Actions

Work Header

darkness in your heart || yeonbin

Chapter Text

He wishes he’d never been born, never been alive to see daylight. Yet, here he is, tears flowing from his face. Sixteen years he’s lived like this, and perhaps many more if the earth would so willingly make him live through hell.

He clutched onto the sleeping person in his hands tighter. He didn’t consider when the time would arrive when surrendering something was absolute. And it wasn’t just anything, it was someone special to him.

Tears dripped onto her glowing face. She lay there, eyes shut with a smile still bright. They say if you perish with your eyes closed, you’ve fulfilled all your purposes in life. To perceive her with a smile in this form made his tears flow even more.

“You cared for her, didn’t you?” A voice called out to him.

He bit his lip, holding back the tears threatening to spill. She cared for me like she was my only mother, and I was her only child.

“How does it feel, Soobin? Losing the best thing that has ever happened to you?”

Slowly, Soobin loosened his grip on her body, placing her on the rock-hard ground. Rage began to fill his system, enveloping him in darkness. He tried to control his anger, but his curse nulled that. He couldn’t control himself anymore.

The man’s smug face soon twisted into a face of pity. “You loved her, didn’t you?” 

Soobin scoffed. “She was,” Soobin shook his head. “Is my best friend. That hasn’t changed.”

“It’s clear your feelings for her has.”

Soobin clenched his fists until his knuckles went white and his nails dug ditches in his skin. “What do you want from me?!”

The man’s shoulders dropped, his dirty facade reappeared. “Soobin, you’re a monster, don’t you understand?”

“That’s where you’re wrong,” Soobin summoned his now-dark keyblade. He gripped tightly onto the handle, pulsing his rage into the key’s power. “You ruined me,”

“And I plan on returning the favour.”

The man smirked. “Let’s see how you do that,” and with that, he turned around and walked into the black portal behind him, leaving Soobin and his love behind. Soobin let go of his keyblade and turned around to the sleeping figure he placed on the ground moments before.

How long has it been since the pain began? He kneeled towards the body, holding her hand. All the warmth he yearned for, every day, was now gone. They had extinguished his sole source of light in his world. They now left him in the dark, with no light to guide him back.

A tear slid from his left eye, then another, later a whole waterfall. Sobs shook his entire body. Pain. That’s all he knew.

“I’m sorry, I’m so sorry.”

Chapter Text

The sun began to set where he rested on his secret hill as the sky soon faded into a vermillion shade. Footsteps approached him and settled next to him. The boy gave him a smile.

"Guess vacation's over, huh? How was it, Daniel? Not having to be pushed around defeating Heartless?"

Yeonjun shrugged. "The break was alright, but I always found myself back in some other world defeating them. Guess I haven't really given myself time to chill out," Yeonjun paused and spun around to the boy. "How was yours, Gyu? And you don't have to call me Daniel anymore, you know?"

Beomgyu chuckled. "Yeah, but it feels wrong without it. I've known you as Daniel since we first met. Better make it last, I guess."

Yeonjun smiled, turning his head back to the distant sphere of gas. With every passing second, it was cut in slices at a time before sinking below the horizon. The place where the sun drowns, a few called it.

The curtains of the sky began to roll in, revealing white diamonds on their fabric. There were masses and masses of stars in the sky, making Yeonjun relieved. When Yeonjun first became a keyblade wielder, the sky was a black desert. For every star, a world existed, and when a star faded, a world was lost.

Perhaps he'd always see the world like that. For every star, a person existed, working their hardest to save the world in whatever way they could. For every fallen star, a person's heart was enveloped in darkness. Perhaps it was mysterious to see a star that was so dim, though noticeable in the sky.

Yeonjun held his palm to the sky, reaching out for the faint star. "You think someone in this world is in pain, enveloped in darkness yet longing for light, longing for someone to save him. After all, once you're gone, your star fades."

Beomgyu shook his head. "You're right, maybe someone is looking for someone to save him or her, but when you're gone, you don't fade completely. The person you care about the most becomes the brightest star and guides you back. You're never gone for good."

"It's nice to think of it like that, then," Yeonjun paused. "Whoever is that dim star, I'll look for them. I'll give them that comfort they need."

Beomgyu smiled. "I'm sure you will, Junnie."

+ × +

Yeonjun awoke the next dawn, a Spirit perched on his windowsill. He smiled as the Spirit greeted him as it always did every morning. Sunlight streamed from the windows onto his blankets. Yeonjun climbed out of bed and readied himself for the new day.

A knock fell on his door. Yeonjun replied with a 'wait!' before opening the door to discover his friend. His hair was dishevelled and eyes bleak with exhaustion. He never stops working, Yeonjun reminds himself. The latter grinned. "Morning, Tae. What's up?"

Taehyun cast a smile then returned to business. "I need to ask a favour from you."

Yeonjun frowned. "Is something wrong?"

"About right. I've already sent Beomgyu and Kai off, but I need you to go over to the Dwarf Woodlands."

"Let me guess, it's the Heartless again?"

Taehyun smirked. "You know the drill. I'll be off now."

The latter walked away as Yeonjun shut the door and groaned. Getting back into the routine would be difficult considering the time Yeonjun spent off work. Sure, he woke up early and slept early. He always performed his missions to his highest ability. Nevertheless, he travelled to the woodlands as requested.

As he expected, the fresh scent of wood and metal greeted him. It had been a while since he landed in the Dwarf Woodlands, let alone go to a mine again. He had spent many days in the desert of Agrabah, the Coliseum of Olympus, and the Castle of the Beast.

Thankfully, the woods were green just as he had left them. The birds chirped melodically; the hare hopped carelessly, and the breeze whispered secrets in his ear. If it were his first time here, he would've thought nothing was wrong with this place, that no Heartless roamed. But even monsters hide in the dark.

His Spirit materialized next to him. "Well, you better get to work! The Heartless aren't taking a break and neither are you now!"

Yeonjun chuckled. "Yeah, summer's over, vacation's over, so there's no going back 'til next vacation."

Yeonjun entered the gloomy woods, enveloped by black bark trees and ghostly lights within the trees' verdure. He could pick up the howling of Shadow Heartless nearby, ringing in his ears like a bell. The silent whoosh! as they began to appear. They disappeared, appearing whenever Yeonjun stepped closer.

To hit them individually was simple; to work with fleets were tougher. Heartless constantly shifted, never offering a chance to strike them. At times, it wasn't fair for Yeonjun whenever they shot up to the air. He worked with various types of Heartless. The gummi copters, the wizards, and moles.

Every day from now on would be like this. Robotically defeating Heartless with tactics he had mastered as a pupil and tricks from his higher-ups. Sure, the different Heartless would be different each time, but the way he attacked was monotonous.

"You really never change your fighting style, do you, Dan?" A familiar voice called out.

Yeonjun turned around and shrugged. "I'm not saving the world so why would I need to change tactics if they already work? Aren't your tactics like mine, Jungkook?"

"Well yeah, but," Jungkook approached Yeonjun. "You might want more aerial-based attacks. You seem to struggle with the wizards in the air."

Yeonjun laughed. "Thanks, then. But I guess I'll finish up for today. It's almost late, and I promised Gyu I'd examine a few more texts with him."

"You mean some of those old texts from those ancient books in the local library?"

"Yeah, Gyu's obsessed with trying to find out what happened to the so-called Dandelions after the Keyblade War," Yeonjun explained, highlighting the 'Dandelions' part. "To be honest, I'm interested so I've been helping him."

Jungkook smiled. "That's nice of you. I'm heading back to Radiant Garden. Guess I'll see you around?"

"Yeah, I will."

+ × +

Jungkook soon took off, leaving Yeonjun amid the dense forest along with his Spirit. His Spirit materialized next to him like earlier, hopping about. "What are you waiting for? It's time you got home."

The Spirit's master frowned. "I hear something, not too far from here. I also feel some dark energy, like a Heartless'. But who knows? I might just paranoid because it's the first day back."

The Spirit laughed. "Perhaps. Now, let's go!"

All at once, a white creature darted towards Yeonjun. He jumped and summoned his keyblade by habit. The white creature took the form of a bunny with rainbow tufts of neck fur and fluffy tail. As for the gold star on its head, it emitted light despite the coming moon.

His Spirit jumped, gripping to his leg as it hid. "Chirithy, what's that?" Yeonjun asked.

Chirithy tilted its head, squinting its peanut-sized eyes. "Looks like a Spirit pet."

"But haven't Spirit pets gone extinct? Ever since the Dandelions left, Spirit pets haven't been used at all."

Chirithy sighed. "I'm afraid I can't say."

Cautiously, Yeonjun approached the bunny. With every step, he examined the creature's actions. His heart palpitated furiously with fear. It stood still with every movement, watching with wide eyes as the latter approached it.

"Tokki! Where did you go? You know we have to head home now," a voice exclaimed.

Yeonjun's grip on his keyblade loosened, his eyes watching the thick undergrowth as a boy emerged. He looked about Yeonjun's age, perhaps older. He had chestnut brown hair and sinister eyes that reflected no light. It sent shivers down Yeonjun's spine.

The boy took no notice of Yeonjun and hugged the bunny Yeonjun suspected was Tokki. Yeonjun's keyblade disappeared as he greeted the boy. "H-hey, that's yours?"

