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Fanfiction ► Rebirthing Midnight



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Andillexe

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Sep 2, 2008
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So, here it is. The continuation of my first fanfiction, Twilit Road to Dawn, which you should probably read first (if you haven't already) to get what the hell is going on.

Rating: PG-13
Warnings: Coarse language, humor, sarcasm, random moments, cheesy scenes, etc., same as before.


Prologue


I was running. I wasn’t sure what I was running from, but I was running like hell in the opposite direction. The things behind me were very familiar, but I had no name for them. They were just these dark creatures that apparently had a strong urge to chase me. And there were a lot of the little buggers.

I had no idea where I was, but I didn’t care. All I really cared about was getting away from those things. The door was just ahead; I had to get through it. That door was the only way to get rid of the creatures. I didn’t know how, or why, I just knew. The creatures also knew this.

I was almost to the door when the one in front, the leader of this annoying band, tackled me through the door and into the dark oblivion. I struggled to get it off of me when I realized that it wasn’t there anymore. Something else had taken its place. This entity was darker, fouler.

Come. Join us.

I shuddered at the voice. A voice that was way too familiar for comfort. A voice that I despised. His voice.

Xemnas.

The scene changed completely. It went from a blanketing darkness to a blinding white light. I was in a room filled with thirteen cloaked beings sitting on different levels of chairs. I was lying on a sort of dais in the center of the room. It was too bright, so I closed my eyes.

Xemnas’ voice filled the room. “A new member. She was wandering around in the city below. I believe she could be of quite some use to us.”

The others murmured, and then someone spoke. “And how do you know that?” This voice was familiar, too, and he got my blood boiling every time I thought about him. He was the first person I met in Hollow Bastion. That man could rival my sarcasm and kick my ass. His name was Axel. I wanted to reply to his question, say something clever and sarcastic with a big smirk on my face, but my body wouldn’t move. I slitted my eyes open and looked at everyone.

“She might have a special ability, like you, me, or Larxene.” This person looked younger than the rest, sounded younger, too. He ignored Demyx’s complaints. “Or maybe she could be like you, Roxas.” I looked over to Roxas. His face was emotionless as he looked down at me.

Another scene change. This time I was hanging over a great abyss. My hands were gripping at the top of the cliff, and they were slipping. Above me was the young man from before, Roxas, and Axel. Roxas and the other guy were trying to help me up; Axel was standing behind them with their arms crossed.

“Axel! Get your ass over here and help us!” the guy shouted.

“Why should I?” Axel asked boredly. “It’s not like I got her into this.” Why was he saying that like I just got stuck in a hole or something instead of hanging on for dear life?! Besides, it’s not my fault I fell off a cliff. I think. I… actually have no idea how I got into this situation.

“Axel, Xemnas will be really mad if she falls,” Roxas said. “And it’ll be your fault.”

“Oh, damn!” Axel exclaimed.

“Exactly.”

“Not you,” Axel replied tensely. “We’ve got company.”

“Heartless? Hang on, I’m coming.” Roxas turned to face me, apology in his eyes, and let me go. I fell a few inches. The guy was struggling to keep me up.

“I’m so sorry,” he whispered, loosening his grip. My eyes started to water as I realized what he was about to do. “I love you.” And I fell into the abyss.

I woke up screaming. That was the first night I had that dream.


Chapter 1: Dreams or Nightmares?



I am unwritten; can’t read my mind. I’m undefined.
I’m just beginning. The pen’s in my hand, ending unplanned.
Staring at the blank page before you,
Open up the dirty window;
Let the sun illuminate the words that you could not find.
Reaching for something in the distance;
So close you can almost taste it.
Release your inhibitions.
Feel the rain on your skin.
No one else can feel it for you,
Only you can let it in.
No one else, no one else
Can speak the words on your lips.
Drench yourself in words unspoken,
Live your life with arms wide open.
Today is where your book begins,
The rest is still unwritten.



This is basically where I left off my last thrilling adventure to the outside worlds. I was having fun on the Islands, hanging out with my bestest best buddies, blissfully unaware of the dangers that were to come.

“Crystal? Crystal. Earth to Crystal!” Something very hard hit me in the back of the head.

“Ow! What was that for?” I turned to see who the culprit was so I could return the favor. Sora, Kairi, Riku, and I were hanging out in Riku’s backyard. Kairi had her hand over her face, Sora was laughing, and Riku looked at Sora like he wanted to hit him. Just another day on the islands.

“I asked you if you wanted to go to the island today,” Riku repeated. “Maybe see if you can get a paopu fruit. Sora threw the rock, by the way.” He threw a rock at me???

“Uh, yeah. Sure. Whatever,” I said distantly. I had the dream again the night before, and it made just as much sense as it did the first night I had it. None whatsoever.

“Are you okay?” Riku asked cautiously. “You’ve only been here about a week, but I know you wouldn’t pass up a chance to throw something at Sora. Not that I blame you.” He looked at Sora jokingly.

“Yeah, I’m fine,” I assured him. Then I gave him a peck on the lips. Sora made a noise but I ignored him. “I’ll tell you about it later, okay?”

“Okay. To the island, then?”

“To the island!” Sora jumped in out of nowhere. We all did face-palms.


* * *

Riku and I stared at the sunset from our usual place: the mini island with the paopu tree. After a long day of hanging out with Sora and Kairi, walking around the island, sparring with Riku (and winning some), and trying to get one measly paopu fruit, we were just taking some time to ourselves. Sora and Kairi were doing the same thing in the secret place. My head was on Riku’s shoulder when he asked, “So what’s been bothering you lately?”

“It’s nothing,” I lied. “Just a dream.”

“If it’s bothering you this much, then it’s not nothing,” he said firmly. “What’s the dream about?”

I didn’t want to tell him about it for a lot of reasons. First of all, I didn’t want him worrying about me. Second, since Xemnas was in it, that would bring back some very bitter memories. And third, that guy who told me he loved me (then dropped me to my death into an abyss). That might make things very uncomfortable, especially since he used to be in Organization XIII. I sighed, and brought my head up to look at him.

“In this dream, at first I’m running from these dark creatures…”

“Heartless? Nobodies?”

“No. Something else,” I said, staring at the water. “Anyway, I’m running from them towards a door, but they get me. We fall through the door and into darkness, and I end up in a bright, white room with Organization XIII.” Riku clenched his fist. “Xemnas told everyone about how he found me and that I could be useful. Then Axel asked how he would know that, and some guy just went off about how I could have a special ability like him, Axel, or someone named Larxene. Or that I might be like Roxas.”

“Meaning you might be able to wield a Keyblade?”

“I guess,” I shrugged.

“That it?” he asked, looking at my face. His beautiful turquoise eyes searched my sapphire blue ones softly. I really hoped he wouldn’t see the whole truth in my eyes. I didn’t want him to know about the guy; or, you know, falling to my death because of the guy.

“Yeah, that’s it,” I said. “But I don’t know what’s causing these dreams. I wasn’t having them the first couple of days I’ve been here. What’s triggering them now?” I stared back into Riku’s eyes, trying to see if I could find a little comfort. He turned to stare at the sea.

“I… don’t know,” he finally said. “Did you know that Roxas had dreams about Sora’s memories?”

“Really? No, I didn’t.”

“Yeah. But the trigger for his dreams was Sora’s memories getting restored after Castle Oblivion, only Sora doesn’t remember what happened in Castle Oblivion. And since Roxas was Sora’s Nobody, he got affected by this.”

“That’s great for him, but I’m pretty sure that I’m not a Nobody who’s having dreams about her original self who’s in a pod restoring her memories,” I said sarcastically. But to tell you the truth, I sort of counted that as a possibility. When I still thought Riku was Ansem and Ansem was DiZ, they kept the fact that I was in a pod for about a year a secret from me. Plus they didn’t tell me their real names, or about Riku transforming himself into Ansem to use the power of darkness. Or that I was using the power of darkness through him. Geez, there were a lot of secrets. So why do I love Riku?

“You’re not a Nobody. Ansem the Wise would’ve told me if you were.” He hugged me tightly, then said, “Okay, enough depressing dream talk for today. Let’s go see what Sora and Kairi are up to.” He jumped off the tree and looked at me expectantly.

“Again? Why can’t we just leave them alone?” I asked, reluctantly slipping off the tree. Ever since we got back from the Other Side, Riku and Sora have been playing tricks and spying on each other, dragging Kairi and me along.

“I’m not going to stop unless he stops too.” Riku announced firmly, but I could see the little smile he had.

“You two are such children,” I said to him as we walked to the secret place.


* * *

That night, I slept over at Riku’s house for the first time since those dreams started. It was the usual: hanging out, dinner, then falling asleep on the couch during a movie. I was kinda worried that I might wake up screaming again, but I had a different dream that night.

I was falling into the abyss, like last time, with the guy above me, his hand outstretched.

“Zexion! Come on! You can’t do anything for her now,” Roxas shouted. Zexion looked at me one more time and left. I was still falling, but I had a slight ache in my heart from just thinking about Zexion. I knew what the feeling was, because it’s the way my heart feels when I think about Riku. But… does that mean I love Zexion, too? I shuddered.

I was still falling into the abyss when I suddenly, reflexively, opened up a portal below me. I fell through it… and did a faceplant into the dirt. It probably should’ve knocked me out, but it was still very aware of what was going on around me. I was in the wooded area of Twilight Town, the big wall to my left and the clearing ahead of me. I tried to get up, but my body wouldn’t do what I wanted it to. How far did I fall?

I heard footsteps coming towards me from the clearing ahead. I tried to see who it was, but my body still wouldn’t oblige. The footsteps stopped right in front of me, and I could hear a lighter set of feet behind the first; they must’ve been covered by the first set.

“A member from Organization XIII? What’s she doing here?” This voice… I knew this voice… DiZ, er, Ansem the Wise!

“She might be a newer member,” said a small, female voice that sounded vaguely familiar. “I never saw her when I was with them. Then again, I only saw a few members there.”

“Do you think you can search her memories?” DiZ asked while picking me up. We headed towards the clearing, and I knew we were heading towards the abandoned mansion so he could put me in a pod.

“If she’s a Nobody or a person, no problem,” the girl replied hesitantly.

“‘If’?”

“I heard some of the Organization members talk about her. They were saying things like she may not be a Nobody, but she’s not whole, either.” What? I’m whole! I know I’m whole! If I’m not a Nobody, and not a Heartless, how can I not be whole?

“Did they explain that?”

“No. They had to take care of something else.”

“Hmm.” Then the scene turned dark. I was waking up in a hotel room. Riku (though I didn’t know it was him then) was sitting in the corner.

I woke up panting.

“Good morning, Sunshine.”

“Wha?” I asked groggily. For a second I had no clue where I was (I had fallen on the floor). Then I focused on Riku’s face above me, and I relaxed a little. Well, my breathing slowed down. A bit. “Oh.”

“Did you have the dream last night?” he asked.

“Uh… not exactly.” I remembered the part about Zexion and my heart hurt.

“And what does that mean?” He sat up and looked down at me with his “you know I know that you’re hiding something” face. It was sort of like a small smile hidden behind a “don’t mess with me” mask. It was one of the many things I loved about him. When I was still traveling with Riku in the form of Ansem, Ansem the Wise told me that Riku wouldn’t really smile, except sarcastic ones. He was always so quiet, Ansem said to me. It was one of the very few conversations I had with him alone.

“Why is Ansem so serious,” I asked him when Riku left on one of his missions, leaving Ansem to babysit. Why was he babysitting me? It was after I fought Sora and ran off to Halloween Town. And Xemnas possessed me right after that… And I blacked out for a few days. Riku and Ansem probably didn’t think I was “stable” enough to be on my own just yet.

“Because he has to think about a lot.” Ansem was on his computers, checking something or other, typing a few words every so often. I was bored out of my mind.

“What does he have to think about that would make him so closed?”

“Nothing I can tell you.”

“Why not?” I whined. Ansem sighed.

“It’s not my place to tell. Ansem will tell you himself if he wants you to know. Now, please stop asking so many questions.”

“But I’m bored and curious,” I huffed. It wasn’t as much fun being babysat as it was to be out somewhere kicking Nobody and Heartless butt. Ansem replied with a bigger sigh.

“Why do you keep doing that?” Riku asked me light-heartedly.

“Keep doing what?”

“Zoning.”

“’Cuz I have a lot to think about,” I defended. “What’d you ask?”

“Do you like waffles?”

“Yeah.”


* * *

“So, would you rather share a paopu fruit with Sora or get eaten by sharks,” Kairi asked me. We were hanging out in her room after dinner playing “would you rather?”.

“Sharks, hands down,” I laughed. “Would you rather… lose your soul or sell Sora?”

“Huh… That’s tough. How much for Sora?”

“Couple million,” I said.

“Probably… my soul,” she decided.

“Really?” I was shocked. “Sora over your own soul and munny?”

“What about you? Would you rather lose your soul or sell Riku?”

“Point taken,” I admitted. “Speaking of them, where’ve they been for the past couple days?” Seriously, we hadn’t seen them for a while after I spent the night at Riku’s. They wouldn’t be dumb enough to build another raft (without me and Kairi, that is).

“I don’t know,” Kairi said, pondering. “They might just be off playing tricks on each other.” But I could tell that wasn’t it. Kairi sucked at lying, but I wasn’t going to call her bluff. If they wanted to keep some more secrets from me, fine. They can face the hell I’ll give them later.

“As long as they don’t go too over the top,” I laughed. She laughed too, but both our laughs rang hollow. “It’s not too late to go to the island, is it?”

“No. Why?”

“Just want to make sure that they’re okay,” I said as I stood. If I my theory was correct, then Kairi should try to stop me and make up some lame excuse as to why. I wasn’t going to give her the chance. “Yes, I really do want to go to the island to make sure that they’re okay, and that’s that.” She sat silently, looking at the floor, then finally got up and walked with me to the dock.

When we got there, Kairi stopped before getting in the boat. “Sora told me about your dreams.”

“What?” I asked, taken off guard.

“I just know that you’re having dreams that are bothering you. Sora told me about them.”

“And Riku told Sora, right?” I sighed. “Whatever. Let’s just go to the island.”

“You’re not mad?”

“You bet I’m mad. But can’t take it back now.” Plus, if I wanted to beat the crap out of them, I could do it whenever I wanted.

“Oh. Okay,” said cautiously. She didn’t believe me one hundred percent, and she was right not to. We both need to work on our lying skills.

“So, where would they be?” I asked when we got to the island.

“Probably the secret place. Or on the other side of the island.”

“I’ll check the other side of the island. You get the secret place and anywhere else you can think of.” I didn’t wait for an answer, or protest. Walking to the other side of the island, I began to wonder exactly why the boys would disappear for days. Obviously, it was a secret about my dreams that all three of them knew about. Kairi also hung out with me a lot more over the past few days. She was supposed to keep me busy while the boys did… something that they don’t think I should know about but is going to anyway. Yeah.

The other side of the island was clear, so Kairi was probably talking to the guys right now and telling them to hide whatever they’re working on. Oh well, a little peace and quiet for a few minutes will do me some good.

I sat down on the beach and lay down on my back, staring at the sky. The sky was beautiful, full of sunset colors, clouds reflecting the colors, and meteors. The meteors were odd, but I didn’t think that they were something to worry about, so I just watched as hundreds upon hundreds of them flew across the sky…

And into the earth. A few of the meteors that I thought were just very slow were actually heading straight towards me. There was a little shelter thing right behind me, so I hid in there. Dozens of the things pelted the sand in front of me. Strangely, none of them were on fire (although, you’d think that after entering orbit and raining down on poor, unsuspecting bystanders, they’d at least smolder a little). The shower lasted only a minute or so, and when it was over, tons of little blocks littered that half of the island. That was another weird thing: they were blocks. When you think meteor, you usually think “round rock thing hurtling through space.” I went to examine these strange things, and found that they were also flexible and attached to other blocks easily, without provocation. Then I almost banged my head against something for being so stupid. These blocks were gummi blocks.

Wait. Why would gummi blocks be raining from the sky? Unless…

“Hello, Crystal.”

* * *

As Kairi watched Crystal go, she felt relieved that she didn’t have to convince Crystal to go to the other side of the island. As soon as Crystal was out of sight, Kairi headed for the tree house. Riku and Sora were in there, having some sort of argument (which was getting real ugly real fast).

“She knows that we know,” Kairi said over Riku and Sora. “She also knows that we’re keeping a secret from her.”

Riku and Sora immediately stopped arguing and looked at Kairi.

“Is she mad?” Sora asked.

“I don’t think she’s going to hurt you, if that’s what you mean.”

“Oh. That’s good.” Sora smiled and leaned back on his hands.

“Should we just tell her?” Kairi asked Riku.

Riku was silent. He got up and walked over to the doorway. “Where is she right now?” He didn’t sound angry, but he didn’t sound like Riku. It was scary.
“She’s on the other side of the island. What were you two arguing about just now?” Kairi asked, a little concerned. Sora and Riku looked at each other for a second, then Riku walked out of the tree house.

“About whether or not to tell Crystal,” Sora answered.

“Oh. Which side was Riku on?”

“He doesn’t want to tell her,” Sora said, then he too walked out of the tree house.

Kairi followed them, feeling sort of guilty for letting their secret, and the fact that she and Sora knew, slip. She was with Sora, though. She thought that Crystal had a right to know what they were planning. Riku could be angry all he wanted, but he was just going to have to suck it up because even if Sora and Riku decided not to tell her, Kairi would. Kairi followed the boys out of the tree house.

“Look! The sky!” Sora shouted. Kairi and Riku both looked at Sora, then at the meteor shower. Riku cursed under his breath and ran toward the other side of the island. Sora and Kairi, confused, ran after him.

