closer, observing him. Goofy looked around.
It was no good. Although the sun had almost sunken, the graveyard was dry and warm. They wouldn’t make it long. And Axel - oh, it was Lea now, wasn’t it - kept having these pains that kept coming out of nowhere. The knight sighed. What about their little Sora? He was sure he’d be fine, but where was he? Where were the others? Goofy casted a look at Donald who used cure on the redhead, suggesting he should take his coat off and finally wear the clothes that Master Yen Sid had given him. They got in a fight over it pretty quickly, which left the dog chuckling. Maybe not all was bad.
“I am not...”, Lea pulled at his cloak, trying to get the drake to let go of it. “...taking it off!”
“You must!”, the magician pulled harder. “I thought you were supposed to have a headache from being unconscious! How are you so stubborn Axel?!”
“I’m completely fine, the ugly scenery here is just giving me a hard time! Also, my name is Lea! So memorize it and now let...go!”
With a final pull the redhead was free, falling on his butt, Donald tumbled over, quacking upset but finally accepting his defeat. Mumbling curses he got back to Goofy’s side, earning another chuckle.
“Did ya not have any luck?”
“No. And I thought Sora was stubborn.”
“Whatever...”, Lea got back on his feet, dusting off his coat once again. No point in it, in this dusty, sandy desert though. Well, the headache was gone. Time to get out of here. He lifted his right hand.
“Any idea where the others might be?”
The knight and magician came to his side.
“What do ya wanna do?”
Green eyes concentrated on the empty space before him.
“I’m going to summon a dark corridor.”
“A dark corridor?!”, Donald and Goofy both exclaimed.
Lea felt a white, feathery hand grab his own.
“That’s dangerous!”
“Very!”, Goofy added. The redhead sighed.
“Guys, this world is huge. We must find the others. And that bastard Xemnas broke my brand new keyblade. I used these things like Roxas used skateboards. It’ll be fine.”
The dog and drake did not look convinced. Shaking his head Lea focused anyways, slowly drawing darkness out of this world. Kingdom Hearts knows, there was more than enough of it lingering around. He did not really know where exactly to go, but perhaps, they could get help. So back to the mysterious tower it was. The others should be fine, as he asked the master to help him fix his blade and stocked up on some potions. If he just stayed here, he’d be useless. And he couldn’t be. Not if he wanted to save Kairi and Roxas.
And her... It said somewhere in the back of his mind, but he felt the migraine creeping back so he ignored it. He didn’t even know what that was all about in the first place, so it was unimportant. Probably too much sand up his arse. Whatever, they’d be back in no time.
The dark corridor finally opened, purple and black fog whirling together into an endless spiral.
“We’re going to Master Yen Sid.”

Ventus was floating. That was the only thing he was feeling, when his conscious slowly started to return. His eyes were still closed, even though he had made attempts to open them.
He was floating, feeling weightless, free, maybe even a little bit of lost. Slowly floating down, never stopping.
Where was he? What was going on?
Finally, when a little bit of light made the inner of his eyelids brighten up into a shade of vermillion, he was able to open them.
The boy went pale.
It was dark. Complete tenebrosity was surrounding him. The light which had shone on his face getting weaker and weaker. Its source was the endless, black ceiling. Ventus knew where he was now.
After what felt like an eternity of just floating, the blonde boy's feet touched bottom. A big plateau, in bright colors. His eyes hesitantly searched the ground he was now standing on, already knowing, what was awaiting him.
A deep sadness caught Ven.
Terra and Aqua, forever immortalized in beautiful mosaic stones on the mural of his heart. Next to his friends' faces, was a picture of Vanitas. The ravenette was upside down, as if he was falling, his face showing a peaceful yet almost sad expression. Then, opposite of Vanitas there was he. A picture of himself. In the same pose as Vanitas, but facing upwards. Sleeping.
Ventus gulped. How did it come to this. He had never wanted to see nor visit this place ever again. Hadn't he spend a decade full of pain and grief here? He had fallen unconscious after Terra had saved him, right? He had been right there, in his armor. So close, that Ven could have touched him. So why? Why did he have to go back? Why did he have to fall asleep again?
He started tearing up. He was scared. He was so scared.
"Terra...Aqua...", the blonde boy sobbed.