The boy looked up at Yeonjun. "Y-yeah. Sorry if she disrupted anything, I should've kept an eye on her."

Yeonjun smiled. "It's okay, we were just about to head home," he scratched the back of his neck. "What's your name? If I can ask."

The boy shifted with uneasiness at the question. His eyes rapidly searched the field, trying to avoid Yeonjun's eyes. The grip on his Spirit tightened.

"If you don't want to say it, you don't have to. I'll just take my leave-"

"Soobin."

"What?"

"My name's Soobin," Soobin paused, eyes attached to the bunny in front of him. "And this is Tokki, as you probably already heard."

Yeonjun smiled. "Nice to meet you, Soobin."

"I'm Daniel."

Chapter Text

"Yah, Daniel Choi. You aren't thinking about this, are you?"

Yeonjun shook out of his thoughts, greeted by an unimpressed Beomgyu. His lips inched forward, making a pout. His eyebrows furrowed and stitched together. Yeonjun sighed. "Yeah, no, sorry."

"Mind's running off places? If so, tell me 'bout it."

Yeonjun chuckled. "Obviously, but it's nothing important. I just ran into this guy at the Dark Forest earlier." Yeonjun recalled the last few moments he spent in the gloomy forest. His pet was rare and adorable, his visual was flawless. Yet, he couldn't shake off the fact that his eyes contradicted everything about him. It sent shivers down Yeonjun's spine.

Beomgyu shook his head. "Well, alright. Anyway, I've just found a passage that a Dandelion's written. It seems books like these have been updated after all."

Beomgyu pointed to the lines as Yeonjun peered over the latter's shoulder. Sure enough, the contrast between the yellowed and tattered parchment and the crystal-white paper of the Dandelion proved his theory correct. The handwriting was much neater as well with lesser blobs of ink dribbling over the page.

"When you wake up,
What kind of world will you find yourself in?

Will the world reflected in your eyes
Be the world you wished for...?

The one who will decide that is you."

+ × +

Icy, cold winds nipped at Yeonjun's face. It wasn't the first time he'd spent sitting on a roof watching the stars. It wasn't the first time he'd forgotten something warm to wear on nights like these. It wasn't the first time he came up here to think.

Above, the stars shone with an undying brightness. Above, the moon was full, golden and dazzling. Above, a black blanket of shadow was cast over the world. By now, someone would've found him, ushered him down inside the house. Instead, he sat there waiting. Waiting, waiting, and waiting. But nobody came.

Eventually, he stopped waiting and began thinking. Thinking about the passage from earlier that Beomgyu had pointed out to him. Thoughts bounced off the edges of his brain, circling his mind with millions of thoughts. What-ifs began bubbling up to the surface. To some, he may have looked like a student; studying all day, all night.

After all, the what-ifs are as boundless as the stars.

Moments of wondering led to despair and confusion. Yeonjun had never thought so much in so long. He'd always been one to keep it simple, keep it tidy.

"Thought I'd find you here,"

Yeonjun turned around, smiling at his guest. He expected this moment to come, the moment where someone would eventually find him. He nodded. "Nice thinking then, Tae. Just needed a breather."

Taehyun chuckled. "The stars are pretty tonight, but I wonder if that's what's keeping you out here?" He wiggled his eyebrows.

Yeonjun laughed. "Well, you gonna sit down with me or leave me with my thoughts?"

Taehyun tilted his head side to side, thinking. Then, he nodded. "Think I'll stay here 'til we should go back inside. It'll get colder sooner or later."

"Yeah," Yeonjun smiled.

Taehyun sat down next to Yeonjun, careful not to make any wrong moves or end up falling off the roof. Yeonjun half-expected him to do so, but the latter was more careful than that. Together, they watched the stars in silence. One would say watching the stars is a waste of time, that it wasn't worth it. But to Yeonjun, the stars were a source of comfort. A place where he could see what state the world was in.

Taehyun sighed. "This world is slowly getting harder to maintain. Fewer people are being bequeathed, many aren't being trained well, and some just don't put the effort."

"It's frustrating, really. Our ancestors fought to preserve the coming generations, creating the Dandelions as the second source of hope should the world have to succumb to the Final Page. But now, we're greedy. No one thinks about what the future holds. It seems we only trust the world's fate in the hands of one teenage boy."

Sighing, Yeonjun placed his hand on Taehyun's shoulder, not giving him eye contact and instead, just watching the stars. Taehyun was right in a way. No one was looking to being a keyblade master anymore. Many sought after a normal, comfortable life though it may be frightening.

But instead of reciting his thoughts, he said instead,

"Perfect as we wish the world to be, that can never be possible. Nothing is ever perfect; even life isn't perfect. We can keep asking ourselves 'what if this happened?' or 'what if that happened?' and so on, but that wouldn't get us anywhere. All we can do is keep moving forward, regardless of what the rest of the world might do. We should stop wondering and start doing."

"After all," Yeonjun paused and dropped his head, watching the clock of the tower ahead ticking away. "We decide how we want the world to be."

Chapter Text

If anything, Yeonjun didn't think he would wake up with the news that he had a new travelling partner. He was overjoyed; beyond words could express. He had been travelling alone since the beginning of his adventures and never had he wanted anything less than someone by his side. Though he had his Spirit, it never really counted as a travelling partner. To the latter, it seemed more like a messenger and not a partner.

Yeonjun arrived at the Waterfront Park as Taehyun advised at his new partner's request. A circular garden stood ahead with a star-shaped hedge surrounded by blue, purple, and yellow flowers. Fog sat quietly at the edges of the park as the sky broke into numerous colours. The day had begun to break.

Just beyond the garden stood a tall boy, whom Yeonjun recognized. Yeonjun quickly sifted through his memories, winding back to a few days ago when he first came back from summer vacation. A smile had been drawn onto his face. "Soobin! It's you!"

Soobin turned around, eyes wide and mouth hanging open. At his feet, Tokki sat, the gold star on its head shining like the sun. "Daniel? You remember me?"

Yeonjun smiled as he approached the boy. "Well, yeah," he paused, chuckling at the awkward response. "What brings you to Daybreak Town?"

Soobin smiled. "I stumbled into two of your friends a couple of days ago. One of them invited me to your party. Thought I could lend a helping hand. 've been running around with no one but Tokki for years now."

"Oh," Yeonjun frowned. Even though he'd spent many years doing quests by himself, he'd never thought he could survive with no one at his side. To only have a pet as your companion seemed harsh. After all, humans can only live so long without human communication.

The latter smiled. "Well, looks like you'll be my buddy from now on. Unless you've opted for solo missions as well."

Soobin shook his head vigorously. "Oh no, I can't handle solo. Just mess up and drop it. I'm better off with someone with me."

Yeonjun laughed, then smiled again. "Well, lucky for you, I've never liked solo missions anyway."

+ × +

Yeonjun's keyblade reflected his identity; swirls of gold, like the rungs of DNA. A bit that represented the wings of a bird, though hollow and blue. His handle reflected the wing with a touch more swirls. The swirls represented his love for skateboarding and the wings represented his carefree nature.

Soobin, on the other hand, avoided using his keyblade for most of the time. If he did, it was nowhere near Yeonjun's presence. And when he did, Yeonjun was at a loss for words.

His keyblade was quite dark, though had tints of lighter shades. The bit was a carved rose, shining with a brilliant crimson. Creeping up its shaft were thorny vines, small versions of roses protruding from its dark stem. The handle was a mix of the thorns and a bouquet of roses, now with green leaves and yellow roses intermingling. It was so beautiful, yet, so dangerous.

Soobin took the last strike on the monster, hitting with accuracy at its nape. It evaporated into the air, leaving behind a dark trail of shadows. The duo relaxed their stance, smiling at one another.

"You're not bad for only having a pet by your side" Yeonjun sees Soobin hide his face in embarrassment. Cute, he thought. "I can tell you've been trained, too."

Soobin shrugged. "Only for a couple of years. Then, I went off alone."

Yeonjun nodded. "Wanna go get ice cream? Twilight Town has the best sea salt ice cream."

"Sea salt? That seems a bit weird."

"Oh, trust me. You're going to love it."

+ × +

"You weren't wrong."

Yeonjun chuckled. "I had the same reaction, too. It seems strange, the flavour, but it's sweet."

"And salty," Soobin adds, making the older laugh.

They sat at the top of the hill. Yeonjun normally wouldn't have taken Soobin there, but he figured it's better than going back to Daybreak Town to eat it there. The two continued with small talk. Yeonjun asked questions, Soobin had the answers. Soobin asked questions, Yeonjun had the answers.

"You look pretty when you smile," Soobin blurts.

Yeonjun blushes slightly, furiously trying to hide his red face and burning embarrassment. He was the older one, yet, Soobin was making him flustered with his out-of-the-blue compliments.

It totally contradicts his keyblade, Yeonjun spoke in his head. His keyblade radiated dark energy, spoke of dark stories with pain and beauty. And here he was, laughing and smiling with him. Don't get him wrong, Yeonjun found beauty in his two sides, but many questions ran through his head.

After a few moments of silence, Yeonjun piped up, his eyes plastered on the sunset. "You know, your keyblade reminds me of something..."

"Oh," Soobin replied. "Of what?"

Yeonjun shrugged.

"The thorns. Reminded me of a briar bush. The vines, the thorns. Yet, the rose adds colour, adds some beauty to it. It's so dangerous, but you know,"

"It's so beautiful."

