Summary: A being tied to Sora is awakening and now more than ever the Keyblade Master is needed. Only, no one seems to know where he is. How are Riku and Kairi tied into all of this and who are the Non-Existent Ones?
Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts or any of its characters. They're all property of Squaresoft and Disney.
Chapter One: This City. . .
How he hated the rain.
Funny thing was that he was stuck in a world that seemed to rain endlessly. There was no stopping the tiny water droplets from falling. They fell from the sky and gathered on the ground in tiny and sometimes not-so-tiny puddles. Along with getting wet, the rain was also noisy; it pattered on the windows of cars and dripped into the puddles. To Riku, this pattering and dripping sounded as loud as a beating drum and muffled all other sounds, making it dangerous for a blindfolded man to walk without having his other senses heightened.
It was hard to tell when the sun had set--he only knew that it was dark. There was a surprising lack of life in the city, its citizens came and went with the sun. They shied away into their homes every time the moon peaked over the horizon. He supposed there was some dark secret this city was keeping, and he should be following their example and staying inside as well, but this was his second day here and he was lost.
There was nothing like being lost, but being lost in the rain was another story. The noise just made it ten times harder to find anything. What he thought were inns usually turned out to be grocery stores or even more embarrassing, strip clubs.
Riku strolled past an alley, all his thoughts were wrapped around a small hope of finding an inn, even a motel would suffice. Side stepping a puddle, he ducked under an awning and tried to collect his bearings. To his right was an empty street with a few parked cars. There was nothing of interest there. To his left… he frowned. There was something over there, a flickering of movement.
Focusing his other senses in the general direction of where he'd just come from, he scanned the area. There it was again, this time there was more movement. It quickly dawned on him what was the cause of this movement, and he shook his head.
Even this world was bound to the Heartless.
Holding out his hand, he willed his weapon to appear. It was a sword, one he had acquired years ago. It was meant to be a temporary one until he was able to get his hands on the keyblade, but eventually he had grown attached to it. He and this sword had gone through quite a lot together, and it appeared that they were going to see more.
Riku didn't wait for the Heartless to congregate into a mass that could potentially overwhelm him. Instead, he attacked head on, slicing through their ranks with ease. Years of practice had him acting more on instinct than anything else. He didn't need his eyesight to perceive an attack, even with half his hearing gone thanks to the rain, he could still respond quickly to his senses.
Their bodies faded away in a tendril of black smoke, leaving behind a horde of green and yellow spheres. He collected most of the yellow spheres, knowing that they should have at least some monetary value in this world, and ignored the green ones.
Willing his sword to disappear, he shoved his hands back into his pockets and continued to walk. The idea of stopping inside one of the buildings and asking someone for directions came and went in his mind. It was only after his tenth encounter with the Heartless when he decided that asking wouldn't hurt anybody. The first building he chose ended up being a restaurant. It was a small one, large enough to fit about twenty small tables.
His entrance caused every head in the room to turn in his direction. They stared at him, and he could almost see their faint figures through the dark fabric of his blindfold. Moments passed, and most of the heads turned away from him, their owners having lost interest.
In a corner of the restaurant was a small group of women dressed in a hideous looking orange uniform, whispering and laughing to each other. He remained standing there, dripping on the already soiled carpeting until one of the girls eventually broke away from the group and scurried towards him.
She bowed awkwardly and forced on a smile. "Welcome to Sal's Diner, sir, how many will we be serving?"
He raised his eyebrows, he didn't think that restaurants were open this late. Shrugging, he decided that he was feeling a little hungry and said, "One."
The girl was not at all surprised and gestured for him to follow her. He assumed that they received a lot of lonely diners at this time of night and allowed himself to be led to a small table at the front of the restaurant. It was situated in a corner, right beside a window that had its shades pulled down.
"Here you go, sir," the waitress said, handing him a menu.
Nodding, Riku flipped through the menu, finding it hard to decide what to eat. "Uh… I'll just have the special," he told her.
"Coffee, sir?" the girl asked as she jotted his order down on a small notepad.
Unsure of what exactly coffee tasted like, Riku simply nodded. "Yeah, sure," he replied.
With his order written down, the girl gave him a small smile and walked away. He sat there waiting, occasionally glancing up at the others to meet their gazes. He supposed his way of dress caused him to stick out like a sore thumb. He hadn't spotted many people dressed like him, nor was there a large majority of people who enjoyed walking around blindfolded.
The waitress appeared again, this time balancing a tray with a small bowl. He thanked her when she set the bowl on his table and watched as she left again. He picked up a spoon and began poking at the contents of the bowl: a frothy liquid that had chunks of what he hoped was meat. The bowl was steaming, but he had a feeling that this soup had been sitting in a pot for quite a while.