"What in the worlds..."
Aqua protectively stretched out her arm to stop Sora and Riku from going any further, freezing where she stood.
"What is it Aq-woooooahh!"
Sora's eyes widened. Shocked and in awe he looked to what was happening right in front of him, just to turn to Riku, mouth wide open.
Riku's expressions weren't as lively and full as Sora's, but his ice blue eyes widened as well, both had frozen right where they stood, just as Aqua had seeing what was going on.
The sounds of heavy keyblades clashing against each other filled the valley. Dust and sand whirled around with each hit, and Aqua slowly turned around to the two boys, gently pushing them further away, where they were safe. She looked puzzled, worried, lost.
"That's impossible...", the oldest mumbled to herself.
Terra was...here. Fighting. Fighting his possessed self. How was that even possible?
"Aqua!", Sora complained, trying to peek around her. "I wanna see!"
He wanted to see that armored keyblade wielder so badly! And who was the white-haired wielder opposing him? Another Xehanort?! Was that a new aly? So cool!
"It's too dangerous Sora...", the three of them snuck behind a large boulder, a little far away from what was going on, still close enough to see the both wielders mercilessly fighting each other in the air. The pressure waves of their clashes made the small rocks around them jump and shake.
"What's going on...?", Riku asked with a serious face, laying a hand on Sora's shoulder as to wanting to keep him safer than they already were.
"That's...", the keyblade mistress thought for a second. "The armor...Master Eraqus gave each of us one...one to me, one to Terra, one to Ven..."
"So that's Terra?!", both Sora and Riku exclaimed surprised.
Not sure how to answer that Aqua furrowed her eyebrows.
"Yeah...", she hummed lowly. "But the man fighting the armor...that's Terra too..."
Cold blue and sky blue eyes met each other, confused.
Sora wasn't really able to keep up with any of this. Thirteen Xehanorts, two Ansems, and now two Terras as well? He shrugged and slowly leaned to the side of the boulder to watch the fight easier. Riku and Aqua would figure it out somehow, they wouldn't need his attention for this.
"Do you think Xehanort took this Terra from the past and your Terra escaped?", Riku narrowed his eyes speculating. Aqua tilted her head.
"Hmmm...would that be possible? The last time I saw Terra was when he was already possessed...I sunk into the Realm of Darkness and saved him with my armor...I don't know what happened after that..."
"Well...", the silver-haired boy sighed. "We defeated Xemnas and Ansem, the old man's nobody and heartless, in The World That Never Was Xehanort explained to us, that this made him come back. He did tell us he has Terra in his possession back then...but what if that made Terra come back too? You told us you guys fought at the Keyblade Graveyard using your armor, right? What if Terra-"
"GUYS!"
Caught by surprise Aqua and Riku jumped, the latter one immediately turning to Sora, making sure he was alright.
"Sora?!", Riku grabbed the brunette's shoulder.
"I-I saw Ven!"
"What?!" The two keyblade masters got up on their feet immediately, having Sora do the same.
"Sora, where?!", Aqua hectically summoned her Master's Defender, peeking around the boulder like the younger one had before.
Sora pointed to the two still fighting figures.
"The armor! He...He's holding him!"
Blue eyes pinched together concentrated following every single move of the fielders, the oldest watched just as Terra-Xehanort landed a fatal blow on armored Terra. She gasped in shock as now she saw, that he really had Ven pressed under his arm. So now both of them flew into a stone wall, rocks and sand crashing down on them.
"TERRA! VEN!", the blue-haired girl cried out, rushing in their direction out of her mind. Riku summoned Brave Heart following her quickly, only to stop briefly. His eyes met those of his childhood friend's when he turned his head around.
"Wait here. Please wait here. Don't move, don't come to us. You're wounded, you-
"But Riku!", the brunette complained, immediately doing the opposite of what Riku was trying to tell him. "I wanna help save Ven! It's my fault he's-
"Sora!", Sora flinched. Riku's tone was sharp, loud. He had never seen him like this before.
"But Riku...", the younger ones voice faded away in his throat. "I'm scared, what if you get hurt like Kairi, I-
"Sora please.", the words were hissed through teeth, the silver-haired boy's face showing a desperate expression. "I can't lose you again. It's dangerous. Let Aqua and me handle this. Trust in me...please. I will protect you. And Kairi too. Let me do this."
The brunette felt his heart flutter in his chest. What was this? His shoulders sank down and all of a sudden his knees followed, feeling as if the blood in them had been replaced with soft, warm, wobbly pudding.
"O...Okay...", he whispered with a low breath, as then Riku ran off to support Aqua, who had already jumped between the armor and the possessed Terra, countering the man's following attacks bravely.
Worried and still on his knees Sora watched them fight, cursing his hurt hand. Damn that Ultima-Keyblade, damn his emotions.
It was incredible. Aqua and Riku were such a majestic team. With what seemed to be no effort at all the keyblade mistress cast Waterga, getting rid of some rocks that were cast her way. Riku rushed past her, did a quick cartwheel dodging a few dark chains Terra-Xehanort sent after him, then finally cast a Dark-Thundaga to where Aqua's magic had hit, and it worked. For a minute the evil Terra was electrocuted, falling on his knees.
"Blind fools...", the man whispered, gritting his teeth. "The Darkness will swallow all of you."
"Shut up!", Aqua raised her keyblade to deal another strike, but a hand grabbed her wrist gently, pulling her aside. When she looked up her heart felt as if it slipped down inside her chest.
She looked at the armored Terra feeling as if the tears were about to crush her body. He gently pushed her further out of the way, lifting up Ends of the Earth determined.
"We....We looked for you...", she whispered, but she was interrupted.
"Now is not the time, Aqua....take Ven and Riku, and leave..."
Riku turned around at the mention of his name.
The blue-haired girl hesitated. Why couldn't she hear Terra's voi-
"Aqua! Protect Ven!"
Without a warning the armored man threw Ven into Aqua's arms and ran off to yet again have Ends of the Earth and No-Name clash.
Aqua grabbed Ven's left arm, while Riku pulled his right one around his shoulder and they both made their way back to Sora, who hopefully still waited for them in safety.
Still the oldest couldn't help looking back with concerned eyes.
"Aqua? What's wrong?" Riku.
"I...", she started, not really sure how to put it. "Did you notice that when Terra...nevermind. Let's get Ven out of here."
The boy looked at her without saying anything, but then nodded, and lifted Ventus' arm a little higher so he wouldn't slip away.