“Riku!” Kairi yelled. “Riku, what’s wrong?”

“Riku, slow down!” Sora added.

They reached the other side of the island, and had to immediately find shelter. Some of the meteors were falling onto the island, and a few were heading straight towards them.

“Look out,” Sora said, pulling Riku under the doorway.

“Crystal—”

“Is not an idiot,” Sora finished for him. “She’ll know to get out of the way.”

Kairi could see that the meteor shower seemed like an eternity for Riku. She just couldn’t understand why a meteor shower and a few small meteors hitting the island was so bad. As soon as the meteor shower ended, Riku bolted for the spot where they had kept the raft.

Good news: Crystal was there and unharmed.

Bad news: someone else was there too.

“Crystal!” Riku shouted.

* * *

The voice… It was so familiar… I somehow knew that voice from somewhere. Anger rose inside of me, trying to get free and destroy the voice. That voice was manipulative and evil. I could feel it inside my heart that it was, though I had never heard it before. So I thought. I turned to see where the voice was, and my eyes fell upon an old man standing in the shadows.

“Who are you?” I asked, ready for whatever the geezer might throw at me. If he said “father”, then I’d have to switch weapons. You know, move to Coruscant and learn how to use the Force.

“You don’t recognize me? Surely you can’t have forgotten so easily.” He sounded like he was hurt by the fact that I had no clue who the hell he was. He stepped out of the shadows and I could see that he was eons older then he sounded. He was bald, had pointed ears and a goatee, and wore gloves, boots, dark pants, and a weird jacket. I don’t know why this bothered me, but he had his hands behind his back. What really caught my attention were his eyes. They were amber. The same color as Ansem’s eyes and Riku’s when he was in the form of Ansem, erm, Xehanort’s Heartless.

“Actually, it’s very easy for me to forget a face,” I shrugged. “Especially if I’ve never met them before.” I felt like running and finding Riku, Sora and Kairi, but there was just something about this guy that kept me in place. And for once, it wasn’t my curiosity. I would’ve run like hell in the other direction if I could. This guy scared me to death, but I sort of felt like I should show him some respect for some reason. Who was this guy?

“Crystal!”

What? Who’s Crystal? I tried to focus on the newest voice and figure out why he was calling me Crystal. I felt someone grab me, and instantly I snapped to attention. I was Crystal, and Riku was holding me. Sora and Kairi were between us and the old man, Keyblades ready. Riku shifted his position so that I was behind him, still in his arms, and that he was facing the geezer.

The old dude looked furious, like Sora, Riku and Kairi just made him lose something really valuable. He just stood there looking infuriated for a minute or two, then suddenly relaxed.

“You can tell your watchdogs that I’m not here to hurt you. I just want to tell you something,” he said, folding his hands behind him. Kairi, Riku and Sora glanced at me quickly, then tensed a little more.

“Whatever you want to say,” Riku said venomously, “you can say with us standing here.”

“It’s okay, Riku,” I said quietly, placing my hand on his arm.

“You sure?” he asked. I nodded, and he let go of me (though he kept one arm around me). Sora and Kairi put their Keyblades away. Despite the fact that I really wanted them to stay like that, now I was curious about what he wanted to tell me. Damn my curiosity.

“That’s better,” Old Guy nodded approvingly, playing with something behind his back. My head felt like it was about to split open and I got a flash of him standing in some desert place; it only lasted a fraction of a second, so I didn’t have time to react to it. “Now, I just came here to tell you that I need you to come with me.”

“Uhh… Why would I do that?” I asked, my curiosity growing, my temple throbbing slightly.

“You’ll find out on the way.” He looked me straight in the eye, and I could feel myself need to go with him. Like I couldn’t stand not to go with him. I also felt an arm hold me tighter. Riku, I thought. I shook my head and smiled.

“Sorry, but I decline.” I didn’t break eye contact with Old Guy, but I could feel Riku nodding in agreement, his grip getting so tight that I thought soon I wouldn’t be able to breathe (I didn’t mind, though. It was the only thing keeping me in my right mind). Old Guy looked like he was about to take me forcefully, but regained his composure. He opened some sort of portal (I say “some sort” because it was way different from the dark portals Riku and I used to use), and stepped partially through it.

“One more thing.” He turned halfway to face me. “Just thought that you might like to know what you really are.”

“Really?” I faked excitement. “And what might that be?”

That’s when everything I thought I knew about me shattered.

“You are an Unbirth. Unlike Heartless and Nobodies, who have no hearts, Unbirths have no soul. Since you are an Unbirth, you have no soul.” And after doing a good job of crushing everything I ever knew (or thought I knew) about me, he disappeared like the coward he was sure to be into his portal.

“I’m a what?” I asked. If Riku hadn’t been holding on so tightly, I would’ve fallen right there.

* * *

I have no soul? When did that happen? How did that happen? How could I have possibly turned into a soul-seeking being and not know it? And that guy; he said (well, implied; same dif) that I knew him. That I “couldn’t have forgotten so easily.” Whatever the hell that means.

Sora, Riku and Kairi took me back to the main island, then we went to Riku’s house. We must’ve been there for hours, just talking about what happened. Well, they were talking. My brain was too numb to think about anything other than the fact that someone just told me I don’t exist. Well, not really exist. I’m pretty sure that I exist in the literal sense of the word… I’ll pinch myself, just to be sure. OW! Yeah, that was stupid. Anyways, the worst part was I couldn’t just put it off as some way for the creepy, old, bald guy trying to confuse me, make me vulnerable (which was working, by the way). Nope. There were some things that, looking back now, I really haven’t been able to account for. Time spent asleep in the pod thing. Time after my world got destroyed. That was all just one, big, dark, black period. Plus, the way some of the members of Organization XIII spoke to me, telling me things that made it seem like I was once a member that they had sent on a mission who just had a little trouble getting started. My dreams could sort of fill in the blanks, if I crammed them in really hard.

I decided to spend the night at Riku’s. Again. It just felt a little safer with him near me. Plus, I really wanted to talk to him alone, to maybe ask him what did happen to me from the time my world disappeared to when I woke up to him staring at me in the hotel. Surely he’d know.

“I don’t really know,” he confessed.

“But,” I stammered, “but weren’t you there the entire time?”

“I was there when they put you in the pod and when you woke up,” he explained. “The rest of the time I was doing something either about Xehanort’s Heartless or Sora.” He didn’t have to explain much about this. I knew he meant that he was alternating between fighting Ansem in his heart and searching for a way to wake Sora up. He wasn’t really around much when I was awake, either. Busy guy.

“Or Organization XIII.” I looked down at the floor. We were up in his bedroom and his parents were sound asleep (we probably were supposed to be sleeping, seeing as it was about midnight or so).

“Yeah,” he said. “But you get that, right? They were Nobodies who didn’t belong that were trying to be beings that they weren’t.”

“What about me?” I asked, whispering. “Am I just another person who doesn’t belong?”

Riku sighed. “No, you’re not. You know you’re not. Being what you are doesn’t change the way I feel about you.”

“And what am I?” I asked, stunned by what he said. That he said “what,” not “who”. “What are you talking about? What was he talking about? How can I not have a soul? And why haven’t you ever mentioned Unbirths on the list of bad guys. What does ‘Unbirth’ even mean? What the heck am I!?” My voice had escalated steadily louder during that, and by the time I was done, I was practically shouting. Who could blame me? Some guy had just told me that I was a soulless being with no place in the world (not in so many words, but still). And to top it all off, Riku, the guy I freakin’ loved, was basically confirming it!

“It means…” he began. “It means that you’ve lost your soul.” He looked away, then turned back towards me and grabbed me in an embrace. I already knew that annoying fact. He knew what I meant; he just didn’t want to tell me (which made me want to know even more). “That doesn’t matter to me, though. You could not have a heart or soul and I’d still love you. So… let’s just forget about all of this and go back to the way things were before, okay?” He looked at me hopefully, like I was actually going to listen to him for once.

But I couldn’t just forget about it. I don’t have a soul. That’s not something I can freaking deal with and accept. When did I lose my soul? Can I get it back? Is there another “me” that has my soul, like with Heartless and Nobodies? I looked at Riku, smiled, and told him that I was going to go to my “thinking spot” on the little island. He let me go. He knew I had to be alone; that’s probably one of the best things about him, he’s respectful (well, to me, anyway… most of the time… He caught Sora and Kairi making out in the secret spot. He wouldn’t shut up about it for a while).

I headed to the docks where my boat was and checked out the moon. It was beautiful there, don’t get me wrong, but it reminded me of home too much. I’ve been away from home for almost two years, now (though I was in a pod for most of it); I still miss it. I still wonder if it was restored or not when Sora and King Mickey closed the Door to Darkness a year or so ago. Even if it was restored, how would I get there? The roads to the worlds are blocked and I didn’t have a gummi ship. And I can’t open up a portal anymore… I sighed and got into my boat, headed toward the island.

“Crystal! Wait up!” came a voice from shore. I looked to see who it was and found Kairi waving at me. I looked at the island longingly, sighed, and got out of the boat as Kairi ran to me.

“What’s up, Kairi?” I asked her. We had become pretty close friends since I’ve been living with her, but it was kinda hard for me to really get close to anyone on the island except Riku. She had that look where I could tell she really wanted to hug me. Hard. I didn’t like that look.

“I heard that you were upset, and I completely agree with Riku. We all love you, no matter what.” I could tell she was trying to cheer me up. It would’ve worked, too, had it not been for one tiny detail…

“Uh, thanks, but how do you even know about that? It only happened about five minutes ago… in Riku’s bedroom… after you and Sora left.” I said. I looked her in the eye and asked straight out, “Were you and Sora spying on me and Riku again?

Kairi looked away guiltily, nodded and quickly said, “It was Sora’s idea. He wanted to get back at Riku for spying on us. I got dragged along.” I did a face-palm. Sora and Riku are always competing. Freaks. Then, I heard some splashing, a smack, and a muffled “Ow!” beneath us. I rolled my eyes and jumped off the dock, saying, “You guys are way too old for this, you know.” Sure enough, Riku had Sora in a headlock with a hand over his mouth. Riku immediately let go and climbed out from under the dock.

“Geez, Riku. You didn’t have to be so rough,” Sora shouted at Riku while rubbing his head. “Man, that really hurt!”

“Serves you right for spying on me,” I told him. “Again. And what are you doing under there with him, Riku? Hmm?”

He blushed. “Uh, making sure Sora didn’t do anything dumb? I’m sorry.” He kissed my cheek and hugged me. Sure, he may be a suck-up, but he’s good at it.

“You’re forgiven, you kiss-ass,” I broke. “Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to the island for some belated thinking. Kay?” I didn’t wait for an answer. I got back into my boat and rowed to the island.

* * *

So, I have no soul. How can that happen? I thought that only hearts could be taken by special beings. Examples: Heartless and Nobodies. Besides, doesn’t a person die if they get their souls taken from them? So now we’re facing a third enemy. Unbirths. But how can I be an Unbirth? I don’t have any memories of being attacked by some weird creature when my world was taken… Right?



Wait a minute! I was attacked. When my home was taken. But by who? All I saw around me were Heartless. And Riku when he somehow appeared on my world from out of nowhere and fought the Heartless. Yeah! Yeah, I’m sure Riku was the one who saved me…

… Sort of…

The more I thought about it, the less sure I was that the dark figure was Riku.

Could it have been an Unbirth? Am I actually soulless?

The moon had gone across the sky and was now almost near the horizon when I came to this conclusion, so I decided that I should check in with Kairi’s parents. Just so they didn’t worry about me.

“Seems like I don’t have to,” I told nobody in particular. Out on the water, a lantern was heading towards the island. I figured it was either Riku or Kairi, so I walked to the dock. I was surprised when I got there.

“Hey, Crystal,” Sora greeted me. “Just checking to make sure you were okay.”

“Oh. Thanks.” I smiled at him. I didn’t really know that much about Sora, other than he can wield a Keyblade, lives on Destiny Islands, and is a really great friend of Riku and Kairi’s. So, what was he doing there?

“Let me guess: you were expecting Riku or Kairi, right?” he asked, reading my face.

I blushed. “Well, yeah. You being here is cool too, but we don’t really know each other that well. Besides, you’re kinda my least favorite.”

Sora shrugged, then walked past me. He turned around and motioned for me to follow him. I, being curious as to why we weren’t heading back, did so. I had no idea where we were going, or why, especially since everyone might be worried about me by now.

“Uh, Sora, why aren’t we heading back?” I asked when we reached our destination: the other side of the island. Where Old Dude appeared and turned my life inside out.

“This spot is where we built our raft,” he told me, ignoring my question. “We built it so we could see all the other worlds that are out there. Kairi had come to our island from a different world when we were little, which gave us, well, Riku, the idea. But the night before we were supposed to set sail, the Heartless came and took the heart of Destiny Islands. That was also the night I got the Keyblade. After sealing a lot of keyholes, with the help of Donald and Goofy, we went to Hollow Bastion. Kairi had lost her heart to the Heartless, and the only way to get it back was to unlock my heart, because her heart was resting in my heart.” That part got me a little dizzy. “I turned into a Heartless, then. I was stumbling through the darkness, forgetting my friends, my family, my home, who I was. But then I heard Kairi’s voice, and a bright light illuminated the darkness and brought me back.” I knew that there was an entire part he left out about fighting Riku for the majority of the journey. But that’s probably why he left it out.

“Wow.”

“You know that Nobodies are born when a person with a strong heart and will is turned into a Heartless, and that Organization XIII was made up of Nobodies, right?”

“How could I forget?” I said, glaring at the water.

“Whenever I fought an Organization member, they would try to convince me that they had hearts, or that they at least remembered what having a heart was like. Anyway, they could mimic emotions and make you think they were actually people with feelings.”

“Okay, but what does that have to do with me?” I asked, depressed and a little confused.

“Roxas was different, though,” he continued, ignoring me again. “He left the Organization because he wanted to meet me. He and Naminé were the only Nobodies with the chance to meet their original selves. They weren’t bent on creating Kingdom Hearts or controlling worlds. They chose to live their own lives and feel how they wanted to feel.”

“Again, what does that have to do with me?”

“Just because you don’t have a soul doesn’t mean you can’t live the way you want to. Or feel the way you want to.”

“The story was nice, but couldn’t you have just told me that in the beginning?” I asked. Sora fell over.

“Well, I thought it was a good story,” he huffed.

“You’re right. Sorry.” Then I felt some tears well up. I had no idea where they came from, though. Maybe they were belated tears from when I first found out about being an Unbirth. I buried my face in Sora’s shoulder and just let them loose. If Sora was surprised or uncomfortable, he did a good job of not showing it. Once the tears were reduced to ragged breaths, we walked to the dock.

“Sora?” I asked as he got in his boat. “Can you tell Kairi’s parents and Riku that I’m staying here for the night?” I didn’t want to be around anyone until I could be somewhat okay with everything.

“You sure that’s a good idea?” he looked at me through the darkness, studying my face. I nodded. “Okay, then. Here.” He tossed me a sleeping bag, pillow, and lantern.

“How did you—?” I was… mildly surprised.

“Riku guessed that you might want some time to yourself.” Sora shrugged. “Guess I owe him 1000 munny.”

“I’ll ignore the fact that you two bet on my emotions.” I turned to walk away, and said over my shoulder, “Sora. Thanks.”

He just smiled goofily and rowed to the main island. I walked to the little shack and set up my stuff. Lying there in the dark, I got to thinking about where I was (for about the billionth time). And about how it was cool that no one was really in charge of me. Also about that guy who started all of these depressing soulless thoughts.

That man… Who is he? And how does he know so much about what I am? He acted like he knew me oh so well. Even though it wouldn’t be the first time, it still annoyed/creeped me out. I don’t even know where we could’ve met. I wasn’t exactly the most social person during my first year outside my world. If Ansem the Wise were still… alive, then maybe I could talk to him and… Wait, no gummi ship. Damn. Maybe Riku kept a few facts Ansem told him a secret from me (even though we promised each other we wouldn’t anymore). Though he seemed really upset when the guy showed up. No. Not upset. Pissed would be a more accurate description. The guy didn’t even say what his name was, so how could Riku be angry at a guy he probably doesn’t even know? Actually, I take that back. It is possible. I hate Old Dude too.

The rest of my pondering would have to wait until morning. Too bad I never had the chance. I was sleeping soundly for the first time in weeks, which was the first indication that something wasn’t right. Actually, it was the second. Some random guy popping up and telling me that I have no soul was the first. Something had changed. Something big. And I was about to find out just what it was.


Without a soul,
My spirit’s sleeping somewhere cold,
Until you find it there and lead it back
Home.
(Wake me up)
Wake me up inside.
(I can’t wake up)
Wake me up inside.
(Save me)
Call my name and save me from the dark.
(Wake me up)
Bid my blood to run.
(I can’t wake up)
Before I come undone.
(Save me)
Save me from the nothing I’ve become.
-----------------------------------------------------

Tune in next week for Chapter 2: Gone.
 
Last edited:

TwilightRiku_13

HIT THE DECK!!!!!
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Finally!!! I have been waiting for you to put up the sequel. Man, there is a lot going on all at once. What kind of past do Zexion and Crystal have? Who is the old dude (actually I think I already know the answer *coughMasterXehanortcough*)? Can Crystal ever get her soul back (I so hope she does)? So many questions, so little time. Anyway, enough of my rambling, great chapter, and I look forward to your next update.
 

madammina

Notorious White Mage Captainess
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YES!!!! Thank you! So long in coming... and so worth it.

Poor Chrystal.