Yeonjun catches a glance as Soobin's head dropped and his smile disappeared. He immediately knew he said something wrong. His mind retraced his steps, his words, analyzed every meaning it could've held to Soobin. Yet, he didn't know what was wrong.

"I-I'm sorry, I overstep-"

"No, you didn't."

Yeonjun's eyes peel away from the sun and onto Soobin. The corners of his mouth creep up to his ears. "No one's ever seen my keyblade that way, aside from you and one other person."

Soobin pauses, adding a chuckling whilst reminiscing. "She always used to call it the 'Briar Rose' and the name stuck. It was originally hers, to begin with, though the colours were much brighter than I remember it now."

He pauses yet again. "She taught me first, gave me Tokki, and always told me stories, always told me otherwise."

Yeonjun smiled. "She must've loved you a lot."

Soobin nodded. And without Yeonjun's knowledge,

a tear fell from his face.

Chapter Text

The next day, Yeonjun watched the way Soobin would use his key. His swift movements, duality, and strategic patterns made Yeonjun's head spin with dizziness. Maybe this is what Jungkook meant when he said he should change his patterns. Soobin was unpredictable; always coming up with new formations. And that's what made Soobin fascinating to watch.

Every now and then, Soobin would correct Yeonjun's rusty tactics. The latter would hide his face in shame. He was the one who was trained to master-like standards, but instead, a rookie was pointing out his mistakes. Not that Yeonjun minded. He needed something fresh, something new.

"Try using the cloning ability, then crossover. It'll double, maybe even triple, your attack power."

"Use your environment! Try using the trees and jump like you're flying. Attack with each flight."

"Activate your special attack! Hit the ground and attack from below!"

By the end of it, Yeonjun had no air left in his lungs. Trying Soobin's style left him exhausted, aching for a break. Soobin was agile and swift; quick on his feet. Meanwhile, Yeonjun relied solely on power and defence.

The change of style left him drained but delighted.

Later that day, when they had finished doing their rounds, Yeonjun farewelled the boy. Though Soobin asked if he could accompany him home, Yeonjun rejected the offer. He needed to get back to Beomgyu. He had been nagging him to come to the library since morning.

But if he could turn back time, he'd rather Soobin came with him rather than not.

+ × +

"Come on, you're creative! You must be thinking of something,"

Yeonjun shook his head. "Sorry, Gyu. Mind's blank."

Beomgyu let out a long sigh filled with disappointment. On the contrary, Yeonjun was thinking. He'd always been philosophical, though not as much as Taehyun. Yeonjun knew Beomgyu would've opted for Taehyun if only he wasn't busy with his own thoughts and responsibilities.

Without wanting to disappoint the younger further, Yeonjun sighed. "What if... they lived in a simulation until the world recovered from the war?" Yeonjun paused, rethinking his words. "I mean, the Keyblade Graveyard exists, the other worlds beyond it exist, surely they slept through a data version of the world they knew, Daybreak Town, I mean."

Beomgyu shrugged. "It seems plausible, honestly. These texts speak of colourful strips in the sky every now and then after the 'supposed war'. It must've been glitches, that the data version of Daybreak Town and the worlds beyond it weren't programmed right to seem real."

"The Keyblade War... it happened, though there are no direct accounts of it aside from the story of the Foretellers and the Master of Masters and the existence of the graveyard. But surely, surely it happened, right? Data versions of towns exist for the Mark of Mastery exams, so surely they existed back then, too."

Beomgyu smirked. "I knew you were up to something, Dan."

+ × +

To find himself back on the same rooftop from a couple of days ago was unprecedented for Yeonjun. He'd usually be on the hill in Twilight Town, or down at Destiny Islands to watch the sunset on the trees. This time, he was here, watching the sunset.

Yeonjun sighed. Too much had happened lately; life was moving too quickly. Thoughts stacked up the way books did on shelves, they came in a never-ending storm.

His dull, monotonous life has finally begun to take a toll on him. Everything moved the same pace; always woke up at a regular time, finished missions at a regular time, came home as late as he could. He wanted something to change; make life interesting for him.

"You seem to look at the sky a lot,"

Yeonjun flinched, turning his head around. His muscles loosened when he saw whom the voice belonged to. He gave him a smile. "The sky expresses a lot of things, I just wanna know what it all means."

"Ah," Soobin chuckled. "You're the philosophical type, then?"

Yeonjun nodded. The boy sat down next to him, taking in the scenery before them. Yeonjun never used to share these moments with others. And when he did, it was always after the sun sets. They never watched the sunset with him, they watched the stars form.

"The sun, I always wondered what might happen if it just stopped appearing, you know?"

Yeonjun frowned, eyebrows stitched together. "What do you mean by that? You mean like, what if it just suddenly disappeared from existence?"

Soobin nodded. "To me, when you think of it like that, it's like the way light just disappears from a world or a person's heart, and so on. Light will see defeat and expire while darkness prevails evermore, like that stuff, you know?"

"The way the sun sets isn't quick, fast, and instant. It's slow, painfully beautiful, and warm. And once it's gone, it leaves you cold."

The older was left with a loss for words. He couldn't top Soobin's thoughts now. He had always been the one to speak like this but never had he thought of the sun this way. Yeonjun glanced back at the sun, then smiled with amusement.

"You're right."

Then, the sun vanished below the line where the sky and sea met, the last drop of warmth before the birth of a new day.

Chapter Text

After an hour of sitting beneath the blanket of stars, Soobin suggested they went inside. Time had flown right past them and now the wind was cold. "D'you know where we're going tomorrow?"

Soobin nodded. "But I don't really wanna go there."

Yeonjun frowned. This wasn't the first time Soobin had complained about going somewhere. The complaint was usually about its environment and how complicated it would be to battle. "Why not? Where we goin'?"

He expected the younger to complain about the environment again. But Soobin didn't. "Keyblade Graveyard; gives me bad memories." Yeonjun notices him flinch harshly. Whether it is from the cold or from his bad memories, he'd never know.

"Why don't you ask Taehyun if he can reassign us tomorrow? I'm sure he'll understand."

Soobin shrugs. "Yeah, guess I will."

+ × +

Taehyun's study would usually be empty; piled with dozens of books and papers from the local library. He studied day and night about the Heartless' formations, their movements, and always kept track of their next location. It wasn't a surprise how he'd assign people to different worlds and everyone would still come back exhausted.

Usually, someone would be at the door, standing about until Taehyun would either walk in or call them. But today, no one stood at the front of the door. They had either gone inside already or no one was looking to talk to him today.

Taehyun's study was the last place Yeonjun thought to check after his previous conversation with Soobin. To be honest, he was starting to like the younger boy. Though he was quiet and reserved, he wasn't afraid to speak up and give ideas. He was cute, after all.

Yeonjun approached the door as quietly as he could. He didn't need anything from Taehyun; just needed to find Soobin. The closer he progressed, the louder a set of voices from inside were heard. The latter recognized Taehyun's voice, but he couldn't put his finger on the other one.

He pressed his ear to the door, listening intently.

"Look, Soobin, there's no one else I can assign over there. Nobody's free for the task. That is unless you'd like to go solo for once?"

"No, please, just this once. I really, really, don't like it over there. "

"It won't be so bad, I promise."

"Look, that place holds bad memories. If we go there, I'll only hurt him. So, I'm only asking once. Not today. Have someone else over there."

"Soobin, don't make this harder for me. Everyone's already gone to do their assigned jobs-"

A giant thud! reverberated against the walls. Yeonjun flinched slightly. He could hear faint whispers from the opposite side of the door. His hand hovered over the knob. Should he turn it or keep listening, or even just walk away?

Not wanting to overthink his decision, he turned the knob and shot inside. His eyes couldn't believe what was in front of him.

Taehyun was on the floor against the wall, clutching his abdomen tight. Soobin was standing in front of him, keyblade unsheathed. The colours seemed darker than Yeonjun remembered. The rose was no longer a brilliant crimson, but a black-red rose. The briar vines were still sharp, though it had more thorns than before, and on his handle, all the yellow roses were replaced with blue.

"Taehyun!" Yeonjun darted towards his friend, ignoring Soobin. Soobin backed away from Taehyun as Yeonjun held the latter tightly. Taehyun's breathing was shallow and uneven, and the pulse on his neck was weak.

Soobin dropped his keyblade, echoing an ear-stinging ring from the metal. Yeonjun turned his head, staring into Soobin with a fire in his eyes.

"What. Did. You. Do?"

Soobin said nothing and just dipped his head, angering Yeonjun. He never wanted to scold, but now, he had to. He wanted answers.

"I said, what. Did. You. Do?!"

Soobin's hands and lips were trembling, his tears burning as they brimmed in his eyes. It seemed as though he stopped breathing. Soobin then sprinted out the door, saying nothing to the older. But, he didn't leave without saying two words.

"I'm sorry."

+ × +

"Taehyun'll be fine. Just a couple days' rest and it'll be like nothing happened," the nurse said solemnly.

Yeonjun wished it could be as the nurse said. Pretend as if nothing had ever happened and that Soobin was still here with him playing around on missions. That Taehyun wasn't laying in a bed having to drink potions every few hours in order to heal himself.

Yeonjun sighed for longer than he expected. "Jimin, will he really be okay?"

