Disclaimer: I don't even own my own copy of the game, *sniff.

Hey, everyone. This fic has been sitting in the back of my mind staring at me since the day I registered with fanfiction.net. I'm just gonna say this once, if you don't like the pairing, tough luck. Don't come ranting after me cuz Ansem pissed you off in the game and you hate to see him get his break. Perhaps if you truly despise him , you should go somewhere and reread the Ansem Reports, you might learn things.

And for those of you who read this and enjoy it, I thank you. Even if you don't like Ansem, I hope you enjoy my story anyway. Please review after you read, I appreciate all reviews I receive. Constructive criticism is welcome anytime.

~~~~

Ansem stood looking out across Hollow Bastion from his balcony. He could feel the warm rays of the sun filtering through the early morning clouds. Slowly, he held up his hands, examining them for a third time that day and reaching out to flex them experimentally.

"Amazing.." He whispered to himself, lowering his hands and lifting his face to the sky. He watched the fluffy golden clouds float past, closing his eyes for a moment. Silently, he darted forward, leaping from the balcony and opening his eyes as he watched the water below rush toward him. He grinned in pleasure as he felt himself begin to slow down, flipping in midair and coming to an abrupt stop, still a quarter of a mile from the water.

Above him, he could hear several Heartless, sniffing around for him on the balcony, wondering where their master had gone. His grin faded, and he began sinking down toward the shimmering water, landing with a soft splash as his boots touched. He looked down, watching the small waves flick around his boots as he began walking across the expanse.

Large, golden mountains of clouds loomed across the sea, melting into the waters to form a seemingly endless horizon. Focusing on them, Ansem began running. He sped up until he felt he was moving as fast as possible, dashing across the open waves and leaving ripples in his wake.

After running for several minutes, he gasped in anguish, the horizon still as far off as ever. In a sudden frustrated move, he crouched down, launching himself back into the air. He closed his eyes as he rocketed upward, feeling the chill of the air as it rushed past him. He opened his eyes when he hit a cloud, the moisture soaking through him. Clouds flying past him, he continued upward, finally bursting through the layers and stopping as the sun hit him. He couldn't move. It was so beautiful, he had never seen anything like it, the sun hanging low over an ocean of gold and silver, he floated in midair, watching the scene.

After what felt like hours, Ansem slowly floated back down through the atmosphere, heading back to Hollow Bastion. He still had work to do.

~*~

Riku paced his room weakly, he collapsed on the floor every few minutes, but he was determined to find a way out. He had no idea what Ansem was planning now that Kingdom Hearts had been sealed, especially since Kingdom Hearts had turned out to be light instead of Ansem's theory of it being born of darkness.

He slammed his fist into the wall in anger and frustration, immediately regretting it when he collapsed on the floor, not even possessing enough strength to massage his bruised hand. He stared up at the ceiling above him, by this time having memorized the intricate design embossed on the tiles. He mentally slapped himself, unable to believe that he had been so stupid. Sighing deeply, he closed his eyes, focusing on the events leading up to his capture.

It must have been two years earlier, back when he had first been sealed in Kingdom Hearts. It hadn't taken him and King Mickey long to escape, emerging into a futuristic world that had puzzled Riku. King Mickey had taken him back to his castle, where he had lived for a year and a half before Sora, Donald, and Goofy had shown up.

He smiled when he remembered the look on Kairi's face when he and Sora and appeared on her doorstep. She had cried. A year later, they had received the news, Ansem had emerged again, taking up residence in Hollow Bastion. Riku had immediately stolen the gummi ship and gone to see for himself, foolishly ready to take on Ansem alone after what he had done to him. In short, when he confronted Ansem and challenged him, he had gotten his ass kicked.

He still didn't understand it, reliving the fight over and over again in his mind. Why had Ansem let him live? Why hadn't he tried turning him into a Heartless to send against Sora and King Mickey? It went against everything Riku knew about Ansem, there was no explanation for keeping him alive, and giving him his own bedroom! Of course, he wasn't allowed to leave the room, but it was obviously intended for royalty.

Riku mustered his strength and managed to get up and limp over to the bed, flopping down on the king-sized mattress. He wondered how long it would take for Sora to realize he was here, and whether or not he would come after his friend a second timeā€¦

~*~

Ansem watched as the large gummi ship landed in the Rising falls, several figures jumping out hastily. He turned and began making his way down to the hall, waiting to receive his "visitors".

~*~

"No! Kairi! Hold it! Aaa-!" Sora cried, bounding forward to try to snatch the back of Kairi's shirt as she stormed forward, his fingers barely brushing the fabric. He cowered in fear when the angry female turned to scowl at him.

"Knock it off, Sora! I can take care of myself! I'm tired of losing friends to this bastard, Riku had better be alright!!" She yelled, spinning on her heal and climbing up to the lift above them.

Sora pouted and rested his keyblade over his shoulder, watching her.

"Aww, she'll be okay. Stop worryin' about her!" Donald quacked, waddling out of the gummi ship after Goofy.

Sora smiled at his two friends, "Thanks for comin', guys." He said, quickly following Kairi as she yelled for them to hurry up.

~*~

Kairi burst through the doors leading to the hall, closely followed by Sora, Donald, and Goofy, all prepared for a fight. Ansem stood with his back turned to them, watching the fountain in the middle of the room.

"Where's Riku?!" Kairi demanded, stopping several feet away from him. She hadn't seemed to have lost any of her nerve, and Sora was impressed.

Ansem smiled and turned to face them, "Good afternoon to you, too." He said, pausing for a moment when he made eye contact with Kairi. She had grown a bit since he had last seen her. Her hair was longer now, reaching down past her shoulders. He wondered silently why most girls wore such skimpy skirts, weren't they cold? His gaze was jerked back up to her face when she opened her mouth to continue.

"What have you done to Riku? I know he's here." She asked sternly, still upset, but confused. She had always been told that Ansem was pure evil, using the Heartless to destroy the hearts of worlds simply out of curiosity as to what might happen. Sora had said that Ansem radiates hate and darkness, nearly Heartless himself, however, Kairi didn't sense anything evil about him, he didn't even make her nervous.

He stepped forward, coming as close to Kairi as he thought she would allow him and looked into her eyes. "He's in his room, would you like to go find him, or would you prefer I bring him here?" He asked, a slight tone of bitterness in his voice.

"Get away from her! We'll find him ourselves. Which way?" Sora spat, pulling gently on Kairi's shoulder in what she felt must have been a reassuring way.

Ansem looked distastefully at Sora, but motioned to a staircase to his left. "His bedroom is the fourth door on the right, try not to break anything." Ansem scowled darkly at Sora, who returned the look.

Sora made his way up the stairs, Kairi hesitating before following him up, watching Ansem as he turned to face the fountain again. There was something lonely about him, she shook her head to rid herself of the notion to ask him what was wrong, reminding herself that he was the reason the Heartless were such a problem.

Sora opened the door slowly, looking around for Riku and spotting him still collapsed on the bed. He grinned and leapt onto the bed, making Riku jump.

"Sora?!" he cried, startled at the sudden intrusion. He tried to sit up, but didn't have the strength.

"Hey, what's wrong?" Kairi asked, kneeling on the bed next to him. She couldn't see any injuries on him but she could tell that he was weak.

"Oh, it's nothing, Ansem has been keeping me drugged so I don't try anything." He said bitterly.

Sora thought for a moment before hoisting Riku onto his shoulder and grunting as he stood up. "I guess I'll just-rmmf!- have to carry you!" He said, grinning at Kairi as he started for the door.

~*~*~*~~~