"Aww...poor guy..."
Sora carefully removed some blonde hair strands from Ven's face. The youngest of the wayfinder trio was covered in sweat, eyes closed shut. Sleeping yet again.
"How's Terra?!", kneeling on all four he looked up to the others.
They looked so worried. Was everything okay?
"He's fine...", Aqua slowly started. "It's just that...I don't know how to explain it. Something was strange. How is there two Terras?"
Sora shrugged.
"You know, there's so many of us, I'm not sure if two Terras is concerning."
Riku snorted, couldn't help it, Sora was so stupid.
"Hey!", Sora poked Riku's knee from the ground.
"Stop laughing! We have bigger problems here...", his face turned to Ventus. "He won't wake up!"
All of them slowly turned to Ventus, thinking exactly the same thing.
Oh no...
They were interrupted by a zooming sound, the air and some rocks were all sucked in one direction, having Sora look up puzzled and Aqua and Riku summon their keyblades for what felt like the millionth time today.
"A Corridor of Darkness?" Pointing Brave Heart towards it Riku narrowed his eyes. Just to tear them wide open a second later. "What the..."
"You useless palooka! We're still at the graveyard!!"
Donald jumped up Lea's shoulder, hitting his head with his staff.
Goofy chuckled. "Don't be so harsh to him Donald, he did say he ain't use one of those, in- WOAHH!!"
"Stop defending him! He's-
Everybody went silent as they all locked gazes.
Sora jumped up.
"Donald! Goofy!!"
"Sora!"
They both let go of Lea and jumped towards Sora, hugging him tightly.
Riku went in between them, trying to push them apart.
"Be careful! Sora's hand-! He's-! Hey!! Where did you guys even come from?!"
Aqua sighed. Well, it looks like she hadn't promised Sora all too much. They were almost completely together again. Leaving the others to enjoy their reunion she turned around, kneeling down. Her eyes wandered to Ven who rested on Riku's jacket. She felt like crying. Was all this for nothing? How did they find Terra but now lost Ven again. They were too late. If only she was stronger. If only they had been here sooner. If only she was as good of a Master as Master Eraqus had been...
Then steps were heard approaching her. Lea.
His green eyes silently rested on the blonde, he took a long time before finally opening his mouth to speak.
"...Will he wake up again?"
The keyblade mistress bit her lip as she lowered her gaze slowly.
"I...I don't know."