Once he was finished, the girl came again and whisked away the empty bowl, replacing it with a plate filled with vegetables and a slab of meat, all covered in a red sauce. Just as she was turning to leave, he grabbed her wrist, causing her to lurch forward and nearly drop her tray.
"Can. . . I help you, sir?" she asked, fear was etched in her voice.
"Sorry," he mumbled and immediately released her. "Just, what city is this?"
She stared at him, and he could almost see the puzzled expression on her face. "Centerpoint City," she answered.
"Thank you," Riku said and turned to his meal. He said nothing more and the waitress left. She was probably going to tell her other companions a few choice words about him.
He hacked away at the meat and slowly ate his meal. It'd been a while since he had eaten anything warm. Most of the meals he ate while in Kingdom Hearts, when he actually ate, were cold and usually consisted of globs of some black substance that he didn't want to know what the contents were.
Sipping at his coffee and fighting back a grimace, he glanced up as the waitress came and cleared the table, leaving behind a cheque. He picked the piece of paper up and turned to the waitress, gesturing her over.
"How. . . much is this again?" he asked.
He heard the girl gasp and faintly saw her clamp her hand over her mouth. She shook her head and took the cheque away from him. "Oh, I'm so sorry sir! I completely forgot about your…" she trailed off and placed the paper back on the table and named the amount due. Nodding, Riku forked over the necessary munny and watched as she left and once again came back with the receipt.
"Miss," he spoke up, stopping the girl in her tracks. "Do you know where there's a hotel? Or an inn or just some place to stay for the night."
He could tell that the girl was frowning and couldn't, for the life of him, figure out what he had said wrong. It was just a simple question.
"Five blocks east of here," she replied. "But. . . sir, you don't really intend on going outside, do you?"
Bewildered by her question, he slowly nodded. "Is there. . . something wrong?" he asked.
"The Heartless!" she exclaimed. "They come out at night and take your-"
"Your heart," Riku finished for her. "Yeah, I know, but you seriously don't expect me to stay here for the entire night?"
She smiled, truly smiled for the first time, and Riku noted that she looked more like Kairi this way. "We give away free coffee refills."
He felt the corner of his lips twitch and he smirked. "I don't think so," he replied. It was at that moment that Riku realized that these people, the diners peppered about the restaurant, were planning to stay the night.
"Thanks for your concern," he said, rising from his seat.
"Sir, please, don't go!" she exclaimed, standing in front of the booth and blocking his exit.
He opened his mouth to protest when a cry from across the room caused him clamp it shut. He turned his attention towards the gathering group of diners in front one of the windows that had its shades drawn back. The waitress, forgetting about her previous concern, rushed towards another window and peered out. Riku didn't need to follow the girl. He could already 'see' what was happening.
It was a battle where two people were fighting against a horde of dark figures, the Heartless. One of them was of amazing height, while the other was ridiculously short. Even though they were holding their own against the Heartless fairly well, Riku still rushed outside to join the fight.
His entrance gained the attention of half the Heartless, causing most of them to rush towards him. Wearing a large smirk on his face, he ran forward and cut one of the nearest shadows in half. This didn't deter the others as they began surrounding him. Giving one of the Heartless a kick, he twisted his body around and brought his sword down on another. In a matter of moments, the Heartless that had surrounded him had been cut down by his blade.
He turned to face the rest of the Heartless and was surprised to find them gone, replaced by green and yellow spheres. Lowering his sword he approached the two figures, there was something vastly familiar about them that he couldn't quite place.
They both turned to face him, and it was the taller of the two who spoke first. "Riku!"
Taken aback, the silver-haired boy frowned. "How do you know. . . ?" He didn't bother to finish the sentence as an image of Sora, followed by two others, floated to the forefront of his mind. "You two are. . . Donald and Goofy?"
They nodded, and Riku found himself smiling. If they were here, then that meant Sora was here. Hopping forward, he grabbed the front of Donald's shirt and lifted him off the ground. "Where is he?!" he shouted. He felt himself grinning from ear to ear. "Where's Sora!?"
The shifting of the smaller one's eyes was all the answer he needed, and what hopes he had were shattered. Dropping the creature, he turned away and brought a hand up to his face. Hope gave way to disappointment that soon became anger.
"Weren't you two supposed to be with him?" Riku demanded, allowing part of that anger to seep into his voice. "Mickey told me that he ordered you two to stay with him."
"We know!" Donald retorted, pulling himself off the ground. "We did as His Majesty ordered, but something happened and we couldn't help it."