Jimin didn't reply, and instead, looked out towards the window. The day was still fresh, bursting with many sounds that usually would've been white noise to Yeonjun now. Yeonjun couldn't help but feel as if he was missing something.

"Taehyun only sustained minor injuries, but your friend that did this- well, I don't believe he'll be doing too well," Jimin paused and turned around on his chair. "Do you know if he has any reason to do what he did this morning?"

"-gives me bad memories."

Yeonjun shrugged. "He didn't wanna go to the Keyblade Graveyard today for missions. Said it gave him bad memories."

"And has he ever told you what these bad memories are?"

Soobin was never one to talk about personal issues when he wasn't asked. And when he would, he would stutter and perhaps cry at every little detail. The little details are what made his story seem believable. But whether he liked to talk about it or not, Soobin would always say the same sentence every time.

"I'm nothing but a monster to the people who've been nothing but kind to me."

Yeonjun wanted to blurt out everything on his mind. Everything he'd known about Soobin up until this point made sense now. Back when nothing happened, he never believed Soobin could be so deadly. But now that he'd seen the damage he could do, there was nothing to do but believe.

"I'm sorry."

Now that he remembers those words, he can't believe how idiotic he was. Soobin had been hurting this whole time. Dying on the inside little by little, day by day, and Yeonjun had done nothing but tell him, reassured him that everything was okay.

He wanted to scream every single thought he had, but instead, he sighed and shook his head.

With all the chances he had, he regrets not taking any.

Chapter Text

Days had passed and Taehyun, surprisingly, did get better. By the way he held himself, it seemed like nothing happened those days ago. But Yeonjun could never forget the way the latter lay in the white bed, looking as though he wasn't breathing.

Apart from having a slot to taking care of Taehyun now, Yeonjun returned to his dull routine. Eat, work, sleep, repeat. Taehyun hadn't assigned him difficult and time-consuming missions, but lately, Yeonjun felt as though he was missing something.

Not only was his routine reverted back, but his fighting style, too. He no longer used his former partner's techniques, let alone, use his advice. It frustrated Yeonjun; he had worked so hard to perfect them, and now, he just threw them as if it was a piece of rubbish.

He found himself on the rooftop more often than he had back in the past. Maybe it was because he wanted someone to come up and find him. Maybe it was because he expected Soobin to come out of the blue, muttering sorry's and spilling ideas about the stars. Maybe it was because he wanted things to be different again.

Things had been the same for far too long.

Yeonjun sighed. "Where are you? Are you doing okay? I hope you know Taehyun isn't mad at you; he just wants an explanation," he paused. Realizing what he was doing, he chuckled, his cheeks hot. "I'm doing it again."

Frosty, cold winds nibbled at his skin, making him shiver. His teeth grit hard together, arms wrapped around his body as best as he could. The way he clenched his teeth and fists made his head ache with a dull pain.

"What're you still doing up here? It's getting cold now," Beomgyu called out.

Yeonjun turned his head to face his friend, though avoiding eye contact. He shook his head. "It's not that cold," he lied.

Beomgyu rolled his eyes and carefully climbed down the top of the roof down to where Yeonjun sat. The latter sighed. "Yeonjun, if you need to talk about something, just say so. I'm here to listen."

Yeonjun's eyes widened in shock. It wasn't the first time Beomgyu had called him by his real name. But whenever he did, it meant that he was worried. That's what hurt him the most; that he wasn't okay.

Tears brimmed in the older's eyes, burning them. His vision began to blur slightly, though he could still see. His hand was no longer cold; instead, Beomgyu held it tight. Yeonjun let out a long sigh.

"I'm so tired, like, emotionally tired. I'm so done with waking up every morning just to repeat the same routine. I'm so done with having no one to talk to during missions. I'm so done with anticipating Soobin's 'good morning' every single day just to find out he hasn't come back."

"As soon as I met him, I wanted to help him. I wanted to give him the friendship he couldn't have. And when we became friends, all I wanted was to give him the happiness he could never receive. And when he left, all I wanted was to take him by the wrist and pull him back."

"I wanted to tell him, 'Everything's okay, I'm sorry I lashed out on you. I'm sorry you can't get rid of the bad memories. Just tell me everything and I'll listen,' but instead, I just watched him walk out that door."

His tear ducts burst and Yeonjun began crying on Beomgyu's shoulder. Sobs wracked his entire body, gasping for air violently. Beomgyu rubbed circles on his back to attempt to calm him down, to no avail.

"Home isn't watching the stars on a rooftop in Daybreak Town. Home isn't eating sea salt ice cream on the hill and watching the sunset. Home isn't getting into bed with a Spirit telling you 'good night,'" Yeonjun continued to wail.

Beomgyu cooed at the older boy. "Then, what is home?"

At that moment, Yeonjun cries came to a halt. Beomgyu watched as Yeonjun's shoulders dropped and tears fell onto his pants. Not that he minded; it was Yeonjun he needed to take care of.

Yeonjun took in a shaky breath before exhaling. "Home isn't here,"

"It's with Soobin."

Chapter Text

"Soobin-ah, wake up."

Yeonjun's eyes shot open hearing his name. How long had it been since he last saw him? Heard him? Spoke to him? He can't remember anymore; it was too long ago.

Yeonjun opened his eyes to a familiar setting. It was a spot he often went to watch the sunset. He smiled. A groan came from someone he suspected was from this illusion.

"Eunha, 've you finished your project now?"

Yeonjun finds Soobin's voice and catches the eye of a girl he suspected was Eunha. Eunha was a relatively short girl with a small, round but slim face. She had wavy hair that was slightly unkempt. She wore a white, short-sleeved, puffy dress to her knees with a navy-blue waist corset and semi-transparent skirt that was slightly longer.

Eunha nodded. "I'm glad you managed to get a nap, though. You haven't really slept since your curse started..." Eunha began to trail off. She fiddled with her fingers, head held low, avoiding eye contact with Soobin.

Soobin just chuckled. "I know. To think it would start taking effect now, though. I would've thought this would affect me even before,"

The shorter girl smiled, moving towards the tree Soobin was sitting on. She shuffled next to him. "Be glad you've been able to get guidance at your age. I don't know where you would've gone if this affected you earlier than I met you."

Yeonjun smiled. This was the type of reassurance he wanted to give Soobin when he first met him. Eunha was doing a much better job at it then he was.

"Stop acting like my mom," Soobin scoffed. "I don't like being nagged at."

Eunha playfully slapped Soobin on the shoulder, earning a frown from the younger. She chuckled. "Well, like it or not, I am going to be your mother, so get used to it. Be grateful you aren't wandering aimlessly now,"

Soobin nodded. "True."

Time seemed to stop as Yeonjun's breath caught in his throat. Even though they hadn't seemed to notice him in the time he stood there, grinning like a madman, he was still scared of doing something noticeable. The latter watched as Soobin shifted his hand on top of the pale girl's hand.

"C-can I see... your rose... again?" Soobin stuttered.

Eunha laughed. "Why do you keep wanting to see it? I swear it must be engraved into your memory by now."

Soobin didn't react to Eunha's comment. "Please."

Eunha held out her hand and summoned her Keyblade as Soobin requested. Yeonjun's mouth was agape as he stared at the keyblade. It looked exactly like Soobin's current keyblade, but lighter and more feminine.

Instead of empty briar vines, it was crowded with small bushels. The rose was a beautiful, galaxy-blue colour. The handle was jammed with different roses and colours; red, yellow, pink. It beamed with colour and light.

Soobin grazed his fingers over the briar vines, eyes brimming with tears. Soobin sniffled. "I'm scared... that I'll hurt you... that you'll hate me for the monster I am."

Eunha sheathed her Keyblade as she wrapped her arms around Soobin. His tears began to dampen her immaculate dress, but she didn't mind. "I could never hate you, you cute bunny," she teased.

"But-"

Eunha hushed Soobin before he could say anything. "Just remember: wherever you go, I'll always be with you."

"You listen well," Eunha's voice resonated in his ears. Yeonjun jumped, summoning his Keyblade and standing in a defensive stance. He turned around and, to his surprise, another Eunha had been standing behind him.

The Eunha before him was no different to the Eunha he was seeing with Soobin. She stood with the same dress, but white instead of blue. Her hair was cleaner and tidier. Yeonjun swears he's standing in front of an angel.

As if she had read his mind, Eunha nodded. "A guardian angel for Soobin is what I am. And tell me, who are you to Soobin?"

"Well, I'm-"

"I know who you are, Yeonjun, Daniel Choi. What I'm asking is, what are you to Soobin?"

Yeonjun's head dropped. What am I to Soobin? Just a companion on missions, or a friend? A brother or like a father? Yeonjun didn't know the answer to such a question. There could be many things he could be to Soobin. But Yeonjun just didn't know.

Eunha chuckled, making Yeonjun look up at her. She smiled brightly. "He must like you if he hasn't told you what he means to you."

Yeonjun frowned. "W-what do you mean?"

The angel shook her head. "To find out what you mean to him, and what he means to you, you must go find him."

"But where?" Yeonjun exclaimed. "He's run off to who-knows-where and I don't even know if he wants to talk to me anymore."

The angel shook her head yet again. "More than anything, he wants to speak with you. He wants to atone for his actions, for hurting your friend. He wants nothing more than to reclaim what was once his."

"And to start, he needs you."