Chapter Text

"I...I don't know."
"NO!"
Ventus' scream echoed from the dark nothing, that surrounded him. He could hear, he could hear them. They were all there. They were fine and together again! And Terra REALLY had saved him! Terra was fine!
The blonde boy sniffed. He had to wake up. He HAD to!
"Don't!", he yelled towards the endless ceiling. "Don't say that Aqua! I...I WILL wake up again! I did it once, I will again!"
Desperately searching for an exit Ven looked around. But there was nothing but darkness and the mosaic mural he was standing on.
What did it feel like, when Sora woke him up a few days ago? He tried to think. He had been able to communicate with him, right? But...wasn't that only when Sora had entered his own heart's space?
Ventus let out a frustrated huff. Why always him?
"Is that what the Xehanort possessing Terra's body meant...?"
Ventus looked up. He could hear Sora's voice.
"What do you mean Sora?"
The blonde boy was confused too, trying his best to hear what the echoing voices of his friends were saying.
"When Terra came to save us...and we took Ven and escaped...I heard the evil Terra tell him something...he said that even if we save Ven, that it's...too late. That Ven is too...instable? What did he mean by that?"
"I...", Ventus' voice was hoarse, filled with fear. "I'm instable...?"

Olette was running. She didn't exactly know where to, but she was, holding the hand of the old man running behind her tight. Pence and Hayner were right behind her, following her just as out of breath as she was.
"Young Madam", Ansem the Wise examined the brunette girl, not exactly knowing what to think, but he followed her, she had saved him after all. And she was dragging him along anyways.
"Where is it that we're going?"
"Away from here!", the dirty blonde tall boy answered for her.
"Yooo, I think they're still after us!", Pence screamed in a panic. And indeed, shadows were chasing after them like crazy, hungry for their naive, still so young hearts and to bring back the old scientist to Xehanort's Heartless.
"Do they never get tired?!", Olette cried, trying to run a bit faster. Her feet hurt. All her own fault, trying to impress Hayner with her new, cute sandals. They weren't meant for this kind of activity at all!
Then again, how could she have known that today they would be chased by a creepy man in a cloak and these monsters, that kept appearing everytime they ran into Sora.
Well...they actually had ran into Sora a few days ago...and they had promised to help out by finding the boy everyone called Roxas, and this was part of that so...
She sighed. Still no fair!
"I...I think I can't keep this up much longer", she yelled back to her two classmates. Pence let out an exhausted breath.
"Me either, we didn't even run this much at the sports festival at school!"
"You losers!", Hayner threw in. "We promised Sora to find this Roxas-dude! And we were lucky enough to catch this old guy here... (Olette chimed in with a hissed "Hayner! Rude!") ...talking about said Roxas-dude with that coat-dummie! Right in front of the old mansion, they HAVE to be connected!"
"Be careful!" Pence squeaked when a wall approached them. They had been running through Twilight Town's tunnel systems for what had felt like hours. Now they finally came to a halt, facing a dead end.
"Oh no...", Olette pouted. "You can't be serious."
Hayner turned around, grabbing the cap of a nearby trashcan, ready to shield away the approaching Heartless.
"Man I forgot that the tunnel to Sunset Terrace is closed because of maintenance issues..."
"And NOW that we're in danger, you're remembering?!", the chubby boy grabbed his head in panic.
"Stop complaining and help!", Hayner yelled, still pressing away a few shadows that were jumping at him. Pence nodded and started searching for another trash can or anything else he could use, while Olette stood in front of Ansem the Wise, not really offering any protection but trying her best.
Then the first few shadows were clasped by something white. The teenagers couldn't even digest the situation fully when the Heartless got crushed, dying with a painful scream. The white, meandering substance, that had crushed them slowly, formed into a humanoid something standing in front of them in a pose that made it seem like it was dancing crippled.
"A nobody...", the old man mumbled confused.
"Mr, take care! They might be dangerous!", Hayner exclaimed, holding onto the trashcan lit a little tighter. Then his hand grabbing it sunk down a little. "But...why did they protect us?"
A Dark Corridor opened in midst of all the Dusks, not letting Hayner finish his thought process and to Ansem's surprise one of his former students stepped out of it. Was that really...?
"...Even?"
"...Master."
Vexen bowed deep, making the Dusks do the same, now leaving the Twilight Town kids in total inability to know in the slightest about what was going on.
"What's going on here...?", Pence whispered what all of them were thinking through his teeth. Olette shrugged, seemingly only caring about the fact that they hadn't been sucked up by shadows.
"Who knows? But it looks like we're saved!"