And, great Riku/Sora interactions. They WOULD do that.
 

Andillexe

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Finally!!! I have been waiting for you to put up the sequel. Man, there is a lot going on all at once. What kind of past do Zexion and Crystal have? Who is the old dude (actually I think I already know the answer *coughMasterXehanortcough*)? Can Crystal ever get her soul back (I so hope she does)? So many questions, so little time. Anyway, enough of my rambling, great chapter, and I look forward to your next update.

I knew the chapter moved along too fast... Oh well. And about Old Dude, guess you'll have to wait next week to find out. =E
 

Twilight_Path

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YAYZ!! :D

OMG so full of suspense and mystery! AWESOME.

Something goin' on with Zexion eh? Well then it seems I'll be tuning in for the next chapter.
 

Andillexe

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Chapter 2: Gone

But the things I’ve seen
In those hazy dreams
Can’t compare to what I’m seeing now.
Everything’s so different
That it brings me to my knees.
And if I find
The world of real emotion has surrounded me
And I can’t go on
You are there
The moment that I close my eyes to comfort me.
We are connected for all of time.
I’ll never be alone.


That guy showed up again. When I was all alone, confused (when aren’t I?), angry, annoyed, and sad. And sleeping.

“Good morning,” he said calmly. I woke up, nearly screamed, and felt like my heart was about to race out of me and head for shelter.

“What the hell are you doing here?” I demanded, wide awake, breathing heavily and adrenaline pumping. It was a damn good question, too. Wasn’t ruining my confidence in who I really am enough? Apparently not for this kook.

“Why, I’m simply here to bring you home,” he told me sincerely.

“I am home. Besides, I don’t even know you. I don’t even know your name.”

“I’m Master Xehanort,” he stated (rather boastfully) as he bowed. Freak. “And I think that your real home is better than this place.” He gestured around him. I scoffed.

“The only reason I’m sleeping here for the night is because you made me stop and reevaluate my entire existence. Thanks for that.”

“You’ve only slept here this one night?” he seemed shocked (genuine or otherwise, I have no idea). “I thought your dreams would’ve forced you to live here for a while.”

“They’re not that bad. I only screamed once.” Wait a minute. “How do you know about my dreams?”

“I know everything about you. Ever single detail about your past.” Uh… CREEPER!!! “Even the ones they made you forget.”

“‘They’? Who’re ‘they’?” I’m tired of not knowing about myself because of inconsiderate people. “Master” Xehanort (note: evaluate significance of title later) smiled creepily at me and snapped his fingers. Dozens of creatures popped in from nowhere and surrounded me. They seemed so familiar, yet I had no idea where I would’ve seen them before. It was all too déjà vu-ish for me; so, naturally, I got up and summoned my sword.

“Now, now. No need for violence,” Master Xehanort shook his head. I was pretty sure that there was need for violence if he wanted me to go with him. I got into my stance and glared at him. He laughed and fiddled with something in his pocket. Like last time, my head started hurting like hell and a few flashes of Master Xehanort went through my head. Only it lasted a bit longer. I clutched my head, but continued glaring at him and kept up my stance. He sighed. “If you insist.” And with that, he signaled the creatures to attack. I did pretty well, I think. I managed to get a few, but one got me across the back of my already insanely painful head.

“Better than last time,” Xehanort said as he stood over me. The creatures picked me up, and the last thing I heard was his laugh. Then I was gone.


* * *

“Do you think she’s alright?” Riku asked Kairi for the billionth time. It was already three in the morning, and there was still no sign of her.

Kairi stared at him. “Like I said five minutes ago, yes. I do think she’s alright.”

“If you’re worried so much, why don’t you go check on her yourself?” Sora asked from the bench in Kairi’s backyard.

“No. I can’t,” Riku replied, pacing. “What if she’s mad at me?”

“Why would she be mad at you?” Sora was confused.

“I don’t know! Maybe I did something wrong?”

“Compared to all the right things you do,” Kairi mumbled under her breath.

“This is not the time for sarcasm, Kairi,” Riku scolded.

“All the time is the time for sarcasm,” she said cheerily. She’s been hanging around Crystal too much. “Oh, lighten up. She’s fine. She just needs time to mull things over, is all.”

“Look, if you’re so worried about her, I’ll go check on her,” Sora offered. Riku looked at him and nodded.

“Thanks.”

“No problem.” Sora got up from the bench and put a hand on Riku’s shoulder. “If she’s stayed there this long, maybe we should just let her stay the night. Would your parents be okay with that, Kairi?”

“Yeah. They should be,” Kairi confirmed.

“See?” Sora said. “Let me get some stuff for her and I’ll be on my way.” He went into the house.

Riku and Kairi watched him go. “What if she’s mad at him?” Riku asked suddenly.

“Why would she be mad at Sora?” Now Kairi was confused.

“Hello? It’s Sora. She usually doesn’t need anymore reason than that.”

“Stop worrying. She’s fine. She’s not mad at you, and she’s probably not mad at Sora. Go home and try to sleep, okay?” Kairi got up and touched Riku’s arm before going inside to make sure Sora wasn’t getting anything unnecessary. Riku decided to take Kairi and Sora’s advice and try not to worry.

But couldn’t. So he decided to go check on Crystal himself. Not before a few flashbacks, though. When she woke up in the hotel room in Twilight Town. It felt like so long ago…

“So, uh, where are we?” she asked. Her hair was such a dark blue that it was almost black and was just past her chin (now it was down to the middle of her back), and her eyes were also a piercing blue color that made you oddly relaxed by just staring into them. Maybe because they looked so innocent. She looked so much like Kairi (and upon hearing this, decided to grow her hair as long as it now is); only, she was so damn stubborn!

Riku didn’t answer. He wanted to see if she lost all of her memories.

“Where’d you come from?”

Like Riku was gonna answer that.

“What’s your name?”

What’s with all the personal questions?

“My name’s Crystal.”

Okay. You just keep thinking that.

“Ya wanna answer me? Or show any other signs of life?”

Oh great. She’s the sarcastic type. “Crystal” got frustrated and went to the window. Then she headed to the door. Riku couldn’t have that, now. DiZ would get pissed if she just wandered around alone.

“Can I have a look around?” Can you stop asking questions? She shot Riku a look. Like that would work.

“I can’t let you go.” Because me and DiZ need to see if you’re still one of them.

“Why?”

… Are you serious? Crystal turned to go back to her bed, and Riku went to his chair. Then the little devil bolted. Riku expected her to at least go outside and figure things out from there. Maybe everything she’s been through has made her cautious, because she stopped at the end of the hallway.

“Are you always this complicated?” he asked. No wonder they got rid of her.

“Only when I don’t get answers.” Oh. Is that all? Riku let his shoulders fall and smiled. He could do that. Riku went back into the room, knowing she’s follow her curiosity. And she did. They both stared at each other for a minute, then Riku decided to compromise.

“Okay. I’ll give you answers if you give me some.” Riku knew that she’d have no idea what he was talking about, but maybe her subconscious would give DiZ what he wanted. She agreed and repeated her questions. “We’re in Twilight Town’s hotel.” The next couple of questions would be a bit tricky. “… I came from a place I may never see again. My name is… Ansem.” Good enough. “You can’t have a look around because you can’t fight and because your outfit doesn’t fit this world.”

“What’s wrong with them?” She looked down. “Okay, maybe I see your point.”

“Good.” That wasn’t so hard. “We’ll train tonight and leave in a few weeks or so.” Riku went to the door that joined their two rooms. “If you need me, I’ll be in this room. Good night.” He closed the door behind him and headed out the other door. DiZ would want to know that she was finally awake and maybe even ask her a few questions. Unfortunately, there were some new developments with Sora and Roxas. Crystal would have to wait. Little did they know that Crystal wasn’t the waiting type.

By the time Riku was done reminiscing, Sora was back. “A lot of good memories,” Riku chuckled to himself. He went to the docks to see how it went. He didn’t have to go far, because Sora was already on his way to see Riku.

“Yes, she’s fine. No, nothing bad happened. No, she wants to be alone,” Sora said, answering Riku’s silent questions.

“You sure she wants to be alone?” Riku asked, shoulders slumped. Made sense, though. Something so devastating coming from a scary old man, whom she’s never even met before, that seems to know more about her than she does. Though that was becoming more and more common since Ansem the Wise found her.

“She didn’t say it, but it was written all over her face.” Sora punched Riku on the shoulder. “Stop stressing. She just needs some time by herself. That’s all.” And he walked away, leaving Riku to think things over. But something told Riku that Crystal needed someone. Anyone… Okay, maybe not anyone. Despite Sora and Kairi’s advice, he ran to the dock.


* * *

Crystal was gone. All the stuff was in the shack, but no Crystal. Riku checked the entire island, even the secret place (which he realized wasn’t so secret anymore). Nothing. Crystal was gone, and Riku had no idea who could’ve taken her.

“Unless she wasn’t taken,” he whispered to himself. He punched the door that lead to the heart of Destiny Islands. That door was what started this entire mess. “It also led me to Crystal.” Riku had to tell Sora and Kairi. Maybe then they could… do something. Riku had no idea what, but he sure as hell would try. He ran back to the dock and rowed as fast as he could to the main island.

“Sora! Kairi!” Riku yelled when he finally found them.

“What’s wrong?” Kairi asked, apprehensive.

“Crystal’s gone,” Riku gasped between breaths. “She’s not on the island. She’s not anywhere.”

“And how do you know that?” Sora looked at him suspiciously.

“Doesn’t matter. I don’t know how she could’ve left,” he took a breath, “unless she was kidnapped.” Which is what he really hoped happened. Kidnapped means that they could somehow go get her and she might actually want to come back. Running away means that she wouldn’t want to come back even if they did find her.

“You don’t think it was that guy, do you?” Kairi asked.

“Had to be,” Sora said. “Who else could’ve gotten her?”

“I don’t want to think about that,” Riku answered darkly. “Let’s just go get her and beat the guy up.”

“Yeah!” Sora exclaimed. “And guess who have Keyblades.”

“And guess who doesn’t have a gummi ship,” Kairi jumped in, killing Sora’s enthusiasm. “Look, I’m all for getting Crystal back and beating up the jerk that took her—” Really? “—but we don’t have a gummi ship or any way to get to her. We don’t even know where she could be.”

“What about the gummi blocks?” Riku said. “We could build one, right? We were planning on it anyway.” Wait. If they could make a gummi ship out of those gummi blocks, logically Crystal would’ve been able to also. But Crystal doesn’t know how to make a gummi ship… does she?

“You also said that it might take weeks, even months, to finish it,” Kairi reminded him. That was their original plan: find some way to get gummi blocks, find Old Guy, and ask him how the fucking hell he knew so much about Crystal. Ever since they came up with that plan, Sora and Riku argued about whether or not Crystal should know about it. Didn’t matter now. Crystal was long gone, and Riku didn’t know if she had figured out what they were going to do and decided to go herself, or if… If…

Sora, sulking in the background, looked up at the sky. “Look!” he shouted. They all looked up.

“Another meteor shower?” Riku asked, confused. Why would there be another meteor shower? The first time a meteor shower happened, Kairi showed up. The second time a meteor shower happened, the scary old guy showed up (which he most likely won’t do again). What if…? Riku sighed. “It’s late. We won’t get anywhere tonight, so let’s just call it a day. We’ll figure something out tomorrow.”

“Oh… Okay,” Kairi and Sora said. They were wary and confused as to what caused Riku’s sudden mood change. “Good night.”

But Riku knew how they were going to get Crystal. The meteor shower, and a little something Ansem the Wise told him a long time ago. Sure, they didn’t have a gummi ship… Yet.


* * *

“Where… am I?” I asked anyone close enough to hear. I didn’t open my eyes. For all I knew, I was back in my head with some crazy person (ahem… Xemnas) while they possessed my body. Hey, it happened once. It could happen again. Only it didn’t feel like I was trapped in my mind. I was way too dizzy for that. “And why am I so freaking dizzy?”

“Finally awake?” came a voice from in front of me. Great. This was probably going to be like the last time I was forcibly removed from my home. There were too many unknown/sneaky voices for my liking. “It’s about time.”

Oh geez. It’s “Master” Xehanort. He sounds crazy, he looks crazy, and so far hasn’t proven otherwise.

“You’re not very patient, are you?” I asked him, struggling to get up. Didn’t work too well. My head was killing me. I had no idea why, either.

“You didn’t dream?” he asked, my question completely ignored. Annoying. But he brought up an interesting point: I didn’t dream. How the hell did he know about my dreams, anyway? The only person I told was Riku (who then told Sora, who told Kairi, who told me), and he would never do anything even remotely close to this… Right? I hate it when I don’t know anything. That’s what was one of the great things about Destiny Islands; I knew what was going on.

“Did you?” Xehanort pressed, interrupting my thoughts.

“No. How the hell do you know about my dreams?” I finally opened my eyes, blinking the color spots away. I was in a dark room with bars as the wall directly opposite me, so I was furthest away from Jerkhead over there. To my left was a single bed that didn’t look in the slightest bit comfortable; to my right was a small desk that looked as if someone had found a couple of boards, nails, and a hammer, then decided “oh, let’s make a desk”. One word came to my mind: cell.

Xehanort laughed. “Like I said, I know everything about you. Things others have decided to keep from you. I also know where your memories are.”

“Uh… In my head?” I knew he was crazy.

“If you want to think that, sure.” He chuckled and left.

“Wait!” I yelled at him. “Where are you going?! Let me out of here!” I tried to get up, and almost managed to, but it wasn’t just my head that hurt. My ribs were sore, and my left arm felt like it was on fire. “What the hell did you do to me?” I gasped, breathing harder.

* * *

Just as Riku suspected, the meteor shower consisted of gummi blocks, just like the last one. He, Sora, and Kairi met in front of the usual place: the paopu tree. No one spoke. No one said anything, because everyone was thinking the same thing (relatively): how to build the gummi ship and find Crystal. There were more gummi blocks littering the tiny island.

Riku picked up two gummi blocks nearest to him. “So. How do we build the gummi ship?”

“I want to get Crystal as much as you do,” Sora said, looking down, “but even if we do get this gummi ship to work, where would we look first? We have no idea who that guy is or where he would go.”

“He’s right, Riku,” Kairi agreed. “Though I really want to drive a gummi ship.”

“Oh great,” Riku laughed. Then he got serious. “And I know you’re concerned about not knowing where to go, but my heart knows where she is. I’ll find her. I know I will.”

“Whoa. Your determination is giving me burns,” Sora commented, rubbing his arms.

“Just help me with this.”

“I’m going to go get some more gummi blocks,” Kairi said, heading to the other side of the island. Riku and Sora watched her go, even though there were more than enough blocks where they were. Riku looked up at the sky, to the place where he, Sora and Crystal fell out of the Door to Light, and saw a shooting star. That could only mean one thing.

The King was coming.


* * *

That shooting star was a gummi ship, just as Riku thought. And that gummi ship belonged to the King… and his two companions.

“Sora!” Donald and Goofy exclaimed, glomping Sora. The King ran to Riku and hugged him, triggering another memory of Crystal.

It was right after the King, Donald and Goofy left the first time.

“We should’ve adopted Mickey,” Crystal said to Riku, staring after the ship.

“What?” Riku asked. “You do know that he’s the ruler of another world, right?” This was a strange comment, even for Crystal.

“I know. But the way you two respond to each other. It’s a little beyond friendship.” She looked at him and smiled.

“Well, we did travel beyond the Door to Darkness together. And he helped me defeat Ansem, who was still lurking in my heart.” Riku clutched his chest, but quickly stopped because he could see she was upset with herself for making him remember that. “Besides, Minnie would kill us.”

Crystal laughed.

“I knew we’d see you guys again,” Goofy said excitedly (and rather loudly), pulling Riku from his memory.

“You did?” Sora asked.

“Yup. The King said that someone’s goin’ ‘round disruptin’ the World Border again.”

“ ‘ORDER’! The World ‘Order’!” Donald shouted at Goofy.

“We know that first hand,” Riku told them, the scary tone in his voice that seemed to have been more and more frequent lately prominent. Sora and Kairi nodded in agreement. Donald and Goofy had no idea what he meant by that, but Mickey knew (Mickey always knows everything. Why does he know everything?). He nodded.

“Where’s Crystal,” Donald asked, looking around.

“Yeah. We wanted to say ‘hi’,” Goofy giggled.

“That’s what I meant,” Riku said. “Some guy showed up a few days ago, and that night Crystal was gone.”

“We were trying to figure out a way to build a gummi ship and get her,” Sora added, pointing at their scrawny looking gummi ship. It was half-way finished and very… lopsided.

“I know a few places she might be,” Mickey told them. But he didn’t look too sure. “And you can use our gummi ship.” He stared at their “gummi ship.”

“Okay, where?” Riku knew he sounded a bit overly excited, but it didn’t matter. He was going to get Crystal.

“We’re coming with you,” Mickey said.

“Alright, let’s go,” Sora exclaimed, running to the dock. “Where’s the gummi ship?”

“The other way.” Donald pointed behind him.

“Oh… Let’s go!” He turned around and ran to the ship. Everyone did face-palms.

* * *

“Oh, no. Not again!” Sora’s mom sighed as she walked into his empty room.