Yeonjun clenched his fist until his knuckles grew white. "Then, why hasn't he come back to find me? I haven't been going places for long."

Eunha approached the latter, taking his hand and caressing the veins softly. The raven-haired girl sighed. "That, you'll need to find out for yourself," she paused, waiting for Yeonjun's response. None came, so she continued. "Please, take care of him, find him. Before the monster inside finds him first."

Slowly, everything around Yeonjun began to blur. Eunha let go of his hand as she backed away. His thoughts were interrupted by the changing scenery around him. Time was running out; he needed Eunha's help.

Yeonjun desperately reached out to Eunha, only making her seem farther away than before. "But where do I find him?!"

Eunha pauses in her steps and turns back around. Her voice was now inaudible to Yeonjun, but he manages to make out the words that fall from her lips.

"Where the sun never sets."

Chapter Text

"Dan, wake up."

Yeonjun groaned. He had been at the library for hours, fell asleep on countless books, and still found nothing about a place where the sun never sets. It shouldn't even be possible, Yeonjun thought.

Beomgyu proceeded to shake Yeonjun awake, which was usually a bad idea. But instead of attacking Beomgyu, he did the opposite. The latter shook his head and stretched. "Sorry, I just... I really want to find this place."

The chestnut nodded. "I understand that, but, you've been here overnight. Shouldn't you head home and call it a day for a while?"

Crap, Yeonjun had lost track of time for the nth time in his life. He had been so consumed on trying to find Soobin that he forgot that he needed to take care of himself. He hated how time moved so fast, how merciless it was. Time could pass and Yeonjun would only notice how his life fell apart little by little.

Yeonjun shut the book with a loud thud! as he stacked them neatly. Beomgyu stood at his side and quickly took each pile. Yeonjun made a mental note to thank the younger later for taking care of him.

"If there's a place where the sun never sets, I'd say it's on the other side of this world."

"Huh?" Yeonjun asked.

Beomgyu sighed. "There's always two sides to every world; its light and its darkness. We have to find a specific place where the sun always sets, then, we have to find its opposite."

"But... where exactly is that?"

The chestnut opened his mouth, then shut it again. "I... I don't know," Beomgyu lamented. "But if I did, I don't think you'd like it."

Just as Yeonjun opened his mouth, the doors flew open. Morning sunlight poured from the doors, making Yeonjun squint harshly from the foreign amounts of light he was absorbing this early. He could barely make out Taehyun's figure from the sea of light.

Beomgyu stepped forward in a panic. "Tae, what's wrong?"

Taehyun inhaled desperately, trying to articulate his words clearly for the duo to hear. "Kai... he's... infirmary..." Taehyun barely gets his message across with all the panting. Fortunately, Beomgyu and Yeonjun understood and together, they began running towards headquarters.

Time seemed to stand still as Yeonjun bolted into Kai's space in the infirmary. It was happening again. Another friend of his was in an infirmary bed, looking as if the light had been taken away from them. Yeonjun flinched violently as he watched Kai's eyes open at an agonizing rate. The pressure from his shoulders began to lift slightly as Kai's lips formed a smile.

"H-hey... Dan, Gyu. I'm sorry-"

"For what? Hyuka, what happened to you? Did someone attack you while you were out?"

The latter chuckled. "Somewhat, but if he hadn't come in to save me, I wouldn't have made it back in one piece."

Beomgyu and Yeonjun's ears perked up as Kai mentioned another person. "Kai, who's 'he?'" Beomgyu questioned.

Yeonjun expected Kai to frown at them, clown them for not knowing what he was talking about. Instead, a frown of sorrow was sketched onto his face. His smiled hung upside down, his eyelids shut slightly, and he bit his lip. "Please, don't be mad at me-"

"Kai, please. Tell us," Yeonjun interrupted. 

Kai inhaled deeply. "He wanted me to give this to you," Kai paused as he struggled to grab a piece of paper, folded neatly, from his pocket. Quickly, Yeonjun came to his side and took the paper from his hands. Kai covered his face with his hands, concealing the tears that threatened to overflow. "I couldn't save him."

Yeonjun looked at the younger with pity. At his age, he shouldn't be feeling all this guilt, but Yeonjun knew where he was coming from. But Yeonjun still had many questions running through his mind. Who was Kai talking about?

The fox prayed it wasn't Soobin. He still had to find him. Soobin couldn't have just gone and disappeared when Yeonjun needed to find him most.

With a deep breath in, Yeonjun backed away from the scene as Beomgyu and Taehyun took his place to comfort the wielder. Yeonjun unfolded the piece of paper as his eyes widened at the words written and addressed to him.

 

Dear Yeonjun Daniel,

It's Soobin, and I'm sorry you've had to receive this. You deserve an explanation face-to-face more than a letter delivered not by me. But, me being the coward I am, couldn't bring myself to go up to you and tell you everything.

I'm a monster, I'm cursed, cursed to always hurt those who I love. I want to be your friend again, believe me, I do. But this curse holds me back, and I can never have happiness.

I'm cursed to turn into a monster, a Heartless monster, and attack those who I love. That day I hurt Taehyun? I had only just begun to take my form. But when you walked in, I didn't want to hurt you, too. So, I ran before I could transform and never forgive myself.

There's a reason why I've only travelled by myself and with Tokki.

It's been hard to stay away from you, right from the very first day I met you at the Dwarf Woodlands. When your friends asked me to join their organization, I couldn't bring myself to say no. Because I wanted to see you again.

But now, our time's up. My time's up. He's come for me again, and I can't run away anymore.

Farewell, Daniel. May your heart be your guiding key.

Regards,
Soobin

 

Yeonjun bit his lip until the taste of metal began to bubble from the wound. His eyes burned with intense heat as tears began to brim. This letter meant Soobin had walked out of Yeonjun's life. But that didn't mean he had disappeared from the face of the world, right?

Instantly, Yeonjun shook his tears away. "Kai, what happened?"

Kai looked at the older with a 'you'll regret it' look, but Yeonjun gave him the stare. Kai sighed, hiccuping from his tears. "An old man, he attacked me... he cornered me and, I thought I was done for,"

"Then Soobin just appeared out of a dark portal,"

"A dark corridor," Yeonjun muttered under his breath.

"And he... he told me to get away. S-so I did... and when I looked back, he was lying on the ground, and his bunny... they weren't moving. Not even an inch,"

"I... I couldn't save him," Kai broke into another wave of sobs. Beomgyu came to his side quickly and hugged the boy tight.

Yeonjun's arm dropped at the words. His grip on the letter loosened, threatening to fall onto the floor where its words would be exposed. But Yeonjun didn't care anymore.

"He's gone, he's gone, he's gone," Kai chanted like a mantra. The words haunted Yeonjun's mind.

He's gone.

Chapter Text

Yeonjun was tired.

Tired of waiting, tired of thinking, tired of hoping. But maybe he'd always have to wait. Maybe he was never going to get his answer the first time around. Especially now that he had lost Soobin, the only person who had an answer to all the commotion happening in these very moments.

Days had flown by yet again, or, days continued to pass without Yeonjun knowing. How long had it been since he had seen Soobin? A week? Two? Or has it been a month now?

He couldn't remember how he looked anymore, how his voice sounded, let alone his fighting style. All the times he spent with Soobin, he had taken for granted. He didn't realize how easy it was to lose someone so quickly with just a snap of a finger.

Now Yeonjun understood.

Yeonjun understood why Eunha meant so much to Soobin. She had cared for him, cherished him, and he, in turn, held on to those moments of affection and love. But then he lost her, just as Yeonjun lost Soobin now.

When Yeonjun opened his eyes, he swore he hadn't fallen asleep on Destiny Islands. He had surely fallen asleep under the cover of darkness on the rooftop of his abode. Perhaps it was just a dream, but the crashing of waves sounded all too real to be a dream.

Off in the distance, he managed to draw out her shadow amidst the light. Arms behind her back with hands folded precisely, skirts flowing delicately against the wind currents, and hair nestling neatly on her shoulders. 

Yeonjun tip-toed over to her, trying not to make a noise. Despite a twig snapping under his feet, she still didn't react. When Yeonjun reached her side, he let out a long sigh. "Eunha, I'm sorry."

No reply.

"I've failed. I-I've failed to go to that place and find him, I've failed to save him like you asked."

Yeonjun dipped his head. He had admitted it, that he failed. And nothing hurts more than recognizing your failures. But Eunha placed her hand on Yeonjun's shoulder and smiled.

"You have not failed, you have done nothing wrong at all. I expected Soobin to write a letter and disappear, he always does. Once he gives a letter, he never comes back. But let me tell you, he will come back for you."

Yeonjun's eyes lit up. "H-He's... Soobin... Soobin's not dead?"

Eunha laughed. "Oh, no, never," Yeonjun sighed as Eunha calmed. "But, he is not physically in the worlds you travel as we speak."

"So where is he?"

The angel gave him a smile, turning away into another door which led underground. Yeonjun expected his dream to end with him asking for where Soobin was, just like last time.

And it did. "Where light and dark touch."

+ × +

Yeonjun is greeted by the black blanket above him, void of stars. In the corner of his eye, he catches the fiery rise of the sun, indicating morning. He had fallen and slept on a rooftop. Not a good look for the long journey he had set himself.