"I'm...I'm instable...", meanwhile Ventus sat down, overwhelmed by reality crushing down on him. Too many things started making sense inside his head, combining into hard to swallow facts. He was a burden, yet again.
Would he really wake up? And then what? Hold Aqua and Terra back?
Have them run into a battle for him, again? A battle they'd lose. Because of him. Again?
As the young one was finding it harder and harder to concentrate, clasping onto his knees, looking through the mural under him, he did not notice the Darkness slowly crawling up under him.
When Ven's eyes looked up slightly to catch the black fog emerging, it already had started climbing up, building a big mass of pure obscurity.
Scared but not able to move the blonde one watched the shadows, as they started dancing around each other, like flames, growing and growing. Then suddenly they pulled back as if a wind was blowing them away, spitting out...

Ventus jumped up.
"Terra! Aqua!"

"Ven.", the blue-haired and brunette whispered in sync. Aqua fell on her knees, grabbing his shoulders.
"We were so worried about you...."
She pulled him into a tight hug.
Ven couldn't hold his tears anymore. He started crying horribly, sobs making his shoulders tremble. His fingers dug into the keyblade mistresses waist.
"Aqua..", he howled her name. "I-..I thought I'd never see you guys again. I, I can't wake up. I, I don't know where I am, I-"
With a sharp breath the youngest one stopped, pulled out of the hug. Terra and Aqua were still looking at him with warm eyes.
Ven's gaze went back and forth between the two, observing them, nervousness caught his heart. Something was terribly wrong.
"How...How did you get here?"
"Oh Ven...", Aqua smiled. "We searched for you. We were so scared."
Terra joined her, going down on one knee to face the small one.
"We always search for you.", he whispered. "If we don't bring you back, nobody will."
Ventus sniffled, reaching out for Terra's hand thankfully...but the Eartshaker pulled it back.
"And I think that this has to stop now, Ven."
Ven's eyes widened, panic rising inside of his chest. A blackout. He didn't know what was going on, nor how to react. The youngest was stunned.

"He's right.", Aqua helped Terra get up on his feet again, leaving the youngest one to look up at the two of them.
"Terra..? Aqua...?"
"Ven...", the oldest of them said slowly. "Listen to me."
Searching for help he looked at Terra, but the tall man with the usually so warm eyes uttered not a single word, nodding into Aqua's direction, telling Ven, too, to listen. The blue-haired girl sighed in a sad tone. The mural under their feet suffered its first little cracks.
"Ventus."
She never had called him that. Ven gasped for air.
"Do you know that Terra and me were left with a heavy burden?"
Indeed, Ven looked at the ground. Master Eraqus was no more.
"I am a Master and Terra is on his way to be one. And now that Eraqus is no more, we are responsible for you. And it's just...too much"
"I'm so sorry...", a hoarse, quiet whisper. Barely words spoken out aloud. Was it his own voice? Ven's throat felt sore.
"Being sorry just doesn't fix anything.", Terra chimed in. The brunette clenched his hand into a fist.
"Since I've known you, you've been sorry. Sorry that Xehanort came into our life because of you. Sorry that Aqua fell to Darkness because you had to run off. Sorry that I could not become a Master and had to babysit you while dealing with my own hurt. But what did you do, Ven? What did you do, to change? Instead of being sorry."
Cracks opened up in the mural. Vanitas' face had already been malformed by the shards breaking off or rearranging, Ven's face would soon follow. So many cracks opened up. But Ventus did not notice them, it was too much pain eating at him through his friends' words.
"You...", the youngest started an attempt to defend his aching chest nervously. "You're not real-
"So?", Aqua admitted interrupting him, shaking her head. "Even if we are not real, this is the deepest of you. Your heart. What you desire. What you are made of."
"And it is showing you us.", Terra stepped right in front of Ven looking him dead in the eye. Blue eyes, as cold as Ven had ever seen them. So distant and filled with pain. He was drowning.
"The darkness is showing you to me. Not my heart!", his voice got louder as he spoke, got more scared. "I would never knowingly hurt Aqua or Terra...I was just trying to help. Especially Terra...I could never...I would never...", tears started flowing down his face uncontrollably.
"But your heart is darkness.", Terra whispered, his voice was filled with resentment. Ventus shook his head.
"It is not...I am...I am not like Vanitas...I will never...I could never...I am so sorry Terra...I wanted to save you...I wanted to...I..."
"Aww...", the blue-haired girl shook her head slowly, looking from the youngest one to Terra, her eyes full of faked pity. "He loves you..."
"STOP!", Ven cried out, his voice a squeal in agony, eyes opened wide. Everything but that. They could see everything. BUT that. It was darkness. The deepest pitch of darkness in the depths of his heart. They couldn't. Mustn't.