* * *

I hate that stupid, wrinkled, pointy-eared, crazy old man. After I woke up in that cell, with his stupid ugly face in front of me, I tried to figure out where I was. The only thing I could really determine was that I was in some underground dungeon thing. And that it was cold. And that it wasn’t run by either Heartless or Nobodies. How do I know that? Well, a few naps after Crazy left, these strange blue things that looked like Heartless brought me some yum-yums. Only way I could tell they weren’t Heartless: their emblem. Yes, it did have a heart shape in it, but didn’t most Heartless and Nobodies? Their heart shape looked like it was made from two intersecting cards (that were a bit stretched). Good thing is that they understood me when I asked for some paper. And they were actually nice enough to get me some. That’s when I wrote about my previous adventure and sent it through a portal (remember the light portal I opened before, for Riku and Sora? It was sorta like that only a bit duller and it took a lot more energy and concentration just to create a bracelet sized hole). I don’t know where it ended up, and I don’t really care. If someone was there to read it, then that’s fine with me. Maybe you can come get me out of this stupid cell. No? Oh… Well. Be that way.

I didn’t touch the food. Mostly out of pure stubbornness, but partially because my head, arm and ribs were making me nauseous. Oh, and it gets better. One little thing I overlooked before (because of pain, hatred, or confusion, maybe?) is that my hands were chained to the wall. It was long enough so that I could walk around my little cell, but short enough that I couldn’t touch the bars. Real great host we’ve got here, right?

Another few naps later (no windows = no way to tell time = me go nuts) Crazy was back.

“They’re telling me that you’re not eating,” he told me.

“Well, I would eat, if not for this excruciating pain in my head, torso and arm.” I smiled (/death glared) at him. “And who the hell knows I’m down here besides us?” I was referring to the “they” he mentioned.

“You should’ve noticed them,” he told me. “The ‘blue things,’ as you obviously like to call them. The Unbirths. And about your pains, I told them to handle you gently.”

I couldn’t breathe. That’s what I could be reduced to, blue things that do whatever they’re told. He didn’t just know a lot about these things, these Unbirths. He controlled them.

What I thought was true
Is made of fiction and I’m following the same.
But if I try to make sense of this mess I’m in
I’m not sure where I should begin.
I’m fallin’.
I’m fallin’.
 

TwilightRiku_13

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Awesome chapter yet again, Andillexe. I especially liked the small part with Sora's mother; that made me laugh. So, what is Master Xehanort up to? And what does Mickey know about the incidents that are happening? So many questions. Anyway, great job again, and I look forward to your next update. Also, one more question, what are the names of the songs or lyrics that you used at the beginning and end of your chapter; they didn't seem familiar to me.
 

Andillexe

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Awesome chapter yet again, Andillexe. I especially liked the small part with Sora's mother; that made me laugh. So, what is Master Xehanort up to? And what does Mickey know about the incidents that are happening? So many questions. Anyway, great job again, and I look forward to your next update. Also, one more question, what are the names of the songs or lyrics that you used at the beginning and end of your chapter; they didn't seem familiar to me.

Thanks. I read over the chapter and the random thought of having Sora's mom in there popped into my mind. Just a fun little thing to get away from all the seriousness. The first song is Real Emotion from Final Fantasy X-2, and the second one is Over My Head by Sum 41.
 

madammina

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Good Job again. I like the Sora's Mom part and Chrystal's Sass (and how much Riku cared) OH! And MDG showing up. Out of nowhere, the mouse crashes. Good job!
 

Andillexe

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Chapter 3: Control

Oh, your fingers were crossed behind your back
Before you ever gave me a chance.
But now I have learned to trust myself,
And I don’t need anyone else.
No one’s here to light the candle.
No one’s here to light the way.
It’s something I will have to handle
My way.
Out of room, out of places to hide.
Backed up in the corner, I know I will stay alive.
Out of room, out of places to hide.
Backed up in the corner, I know I will stay alive.


He controlled the “Unbirths”? How old is he? No one I talked to recently (and liked) has even heard of these Unbirth things, and here I was being oblivious to the fact that I was one, with the guy who pulls their strings right here in front of me. But why was he in front of me? Why was I even in that tiny cell?

“Why am I here?” I asked him, wincing because of my ribs.

“That was out of the blue,” he said, blinking (but that damn smile was still there).

“Just answer the question.” Usually I’d say something sarcastic or clever, but I wasn’t in the mood for bullshit just then, from anyone, including myself.

“I can’t tell you,” he told me, pretending to be sorry. “I don’t want to spoil anything yet.” Wow. And I thought I was good at pissing people off. Now, if it was a normal situation, his taunts wouldn’t bother me… much. But he just poked and prodded, on top of kidnapping me after a devastating itty-bitty bit of news. And tying me up with a painful body and killer headache. So, yeah, no tolerance for bullshit.

“Besides,” he told me, grabbing my attention, “you’ll find out soon.” He motioned the two Unbirths behind him, and the last thing I heard was his evil chuckle before I blacked out.

* * *

“Hollow Bastion?” Sora asked. “Why would he take her there?”

Riku didn’t care about the “why” part; he just wanted to find the son of a bitch and kick the crap out of him. King Mickey said that this was just one of several places Crystal could be. Hollow Bastion, Beast’s Castle, Snow White’s castle, Aurora’s castle, or Cinderella’s castle. The home worlds of a few of the seven Princesses of Heart. That was King Mickey’s theory; that the old guy would take her to one of these places. He more than likely knew who the guy was and what his ulterior motives might be, but he wouldn’t fess up.

“Wouldn’t somebody notice some old guy keeping a girl against her will?” Kairi asked the King.

“Not if they’re in a place that’s dark and nobody goes down to ever,” King Mickey replied. Riku was a little bit skeptical about King Mickey’s theory. Why would he go to a Princess of Heart’s world? Why wouldn’t he just take her to some dark world?

What if she wasn’t kidnapped? That question was just sitting at the back of Riku’s mind, making him uncomfortable and uneasy. What if she wasn’t taken?

“Riku, watch out!” Sora yelled, yanking the steering wheel to avoid a head-on collision with a meteor. “Watch where you’re going,” he said playfully. “We almost crashed.”

“You would know,” Donald mumbled.

“Oh. Sorry,” Riku apologized. He tried to focus on getting to Hollow Bastion in one piece, but failed. That one little uncertainty just threw him off too much. “You drive, Sora. I need a break.” Riku got up and headed below deck. Sora took the wheel without a word.

As soon as the hatch closed behind him, Riku punched the wall as hard as he could. Yeah, it was stupid. Sure, he’d regret it in an hour or two. But there was a wall, he had a fist, and a bunch of damn emotions to fuel it. When he finally felt how badly bruised his knuckles were, he sat down to calm down a little. He tried not to think about anything that reminded him of Crystal, but thinking about not thinking about Crystal made him think about her. Plus, she was just so random that almost everything reminded him of her. Even the gummi ship.

“Gah,” he sighed. Maybe a nap would help.

Yeah, right. The dream he had was the worst he’d ever had.

He was standing in the darkness. It was a new darkness, one that he’d never felt before. But it was vaguely familiar. There was movement on his left.

“Who’s there?” Riku asked through the darkness.

Riku.

Riku’s heart felt like it was being devoured by darkness again. Only this time was worse. It felt like something was burrowing into his heart and disintegrating it from the inside out. He could feel it wriggle with delight as the pain grew. This darkness knew exactly how to attack him. It knew what to destroy first and slowly made its way outward.

Riku.

The darkness attacked harder in response to the voice. Riku clutched his chest and fell to his knees.

“Who are you?” he gasped. A bright light shone in the distance, blinding him. It felt so familiar, more so than the darkness. This light, he thought. It can’t be the same light as before. Can it? The light that led Sora and him to the Other Side. They couldn’t be the same light. This light was too aggressive. Too… malevolent; more so than the darkness eating at his heart.

“Riku.”

Shielding his eyes, Riku saw a familiar silhouette. The darkness vanished from his heart.

“Crystal?” The light receded, but didn’t disappear, and showed that it was Crystal. Only it wasn’t the Crystal he knew.

This Crystal was wearing a suit similar to what he wore when Xehanort’s Heartless took over his body. The only difference was that this suit was completely blue and the emblem wasn’t something he’d ever seen before.

“Hello, Riku,” greeted a different voice. The man from the night of the meteor shower who told Crystal she didn’t have a soul. He walked up behind Crystal and put his hand on her shoulder.

“Get away from her!” Riku yelled at the man. He didn’t seem to have heard Riku. Riku summoned Way to Dawn and attacked the man. If he wasn’t going to leave, Riku would make him. He saw movement, and his attack was blocked…

By Crystal. She was holding Kingdom Key in her hands, blocking Riku’s attack. The old man chuckled as Riku leapt back to where he was standing before.

“Crystal?” Riku asked. “When did you get so good at fighting?” He decided to try a bit of sarcasm, like she would do in a confusing situation. She just kept up her attack position and stared at him. Sarcasm, out. Riku looked at Kingdom Key and scoffed. “That Keyblade’s a fake, you know.” Surprise and confusion shone in her eyes, but she didn’t relax. She turned her head a little towards the guy, but didn’t take her eyes off Riku.

“You can’t win, Riku,” the old man said, ignoring the comment. “You’re too weak.” He turned to Crystal and nodded, as if to tell her to dismiss what Riku said like he did and attack. Crystal obliged, moving with more than twice the speed Riku had ever seen her move. She was about to attack him head on, then disappeared before touching him, reappearing behind him, whacking him hard in the back. Surprised, Riku got thrown to the ground, ending up in front of the old guy.

“Like I said, you can’t win.” He smirked at Riku, then blasted him with an energy ball.

Riku jerked awake. That’s not true. It can’t be true, he thought, panicking. It was only a dream, right? But something about the fact Crystal was holding Kingdom Key was disturbing. He recalled one other time he felt like this, but quickly dismissed it, telling himself that it wasn’t possible for her to summon Kingdom Key.

“Riku!” Sora called down from the cockpit. “We’re here!”

Well, now we can see if my dream’s even close to reality.

* * *

“Where… are we?” I asked weakly. I knew that Xehanort was somewhere nearby, so I decided that it’d just be a waste of energy to open my eyes and look for him.

“See for yourself,” Xehanort told me. I did as he said, and quickly shut them. My eyes couldn’t take the intensity of the sun after being in that cell for Xehanort knows how long (I’m not replacing God with him. He’s just the only one that knows how long I was in that dump). After my eyes had adjusted enough for it to be just a little stinging pain, I took a look around. What I saw was a wasteland bathed in sunlight. Nothing but dirt, rocks, and cliffs. Well, and Xehanort and me, but still. It looked like we were standing at what used to be a crossroads (which was actually in the middle of a dirt X).

“What is this place?” I stared at the absolute desolation around me.

“A desolate wasteland.” Oh. Well, I could’ve guessed that. I did guess that, actually… I guess he sensed me mentally shout "duh," because he added, "It's called Sunset Horizons."

“Great name,” I said. “Very pretty.” He just rolled his eyes at me. “So, uh, why are we in ‘Sunset Horizons’?” I said the name like it was some big, awesome place that deserved fear and awe instead of a place full of rocks. “And for future references, you don’t have to knock me out to take me to a different world.”

“You need to know your history, and this is the perfect place.” Xehanort gestured around him. Oh joy. An important lesson about what I am, even though I feel like I have a soul. Anyone who knows me can tell you how lively I can get. “Twenty or so years ago, this place used to be inhabited, and it flourished with abundance and peace. The ruler of this world was a great scientist, much like Ansem the Wise was a philosopher to his people in Radiant Gardens.” How’d he know Ansem? This guy is worse than Xemnas. Actually, not really. But he’s runner-up. “This scientist experimented on everything. He experimented on plants, animals, objects… and even human beings.”

I looked at him in disgust. “Let me guess, the people found out about these experiments, rioted, and then tore their world apart, forcing the survivors to abandon their home and resulting in this wasteland. Am I right?” I looked at him expectantly.

“Actually, you couldn’t be further from the truth,” Xehanort told me. “The people knew about the experiments, and they loved and respected their leader so much that they would actually hold contests as to who would get to be experimented on next.” That was even more twisted than the whole “experimenting on humans” thing.

“What were these experiments for?” I asked, not really wanting to know the answer because I was already about to puke.

“At first he was testing what makes us alive. Then he took it a step further. He discovered that there are three things that create life: a heart, a soul, and a body. Originally, it was once believed that if the heart goes, then the body dies. It was also thought that if the soul goes, then the body dies. He found out that if a really lively person loses their soul, they do die, but only for a bit. Then they are reincarnated as an Unbirth.”

“I’m getting a migraine,” I said, holding my head. Taking in large masses of information that I didn’t understand at all always did hurt my brain.

Xehanort ignored me. “Since they died, the Unbirths don’t originally have a memory of who they were before they lost their soul. But if they come into contact with some small fragment of who they were before, then they take on a higher rank, becoming humanoid, and change their form to look something like their original selves. And because an Unbirth has no memory, the memories that it collects throughout its life are very delicate. If all the memories go, the Unbirth fades into nonexistence.”

“Couldn’t it just go to wherever its ‘original self’ is?” I asked.

“Weren’t you listening?” No, actually. “The Unbirth that fades into nonexistence has no memories. That means that they have no idea who their original self is. It just wanders around in oblivion.”

“So what does that have to do with this place?” I looked around me.

“I was the scientist of this world back then,” he went on, ignoring me again. “It was a beautiful place, and the people were so happy. Think about it. I’m sure you’ll figure it out in a minute or two.”

That I didn’t see coming. Him being a scientist that experimented on people. Well, I could’ve guessed that if I had a messed up imagination. I thought about what he said; the once flourishing world that was now a wasteland, the insanely joyous citizens, the scientist experimenting on people and figuring out…

Oh my God, I thought. And that’s when I puked.

“If you’re going to throw up, do it over there,” Xehanort said, turning away.

“You sick bastard,” I said vehemently, wiping my mouth. “You experimented on poor, innocent people. You created the Unbirths and destroyed an entire world!” I summoned my sword and ran to attack him. I jumped into the air, and just when my sword was about to hit him, he vanished, appearing behind me. I felt a piercing pain stretch across my back and dropped my sword. Falling to the ground, he reappeared on my right side and somehow shot me across the road. Before I landed, he kept reappearing and hitting me in various ways and with various intensities. I didn’t have time to straighten myself before the next blow came. Xehanort suddenly appeared a few feet from me and watched as I fell to the ground in a crumpled heap.

“You can’t beat me,” he said down to me. I tried to get up and grab my sword, but he was holding it in his hand. He used my own sword to beat me up! “But I can teach you. Show you how to become almost as fast as me. To know where your enemy is at all times and when they’re about to strike.”

“I’ll… I’ll never take lessons from a bastard like you,” I panted, each breath excruciatingly painful. If he wanted to teach me, couldn’t he have just saved his disgusting story for afterward? Or, you know, not have told me that he was the reason this world no longer exists and prospers.

“But you have to if you’re going to help me with my plan.” Xehanort walked up to me and crouched beside me. I was still in agony, my breaths fast and shallow and my brain a bit scrambled; there was nothing I could do. I had to accept. Another brutal beating wasn’t really something I could take just then.

“Fine,” I said quickly, my vision starting to get blurry.

“Good.” Xehanort smiled and opened a portal, identical to the one he opened in Destiny Islands. He picked me up, and we walked through the portal. I didn’t know where we were going, but it didn’t really matter too much because I had blacked out before he even said “good”.

* * *

Well, she wasn’t in Radiant Gardens, or Snow White’s castle, or Beast's Castle, or Cinderella’s castle, or Aurora’s castle.

“Well, that shoots some gaping holes in your theory, Mickey,” Riku said to the King after they visited Aurora’s castle. The King just sat in his chair, thinking about any other places that the guy and Crystal might be.

“There is one other place I can think of,” King Mickey said at last.

“Give me some directions and let’s get going!” Sora said excitedly, dodging another few meteors.

“It’s a place called ‘Sunset Horizons.’ Although you wouldn't know it by the name, it's a very desolate wasteland,” the King told Sora as he swerved the ship to narrowly avoid another ship. “You’d better let me drive.” Sora looked disappointed, but gave up the wheel anyway. Donald and Goofy seemed to relax a little.

“Why would they be in a wasteland?” Riku thought out loud.

“Who knows,” King Mickey answered anyway. “But something tells me that they’re there.”

Riku felt the same way. It was just like something was becoming alive within himself whenever he thought about that place. “We need to go to Destiny Islands first.”

Everyone looked at him. “For what?” Kairi asked.

“You’ll see,” Riku responded ominously.

* * *

I woke up on the bed in my cell. I felt like I had just substituted for a chew toy for some oversized, hyper-energetic puppies starting to teeth. My ribs hurt so much my breaths were still short and ragged. I struggled to get up, every inch of me telling me to just lie back down and relax for a bit longer. Nope, couldn’t do that. Xehanort had to face my fury. Only apparently he isn’t as bad as he may appear; my ribs were bandaged, so was my back, my arm, and part of my right leg. Everything hurt worse than hell, but it probably would’ve been a lot worse if I hadn’t been bandaged up properly.

Looking outside, I could see that there were a few Unbirths standing guard, and I caught a glimpse of one leaving. Probably going to tell the big bossman that the sorry little punching bag is awake.

Which it did, because before I knew it, Xehanort was standing in front of my cell. Arms folded behind his back and chin parallel to the ground. He wasn’t going to try to intimidate me or confuse me anymore (well, “anymore” meaning “just that visit”). His attitude towards me waking up was the same as the first time I woke up in that cell: impatient.

“Dude, you should just slow down and take it easy sometime,” I told him, elbows on my knees and head cradled in my hands. “Stress out too much and you could have a heart attack, and then die. Death is the number one killer of all human beings.” I smiled at him. He was not amused, so I just pursed my lips and tried to keep from smiling even more.

“When you’re fully healed, we will begin your training,” he told me formally. If he’s gonna keep me here against my will, I am going to annoy him to death with my amazing sarcasm and people skills.