The fox was indeed cold. His skin ached for warmth, his shoulder shot a bullet of pain from the soreness of the hard roof tiles. He'd be thankful for the sun when it shone and offered their warmth.

"You're finally up," Beomgyu's voice yelled out. Yeonjun turned around to find his friend, chestnut hair poking out of the trapdoor. "I was getting tired of coming up and down."

"Taehyun's made breakfast after we found you here. Kai wanted to come along but he's still with Jimin as you can imagine."

Yeonjun scrambled to his feet as he sighed. "Still a bit traumatized?"

Beomgyu nodded. "Yeah-Hey! Why you in such a hurry? It's not like Taehyun's assigned you somewhere ye-"

Yeonjun brushed off Beomgyu's retort and climbed down from the roof. Quickly, he took a bowl of cereal and ate as fast as he could. The duo yelled at Yeonjun, saying he would choke on his food if he kept it up.

When Yeonjun finished, he took his bowl and utensil, dumping it and rinsing it quickly. He fished out a bag from his cupboard and filled it to the brim with things he suspected he would need. A few changes of clothes (not that he felt he would need it), a few snacks, and a few books that he borrowed previously.

"Dan, where you going? I haven't even said where I need you today but you look like you're off to on a mission," Taehyun exclaimed.

Yeonjun rolled his eyes. "I've gotta go. I know where Soobin is, I need to talk to him."

Beomgyu spat out what very little water he had in his mouth out of shock. "I call nonsense. Kai said Soobin's dead. Dead."

"Then what about that talk we had at the end of summer about how no one really dies?"

The chestnut opened his mouth, only to close it again in defeat. Yeonjun smirked. Beomgyu and Taehyun watched with eyes wide as Yeonjun zipped up the last of his supplies and walked out of the room. Yeonjun had no idea where Soobin could be except a place where 'light and dark touch.'

He didn't know where to go, but it was better than not going at all.

Chapter Text

Never in a million years did Yeonjun think about possibly going into the Realm of Darkness.

It seemed absurd that he'd have to. The Realm of Darkness was only for hearts and worlds that had darkness in them. But perhaps that's why he was going in. Because Soobin had darkness in his heart.

And he had to save him.

But getting there? Pfft. That was going to be beyond impossible. He'd have to go through the door of Kingdom Hearts, and he knew for sure he was going to be killed if he tried opening the door. Perhaps he could go through a Corridor of Darkness. Easy, right? Not when you have little to no darkness in your heart.

But maybe, Yeonjun didn't need to go into the Realm of Darkness. Maybe he'd just have to find Eunha's spirit. But then again, where would Eunha have been laid? Destiny Islands?

The possibilities were endless. Yeonjun didn't know where to go. Yeonjun closed his eyes, hoping for an answer.

He didn't think that his answer would go like this.

When he opened his eyes again, he is greeted instead by a beach. Slightly different from the beach on Destiny Islands. The sky wasn't blue; black clouds reigned over the sky. The palm trees were replaced by stone structures, towering over the water. The darkness of the sky made the beach seem black in colour. The sand, the rocks, the water. All black.

In the midst of it all, a figure sat on a rock closest to the water. He wore a black hood, one that Yeonjun didn't see often. Instinctively, Yeonjun walked closer. He could barely catch the figure's features, but he did catch his lips.

The apparition ended as he watched the figure mouth the words,

"Maybe our journey meant nothing after all,"

There. He needed to get to that place. He needed to talk to that hooded figure. And by the looks of it, it was indeed a place in the Realm of Darkness. He needed to find someone who could get him over there.

But at what cost?

Those that entered the Realm of Darkness usually never make it out. They fall to darkness. Their hearts are no longer strong. Would that happen to Yeonjun? Has Soobin already fallen to darkness?

But then there were those who did manage to escape the reins the Realm of Darkness had on them. Perhaps, Yeonjun could do just the same. If his heart was strong enough to overcome the darkness, maybe he could teach Soobin just that.

He just had to find him first.

┍━━━━ ∘◦ ⛧ミ ◦∘ ━━━━┑
another side, another story
SPECIAL - ??? POV
┕━━━━∘◦ ミ⛧ ◦∘━━━━┙

Endless. That's what this path seemed like. Endless.

He had felt his presence beyond the border of light and dark. He heard his thoughts, watched through his eyes briefly. He had so many questions for him, yet he could never reach him. The curse wouldn't allow it.

The sound of the waves crashing against the shore rung in his ears. How long had he sat here and listened to the water? Time was unpredictable in the Realm of Darkness. For all he knew, his journey with him could've just been a dream. He could've just fallen asleep to the sound of the waves and woken up, back in the same spot.

He didn't want to believe it.

The path to breaking the curse seemed endless. He could go on different journeys with different people and always end up back here.

He chuckled. "Maybe our journey meant nothing after all,"

He didn't know who he was talking to. Perhaps him? Maybe her? Or perhaps himself? He'd never know. After all, he didn't have an answer for himself.

The Dark Margin. The place where the edges of light and dark touch. The margin between the fallen worlds and the worlds of light. Yet, if you could reach the light from beyond the beach, you'd be stuck for days, months, years even. Time will only tell.

He closed his eyes. He listened with his ears, felt with, not just his hands, but his heart. He could feel, he could hear, he could see through his eyes, his heart. Soon, he'd lose his ability to do so. He could've lost it by now, but he held him close. Maybe not physically, but mentally, in spirit.

He opened his eyes and saw. He stood in front of a building, one that he visited frequently. The lavender walls, the blossoming flower gardens, the flourishing, verdant trees. How he missed the beauty of nature.

"Perhaps Merlin could have an answer. Or Ansem the Wise's students."

'Perhaps they could, perhaps they could find the answer that I hold in order for you to find me.'

"I just wish Soobin would talk to me in person."

'I would if I could. But I can't.'

'So please, if you can hear me, listen carefully,'

'The Dark Margin. The Dark Margin is where you find me.'

+ × +

"So please, if you can hear me, listen carefully."

"The Dark Margin. The Dark Margin is where you find me."

~I heard you, so please, wait for me.~

Chapter Text

"Tokki! Where did you go? You know we have to head home now," a voice exclaimed.

Yeonjun's eyes watched the thick undergrowth as a boy emerged. He looked about Yeonjun's age, maybe older. He had chestnut brown hair and dark eyes that reflected no light. It sent shivers down Yeonjun's spine.

The boy took no notice of Yeonjun and hugged the bunny Yeonjun suspected was Tokki. Yeonjun's keyblade disappeared as he approached the boy. "H-hey, that's yours?"

The boy looked up at Yeonjun. "Y-yeah. Sorry if she disrupted anything, I should've kept an eye on her."

Yeonjun smiled. "It's okay, we were just about to head home," he scratched the back of his neck. "What's your name? If I can ask."

The boy shifted with uneasiness at the question. His eyes rapidly scanned the area, trying to avoid Yeonjun's eyes. The grip on his Spirit tightened.

"If you don't want to say it, you don't have to. I'll just take my leave-"

"Soobin."

Yeonjun smiled. "Nice to meet you, Soobin."

+ × +

Just beyond the garden stood a tall boy, whom Yeonjun recognized. Yeonjun quickly sifted through his memories, winding back to a few days ago when he first came back from summer vacation. A smile had been drawn onto his face. "Soobin! It's you!"

Soobin turned around, eyes wide and mouth hanging open. At his feet, Tokki sat, the gold star on its head shining like the sun. "Daniel? You remember me?"

Yeonjun smiled as he approached the boy. "Well, yeah," he paused, chuckling at the awkward response. "What brings you to Daybreak Town?"

+ × +

"You know, your keyblade reminds me of something..."

"Oh," Soobin replied. "Of what?"

Yeonjun shrugged.  "The thorns. Reminded me of a briar bush. The vines, the thorns. Yet, the rose adds colour, adds some beauty to it. It's so dangerous, but you know,"

"It's so beautiful."

Yeonjun's eyes peel away from the sun and onto Soobin. The corners of his mouth creep up to his ears. "No one's ever seen my keyblade that way, aside from you and one other person."

He pauses. "She taught me first, gave me Tokki, and always told me stories, always told me otherwise."

Yeonjun smiled. "She must've loved you a lot."

+ × +

"Yeonjun, wake up. "

That voice... It seemed familiar. Eunha? But she only appeared in Yeonjun's dreams. Beomgyu? He may have said the same words in the past but Yeonjun had left him in Daybreak Town with Taehyun. Soobin? But last time he checked, he was at the 'Dark Margin.'

Where was he again?

"Yeonjun, wake up. You're having nightmares again."

Again? But who knew of his nightmares? Only his Chirithy knew, and perhaps maybe Soobin, but the latter wouldn't have been here. So, he decided on the former instead.

"Chi... Chirithy...?"

"This isn't Chirithy, but it was looking for you earlier since you haven't called it in a while."

Now he remembered!

"Jung... Jungkook?"

"Open your eyes, and yes, it's me. Now get up, you've been out for half a day."

Sunlight flooded his vision as Yeonjun whimpered. The stinging pain was like an elbow to the face. Eventually, Yeonjun blinked away the pain. He was greeted by none other than Jungkook. He expected the older to speak more leniently with him, but the tension radiating off him carried bad vibes.

"What were you dreaming about? You were mumbling, and I think there was a scream earlier."