"STOP! STOP!"
"Ven!"
"STOP!"
They couldn't. Mustn't. He couldn't. He could never love-
"VEN!"
With a sore, bone-chilling gasp the boy struggled for air, aprubtly opening his eyes, sitting up. Somebody started shaking him, everything was spinning, melting into on another, scenes of what seemed to look like memories played before his eyes. How he woke up on a beach, a little girl with red hair leaning over him, grinning. Then the sand and water shifted suddenly, turning into mountains and green. A night sky covered them. The girl turned into Aqua.
Aqua. She was the one shaking him. He was so overwhelmed, so confused, so terribly sad. And then...he threw up on the floor that had shifted again and turned into hot, dry desert sand.

Chapter Text

Countless, ominous, dark sky scrapers, each towering over the next one. A black, cloudy sky missing a moon and craving for stars. Empty streets laying down in their bed of tar, sleeping dreamless slumbers. The only thing illuminating the city, which seemed to have fallen into endless cessation - were the lights of the shops, from which nobody knew whom they belonged to. Vanitas' yellow eyes looked down on the empty streets. Seriously, nobody knew where these streets and shops had came from. Why some of the windows of the sky scrapers were burning in bright colors, although the buildings were empty. Well, it DID belong to the old man...or his nobody. Or Terra's nobody...Vanitas shook his head. Xemnas, that weirdo.
Recently the wielder of Void Gear would catch the former leader of the past Organization XIII glancing at him, when he thought Vanitas wouldn't notice. It was creepy. The man's yellow eyes would look so sad and longing too, it would make the boy's heart hurt. The worst was, the longing would awaken in his empty chest too. Disgusting.
All of what was going on was way too meaningless and confusing to him. He had to leave The World That Never Was as soon as possible and complete his task. The only thing existing in the realm of light, which the master of the unversed dared to care about was Ventus. And not even in the sense, that he cared about the creature itself. No. He only cared about his completion. About being whole again. About the end of endless nights, in which he would scream in pain and agony as negative emotions and darkness ate away at his being. Fists were clenched in anger, teeth followed. Soon this would end. On that cursed graveyard, where all of it begun, it would all come to conclusion. And Vanitas would be whole. No more longing for meaningless and pathetic things...

"Empty creature."
Vanitas swung around, he hated being caught off-guard. Oh. The dull guy, that had already started turning into the old man. Vanitas hissed innerly. The Recusant's Sigil on Saïx' face made his own forehead burn every damn time. Just how did the old man get him to agree with this? He didn't seem like he was easy to force to such things. In fact, the ravenette found him quite scary. Maybe he did that willingly? What an even scarier thought.
"Empty creature."
"Huh?"
Oh. Right, he had mentioned him. Nonchallantly Vanitas crossed his arms in front of his coated chest, waiting for orders.
"Xemnas has summoned you."
Nodding under his mask the boy started walking away, trying not to show how tensed up he had become with the mentioning of Xemnas' name. Of course he was summoned right after thinking about how far away from this man he wanted to be. Stepping at the opposite edge of the sky scraper Saïx and him stood on, Vanitas held out a hand to summon a Dark Corridor, but he was stopped once again, by the Luna Divider.
"Empty creature."
This time Vanitas turned around without any attempt to hide his irritation.
"My name is Vanitas.", his voice said toneless but with emphasis.
Saïx ignored it and fixated his eyes on the black of Vanitas' helmet instead.
"Say, have you noticed anything about Xemnas recently?"
Damn it.
"No. Is that the nonsense you waste my time for? Stupid Nobody."
Now clearly angry Vanitas stepped into the darkness, disappearing, leaving the blue-haired Nobody looking after him in deep thought.