Riku turned to face the duck. "What happened?" he asked.
"Five years ago, we came to this world," Donald began.
"And we walked around this world looking for that Door to the Light," Goofy continued. "We passed by this big ol' building and got attacked by the Heartless. After the fight, Sora started acting strange."
"He was acting crazy," the duck had put it bluntly. "He ran into the building, and we tried running after him, but there was some barrier and we couldn't get through. Then some dark energy poured out of the building, and a bunch of Heartless came out of it."
"The Darkness swallowed Sora," Goofy said.
"Where is this place?" Riku demanded.
"Over there," Donald answered, pointing down the street.
Riku glanced in the direction the duck had been pointing and felt an icy spike thrust into his chest. He gasped as the cold feeling spread through his entire being. Back pedalling, he caught onto Goofy's shoulder and steadied himself.
"There's. . . darkness over there," he said. The words came out of his mouth in a hoarse whisper.
Donald nodded. "That's where all the Heartless come from."
Focusing his senses, he scanned the area and pinpointed the source of darkness. It was a total void swimming with icy currents, and in his mind he saw its outer shell: a building, perhaps the tallest in the city, that had tall screens mounted at the front.
"Why… did he go in there?" he asked under his breath. Sora should have been smart enough to stay away from the darkness…unless there was something in it that had attracted him.
He'd left both Donald and Goofy back at the hotel, choosing to be alone instead. Wandering about the city during the day was a different experience then walking about at night. Instead of streets teaming with Heartless, there were people. Most of these people, even while up and walking still appeared as if they'd just crawled out of bed and were ready to crawl back in.
The rain had stopped but had left evident traces of its activity. The tiny puddles that he'd managed to side step before had expanded to cover the entire width of the sidewalk, making it impossible to avoid them. Pausing in his walk as he passed the building from before, he stared up at it. Goofy and Donald had called it the TV Tower and it'd been abandoned after Sora had been lost in it. Riku resisted the urge to reach out and sense his friend, not with this much darkness surrounding the building.
Turning away from the building, he frowned as a boy his age walked past him. Without even trying, his mind conjured an image of someone dressed just like him with lightly coloured bangs of hair covering his eyes. The feeling about this boy was familiar. It was a presence he knew too well.
. . . Sora.
"Sora!" he exclaimed, causing many of the people around him to turn to him in surprise. He ignored them and instead focused on the other boy. Shoving his way through the crowd he tried to reach the boy only to find himself shoved violently back by an angry pedestrian.
"Why don't you watch where you're going?"
"Shut up!" Riku snapped and shoved past the person again. In that split second in which his attention had been diverted, he'd lost sight of the boy.
No, no, no, NO!!
"Sora!" He shouted the name again, rounding the sidewalk, but there was no sign of him.
He sighed and leaned against the wall. Pressing a hand against his forehead, he tilted his head towards the sky. No one could have disappeared from him that quickly, and he couldn't have just imagined the appearance of Sora.
A flicker in the sky caught his attention: a streaking light. Blinking rapidly, he caught 'sight' of another thread of light, which was followed by another.
He glanced around him, wondering if anyone else saw what he was seeing. No one was paying attention to the sky. One of the meteors fell directly beside him, and still no one reacted. Bending down, he gingerly picked up the object and studied it. The shiny stone felt warm in his hand and was quickly losing its heat. Pocketing it, Riku turned away from the crowd and began to head back to the hotel.
"It's a gummi piece," informed Donald.
Riku laid the stone on the table. "Are you sure?" he asked.
"Positive!" the duck exclaimed vehemently. "I'd know a gummi piece anywhere!"
"Whoa, okay, calm down," Riku said, holding his hands up defensively. "So it's a gummi piece, what does it mean? And why can't anyone else see the meteors?"
Donald and Goofy exchanged glances before turning to face him and shaking their heads. "We don't know what it means or why other people can't see them, but if gummi pieces are falling. . . "
"That means the barrier to this world is breaking down," Goofy finished. "Which means someone's muddling with the world border!" The small duck shook his head, no longer bothering to correct his tall companion.
Riku remained silent as he digested the information. If this world's barrier was falling apart, then there was a greater possibility that there were other worlds out there that were going through the same thing. He knew that there was some sort of outside force at work, and part of his mind raced back to the boy from before. It could be his doing; after all, the meteor shower hadn't started until after he had appeared.
Shaking his head at his poor logic, Riku sighed and stood. "I'm getting tired, I guess we'd better turn in for the night," he said. "All this is giving me a headache."
"Good idea, Riku, we should all get plenty of sleep," Goofy agreed.