A scream? Yeonjun couldn't remember a memory where he wasn't placed in some horror-like scene. In fact, Yeonjun's never been put in a life-threatening and terrifying situation before. Unless you count falling into a pit of Heartless as life-threatening and terrifying.

Yeonjun frowned. "A scream? But I don't remember a dream with me screaming."

Jungkook smiled his signature bunny smile. "That's what they say about dreams, you don't remember a good chunk of 'em."

The fox sighed. "You sure I wasn't calling out anybody's name?"

"You did, but why's that relevant?"

"Which name?"

Silence.

Jungkook inhaled deeply. "Soobin. The boy you hung out with a lot about a month ago."

He knew it. It had to be Soobin. He wouldn't just randomly call out Eunha's name, or even Taehyun's or anyone's. He had been looking for Soobin all this time, why wouldn't he call out his name in a panic? Surely he just had a panic attack?

"Yah, Yeonjun! Are you there?"

Yeonjun flinched. Jungkook wasn't the type to raise his voice, but perhaps Yeonjun had spaced out far too long this time.

He was running out of time.

"Kook, do you know someone who can use the Corridor of Darkness?"

Jungkook frowned, looking taken aback. "If you're looking for a way into the Realm of Darkness, the wizard, Master Yen Sid, can get you over there somehow-"

Yeonjun scrambled out of the bed at Yen Sid's name. Finally! Someone who could get him onto the other side! Yeonjun no longer cared about the risks of getting trapped. Too much time had been wasted thinking about what could go wrong. He needed to find Soobin now. He couldn't live with only the little memories he had.

"Daniel, Yeonjun, what is going on?!"

"Jungkook, I need to get to the Dark Margin. I need to find Soobin. I need to save him before he goes off on a rampage of some sort I'm unaware of." It was a bad time to let out all his secrets, but the thoughts piling up were no longer able to be contained. "I can't have you asking questions at this point in time so please, just please, get me to Master Yen Sid."

Silence reigned yet again. It was an uncomfortable kind of silence. Yeonjun wanted to take back his words, make Jungkook forget that he ever requested anything because now the atmosphere was incredibly awkward.

Instead of a scolding that Yeonjun expected, Jungkook chuckled, leaving Yeonjun confused.

"You need to get to the other side? Gosh, if that's all you came for, you don't have to panic about it," Jungkook paused. He stood from his seat, placing his hand on Yeonjun's shoulder. "Yen Sid doesn't have to know. I can get Taehyung to get you over."

Yeonjun blinked in disbelief. "Y-you'd do that? You'd ask Taehyung if he can get me over?"

Jungkook smiled. "You're not the only one who fights for love, you know."

 

Chapter Text

"You're not the only one who fights for love, you know."

That sentence had so many meanings yet so many of them were hidden from Yeonjun. He didn't love Soobin in the romantic sense as Jungkook did for Taehyung. Soobin didn't give him butterflies the way Jungkook would grin from ear-to-ear when he saw Taehyung. He didn't love Soobin in that sense.

Maybe just in the affectionate love for a friend. Yeah, maybe that was it. But what did Soobin think of him?

Despite his thoughts, the duo continued forward. Radiant Garden was a large world, comprising of numerous flower gardens, sparkling staircases, and viridescent trees. The buildings all consisted of the same lavender-and-pink shade. There was a reason it was called Radiant Garden.

Jungkook stopped in front of one building which Yeonjun assumed was his and Taehyung's home. He slipped the key into the keyhole, hearing the satisfying click! of the door opening. Yeonjun followed Jungkook inside.

It was lighter than Yeonjun expected. The walls were a little off white, painted a soft cream colour. The furniture was in different shades of brown, ranging from brown-white to chocolate. The curtains were a fresh chartreuse colour.

Yeonjun smiled. "This isn't the first time I've been here, but you sure took the renovations to a whole new level."

"Taehyung picked a lot of the colours," Jungkook smiled whilst saying his name.

"Did someone say my name~?"

Taehyung emerged from the top of the staircase, dressed in a robe as if he had just gotten out of bed. Jungkook flung his arms around the said boy, planting kisses over his face. The scene itself made Yeonjun want to puke, but he didn't show it.

After Jungkook and Taehyung exchanged a few words, the trio sat down on the couches. Jungkook offered the two drinks, only to be rejected. Yeonjun would have accepted only if he wasn't in a rush.

"So, you want to get to the other side?"

Yeonjun nodded. "Look, I know it seems absurd, but hear me out."

Taehyung leaned forward from the couch. "I'm listening."

Yeonjun sighed. He started from the beginning when he found Soobin's bunny in the woods. Told the story of his journey with the boy from start to finish. From the fast-paced days doing missions to the sunsets on the hills eating ice cream all the way to star-gazing on the rooftop. Not once did he leave a single detail unexplained.

And by the end of it, Taehyung had no words for Yeonjun's story. Yeonjun held his breath. This was it. This was the moment where he was going to be turned down. This was the moment where he'd have to give up.

Yet, that moment never came.

Taehyung smiled, a dark swirl behind him beginning to accumulate. Inside, Yeonjun's heart seemed to fly right out of his chest. Outside, he remained composed, smiling slightly in order to show he was satisfied.

Taehyung warned him one last time before he stepped into the darkness.

"Don't let them take your heart."

+ × +

He didn't expect the Realm of Darkness to be this dark.

Sure, it was called the Realm of Darkness for a reason, but the amount of stone, the amount of darkness that lingered in the air sent shivers down Yeonjun's spine. Every now and then, he would flinch harshly from the non-existent cold. He may have not felt cold physically, but he did feel cold in his heart.

Not once did he want to think about possibly turning back. He didn't have Taehyung anymore, he didn't have Chirithy, he didn't have Taehyun or Beomgyu or Kai. He had no one but himself, his conscience, and his heart.

Even if he did think of turning back, he knew he had to push those thoughts away. He had gotten this far in such little time, yet, the amount of time it took to figure out 'where the sun never sets' was long.

Time is unpredictable in the Realm of Darkness. Yeonjun could walk through the zones for minutes and years would've passed overhead. But he didn't want to think of the possibilities of being transported to the future at the end of the journey.

He could feel his presence at the end of the tunnel. It wasn't a physical tunnel he could easily see straight through, but he could feel where the Dark Margin could possibly be. He could feel Soobin's Heartless-like darkness he felt in those first few moments with him.

But yet, why did Soobin seem so far away?

Endless. That's what this path seemed like. Endless.

How long had he walked through the Realm of Darkness? It felt like only minutes had passed physically yet his mind was playing tricks already. Had a month already passed or more? Was Yeonjun getting older with every second he wastes trying to navigate through the stone maze?

Every footstep seemed heavier, rung out loudly than the rest. Sound travelled as far as the eye could see, attracting Heartless from all directions at times. Little by little, Yeonjun was losing the strength to stand, walk, or even look.

His mind was haunted by the memories that plagued him earlier before. The memories of Soobin that he only had, the recorded laughs he could barely hear, the images he once enjoyed now blurred and hazy. His memories were driving him mad.

Yet, he didn't want to stop here and fall to what might be his last moments. His eyesight was beginning to dim and blend in colours, his knees seemed as though they could give out any moment, and most of all,

His heart was losing hope.

"Don't let them take your heart."

"You're not the only one who fights for love, you know."

Even as he slowly remembered why he was walking through this barren desert, he couldn't keep telling himself lies. Lies of how he'll make it back to the other side with Soobin, lies of how he was strong enough to make it through the rough storm, lies of how the two of them would be fine afterwards.

Because sometimes, lies are better than the truth.

Inevitably, Yeonjun's knees buckled beneath him, sending him plummeting to the ground. His Keyblade that he once held fell with a stinging clang! on the stone. He could no longer see the light at the end of the tunnel.

"Wow, you're so strong!"

"You could get in a boat, go through a storm, and still come out the other end."

"I've never seen you at your weakest, but just know, even the brightest flames can be put out."

Even hearts with Light can fall into darkness.

And that's when Yeonjun saw black.

 

 

 

"You've saved me from my thoughts countless times, you've given me wings, you've woken me up from my suffocating dreams,"

"So now, let me save you."

Chapter Text

The sound of the waves crashing against the near-shore reverberated in Yeonjun's ears.

Wait, waves?

Yeonjun's eyes shot open. There was no denying it; he was on a beach. The Dark Margin, to be exact. The beach looked just as he had seen it in the apparition. Dark, rocky statures towered over the water, the clouds hung heavily, and the sun (or moon, he'd never know) shone with a faint warmth.

He hauled himself up, occasionally pausing to feel the gritty sand beneath his touch. Yeonjun didn't care about the sand possibly getting into his pockets, or about how he had gotten here. He was here. That's what mattered.

Once he stood, he gaped towards the horizon. The more he stared, the more he could hear Taehyun, Beomgyu, Kai and the others. The giggles, the silences in the midst of discussions, all of it. He could faintly hear his closest friends.

Instinctively, he reached out to them, only to meet with an empty hand. Yeonjun laughed at himself. "I'm doing it again."

He continued to listen, straining his ears to hear over the sound of the crashing waves. How much time had passed since he had last seen them? Then again, how much longer had Soobin been waiting?

"Maybe it wouldn't matter to them, if I disappear and never come back-" Beomgyu faintly spoke, chuckling beneath his breath- "What would Yeonjun do?"