Shit. Shit! It's like he had read him like an open book. Vanitas clenched his teeth. Curse this entire organization. Curse his master, this god forsaken old man. Curse Xemnas!
The Corridor had lead him to Where Nothing Gathers. A white chair embraced his back, and as the chair started moving up, he crossed his legs and started preparing mentally. He had picked the lowest chair, and that bastard Xemnas made it move up. Curse the Round Room and this Castle too!
Slowly moving further up, he finally came face to face with Xemnas. And Xehanort too. Vanitas sighed quietly. Tonight would be a long night.
It didn't even take a blink of an eye before yellow eyes pierced through the boys' entire existence. Negative emotions had filled Vanitas to the brim since the day he was born. And yet he had never felt anything comparable to the discomfort, that bloomed open inside of him in this very moment. Xehanort was smiling disgustingly.
Tired of the heavy silence and utter whiteness of the Round Room Vanitas tensed up in his throne even more.
"You called?"
Xehanort huffed, seemingly amused. "What a stubborn and ungrateful creature you are. Watch your mouth."
The master of the Unversed prepared to talk back, but to his surprise Xemnas now interfered, lifting up an arm between Vanitas' and Xehanort's chair, which were facing each other.
"I have collected the princess of heart.", he spoke with a deep voice. "You may want to take a look at her."
The old man nodded with his ever-ominous smirk.
"Well then.", and he disappeared in the same darkness, from which Vanitas had emerged a little bit earlier.
Still tensed up and now unsure too, the ravenette looked up to Xemnas' throne. His mask slowly disappeared from his face, and his golden eyes fixated on the Nobody's face. The image of Terra flashed up in his mind for only a second, and he hated it.
"What do you want, Xemnas?"

Sora sighed deeply as he put a cold towel on Ventus' forehead. It had been two hours since the blonde had thrown up and opened his eyes. Unfortunately he had sunken back and closed his eyes immediately after.
They all had finally made it backt to Yen Sid's tower, and Aqua's heart was heavy. Just as it had been 13 years ago, Ven was lying in the Mysterious Tower, his eyes shut firmly. Terra had disappared.
"Aqua...", the brunette said in a hoarse voice. "Was the evil Terra right? Is...Is it too late-
He was interrupted by Riku, whom grabbed his shoulder gently.
"It's never too late." he looked at Master Yen Sid, sitting at his desk.
"Right?"
"Indeed, young Riku."
"I think so too...", Aqua added, voice a little low, not as hopeful, but still convinced. Sora looked at her, feeling sad. She looked so tired, her blue eyes weren't shining. Then he looked at Riku, who looked just as worn off. As Yen Sid, Riku and Aqua started discussing, he now turned around to face the old wooden door, that stood slightly open. Lea, Donald and Goofy probably went to sit on the stairs. Or even outside. Who knew?
A tiny bit of warmth grew in his chest. What was important was, that they were together. Not complete yet, but they were on the best way. And Sora would make it happen, no matter what it cost. He got up from kneeling in front of Ven.
"I'll go catch some air."
The three Keyblade Masters lifted their heads, looking at him. Aqua and Yen Sid nodded, and Riku walked a few steps towards him.
"Need me to come with you?"
Sora snorted.
"Riku, I'm grown! I think after saving all the worlds this often, I'll manage to go take a breather by myself."
A smile grew on Riku's full lips, his turquoise-colored eyes looked at his childhood friend full with warmth.
"Alright, just checking."
Jokingly the brunette poked the older one and chuckled a "Thanks!", before leaving for the magic stairwell of the tower.

As he had assumed Donald, Lea and Goofy had taken seat on the endless, colorful stairs, seemingly talking about past adventures, about past lives. They hadn't noticed him.
A small, sad smile appeared on Sora's face. Thinking about all the hardships, about everything that had happened...to Riku and Kairi...to Donald and Goofy...finding out that Roxas and Axel had suffered too...about Naminé...finding out about Ventus, whom Sora had saved...about Terra and Aqua who had suffered so so much...
Now Kairi was lost again, Ven wouldn't wake up again...Roxas was trapped inside of his heart, without a chance to ever be free or with Axel again, Aqua was alone again...Tears started gently rolling down his cheeks.
What kind of keyblade master did he ever intend to be? How would he fix this? All this...darkness...
"Hey little man..."
A strong hand grabbed his shoulders and before Sora could react, he was pulled in a hug with a surprised sniff. Chilly leather cooled his face and dried his hot tears as he looked up into Lea's green eyes.
"This reaaaally isn't my way of doing things usually. But you look just like Roxas, when he's about to lose his calm and I don't think your friends over there would wanna see that....well, not that I would either..."
Still sniffing and slightly looking up from Lea's chest he saw Donald and Goofy looking at him worried.