“Yeah, kay. Uh, first of all, where? Cuz I don’t really see us doing some super fast, powerful sparring in my humble—meaning ‘tiny’—cell. And second of all, why? Why are we training? Why did you tell me about the Unbirths? Why did you tell me I was one? Why am I here?” I had managed to keep my voice at a constant volume, but inside I was just about ready to try to take him on again.

“There is a training ground in the courtyard of this castle,” Xehanort matched my volume, which kind of unnerved me for some reason. “And the reason you are here is because you have to help me rebuild Organization XIII. Only this Organization will be made up entirely of Unbirths. When we have rebuilt the Organization, the Unbirths can finally have Kingdom Hearts. The purest of hearts!” Crazy Fruit Loop bastard.

Say what, now? “I—I don’t get what you’re saying,” I stuttered. “What do you have to do with the Organization? Why do you want to bring it back? Why switch out Nobodies with Unbirths? What the hell’s going on!?” Now I was using my extremely confused and pissed voice, which was a wee bit louder than before.
“It doesn’t matter yet,” he said, waving my questions away. “So are you going to help, or am I just going to have to find someone else?”

“Find someone else,” I told him. “I am not going to help rebuild the Organization. Do you know how many worlds and lives they’ve destroyed? I’m not going to do that. I’m not going to help with the destruction of homes and families.”

“A pity,” he sighed. “I’d rather not lose you, but I can’t have you wander around on your own and try to stop me.” He sighed again and looked at one of the Unbirths behind him. “It’s not that bad, though. Is it?” he asked it. That fucking jackassed bastard was threatening me. In case you didn’t get it, Xehanort basically just said “if you don’t help me, then I’ll turn you into a mindless puppet that does whatever I say.”

“You are such an asshole,” I said, leaning back against the wall and crossing my arms. He had me, and he knew he had me. What other choice did I have? Again. “Okay, I’ll do it.”

“Good,” he preened. I wasn’t amused, and I was angry and sore, and I just wanted to somehow get my sword and slit his throat. That was what he had mentally reduced me to; fantasizing about ways I could kill him for what he’s done to me in the past few months. He snapped his fingers, and an Unbirth appeared out of nowhere with a weird suit and boots in its… hands? Xehanort took the suit from the Unbirth, who disappeared just as quickly as it came, dropping the boots on the floor.

“Here,” Xehanort said, tossing me the clothes. I looked it over in my hands.

“What’s this for?” It was soft and felt a little leathery. It was black and blue, with the black making up most of it and blue accenting the hands and knees, and it looked like intertwining muscle fibers extending outward from the middle. And there was a sort of torn up skirt thing attached at about the waist with a belt at the top. When I held it up to look at the torso I could see the emblem of the Unbirth. “You don’t actually expect me to wear this, do you?”

“Why not?” he shrugged. “It’s better than what you have on now.” I looked down at my clothes (which were actually my pajamas from when I was going to sleep in the shack). They were all torn up and dirty. I glared at him, hating him more for being right.

“All right, fine. I’ll wear the damn suit.” Xehanort nodded and continued to stare at me. I stared right back. He didn’t budge. “Do you have an issue with me having my own privacy, too?” I asked angrily.

Jerk just snickered and vanished into an energy burst.

After I got into my one pieced suit, it actually felt like it was tailored to fit me perfectly; no pressure spots. It was flexible, which made me wonder how much fighting Xehanort would think I’d be doing. It was also comfortable, and the boots had great traction and was just as comfortable as the suit. Plus, it added about an inch to my total height. The only problem was that I was still all beaten up and getting into the suit took a lot of maneuvering.

“Looks great,” Xehanort complimented listlessly when he appeared in my little cell. I hadn’t noticed it before, but one of the Unbirths had gone to get him after the boots were on (which was a while ago. Is this castle huge, or are Unbirths just slow?). “Let’s go.”

“Go where?” I asked.

“Training.” Wow, he was a regular Chatty Kathy just then. Couldn’t get him to shut up. Nope.

“But I’m still feeling like hell the last time I tried to fight you,” I told him, holding my arm and torso. He rolled his eyes and walked up to me, hand outstretched. Panicking, I backed up to my bed, tripping over the side and falling onto it. Xehanort grabbed my left shoulder and squeezed really hard. I was just about to bat him away and yell at him when all of a sudden my arm, torso, and leg stopped being insanely painful. I rotated my arm and shook my leg. “What did you do to me?” I asked hesitantly.

“I healed you,” he said shortly. “Now can we go?”

“You couldn’t have done that while I was asleep?” I asked.

“You needed to learn a lesson.” That no good, sadistic—!

“Whatever,” I said, getting up. My mind was checking my former injuries and wondering why they did hurt anymore. Mad scientist and healer, I thought, mentally shaking my head. Too bad this guy’s a Fruit Loop. Xehanort put his hand out in front of me and a portal appeared. “Why can’t we just walk?”

He didn’t answer; he just shoved me into the portal and walked in after me. I immediately found myself in a beautiful, spacious courtyard. There were trees and bushes, and even a little river snaking its way through, its source hidden in the mini forest. It was an indoor courtyard, so I couldn’t see whether it was day or night. That bothered me a lot. So did the fact that there seemed to be no apparent light source, though the room was filled with light.

“Get your sword,” he told me. Shrugging, I summoned the sword Riku gave me and gripped it tightly in my hand. Xehanort summoned a Keyblade that didn’t have a keychain. Then he attacked without warning.

I tensed up my legs, and waited. Just before he attacked, he did his little disappearing act. I was ready for it this time. A split second before he vanished, I rushed straight forward to where he was. I was right about the suit, by the way; it was definitely made for fighting. As I ran, I felt the air get sliced behind me. Looking around quickly, I did a dodge roll to my left and stood up as fast as I could. Getting into my battle position, I couldn’t see Xehanort anywhere. The air stirred to my left.

“Behind you,” he said right before he whipped his Keyblade across my back. It didn’t hurt that much, probably because of my suit, but there was enough force to blow me off my feet and make me drop my sword. Falling to the ground, he appeared in front of me and grabbed me by the neck. Teleporting us both to the far side of the courtyard, he held me to the wall by my neck. I struggled against his grip, pulling at his hand and kicking towards him. When I started to see colored dots, he dropped me.

“What the hell kind of training was that!?” I gasped, coughing and rubbing my throat.

“Hands on training. A test, if you will.” Xehanort smiled at me, relaxing his position. “You failed, by the way.”

“Ya think? You could’ve at least warned me when you were going to attack. Or, you know, actually teach me what I’m supposed to do.”

“I think that experience is essential before beginning lessons,” he said, almost proud of his methods of “teaching.” I coughed some more, thinking about the last time he beat me up and wondering if that qualified as experience or not. “Get your sword,” he told me again when I could breathe.

I summoned it, standing up and getting into my battle position. “Ready,” I mumbled, glaring at him.

“What you did before was good,” he informed me, getting into his own battle position and walking around me slowly. “Anticipating your opponent’s next move is always the key. Knowing where your opponent is at all times is also vitally important.” He disappeared. “You have to use all of your senses,” his voice instructed, coming from all around me. I closed my eyes and tried to pinpoint his location. There was a change in the air to my right, and I immediately whipped my sword up to block his attack. “Very good,” he congratulated, disappearing again. I felt him hit my side. Hard. “But you can’t linger on every blow. You have to keep moving and anticipating what your opponent will do next.” He emphasized his point by appearing in front of me and trying to attack head on. I blocked his attack and turned around quickly to block his next attack. Xehanort hit my left shoulder. “Don’t rely on what you think your opponent might do. Always act on what you know.”

“What I know is that you’re crazy, but I can’t do much about it, can I?” I muttered to myself.

Xehanort jumped high into the air. I followed him, wanting to give him a good, hard whack upside the head with my sword. When I reached to about where he was, I threw my sword in his direction. He dodged it easily and came flying down at me, Keyblade ready. I summoned my sword, which was flying away from me very quickly, and got it into blocking position. Again, he teleported just before he hit me head on. I twisted my body so that I was upside down and blocked his oncoming blow. We both let ourselves fall to the ground, with me being insanely cautious and thinking that he could strike at any time he wanted to. That was probably what his goal was: to keep me always thinking about whether or not another blow’s coming. I did a summersault so that I wouldn’t land on my face.

“Now that you have a general feel for predicting your opponent’s moves,” he told me, folding his hands behind his back, “we can move onto becoming faster than your opponent.”

“Meaning teleporting, right?” I asked, wanting to be as fast as him, just so I can get some payback. He nodded. “Bring it.”

* * *

I got the teleporting thing down. Maybe all the training hell Riku put me through before actually helped a bit. The only thing that was freaking annoying was that I could only teleport short distances away, unlike the totally convenient portal teleporting which allowed me to traverse among worlds. That was probably his intention, though. Just to make sure that I didn’t run away. After a few hours of teleporting around Xehanort, he finally approved that I had mastered it. Plus, he also taught me how to throw an energy ball (which was more colorful and more powerful than a dark ball).

“Very good,” he said. “Almost brilliant. You’re still a bit slow, but speed comes with practice.” I personally thought that disappearing and reappearing in a split second was fast, but insanity knows best, right? “Now, I won’t always be able to speak to you during battles—” Oh darn? “—so I’m going to have to let you get used to my method of communication.”

What, sign language? I sat down on the ground.

This is how I talk to my apprentices during battle, his voice said from inside my head. On the outside, I seemed fine. But inside my head I was panicking like no other. I didn’t know if he could just talk to me, or if he could hear my own thoughts, or if he could possess me like Xemnas did.

So can you hear my thoughts? I asked him mentally, testing if he could.

Yes, he answered, but only if they’re direct it at me. I didn’t really care how that worked out, because I was relieved that he couldn’t hear any other thoughts that I might have… maybe.

Wait, I said to him. Apprentices? How many have you had? And I don’t think I would consider myself your apprentice.

When you’re a famous scientist, young and ambitious people want to learn what you have to teach. I saw him shrug.

He still didn’t say anything about me being his apprentice, and it bothered me. Why would he want me to be his apprentice? Did he actually think that someday I would actually find someone and teach them what he’s forcibly teaching me? Like I said before, he’s a Fruit Loop.

We just stayed like that for a while, me taking a break and Xehanort thinking about whatever goes through his twisted mind.

I think we should go for a walk, he thought to me, opening a portal. It still felt weird, like my personal space was being intruded upon. I could tell that he’d be doing that a lot in the future, so might as well get used to it now.

Not answering him, I got up and walked through the portal, not caring where the heck I was going to be dumped. Turns out that it was Sunset Horizons, nighttime.

Also, every one of my friends was there.

* * *

Riku put the item he retrieved from Destiny Islands in his pocket, and waited patiently while they drove to Sunset Horizons.

“How long is it going to take?” he asked half an hour after they left Destiny Islands.

“I don’t know,” King Mickey said. “A few hours, maybe?”

Riku made himself comfortable and thought about another Crystal memory.

It was right after he left her at Radiant Gardens. He knew that he had a job to do, but he also knew how much trouble Crystal could get herself into. So he stayed at Radiant Gardens, just to make sure she didn’t die or something. As she went into the Crystal Fissure, he followed from above and made his own camp above the rocks. A while after she fell asleep, Riku saw a cloaked figure coming from the direction of the Borough.

A member of Organization XIII! he mentally exclaimed. He had to wake Crystal up somehow, to warn her that someone was coming, but how? The only way to do it would be to go down there and wake her up himself (there weren’t any loose rocks that wouldn’t hurt her… Well…). Turns out he didn’t need to. Looking down, he saw that she was up and ready. Only problem was that there was only one place to hide, and it was way too close to the Organization member. But she tried and made it.

The member walked up to the fire then looked around the little fissure. “Come out, come out, wherever you are,” he coaxed. It was Axel, the eighth member of Organization XIII. “I know you’re here somewhere, so don’t even think of staying hidden.”

Riku wanted to jump down and fight Axel himself, but he knew that Crystal wasn’t always going to have him hanging around every time she got into trouble. Nope; she had to do this herself. Besides, he didn’t want to get yelled at… Again.

“We can do this the easy way or the hard way,” he went on. “Your choice.” Riku watched as Crystal stepped out from her hiding place and faced Axel head on. Fortunately, she was smart enough to give herself an out. Unfortunately, her exit led to no other hiding places. Axel chuckled. “You part of the Organization?” he asked. Then he made some joke that he thought was funny. Riku was wondering whether or not Axel was kidding or if he really didn’t remember. Then he asked Crystal her name, told her his when she didn’t answer, and asked her if she didn’t like him.

Oh no, Riku thought, doing a face-palm.

“Well,” she said, “you did make a lousy first impression. You should really work on your people skills.” She shrugged. “Oh well.” Then she turned and ran to the Great Maw.

“This is going to be fun,” Axel said as he went after her. Riku stayed where he was. There weren’t any good hiding places he could get to without being seen. If Crystal found out about him being there, he would more than likely be bombarded with questions. Not something he would ever want to bring upon himself. So he just sat there and tried to see what was happening.

Eventually, Crystal came running through the fissure, hood down. Axel wasn’t chasing her, but he had probably gone back to tell the boss what he found. She looked around the fissure, and Riku was sure that she saw him.

Not good, Riku thought, opening a portal to where he was supposed to be. Not good at all.

I was right, too, present day Riku thought, staring out the window at space. Far ahead, there was a little light brown speck. Inside his heart, he could feel the thing from before becoming alive again, only this time it was more energetic. Crystal was there. He was sure of it.

“We’re almost there,” Riku said silently. “Just hold on.”

Of course, he was also very nervous. The whole “wasn’t kidnapped, ran away” possibility was still on the table. The same questions came up; does she want to come with us? Does she hate me? What if she decides to stay? What will I do?

He’d find out soon enough.

* * *

“Whoa,” Sora gasped as they landed in Sunset Horizons.

“This place really lives up to its name,” Kairi said, trying to lighten the mood. Didn’t really work. It was dark, and Riku, Sora and Kairi didn’t know if that meant anything significant or if it just meant night. After fighting darkness for the past two years, you can never be too careful.

“Where would they be?” Donald asked the King after they walked a little ways, looking around. The King didn’t answer, because the answer was staring them right in the face.

A portal appeared; Crystal stepped out of it, followed by Xehanort.

“Crystal?” Riku asked.

* * *

Riku was there.

Riku was there, with Sora, Donald, Goofy, Kairi, and the King. He came to find me, and he did find me. My heart started racing, and I wanted to run to him, make sure that it was really him. Nothing else mattered. Not the Unbirths, not the Organization, not the worlds. Just him. I almost dropped my sword to bolt to his side, but I didn’t.

I heard his stupid voice inside my head. You are nothing. You don’t exist. He’s here to get rid of you, just like he and Sora got rid of the Organization. That’s why we have to rebuild it. Because of him. He doesn’t care about you. Destroy him before they destroy you.

I didn’t know what to do. Was he telling the truth? Would Riku really do that? I didn’t think so… but Xehanort hasn’t lied to me yet. But he is a crazed up rabid squirrel. And since when has he relied on making me feel like shit just to make me do what he could do himself?

“Crystal?” Riku asked, his concern obvious.

Finish him.

I can’t, I thought. Not Riku.

“Crystal?” Riku asked again, a bit less controlled. He reached for something behind him while stepping forward slowly, and my heart began to beat faster.

Do it. NOW! I panicked.

I conjured up an energy ball and whispered “Sorry.” Riku, his eyes locked onto mine, pulled up the thing he had reached for. Scared and confused, I threw the energy ball at Riku. He dodged it, but the thing he had in his hand went flying through the air. The energy ball collided with it in midair. What fell to the ground was a charred paopu fruit.

“Riku!” Sora, Kairi and the King shouted, running up to him. Riku was lying on the ground a foot or two from the paopu fruit. Only two emotions were reflected on his face: shock, and hurt. Both caused by me. I had almost killed him. I was almost responsible for the death of the one person in the universe that was brave enough to come looking for me. Well, him and everyone else did, but I was mainly focused on Riku.

Xehanort laughed softly, darkly, and stepped a little forward so that I was behind him. Only I could tell that the laugh was fake, and that he was actually a little frustrated.

“Well done,” he said to me, not taking his eyes off the group before us. “You may yet be able to help me rebuild.” I knew what he was doing. The congratulations were fake; the praise was fake. He was giving Riku, Sora, and everybody else just enough information so that they’d keep going. Keep being unsuspecting pawns for Master Xehanort. I couldn’t let him do that. I wouldn’t let him use my friends and me against our wills.

No.

The smile dropped from Xehanort’s face as he slowly turned towards me, realizing that I wouldn’t be a nice little servant that will do whatever the hell he wants me to. What? he asked me.

No, I thought more forcefully. I won’t let you use us. I’m going to make sure that they at least won’t fall into your trap and unknowingly help you with your sick plan. Anger filled his eyes, and he suddenly summoned his Keyblade and sprang at the others. Acting impulsively, I quickly teleported between him and the others, blocking his attack. He was not going to hurt my friends.

“Crystal!” I glanced behind me to see Riku picking up the remains of the paopu fruit. “Come home soon, okay?” I would’ve started bawling right then and there if Master Jackass hadn’t teleported us back to my cell.

“I will,” I whispered, silent tears gently rolling down my face.

* * *

She’s alright was Riku’s first thought after Crystal was gone. She’s okay.

“Are you okay?” Sora asked, walking up to Riku. Riku knew that Sora was really asking if he was okay about seeing his girlfriend with some controlling psycho case, and almost getting barbequed by said girlfriend.