Nodding at both of his new companions, Riku headed for his own room and slid the door shut behind him. He didn't really feel tired, though he certainly had enough of the mysteries that were springing up in this city. As he sat on his bed, he wondered if Sora ever felt this drained. Not likely, Sora never gave up. He had an endless amount of energy that seemed to be powered from the very core of Kingdom Hearts itself. Smiling at the thought of his friend, he settled against the mattress and pulled off his blindfold, shoving it under his pillow.
He squeezed his eyes shut and tried to will sleep to claim him. Sleep was elusive that night, and Riku found himself cracking his eyes open in the darkness, wincing slightly at the faint glow of the neon lights from outside. It was strange how he'd forgotten to close the shades to the single window in his room; usually he made a point of doing so since the slightest bit of light kept him up. Tugging the blindfold free, he wrapped it around his eyes and crawled towards the window, reaching a hand up to close the blinds. He hesitated as he dimly spotted a familiar shape in the midst of the city: the TV Tower. It was definitely the tallest building of Centerpoint, but also one that could possibly hold the answers to his many questions.
Letting his hand drop, Riku unlocked the window and carefully slid it open. Goofy, as far as he knew, was fairly good at detecting the faintest noises, even if he was asleep and it was the dead of the night.
Leaping out of the window, he landed more or less on his feet and began running towards the TV Tower, stopping along the way to destroy a few Heartless. He eventually reached the tower and stopped at its base to look up at its menacing silhouette. Without trying, he could sense the darkness pouring out of it.
A drop of rain splattered against his cheek. Riku jerked away in surprise and held out a hand. More droplets gathered in his palm. Rain again, this would make things complicated, but it wasn't as if he were expecting things to be easy.
Coiling his legs, he leapt, his feet kicking off the ground. He continued kicking, propelling himself through the air. He didn't dare glance down, afraid that the height he'd ascended would disturb his concentration and cause him to fall, and it was a long drop too. As soon as he'd reached the zenith of his jump, Riku pushed himself forward and found himself falling at a faster rate than he'd been climbing. His feet slammed painfully against the hard surface of the TV Tower's roof, causing a numbing wave to spread across his body.
Gritting his teeth, he approached the edge of the building and peered down. A wave of nausea swept over him as he saw how high the building was. Shaking his head, he pushed aside all fear and concentrated on one goal.
The screens below him came to life and flickered as he tried to project an image from his mind. A picture of Kairi appeared and soon died out, only to appear again. Riku sighed; he supposed this was about as good as he could get it.
Standing there he waited as rain continued to fall, forming puddles by his feet. Moments passed, and soon moments turned into hours and still there was nothing.
Riku stood firm as another blast of icy wind whipped at his silvery hair. He turned his gaze towards the sky as he felt another meteor shower, though unlike before they were hidden behind the grey clouds.
. . . There.
It was that presence again, and he felt sure that it was approaching him. Turning his gaze downward, Riku spotted the figure, dressed in the same leather coat, though this time with his hood pulled over his head to act as some meagre protection against the drizzling rain.
The boy's brisk and confident footsteps faltered as shadows began to assemble around him. He came to a stop as they rose from the ground, taking on the form of the Heartless. Riku frowned, these weren't the ordinary Heartless he had fought before, but he knew he'd faced these creatures in the past. Scouring his mind, he quickly found the appropriate information. The Neo Shadows, found only at the End of the World, they were attracted to the darkness there, and Riku couldn't figure out what had forced them to gather here.
It was a sea of endless shadows, twitching and thriving like a boiling cauldron of oil, and in the middle of it was the boy. He seemed neither impressed nor deterred by the Heartless and instead pulled out his weapon. The flashing glint of the smooth metallic surface caused Riku's eyes to widen. A second flash caused his heart to race as the boy had pulled out a second weapon.
The boy brought his weapons together, crossing them together in an impressive display of crackling energy. The Heartless showed no reaction but Riku felt himself smiling.
Heyo!! Naela speaking here (well duh!) if ain't obvious enough this is a fic that's semi based on Deep Dive. Yeppers, I know there's a lot of fics out there that's like this but I'm hoping this is at least a little different. A lotta Riku in this chapter and more of him in the next one. I promise we'll see more of other major characters in this fic later on. Of course if I revealed who they were then it'd be spoiling it for ya. Just have a little faith. So what did you guys think? Good? Bad? HORRIBLE??? (Hope not!) Go ahead and review! I love getting opinions and oh, BIG SPECIAL THANKS TO DEJA VU for beta reading this chapter for me. You like Star Wars? Then go read her fics found here. Anyway, stick around for the next chapter!