Just the way Riku was looking at the door through which Sora had left.
And just the way a hand had grabbed Sora's shoulder, now a hand - although not as strong - grabbed his now.
"You two haven't changed since you were children..."
Riku met Aqua's eyes. He tried his best to smile, but he felt too exhausted and he know he looked it.
"...I still remember the day Terra came to me...he asked me to keep it a secret and I was so proud...", with regrets he looked at the ground. "Now I wish I didn't."
The older one sighed sadly.
"You know...all of this is our fault...and it is terrible but if we wouldn't have involved you three...we probably would have been lost forever.", Aqua's voice went into a whisper, her voice shaking. "Thank you so much..."
Riku's hand went upon Aqua's and he squeezed it.
"No...no...don't- Don't say it like that. It was my fault too. I gave in to the darkness, when I swore to you, that I would protect Sora.", now the full smile came, but it was full of grief. "Maybe Terra gave the keyblade to the wrong person...it should have been Sora from the start...it did find him in the end...through Ven. By accident. When he was the worthiest."
"It is so funny...that day I met you on the beach, I saw that Terra had bestowed you with the power of the keyblade. And I saw why too. You both reminded me of Ven and Terra so much..of my family...and you reminded me of how our duties and burdens had separated us. So I thought not giving Sora a keyblade was better. Asked him to protect you. Sent him off into the darkness to carry the same burden like I did with Terra...And then I ended up giving Kairi one...And...we ruined your lives...", she started crying. "You ended up saving us. You pulled me out of the darkness and...Terra hurt everyone because I couldn't take care...and you guys did-"
"No.", Riku interrupted her. "No Aqua. Sora did."
Aqua went quiet, just looking at him. Riku stepped forward, letting go of her hand.
"Sora pulled you out of the darkness. He pulled me out of the darkness. When I turned my back on them and sacrificed my friends, Sora brought me back. When everything felt like it was too much for Kairi and me, when we were hurting and lost, Sora pushed away his own pain and protected us. Day for day, world for world, he was always there. When Mickey and I went after you and weren't strong enough, Sora came to help me. And when I blamed him, he took the blame away and accepted my darkness. And you have to do the same Aqua! You can't talk about Terra like he's a burden anymore!"
"But the darkness in Terra was too strong! That is why all of this happened too! Look where we are, Ven's asleep because of Terra again-
"Aqua! Where does all this hurt come from?! Stop it!", Riku spit out sharply.
The keyblade mistress blinked a few times, sudden realization overcoming her...
"Riku..."
"This is all Xehanort's fault! You have to stop apologizing in anyone's behalf! We're all exhausted and at our ends right now, but all you do is search for someone to put blame. If you want to do that, then raise your keyblade, stop holding your grudge on Terra and fight!"
"It's not that easy!", now Aqua raised her voice back. "It's not easy shouldering all of this Riku!"
Her finger pointed in the direction of Ven, now sleeping in Yen Sid's chair. The old keyblade master had disappeared, saying he had important matters to settle and that he would be back to collect them, when finished.
"Look at Ven! Look at what happened...and all because he was alone..in the desert...searching for Terra!", her tears kept flowing
"What happened to 'It's not too late'?! Aqua what is going on? Where is all this hurt coming from?!"
"I wandered the Realm of Darkness for 13 years. So many more years than you did Riku...and it was all to protect someone...who had betrayed us...someone I..I was in love with..."
She wiped her face with her arm.
"At least you came back...at least you controlled your darkness, Riku...At least Sora loves you back..."
Riku's heart skipped a beat. He slowly started stepping back.
"That...that's not..."
"I know!", Aqua cried out. "I know about it Riku! I know your feelings!"
"GRAVIGA!"
In that very moment a hole was blown into the wall right behind Ventus, whiping the big chair away and Riku and Aqua didn't have enough time to grasp what was actually going on, before they were blown off their feet. Ventus' unconscious body now laid on the ground, as a furious Vanitas stepped inside the tower, in midst bricks and dust, angrily holding Void Gear towards the keyblade masters.
"Hello, vermin."