“Yeah,” Riku answered, staring at the flaking paopu fruit in his hand. Then he got up, saying, “Well, we found her. It only took twenty tries, but at least we know she’s safe.”

“So… what was the part about her almost frying you?” Donald asked.

Almost. She didn’t, did she?” Riku knew that they were wondering why he was defending her. It was because he had to believe that she wouldn’t, couldn’t, do anything to hurt him. He had to leave her some room to come home.

Unfortunately, that room was slowly decreasing.

“But she could,” Donald mumbled under his breath. Donald and Crystal weren’t the best of friends, but the little duck wouldn’t actually think Crystal would do something that extreme, did he? “And what was with the outfit?”

Riku had been so happy that she was okay that he sort of overlooked the fact that what she wore just then and what she wore in the dream were the same. Also, she could teleport, just like in the dream.

Good thing she didn’t have Kingdom Key, Riku thought, relieved. That would’ve been a bit difficult to explain.

“Your Majesty,” Sora asked, “what do you think about it?” The King had had been quiet throughout the entire encounter. Surely he had some input. But he was silent.

“King?” Riku asked, becoming more concerned with each second the King didn’t reply. “Mickey?”

“It’s Master Xehanort,” the King seethed. This meant something was definitely wrong. The King never seethed.

“Didn’t he turn into a Heartless and Nobody?” Sora asked. “And didn’t we defeat both of them?” “Defeat” being a nice word for “killed.”

“That was Xehanort, one of Ansem the Wise’s old apprentice,” Mickey explained. “You guys even saw a picture of him.”

I didn’t, Riku thought.

“Oh yeah.” Sora got into “thinking position.” “The guy we saw just now didn’t look like the picture at all.”

“But they’re both called ‘Xehanort’,” Goofy jumped in.

“Yeah.”

Riku and the King were having their own silent conversation. And so far, Mickey wasn’t liking where it was going.

“Could you excuse us for a few minutes?” the King asked, walking away with Riku. When they were far enough away, the King asked his question. “Are you sure?”

“There’s no other way. If we don’t do anything, then we may never see Crystal again. Now, can you help me or not?” Riku could see that the King didn’t like what he was saying. Riku had seen that look so many times when they were traveling together.

“Yes,” King finally said. “But you are absolutely sure? Remember the last time I let you go off on your own? The next time I saw you, you looked like Ansem.”

“I know,” Riku said. “I won’t let that happen to me. Not again.”

“Alright then. You’re going to need a gummi ship.”

Riku smiled. “Thanks, Mickey.” And they left, setting up a plan along the way. Sora and Kairi weren’t going to like plan. They weren’t going to like it at all.

* * *

“Why didn’t you do as I say and finish him!?” Xehanort shouted furiously at me. Yup, he was definitely suppressing anger back there.

“Because I still have a choice,” I answered calmly. Yeah, I was kinda scared as hell because 1) I’d never seen him even remotely close to anger in the whole, what is it now, month I’ve known him, and 2) he once discreetly hinted that he could turn me into a mindless Unbirth that does whatever it’s told. But the fact that I didn’t put Riku on the menu right next to barbequed ribs and that he was okay made me insanely relieved. I sort of felt really bad for cooking the paopu fruit, though. Xehanort groaned.

“If you weren’t so important…” He didn’t finish his sentence; his message was clear: if I wasn’t most like the only one to help him rebuild the Organization up of Unbirths, then he’d terminate me right then and there.

Wait a sec…

“Is your name really ‘Xehanort’?” I asked.

“Yes,” he said, still fuming. “Why?”

I glared into his eyes. “Because a man named Xehanort used Riku to come back from the dead.”

There was no way I could forget when Riku told me.

It was the first couple days I ever spent on Destiny Islands. Riku and I were hanging out, and it was one of the rare chances I would get to ask him a few questions that didn’t get answered before.

“So, how did you learn to warp?” I asked. “Actually, how’d you get me to warp through you?”

“There goes our peaceful sunset,” he groaned. I shoved him. “It’s sort of a long story.”

“Paraphrase,” I prompted.

“It’s complicated.”

“Well, try your best. And stop making excuses.” I smiled at him.

“A dead, Heartless guy named Xehanort, but called himself Ansem, took over my heart and then my body, infusing the power of darkness into my heart.”

I just stared at him. “ ‘Dead’?” I squeaked. He nodded.

“Told you it was complicated,” he whispered, turning back to the sunset.

“I’m sorry,” I said, feeling bad for making him remember another bad memory.

“Don’t apologize,” he told me kindly. “You didn’t know.” I grabbed him in a tight hug. Even after everything that’s happened to him, all the bad things and the darkness, he’s still able to have fun and love people.

“After all the hell you put him through,” I said angrily, “the pain, the suffering, and he still has a better heart than you.”

“What I put him through?” He looked at me, genuinely confused. “And, as you can see, I’m very much alive. You must be mistaken with someone else.”

I just stared at him, speechless. “But… but… ‘Xehanort’ can’t be a very common name.”

“No one else has it, as far as I know,” he said.

“Then how do I know you didn’t almost kill Riku!?” I shouted. Now I was getting frustrated.

The damn bastard just shrugged at me. Me, being the temperamental little angel I am, conjured an energy ball and hurled it at the wall. Xehanort just watched; he didn’t try to stop me, he didn’t try to calm me down, he just stood there and watched as I threw energy ball after energy ball at the wall. When I was all energied out, I collapsed onto the floor.

“Well…” he started.

“Well, what?” I demanded.

“Well, there is one other person that may have borne the name ‘Xehanort’,” he finished.

“You couldn’t have told me that fifty energy blasts ago?”

“It was entertaining.” Bastardly jackass.

“So?” I asked. “Who else?”

“My old apprentice.”


Shut up, shut up, shut up.
Don’t want to hear it.
Get out, get out, get out
Get out of my way.
Don’t tell me who I should be.
(Don’t tell me who I should be)
And don’t try to tell me what’s right for me.
Don’t tell me what I should do.
I don’t want to waste my time
I’ll watch you fade away.
 
Last edited:

TwilightRiku_13

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Wow, that was a really long chapter. Man, now I just want to kick the crap out of Master Xehanort; he is such a bastard, as you have said numerous times. So, Master Xehanort had an apprentice named Xehanort as well? That is really confusing. Couple more questions: Are Terra, Aqua, and Ven in the story? Are you going to bring up the connection between Crystal and Zexion? What is the song or lyrics that you typed at the top of the chapter (I know the song was "Shut Up" by Simple Plan at the end)? Anyway, enough of my rambling, great chapter again, and I look forward to your next update.
 

Andillexe

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Wow, that was a really long chapter. Man, now I just want to kick the crap out of Master Xehanort; he is such a bastard, as you have said numerous times. So, Master Xehanort had an apprentice named Xehanort as well? That is really confusing. Couple more questions: Are Terra, Aqua, and Ven in the story? Are you going to bring up the connection between Crystal and Zexion? What is the song or lyrics that you typed at the top of the chapter (I know the song was "Shut Up" by Simple Plan at the end)? Anyway, enough of my rambling, great chapter again, and I look forward to your next update.

Sorry 'bout that. ^^; I was thinking of splitting it up, like with the last chapter of the previous story, but I didn't want to keep you waiting longer. And yuppers, MX was "Little Xehanort's" master (which we will go more in depth with later). Unfortunately, Terra, Aqua, and Ven aren't physically in the story, but they get mentioned... sometime. Same with Zexion; it'll come up later. The song is "Stay Alive" by Trapt. And thank you (and everyone else who's toughed this out since day 1) for sticking with me and my insanely ginormous stories. XP (Just wait until the next one >3 )
 

Andillexe

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Chapter 4: WHAT?!

Falling in the black,
Slipping through the cracks,
Falling to the depths
Can I ever go back?
Dreaming of the way it used to be.
Can you hear me?
Falling in the black,
Slipping through the cracks,
Falling to the depths
Can I ever go back?
Falling inside, falling inside the black, black, black, black.


“Yeah, good thing I know who that is.” I shook my head.

“Oh, you still don’t remember, do you?” He laughed.

“Will you stop talking about my forgotten memories and just tell me?! They’re gone and obviously not coming back, so just drop it.”

“What makes you think they can’t come back?”

I blinked a couple times. “…WHAT!?? Why didn’t you just tell me this earlier, instead of talking about how bad it is and how sad it is that I don’t remember? Do you just take joy and pleasure out of other people’s pain and confusion?” I scoffed. “Shouldn’t be surprised, though. It’s typical dark behavior.”

One minute, I was sitting in the middle of my cell with Xehanort leaning on the open cell door, and next thing I knew he had me pinned up against the wall, his arm up to my throat, keeping me there, blocking off my airways. His face was so close to mine that I had difficulty focusing on him.

“Don’t ever say that again,” he told me, rage burning in his eyes. “I will never give into the darkness like my foolish apprentice.”

Okay, now we were getting somewhere with the apprentice. Too bad I had to nearly be choked to death to get there. “Got it,” I croaked. Xehanort let me go and walked back to the door. “So,” I ventured, preparing myself for another attack, “what’s with your apprentice?” He just stared at me for a second, and then sighed.

“That’s information you’ll get after we rebuild the Organization,” he told me. “But, for now we need to get you out of this cell.”

“Uh, why? Don’t you want to suppress me and keep me your prisoner until our dastardly deeds are over and done with?” I should probably lighten up on the sarcasm.

“Do you really want to stay down here? ” He looked at me curiously.

“Well, no,” I said. “I was just being sarcastic.”

“Then come on,” he said, walking away. I followed, figuratively kissing that cell goodbye once and for all. Walking out of the cell, I looked around. My cell was the first in a long hall filled with cells. I didn’t ask Xehanort why anyone would need so many cells. For all I knew, he’d start laughing like a maniac, or he could just break down and cry. That’d be a bit too weird for me.

“Maybe it’d be better to teleport up to your new room,” Xehanort told me. I shrugged, not caring how we got to the room; I just wanted out of that dank dungeon. He opened a portal, and walked through it. Following, I found myself in a crazy spacious room.

“Whoa,” I gasped. Okay, maybe it was crazy spacious, but it was way better than the dinky little cell I’ve been living in for the past month-ish. There was a nice bed, a dresser, a bookshelf, and a desk. Best part: everything was blue. Sure, I knew that it meant “Unbirth room”, but blue’s my favorite color (connection? I really don’t care anymore).

“The kitchens are down the hall to the left, down the stairs, and to the far right,” Xehanort charted for me. I wondered why he only pointed out the kitchens, but I didn’t ask where anything else was. The faster he got out of my room, the better.

“Good to know,” I said while heading towards the bookshelf, not really paying attention.

“I’ll be upstairs if you need me.” And with that, he finally left me alone. The question of why he was all of a sudden being a good host popped into my brain, but I’d worry about it later.

“Geez,” I said to myself, getting used to the softness of my room. “He’s very bipolar, isn’t he?” I looked around. “Does this mean I can leave?” I asked myself. I tried to teleport outside. Didn’t work. I ended up in the courtyard. Then I tried to teleport to Destiny Islands. That didn’t work, either. Giving up, I teleported back to my room and lay down on the bed after grabbing a random book from the shelf. I leafed through it and got another book off the shelf. A couple dozen books later, there was a knock on the door.

“Finally using common courtesy?” I asked, sitting up.

“May I come in?” asked an unfamiliar voice.

“Uh, sure?” I cocked my head, curious to see who this new voice was. The door opened, and a boy about my age with short, sandy blonde hair stepped through. His eyes were a bright shade of green that had some light blue around the edges, and he was wearing a blue T-shirt and baggy pants. “Psh, why do you get the normal outfit while I’m stuck with this?” I pointed at my god awful suit. He laughed, then shrugged. “So, who are you and how did you know I was in here?”

He walked over to me and extended his hand. “My name’s Jethro, but you can call me Seth.”

“How does that nickname work out?” I asked.

“I don’t like the name ‘Jethro’,” he explained. “So I go with ‘Seth’.”

“Very good reason,” I nodded. I had only met the guy five seconds ago, but I liked him already. “So, are you Xehanort’s son or something?”

“What? No!” he corrected me.

“Held captive?” I asked.

“No. Nothing like that,” he laughed. “Master Xehanort took me in, and I like it here.” He looked at the floor and got a strange look in his eyes.

“Oh.” I’d ask about that later. “So what do you think of the Unbirths?” Seth just shrugged.

“You hungry?” he asked me. As if it heard him, my stomach growled very loudly. Between becoming profoundly confused and almost grilling my boyfriend, I hadn’t noticed that my body needed one of the most basic and important means of survival: food. Seth smiled. “I guess that means ‘yes’?”

“Uh, yeah.” I looked at the dresser, then at my suit. “Could you excuse me for a second while I change out of my stupid fighting suit?”

“Yeah, sure.” He left, giving me a bit of privacy.

I went to the dresser and searched for some clothes that I could wear. After going through three drawers of suits, I finally found a shirt and pants similar to what Seth was wearing.

“Kay, ready,” I told him, walking out of my room.

“Alright, then.” Seth smiled at me and led the way to the only place I already had directions for.


* * *


Seth’s awesome. He has a great sense of humor, is almost as sarcastic as me, and he’s really nice. When he was little, his parents died somehow, but he can’t remember how, and Xehanort found him wandering around his town. Seth’s been living here ever since.

While we were talking, laughing, and having a good time, I suddenly forgot about Riku. Sure, it was only for an hour or two, but I still forgot about him. Riku, the guy who was probably working his butt off looking for me, and I forgot about him. How could I just forget about that? That stupid castle was more than enough to serve as motivation to keep trusting Riku would come. As I realized this, I quickly excused myself and ran up to my room. When I opened the door, I immediately started looking around for something that I could display that would always remind me of Riku. I didn’t find anything. I slumped onto the bed.

“Crystal?” Seth knocked on my door. “Are you okay?” He came in and sat down on the bed next to me.

“Not really,” I said, sniffling a little. I didn’t want to cry and make Seth feel awkward. “But I’ll deal with it.” Seth was just about to say something when Master of Worst Timing in the Universe popped into my room.

“Mission time,” Xehanort said. “You need to get ready.” He looked at Seth and smiled. “Both of you.”

“Really?” Seth looked up at him and smiled. Xehanort nodded. And with that, Seth jumped off the bed and ran out of the room.

“Why can’t you be that enthusiastic?” he asked me. I glared up at him.

“What’s the mission? Destroy some lives, homes, and worlds?”

“Just get ready,” he snapped, then he disappeared. I got up to change back into my stupid suit. Apparently he was still frustrated with me.

“Crystal, you ready?” Seth asked from the other side of the door.

“Yeah,” I said as I walked out. He seemed so excited, like we were going to the beach instead of out to rebuild the most stupid organization in the history of organizations and replace the Nobodies with Unbirths. But we weren’t going to the beach. He was wearing a suit similar to mine, only with red instead of blue, with the red outlining pecs and a six pack on his torso instead of my stupid emblem. He was also wearing a helmet that didn’t let anyone see his face.

“All set?” Xehanort asked, teleporting in front of us. Seth and I nodded. “All right, then.” He opened a portal and we all walked through.


* * *


The first part of the plan involved getting to Disney Castle. If Riku was going to go look for Crystal on his own, he would need a gummi ship. And he couldn’t just take the gummi ship the others were using too and strand them there on the Wasteland. Nope. He had to go to Disney Castle where the King had tons of gummi ships just waiting in his gummi bay. That was the easy part of the plan.

The hard part of the plan was getting said gummi ship inconspicuously and taking off without anyone noticing.

“Hey, Riku,” Sora said as they jumped out of the gummi ship. The others were heading to the Library, leaving the two friends alone. “You know you don’t have to do this alone, right?”

“Yeah, Sora.” He knows, Riku thought. I’m screwed. “I appreciate the offer, but I really do need to do this alone. At least for a little while.”

“In that case, I am going to be totally oblivious as to what you are about to do in the next five minutes,” Sora stated as he turned his back to Riku. Riku smiled and ran to the nearest, best gummi ship. “Just be careful, okay?” Sora walked off to the Library.

“I will,” Riku said. I promise, he added mentally. And with that, he took off to find Crystal and bring her home.


* * *


“Where’s Riku?” Kairi asked as Sora walked into the Library.

“He’s right behind me,” Sora lied, pointing into the hall behind him.

“Not unless he can magically turn invisible.” Sora looked behind him and ran into the hall to look for Riku.

“He’s gone.” Kairi came up behind him and hugged him around the waist.

“You know, you really suck at lying,” she said.

“What are you talking about? I really don’t know where he is.”

“Where’s Riku?” the King asked as he came into the hallway.

“He’s gone,” Kairi said. “More than likely to look for Crystal on his own.”

“Welp, I guess we should keep looking, too.”

“Why, Yer Majesty?” Goofy asked as he and Donald joined everyone in the hallway.

“Two search parties are better than one, right? So let’s go.” They all went back to the gummi bay to help Riku out.


* * *


“Aurora City?” I asked when we got to our destination. “I’ve never heard of this place.” Of course, I wasn’t really the most adventurous person in my whole conscious year outside my home world. Aurora City was beautiful. There was a pretty sunrise (and I almost never use the word “pretty”), and the people of Aurora City were milling about the plaza we were standing off to the side of. “So, which poor, unfortunate person is gonna get their life shattered?”

“I think you’ve made your point clear,” Xehanort told me, looking like he wanted to slap me. “We’ve found our volunteers.” I looked at him and followed his gaze to a group of people. They would’ve seemed normal, but they were all packed together in the far corner of the plaza. None of them spoke; they just looked around the square. I was going to ask Xehanort why they were the “volunteers,” when they suddenly dispersed. A few of them stuck together, flanking a woman who had walked by them. The others went off to who knows where.