"If you keep staring and listening, you'll regret ever coming here," a low voice spoke.

Yeonjun jumped. He flinched violently as a cool mist of air struck his nape. He spun around, greeted by a tall man, concealed in a black coat that Yeonjun, luckily, never saw often.

"W-who're you?"

The black-coated figure shrugged. "Someone, or perhaps, nobody. Depends on the situation."

Yeonjun tilted his head. "What do you mean? Don't you have a name?"

The hooded figure didn't answer, instead, turning their head to the waterfront. Yeonjun caught a glimpse of the sea, trying to figure out what they were looking at. He sighed, realising he saw only the water for miles and miles.

Surely, he knew who this hooded figure was. Even with his low voice, he felt the Heartless-like darkness he first sensed on his first encounter with Soobin. Surely, this was Soobin?

The hooded figure dipped its head. "I have a name, but it's not of relevance to you."

Yeonjun's shoulders dropped out of annoyance. "Oh, come on. How 'bout you tell me why you're here, then?"

He shook his head, walking past Yeonjun. He brushed against his shoulder roughly, causing Yeonjun to wobble backward. Rude, but he didn't have time to straighten out this stranger's actions.

The figure paused at the water's edge. "Tell me, why are you here?"

"To find a friend."

"And you think he's here?"

The words stung. All this time, he believed this is where Soobin was because a voice (whom he presumed was Soobin) told him he was here. He didn't want to end up in the middle of nowhere, Heartless at every corner, and have nothing but empty memories.

Yeonjun shook the thoughts out of his head. He clenched his fist tight. "What makes you think I'm wrong?"

No reply.

"I'm not here because of some stupid game I played with him. I'm here because I need to save him, I need to talk to him, and I need to straighten things out before I lose him."

An anxious silence followed. Yeonjun stirred uneasily, awaiting a response.

"You say you need, but is it what you want?"

"I-"

"There's a difference between you need to and you want to. So do you need to save him? Or do you just want to?"

This has got to be a trick question, Yeonjun inhaled furiously. He clamped his fist tighter until his nails cut deep into his skin. He bit back a retort, knowing that it would make the situation graver than it already was.

"What if it's both?"

The black-coated figure visibly stiffened. Yeonjun saw the way its shoulders ceased to rise and fall according to breathing. Yeonjun grinned. The hooded figure turned away from the sea, facing Yeonjun. He removed the hood, placing his hands to the rim then to top.

Yeonjun did not expect what it concealed under the hood.

Tears began to flood his eyes. He took a step back. "S-Soobin?"

The chestnut-haired nodded. "Long time no see, Yeonjun."

Yeonjun. Soobin had never called Yeonjun by his given name. He can't even recall having told him. In fact, he had never told Soobin. Perhaps he picked it up from Taehyun.

"Oh my god, you're actually here."

Soobin chuckled. "Is Kai okay? Last time I checked he was about to get wiped out by my old man."

Yeonjun nodded. "Kai should be fine. I... kinda left before he fully recovered," he chuckled nervously, scratching the back of his neck.

He stared into Soobin's dark eyes. They no longer seemed as if they saw darkness. Instead, Yeonjun could see the faint glimmer in his irises. He finally had stars in his eyes.

But Yeonjun didn't want to wait for answers anymore. "Soobin, please, tell me. Your curse, how do we break it?"

Soobin's smile disappeared. Yeonjun expected the latter to do so, but he still got a mini heart attack seeing the way his smile dropped and his dimples faded.

Soobin took a deep breath in. "There's... no way to break it."

Silence.

"That's rubbish. Can't we?"

Soobin shook his head, sighing heavily. Yeonjun's shoulders dropped. The bunny turned back to the ocean, setting himself down on the sand. Yeonjun hesitated. He had no reason not to sit down next to him. But with all the tension in the air, it was hard to avoid it.

The fox shook his head, shaking away the thoughts. He plopped down next to Soobin, resting his head on the younger boy's shoulder.

They exchanged no words as the two watched the sea. Yeonjun could faintly hear his friends yet again. He didn't want to think about how to get back just yet. Soobin was here with him; that's all that mattered.

"You know, I learnt something," Soobin began.

"From where?"

"This curse-" Soobin paused, inhaling the salty sea air- "taught me I'm in control of myself."

"All this time, I've believed I could never control my emotions, my curse. But ever since I met you, I began to think, 'this monster isn't me, so why am I making it my second person?'"

Yeonjun smiled. "You're not a monster. There's good in you; I've always seen it."

Soobin smiled back, discreetly revealing his dimples. "But you know, in the midst of all that, I figured out I loved you."

"You're not the only one who fights for love, you know."

Yeonjun's eyebrows hit the clouds and his jaw drops to the sand beneath them. "When did you figure that out?"

Soobin chuckled, not taking his eyes off the water. "Since my decisions began to revolve around you."

Yeonjun sighed. "You know, this is a terrible time to confess, I don't even-"

The bunny quickly hushes Yeonjun, placing a finger against his lips. Soobin smiled, the crescents in his eyes forming. He wraps his arms around the fox who was still in disbelief in everything that was happening.

"You helped me get rid of the chains that held me down, and I can't thank you enough," Soobin explained, whispering into Yeonjun's ear. "You may not love me now, and that's okay. I just need to know that you'll always be with me."

Just when summer vacation was ending, Yeonjun vowed he would help that dim star he saw in the far distance. At first, it all seemed like ambition, a meaningless dream that he could only hope for. But now, there was a dim star in his arms, waiting for his help. He couldn't turn him down after what he vowed that day.

And so, Yeonjun smiled at the bunny, brushing away the hair covering his forehead and pecking it gently.

"Always."

Chapter Text

There's a star in his eyes when Yeonjun is brought out to the town square.

It had been well over a year since he met a fox in the midst of a mysterious wood at the beginning of autumn. All those wishes he used to have, he doesn't anymore. He has Yeonjun, and for Soobin, that's adequate to keep a smile on his face.

It had been well over sixteen years since the curse that confined him to the darkness had been lifted. It hadn't vanished altogether; it was still there, though not as prominent as before. As long as his rose bathed in full moonlight he would he last for a season.

As for Yeonjun, matters went both uphill and downhill. He returned to a peaceful and serene Daybreak Town. He came back to his home, a place where darkness didn’t weigh his shoulders down to exhaustion.

Yet, he also returned to a devastated Taehyun, a restless Kai, and a non-existent Beomgyu. Only a moment occurred after he entered the Realm of Darkness, but at that moment, everything burned to ash. Literally.

He devoted countless nights rummaging through books, scripts, and journals to uncover the answers his friends needed for comfort. But, much to his and Taehyun's despair, Beomgyu had burned everything about him before he departed.

Soobin hated when Yeonjun comes home, bags under his eyes and a frown on his face. He hated knowing that he couldn't help because he didn't know them as closely as Yeonjun. After all, he was an alien to them.

He knew they were all going to be okay. A galaxy spoke to him, assuring him their safety. Destiny can play with you in the most troublesome ways; he just had to wait for it to end.

Today, they decorated the town square with sunflowers. The tall, golden blossoms were dispersed, drifting on the water's surface in the fountain. All the flower boxes beneath windows of houses accommodated the sunlight-hungry buds.

"Woah, Soobin, what's this?"

Soobin chuckled, nudging the older's arm. "It's a sunflower friendship event. Gyu found out and wrote a paper about it before he burned it," he revealed, noting the way Yeonjun's eyes would fill with yearning upon hearing his late friend's nickname. "Taehyun thought we should do something fun for once, so he got this set up."

"'s beautiful."

The couple intertwined their hands, approaching the fountain and sitting along the perimeter. Yeonjun dipped his fingers in the sunflower soaked water. He examined and smiled back at his reflection.

Slowly, the image twisted. It replaced his now navy blue hair with a jet-black, scruffy face. His eyes looked impoverished, and his smile was brittle, practically a frown. Yeonjun blinked; the reflection didn't.

The image continued to smile, uttering a few words before Yeonjun could figure out who it was.

"I'm sorry."

Yeonjun blinked once more, only to discover the somebody in the water was no one but himself again.

Soobin shook the fox lightly, gaining his attention. "Dan, what d'you see?"

Yeonjun bit his lip. "I... I dunno."

Soobin sighed, wrapping an arm around the older. They viewed the sky together, naming different designs and beasts they could from the clouds above them.  Yeonjun's heart felt steady and energized, even with the surrounding situation. Soobin's heart was euphoric and had a sense of serenity. It had been a while since the two experienced such tranquillity.

"Junnie, I have a short poem or something for you."

Yeonjun's eyes widened with shock. "Y-you do?"

The bunny nodded, slipping out a piece of folded paper from his pockets. Yeonjun buried his head in the crook of his neck, watching with tender eyes as Soobin unfolded the note.

Soobin inhaled deeply, before beginning:

"Maybe we are not meant to be,
Maybe we're the lucky ones.

Maybe we are born with broken hearts,
Maybe we're better off alone.

Maybe we are friends, if not more,
Maybe we are caverns of treasures untold
Maybe we are cabinets of wonders forevermore
Maybe we are satellites behold
And you who had stars in your eyes taught me that

Maybe we're meant to find the wrong people,
Then find the right ones.

Maybe we were destined
Maybe we're each other's soulmates.

So let's watch the stars and see
where fate brings us tomorrow."