The guy closest to the woman ran up behind her and grabbed her purse, running into a nearby alley. “Help! Thief!” she screamed. The other two that were following her ran off after their buddy like they were trying to help the lady and bring the purse back. Xehanort and Seth teleported.

“Uh…” I said. “No, no. It’s fine. I think I’ll walk. Who needs teleporting, anyway?” I went to the alley. All the guys from the group were there in that alley, with Xehanort and Seth blocking the only two exits. I came up behind Seth, who didn’t even acknowledge my entrance.

“Hey, man, let us through,” said the guy with the purse (whom I’m going to assume is the leader). “We don’t want no trouble.” Xehanort didn’t say anything. “All right. You asked for it.” The leader motioned to the rest of the group, and everybody took out various weapons. Xehanort smiled and snapped his fingers, summoning about ten Unbirths that proceeded to surround the people in the alley.

“What the hell are these things!?” some guy exclaimed. The Unbirths closed in on the group.

“Doesn’t matter,” another guy told the second guy. “Just get ‘em!” Too bad they weren’t a match for the Unbirths. Before they had a chance to even lift their weapons, Xehanort nodded and the Unbirths and Seth took every one of them out in about five seconds. The Unbirths grabbed a group member and teleported away.

“Well done, Jethro,” Xehanort congratulated. Seth turned to face me and I could just imagine the look on his face at the name “Jethro.” I attempted not to laugh. “You could learn a thing or two from him,” Xehanort added, staring right at me.

“They aren’t dead, are they?” I asked.

“No.” Then Xehanort disappeared, more than likely back to the castle.

“What now?” I asked Seth. He took off his helmet and smiled at me.

“Explore?” He asked, looking around. “I hear there’s a haunted house outside of town. Wanna check it out?”

“If it means spending less time in Crazy’s castle, then yeah. Let’s go.” I walked out of the alley, Seth following.


* * *


“No wonder they call it ‘haunted’,” I said as we came up on the house. It was one of your typical haunted mansions; overgrown lawn, rotted porch, siding peeling, shutters either falling off or completely gone, and very few windows still fully intact. Seth’s smile got even wider as he walked up to the door. “What are you doing?” I asked, looking around and getting a weird feeling that if we were caught sneaking around, that’d be very bad.

“Just checking it out,” he told me as he examined the door. “Why? You wouldn’t be scared now, would you?” I glared at him then ran up to the door and yanked it open. The wood was so rotten that I almost took the entire door off. “Way to go.” I frowned at him as I walked into the dark house. The inside was almost as typical haunted house as the outside. We were standing in the foyer, with dust and/or cobwebs covering everything, floorboards rotting or completely gone, and cracks everywhere along the walls and ceiling. “Let’s go downstairs,” he told me, heading toward the nearest door that would seem to head to the basement.

“Why?” He just shrugged and descended the dark stairwell. I followed, not wanting to be left alone. It was sort of hard to climb down, because the steps had either rotted away, leaving holes in them or were very uneven. So it was a slow descent. About five minutes of climbing down the stairs, Seth and I heard voices and saw a little flicker of light.

“Maybe we should turn around and head back,” Seth suggested, almost inaudible.

“Scared?” I whispered back. Brushing past him, I continued to go down the stairwell. Seth said something to himself and followed me. Yeah, it was an incredibly dumbass move, but my curiosity was getting piqued (not to mention my damned pride was flaring like no other). I sorta regret it, but not too much. When I got to the bottom, I found myself in an incredibly roomy basement, where the only furniture was a small, worn down couch, chair, and coffee table. About ten or eleven guys were sitting in a circle around a small fire.

“Hey, what are you doing here!?” one of the guys demanded, looking straight at me. Everyone else turned to see who the intruder was.

Before I could answer, a different guy shouted, “That’s one of the people that took Jerry and them!” He stood up and pointed at me. “Yeah, I could never forget that weird-ass outfit.” Everyone stood up and faced me, picking up various weapons and walking towards me. By then, I was cursing myself for being so stupid and backing away slowly towards the stairs. When I finally did reach the stairs, I was too scared to actually pick my feet up to go up the stairs, so I tripped and fell on my butt. “Where are they? What’d you do with them?” they asked as they swung their weapons. Before I could answer (and before they could actually come at me), Seth teleported in front of me then portalled both of us back to my room. I sat down on my bed.

“Why don’t you ever just listen!?” Seth yelled at me, storming around my room. “Honestly, your curiosity will get us killed one day. Then where would we be?”

“Dead?” I said with a smile. “And why are you yelling at me, anyway? You’re the one who wanted to explore. ‘Check it out’. Besides, I could’ve taken them all on.”

“Was falling on your ass part of the plan? Plus, I wasn’t the one who wanted to keep going into the basement of an occupied haunted building.” He groaned.

“Well, as super fun as this blame game is,” I said, getting up, “I really want some me-time. Almost getting beaten to a pulp by a group of people who saw us taking their friends is somewhat exhausting. So shoo.” I tried to wave him out of the room.

“Not so fast,” came Xehanort’s maddeningly annoying voice. Predictably, he teleported himself into my room. “I need to talk to both of you.”

“Okay, now I’m not even joking. We need to make this room teleport-proof,” I told him. “And thanks, but I already met my lecture quota for the day.”

“I’m not here to lecture you. I’m here to give you your memories back.” Wow, that was seriously out of the freaking blue. “Since you seem incapable of realizing how important rebuilding the Organization is.” He took something out of his pocket and tossed it to me. I caught it instinctively, and immediately got flashes of me and Zexion together, just like when I was on the island.

“What the hell was that?” I asked, shock making me drop the object. When it was on the floor, I saw that it was a white, round pendant attached to a blue ribbon. A necklace.

“Pick it up again,” Xehanort said to me, smiling a bit. I looked at Seth, hoping in vain that I’d get some explanation as to what the freak was going on. He was shifting his gaze between Xehanort, me, and the necklace, a look of utter confusion clear on his face. I took a breath and cautiously picked the necklace up. Again, flashes of Zexion and I moved through my mind. It was still overwhelming (and somewhat painful), but I was partly prepared; so I gripped the pendant of the necklace tightly and took it.

There were multiple images of me and Zexion just sitting together in various places, but there were some of me and other members of the Organization. There were quite a lot of me and Axel, and I thought I even saw a couple of Riku once or twice. Then there were images of Twilight Town, Ansem the Wise, and Naminé. When it was over, I stood there panting, the tiny pendant cutting into my palm.

“I used to be in the Organization,” I said, the new information flooding through my brain. “I was the fourteenth member. Only they called me ‘Xion’…” I took a good look at the pendant. On the other side were two kanji symbols. “Water gem,” I whispered. Even though I couldn’t read it, I knew what it meant. “Zexion liked me, though he didn’t have a heart and couldn’t feel emotions. And I liked him, too.”

“Maybe now you see why it’s so important for us to rebuild the Organization,” Xehanort told me, interrupting my babbling over these newfound memories. I stared at the necklace. “So we can fulfill what the Organization set out to do. To obtain Kingdom Hearts and become whole!”

“I understand,” I said as I put the necklace on. “I understand that what you’re wanting me to do is wrong. I won’t help you anymore.” Even though I didn’t really do much in the time I was held captive. Seth did most of the work.

He stared at me for a second. “What?” he finally asked me. “What did you say?”

“I said, you can do everything yourself, ‘cause I’m out,” I repeated, walking to the door. Seth stared at me, his jaw hanging open. “I don’t know about you,” I told Seth as I reached the door, “but I’m not going to help this kook destroy people’s lives.” I opened the door. “Goodbye, Seth.”

“If you walk out that door, you will regret it,” Xehanort said in a low, threatening voice.

“Anything’s better than here,” I mumbled, yanking the door open. “Even oblivion.”

“Aaarrrgg!!”

I’m through now, so take me and blow me away.
When I feel numb, I’ll let you know
I won’t become what I was before.
You cannot kill what’s not your creation;
This is the art of breaking.
I think I might just lose my mind
If I have to watch this one more time.
 
Last edited:

TwilightRiku_13

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WHAT!?!? Crystal used to be in the Organization? She was onec Xion, the 14th member? And she used to like Zexion? Man, I hope you go into her past more, especially with Zexion. Also, when did her name change? So many questions. Anyway, great job again. I really like the Seth/Jethro character; he seems to match Crystal's wit and sass. Also, one more thing, what were the lyrics at the beginning of the chapter (the ending was "Falling Inside the Black" by Skillet)?
 

Andillexe

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WHAT!?!? Crystal used to be in the Organization? She was onec Xion, the 14th member? And she used to like Zexion? Man, I hope you go into her past more, especially with Zexion. Also, when did her name change? So many questions. Anyway, great job again. I really like the Seth/Jethro character; he seems to match Crystal's wit and sass. Also, one more thing, what were the lyrics at the beginning of the chapter (the ending was "Falling Inside the Black" by Skillet)?

I knew that title was appropriate. Yes, yes, and yes. And I might make a mini story about her and Zexion. I don't know. Her name changed when her original self lost her soul, because when she saw the necklace, she read "water gem", so she thought "crystal". Seth's cool. I made him in dedication of an old friend, only I lightened up his mood a bit more. ^^ The song's "Art of Breaking" by Thousand Foot Krutch.
 

Twilight_Path

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Jeeeeez, look at all the awesomeness I've missed!

lol, The title pwns. As does Thousand Foot Krutch.

"Master of Worse Timing in the Universe" ... Nice.

Full of excellent twists. I love this. You rock, Andillexe.
 

Andillexe

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Chapter 5: You have got to be kidding me.

So clever. Whatever, I’m done with these endeavors.
Alone I’ll walk the winding way. Here I stay.
It’s over. No longer. I feel it growing stronger.
I live to die another day, until I fade away.
Why give up? Why give in? It’s not enough, it never is.
So I will go on until the end.
We’ve become desolate. It’s not enough, it never is.
But I will go on until the end.
The final fight, I win.


“Aaarrrgg!!” Xehanort screamed as he came at me, Keyblade ready. I was ready for him. Right after I said “here,” I began summoning my sword and tensing into my fight position. I remembered how to summon Kingdom Key, but summoning it would be like accepting that what Xehanort’s been saying was all true. Turns out I didn’t have to. Just as Xehanort brought his Keyblade down, Seth jumped between us, his own Keyblade at the ready.

“Seth…” I said, staring at him. “I—”

“Don’t say another word, Crystal,” he cut me off, the strain eminent in his voice. “He’s gone too far, trying to attack you.”

“You should’ve seen him in the Wasteland,” I scoffed. “Oh, yeah. You’re an idiot.” He turned his head slightly towards me and his forehead creased a little, as if to say “this is the thanks I get for saving your sorry ass?”

“Don’t do this, Jethro,” Xehanort told Seth, leaping across the room.

“My name is Seth.” And then Seth portalled us out of that hell hole…

And to the dungeon area.

“He’ll never find us here,” I said as I looked around. “Nope.”

“Let’s see you do better.”

“Is someone there?” came a voice from down the hall. I looked at Seth, who shrugged, and we both ran to the voice. It was one of the group members from Aurora City. He was sitting in the far corner of his cell, his eyes looking around wildly and trembling worse than a leaf caught in the middle of a tornado.

“Where are the others?” I asked him, looking up and down the hall. I figured if this guy was here, then his buddies must be somewhere nearby.

“I don’t know,” the guy whimpered, terror plain in everything he did. “I don’t know. Where am I? Why am I here?”

“I’ll go check the other cells,” Seth told me as he walked down the hall, looking through the bars as he went. The guy just kept blubbering. “Crystal, you might wanna see this.” I looked at the guy then jogged over to Seth. He was standing in the very last cell of the hallway.

“Oh my God,” I breathed. Inside the cell were about five or six very rowdy Unbirths. They were bouncing off the walls, ceiling, bed and each other. Seth went back to the guy.

“How many of you were there?” he demanded. Dude kept rambling on. “Hey!” that got Dude’s attention. “How many were in your group?”

“Uh, seven?” Seth ran back to me.

“There are five Unbirths in that cell, but there were seven in the group.”

“Where’s the seventh?” I asked, watching at the Unbirths.

“Xehanort’s lab, probably.” Yay, he ditched the “Master.” “He might still have his soul, so—”

“So, what?” I interrupted. “What are we going to do? Bring him and his crazy friend over there back to Aurora City? What are we going to tell them? ‘Oh, yeah. Uh, about your buddies. They got their souls ripped out of them by a mad scientist who wants to take over Kingdom Hearts. Sorry.’”

“I don’t think their souls were ripped out of them.”

“Not the point.” I shook my head. “Why does he need a lab, anyway? Can’t he just send out the Unbirths he has now to make new Unbirths, like the Heartless or Nobodies?”

“Unfortunately, the Unbirths don’t have that ability,” Xehanort’s voice answered my question. The dude promptly started freaking out when Xehanort appeared in front of his cell. “That’s why I need your help. So that I can have Kingdom Hearts. So that you Unbirths can have Kingdom Hearts.” I could feel Seth looking at me, but I ignored him.

“Thanks, but no thanks,” I said, dismissing his offer. “I’m fine without Kingdom Hearts.” Xehanort looked like he was going to attack us again, but I grabbed Seth and light-portalled us out of there. We ended up in the Wastelands. “It’s not Destiny Islands, but at least we’re out of that stupid castle.”

“Too bad we’re still, like, five hundred meters away from it,” Seth told me. I looked around and all I saw were the same cliffs as before.

“What are you talking about?” I asked. “I don’t see the castle.” He pointed to an unusual, castle-shaped grouping of cliff-rock things not too far away. “That’s the castle?” Seth nodded. “Oh, you have got to be kidding me.”

“I might be able to teleport us somewhere else,” Seth pondered. “Only problem is there’s a strong possibility that it’ll be back inside the castle.”

“Okay, I vote not doing that.” I looked around. “I know how we’re going to get out of here.” I told him, smiling.

“How?”

“Escape by gummi ship.” I pointed up at the gummi ship in the sky.

* * *

The first logical place to look for Crystal would be to look for her where she was seen last. Or so Riku thought. Not a lot of people know this, but flying a gummi ship for a couple hours is very therapeutic. No, really. Flying through space and blasting things with lasers and dodging various perils is good for you. Gives you time to think. And that’s what Riku did as he rocketed through space, heading to the Wasteland. All his thoughts were on when he and Ansem the Wise decided to erase all of her memories.

“Is this really necessary?” Naminé asked after they put Crystal in the pod.

“Yes,” Ansem said. “If it is as you say, then replacing her memories should protect her.”

“What do you think?” she asked Riku. He looked at the pod for a while before answering.

“I don’t know why, but I feel as if I’ll be very sad if something happens to her,” he answered. Naminé turned to the pod. Crystal was very vague, but they could still see her shadow through the frosted glass of the pod. She was sleeping very soundly, her memories getting replaced.

“I know what you mean,” she said.

“Huh?”

“Nothing.” Naminé smiled. “She just feels like a sister to me.” That puzzled Riku, and he was about to ask her what she meant, but then Ansem sent Riku away on another job.

“Too bad I never got to ask her what she meant by that,” Riku said softly. He looked out the windshield at the Wastelands, and his heart started beating rapidly. “Crystal,” he breathed. Apparently his logic was correct.

* * *

“Riku!” I exclaimed as I ran to him. After everything that’s happened, everything that we had to go through—me, getting taken from my home, and him having to worry about me—and now it’s finally over. I glomped him and we both fell over. “I missed you so much,” I sobbed. He answered me by kissing me very hard (if a person can kiss someone hard, he just did it to me. But it was nice). After a few moments of kissing, Seth coughed.

“Still here,” he said. Riku let go of me, summoned his Keyblade, and attacked Seth.

“What are you doing?” I shouted as I got up. Seth blocked him and they fought.

“How do you know he’s not working for Xehanort?” Riku yelled from the fight.

“Stop attacking me and I’ll tell you why,” Seth grunted as he blocked another blow. Riku attacked harder.

“Riku, stop it,” I told him. “Seth helped me escape, so we owe him that.” Riku leapt away from Seth and put his arm around my waist unnecessarily, yanking me close to him. Seth was still tensed as he spoke.

“Crystal, remember that story I told you? About how Xehanort took me in when I was little?” I nodded. “That was a lie Xehanort made me tell you.” Riku stiffened and glared at Seth with an intensity that probably would’ve made my legs buckle if I was the one he was staring at. I had never seen him so… angry. Not even at Xehanort.

“Eh?” I asked.

“Yeah, that was a lie. I’m actually an Unbirth he created so that you wouldn’t leave.” Riku’s grip tightened around me, and I started to see pretty colors.

“Can’t… breathe,” I squeaked. Riku loosened up a little. So, Seth was also a soulless? Huh… I wondered why he was putting it all so bluntly. He could’ve been a bit more delicate, especially with Riku being there and all.

“Heh, not a very good ‘boyfriend’ you’ve got there,” Seth scoffed, making little air-quotes around the word “boyfriend”. “If you die of suffocation one day, I’ll know who to blame.” Riku tried to lunge at Seth, but I grabbed onto his waist and dug my heels into the ground. It took everything I had just to keep Riku from murdering Seth.

“Okay, stop it,” I told both of them, letting go of Riku (thankfully, he didn’t kill Seth). “Seth, stop being a jerk. Riku, stop being an idiot. We still need to get off this stupid rock before Master Fruit Loop finishes up in there. Let’s just get along until we get to whatever world is furthest from here. Then you two can maybe attempt to play nice. Got it?” They both nodded, but kept glaring at each other. “Good. Let’s go.” I walked to the gummi ship and hopped inside, immediately sitting in the driver’s seat.

“Oh no,” Riku groaned. He sat down in the co-pilot’s seat.

“What’s wrong?” Seth asked, his voice hostile.

Crystal’s driving.” I chuckled evilly, making Seth’s eyes widen a bit.

* * *

Seth’s reaction was way worse than Riku’s was. Seth wasn’t just shaking like a leaf, he actually collapsed when he tried to stand up.

“You should’ve seen her the first time,” Riku laughed as he stared at Seth. “She’s actually improved quite a bit.” I gave them a thumbs-up before I hopped off the ship and into Disney Castle’s gummi bay.

“Where is everyone?” I asked Riku as he and Seth jumped off the ship.

“Probably in the Library.” He came up to me and once again put his arm obviously around my waist. I thought I saw him glance at Seth, who was behind us, and groaned mentally.

Why does he hate me? Seth’s voice asked me mentally.

You can do it too? Great. Just great.

Yeah. Why does he hate me? he asked again.

He doesn’t hate you; he just doesn’t trust you, I explained.

Why? Because I’m an Unbirth, like you? Or is it because I was created by Xehanort because of you?

Probably the latter. I thought I heard him grumble something about “jealous,” but I ignored it.

“Do you mind if Seth and I change first?” I asked Riku. He nodded and led the way to one of the rooms on the second floor.

But I don’t—, Seth started.

You’re changing, I snapped, cutting him off. These outfits represent a very unpleasant period in Riku’s past, and I don’t want to cause him any more pain. That shut him up.

As Riku led me to one of the doors, I thanked him and rushed inside to get that stupid suit off of me. I found a T-shirt and jean-like pants. I quickly put them on and discarded the much hated fighting suit. I looked at myself in the mirror that was hanging on the wall, staring at the necklace that had belonged to my original self. Yeah, it was given to me by Xehanort, but it was mine to begin with. Besides, it let me remember everything I forgot. Like why I forgot my memories in the first place. It all started when I fell into the abyss.

The reason I was hanging on for dear life was because Axel made me.

“I am fed up with always having to bring you back,” he told me, summoning his weapons of fire. I was backed up to the edge of the chasm with cliff walls on either side of me, the only escape being through Axel (because no one had really taught me how to teleport properly). Kingdom Key was in my hands and I was getting ready to fight my way out. He came on me slowly, and I was backing away at the same speed. “I don’t know why you’re so freaking important, or why you run away so much, but I don’t care anymore.”

He moved like he was going to attack me, and I stepped back to defend myself. Only I lost my footing and slipped, dropping Kingdom Key into the dark crevasse. I held onto the edge, the corner of the cliff cutting into my stomach. Axel disappeared for a second and came back with Roxas and Zexion.

“What happened?” Roxas asked Axel as he and Zexion ran to me.

“She slipped,” Axel said as he just stood there.

“And you didn’t think to help her yourself!?” Zexion demanded as he and Roxas tried to pull me up. I fell further, gripping the cliff with my hands. The rest happened exactly as it did in my dream.

I also knew why I couldn’t teleport to my home world. It’s because my home world doesn’t exist. Nope. The explanation for that is also the explanation for why I was in a pod for almost a year (or so Riku tells me. I think it was more like a few months). It’s because Naminé and Ansem the Wise planted those fake memories and got rid of my real memories. I don’t know why they felt the need to do that, but if they had done one tiny thing wrong, I’d be stumbling through oblivion instead of standing here reminiscing. And that is why I’m keeping the necklace. Though I have no idea why I never asked why I was in that stupid pod in the first place…

* * *

Riku was ecstatic that Crystal was finally home, safe and sound, but did she really need to bring Seth? Seriously, he was created for the sole purpose of keeping Crystal to stay with Xehanort. He couldn’t betray the person that gave him somewhat free will, could he?

After Crystal shut the door, Seth and Riku stared at each other for a while. “Thanks for helping Crystal out,” Riku said through clenched teeth. “It means a lot to me.”

“You’re welcome. Is there somewhere I can go to change?”

“Down the hall, last door on the left.” Seth looked at him funny, but left anyway. Okay, that was a really low move, but Riku didn’t want Seth anywhere near Crystal until he knew what was going on inside that head of his. Xehanort could very well be controlling him to try and get Crystal back, or get her to do something that would work in his favor. Seth was created by Xehanort, after all. Also, Riku sees the way Seth looks at Crystal. He didn’t think that it was much of a threat; he could tell that Crystal thinks of him more like a… brother, I guess.

“Hey, can we talk?” Crystal asked, her head peeking out of the door.

“Yeah, sure,” Riku said. He took one last glance down the hall before going into the room. “What’s up?”

“I know that Seth may seem like he shouldn’t be trusted no matter what—“ Agreed. “—but he’s a good guy. I promise.”

“And how can you be sure of that? How do you know he’s not still in contact with Xehanort? Xehanort could be on his way right now to come get you back.” Crystal looked at the floor and didn’t say anything.

“Just give him a chance. I don’t think he’d do anything to hurt us.” She looked back up at him and gave him big puppy eyes.

“I’ll give him half a chance. But only because you want me to.”

“Better than nothing,” Crystal sighed.

* * *

I don’t know why Riku’s being such a hardhead about Seth. I mean, yeah, it looks kinda bad, him being my friend only because Xehanort wanted him to. And the way Seth treats Riku isn’t ideal, but he’s trying. Right? Riku could at least try to show him some gratitude.

“Uh, Crystal, could you come out here for a sec?” Seth asked, knocking on my door. Riku rolled his eyes and sat down on the bed.

“At least he has common courtesy,” I told Riku. “Yeah?” I asked Seth, stepping out into the hall and closing the door behind me. For now, it was best if I tried to keep Riku and Seth separated. I looked at what Seth was wearing. “Why are you wearing Riku’s clothes?”

“Well, he sent me to the end of the hall and to the last door on the left, but there weren’t any clothes in there. So I checked all the rooms on this floor. And I found these,” he explained.

“Uh, you might want to change into something else,” I told him, fearful that Riku might actually hurt Seth if he ever saw Seth wearing his clothes.

“Into what? I got rid of my suit.” I tried to think.

“Wait here.” I went back into the room and grabbed a shirt and pants. Riku gave me a funny look as I went about the room and back out the door. “Here you go.” I handed Seth the clothes.

“Thanks.” And he went back to the end of the hallway. I was going to tell him to come back and take one of these rooms, but the thought of Riku and Seth fighting again kept me quiet.

“What was that about?” Riku asked when I walked back in the room.

“Wardrobe malfunction.” Riku didn’t inquire further. “So, everyone’s in the Library?”

“Yeah, wanna head over there now?” Riku got up and walked to the door. “We don’t have to bring Seth, do we?”

“I think it’d be better for them to meet him later, don’t you?” I didn’t want to handle any more stress that day, so it probably was best for Seth to just stay in his temporary bedroom. Just for now.

* * *

“Hey, I’m back,” Riku announced as we walked into the Library. “And I found Crystal.” The Library was empty.

“Where is everyone?” I asked Riku.

“They’re probably out looking for you. Two search parties are better than one.”

“Yeah, but what if they found me and you were gone?” I looked around the Library. “Is there a radio on the gummi ship?” Riku shrugged. “Let’s go check it out.” I went to the gummi bay. Jumping into the gummi ship that we came in earlier, I checked the dash for some type of radio thing. “Found it,” I called when I found a big box with a walkie-talkie thing attached to it. Riku jumped into the ship and picked up the walkie-talkie.

“Uh… King? Can you hear me?” he asked into it. There was static for a second. We were just about to give up and go back to the Library when…

“Riku?” the King’s voice came from the box. “Is that you?”

“Yeah.”

“Where are you?” Sora asked.

“Back in the gummi bay. Where are you guys?” Static. “Guys?”

“Uh… we just fought Xehanort and demanded that he give up Crystal,” Sora explained. “He said that she escaped, and mumbled something about apprentices. We’re on our way back to Disney Castle now. Do you know where Crystal is?”

“Right here,” I said.

“Oh… Hi, Crystal! We missed you.”

“Glad to hear it.”

“Sora, out,” he told us before sending a lot of static our way.

“At least they’re okay.” I sighed. “I can’t believe that they actually fought Xehanort, but at least nothing bad happened.” I got out of the gummi ship and went back to the Library. My reasoning was that maybe the King had a few books on Unbirths or Heartless or Nobodies or something. Riku came with me, probably worried that I’d get kidnapped again if he let me out of his sights for even one second. I didn’t mind; I missed him so much over the past month or two. I picked up a few books and started skimming through them, looking for anything that might be even remotely related to one of the three. After an hour or two of looking through every book, I sighed and put the book in my hand back. There wasn’t anything in the library on Unbirths, Nobodies, or Heartless.

“Didn’t find anything?” Riku asked. Even though he didn’t have a clue as to what I was looking for, he pulled books off shelves and skimmed through them right along with me. I shook my head. “What were you looking for anyway?”

“Anything that might help me understand the connection between Unbirths, Heartless, and Nobodies,” I told him, sinking down into a nearby chair. “But the King doesn’t have anything.”

“Well, if it’s bothering you this much, I do know one place where we might be able to get some answers,” Riku said.

“Really?” I looked up at him. “Where?”

“Good ol’ Master Xehanort’s place,” he said with an evil smile. My eyes got wide.

“No way!” I shouted, jumping up. “No way in hell! I just got back from that horrible hell hole. I don’t want to go back. Maybe in a couple of months? That’d be nice. Or, you know, never? That’d be even better.”

“Can your curiosity really wait that long?” he asked, looking me in the eye. Jerk.

“No,” I admitted. “But I really don’t want to go back. I just… can’t…” He looked at me for a second longer, and then sighed.

“If you really don’t want to, we don’t have to.” I smiled at him and sunk back into the chair. I couldn’t believe that he would want me to go back to that place so soon. Did he really want to risk losing me again? There was no way he would do that over my curiosity. Unless... unless he didn’t really care about my curiosity. That’s when it his me. It was all about revenge for him. I was flattered, but I also thought that Riku was a flippin’ idiot. If he wanted to go kick Xehanort’s ass, he damn well didn’t need me there to see it. All he had to do was say “hey, I’m going to go get revenge on Xehanort. See you later,” and I’d be okay with that… Actually, that’s a lie. I would so not be okay with that. What if he got hurt? What if he got… killed? I shook the thought from my head. But… he did have a point. If there was anything that would or could help me grasp a little of what I actually am, it’d be at Xehanort’s castle.

“When do you want to leave?” I asked. Riku looked at me and a huge grin appeared on his face.

* * *

There was just one condition: Seth had to come. Riku wasn’t happy about it, the numbskull, and Seth was a bit snide, the jerk. I didn’t want Seth all alone in the castle, and I wanted to wait to introduce him to the others. It’d be a bit of a shock if they found him wandering around by himself. Riku and Seth did agree on one thing, and that was to not let me drive on any conditions. Probably best; I’d crash us into a meteor because of all the things I had to think about. So, it was a quiet trip. About two hours long. No one spoke. I wasn’t driving. It was a nice, peaceful drive to the much hated castle. I was in the back with Riku driving and Seth in the co-pilot’s seat.

“I am about to go crazy from all this quiet!” I finally exclaimed. That scared the shit out of the other two. “How much longer?”

Riku and Seth looked at each other and sighed. “About half an hour,” Riku informed me. “Not that long.”

“Can I dr—?”

“NO!” they both cut me off. I crossed my arms and sat angrily in my chair (if a person can actually sit angrily, I did). In that random way of it, my mind started wondering first about Seth and Riku, then somehow trailed to my memories, and ended up thinking about the King, Sora, and everybody.

“Where do you think they are?” I asked, surprising the other two. They both looked at me funny.

“Where’d that come from?” Seth laughed. Riku looked like he was about to chuckle, but took one look at Seth and stopped. I looked at the floor of the cockpit and just shrugged.

“Can I ask you guys a favor?” They both gave me a quick glance and turned away.

“Depends,” Riku said. “What’s the favor?”

I took a breath. “I want to fight Xehanort alone.”

WHAT!? NO WAY IN HELL!” Riku exclaimed. He seemed like he was going to turn around and give me a stern look, but the sight of oncoming meteors and ships kept his gaze forward. Seth, not having any obligations, gave me that look for him. I sunk into my chair, trying to get away from that look.

“Are you crazy?” Seth asked me. “Do you honestly think you can beat him?”

“Not really,” I admitted. “But I just want to give him all the hell that I’ve been bottling up ever since he first showed up on Destiny Islands.”

“That’s so… stupid,” Riku told me, shaking his head. “You’re risking your life just for the chance to get some payback?”

“What are we doing right now? Hmm? Aren’t we risking our lives for some payback? Besides, this whole thing was your idea, remember?” Riku’s grip tightened on the steering wheel for a second, then he finally let out a groan.

“Fine.”

“What?” Seth asked. “Are you crazy too? We can’t let her fight him by herself. She’ll get hurt. Or worse!”

“You don’t understand.”

“Damn straight I don’t understand! I don’t understand how you can just stand by and let your girlfriend get beaten up by that sick bastard.” When Riku didn’t answer, Seth gave up and sat fuming in his seat.

“You don’t know Crystal,” Riku finally said. “She won’t get hurt. And if she’s in any trouble, you and I will be there, right? We’ll get in there before Xehanort even gets a chance to touch Crystal.”

“Thanks, Riku,” I said with a smile. We both knew it was a crazy plan that had little to no chance of succeeding, but we also knew that I had to do this by myself. At least for a little while. Seth can be mad all he wanted; I wasn’t going to change my mind.

“We’re here,” Riku said, drawing our attention to the brown rock before us. He turned around to look at me. “There’s no giving up now.” I nodded. Riku landed on the dark dirt, the same place as last time. The moon shone brightly in the sky, illuminating everything in a dark light, casting shadows across the ground. The castle lay not even five hundred meters away, towering over us and concealing us in shadow.

“Ah, so you’ve decided to return,” Xehanort greeted, teleporting in front of us. Riku, Seth, and I took up our weapons. Xehanort laughed. “Do you honestly think that you can defeat me?”

“Well, yeah,” I told him. “That’s kinda why we’re here.” Xehanort answered by summoning his Keyblade and getting in his battle position. Then he attacked. I was ready for him. All his training was going to come back to haunt him, I just knew it. I teleported into the air and hung there for a second while I tried to think of what he would do next. He jumped into the air and feigned an attack, teleporting behind me and reappearing in front of me, swinging his Keyblade at my stomach. I blocked that blow and immediately teleported to the ground, bringing my sword around to cover my back. There was a blow and Xehanort quickly vanished. I brought my sword to my left side and felt a sharp pain in my right side. Xehanort laughed before disappearing. Riku and Seth made a move to join in, but I stopped them by shaking my head. They stayed where they were and I went after Xehanort. He was back in the air, still laughing. I attacked his front and side, but he easily blocked me. I disappeared and reappeared, attacking him as quickly and accurately as possible. He blocked every single one of my attacks seemingly effortlessly. We kept this up for a while; I kept attacking him and got blocked, and he kept attacking me and got blocked. Finally, his stupid smile faded and was replaced with concentration and frustration.

“Looks like we’re an even match,” I told him, thrusting my sword at his chest.

“So it would seem,” he grunted, blocking my blow and whipping his Keyblade around to hit my head. It missed.

“Do you think we should help?” Seth asked Riku, staring up at the fight with concern. Riku shook his head.

“No. This is her fight.”

“But—you said that we should help if she needed it.”

“Does she look like she needs it?” Seth shook his head. “Then we should let her finish it.” Seth looked at Riku for a while before returning to the fight.

I smiled, attacking with more vigor than before. After a while of beating upon Xehanort’s Keyblade, I was finally starting to make connections. And before long, I was hitting him almost every time. His face changed from concentration to pure, unadulterated hatred. All of his attacks were getting sloppier and sloppier, making it very easy for me to simply bat them away and hit his sorry ass. It was just like when I was fighting Xemnas (well, when my duplicate was fighting him). In that fight, I was slowly able to start whacking Xemnas, before… Xehanort caught me off guard and struck me hard in the head. I saw stars and started falling to the ground. Xehanort slowed my decent by attacking me again and again in rapid succession. When I had landed on the ground, he stood over me with triumph shining like fog lights in his eyes.

“Crystal, no!” Seth and Riku shouted. They tried to run over to me, but they were stopped by dozens of Unbirths.

“I told you,” Xehanort said, bending down so that he was right in my face. “You can’t beat me.”

“I just did.” I brought my sword up and plunged it through his chest. He looked down in rage and hit me across the head again with his Keyblade; I thought I heard something crack. He fell to the ground and started coughing up blood.

“Crystal!” Riku shouted, he and Seth struggling to get through the line of Unbirths. They finally managed to defeat the Unbirths and ran over to me.

“And so it ends,” Xehanort said, taking his last breath. Riku took my head and cradled it gently in his lap.

“Tell me you made a copy of yourself, just like last time,” he said, tears forming in his eyes. “Please. Tell me.”

“I wish,” I almost chuckled, my vision getting blurry. “Take care, and try not to worry about me. Find someone nice.” And then I went.

“Crystal?” Riku asked, lightly shaking me. “Crystal!?” He shook me harder, but I wouldn’t answer.

Got my sights locked in, I can see you breathe.
Then I watched you fall and somebody scream.
It’s the saddest thing when angels fly away.
I can’t be home tonight. I’ll make it back, it’s alright.
No one could ever love me half as good as you.
If you can’t be strong tonight; love makes you sad, it’s alright.
No one could ever worry half as good as you.
 
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