Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or any of it's affiliated parties. I am simply employing the characters for my own twisted amusement ..
Author's Note: This fic contains a supernatural element, for which I have invented my own folklore instead of relying on the old myths and superstitions. So, if you happen to be a die-hard fan of this particular element (which will be revealed later) – deal with it. Also, I would like to warn any hypocrites out there of one thing. Far too many times I have seen things (i.e.: fics, fanart, etc.) clearly labeled as YAOI, but then later put down by some for being such. If you don't like yaoi, don't freaking click on something that is clearly labeled as such. Therefore, if you have any intentions of the above at all, get out of my house before I obliterate you. Thank you.
Chapter One: Imminence
Sora sniffledand rubbed the back of his head tenderly. In his left hand he held a green apple with a large bruise on it. One which perfectly matched the lump currently forming beneath tangles of spiky chocolate hair. Both the apple and the lump were souvenirs of his previous adventures in the marketplace.
He had attempted to pilfer a watermelon, acting in one of the fail-safe plans he had developed after years of living on the streets. Steal something big. If you don't get caught, good for you. If you do, the vendor throws something small at you in an attempt to retrieve the more expensive item. Then, you make off with the smaller item, in this case an apple.
Sora clambered over the chest-high wall that prevented flooding whenever a storm hit the small port in which he lived. Situating himself as comfortably as possible while sitting on stone, he prepared to eat the apple, shining the skin with the last clean patch of his tattered shirt. He bit into the apple hungrily, wincing slightly as the sour flesh hit his empty stomach.
He was interrupted by a small, frustrated grunt from behind him. Turning, Sora saw a girl, about five years old, attempting to climb the wall. Her hair was golden brown and a lovely bruise decorated her cheek. Hopping down from the wall, he smiled at her and said,
"Would you like some help?"
She nodded, eyes shyly lowered. Sora picked her up and sat her gently on the top of the wall. He then climbed up beside her. As he continue to eat his apple he saw her big, brown eyes resting hopefully on it. Reaching into the pocket of his worn breeches, Sora pulled out a small knife and used it to cut the apple in half. He offered the larger half to the girl, who took it joyfully, murmuring a quick "Thank you" before biting into it.
"What's your name?" she asked softly.
"Mine's Oriel." She bit into the apple again, remaining silent for a few moments.
Sora turned his gaze to the ocean, where the setting sun was casting her brilliant rays. Silhouetted against the sun was a tall ship. His mind wandered off to its usual daydreams. Freedom on the open seas.
"Are you looking at the ships?" Oriel asked, pulling Sora back to reality.
"Mmhmm." He replied with a slight smile.
"I been on one once!" The girl swelled with pride as she spoke.
"Uh-huh. I wen' on to tell the Cap'an that I thought it was pretty."
"And what did he say?"
Oriel shifted uncomfortably. "I di'n get to tell him. The sailors came an' yelled at me. She sniffed, as if about to cry. "An'...an' then one of them hit me, so I ran away."
Sora glanced at the crying girl, flustered, unsure of how to react. He pushed himself down from the wall, landing among the soft sand of a small beach. He combed through it with his fingers for awhile, until he found a small, white shell.
"Please don't cry, Oriel." He whispered, pressing the shell into her small hand and smoothing her hair. He started to pull his hand away from hers, but she squeezed it tightly. He wrapped his fingers around her hand and stared off into the drowning sun. He had to get out of here. But he couldn't leave Oriel.
Sora climbed over to the other side of the wall, transferring her hand to his shirt as he did so. He held out his arms to her and she slid into them, clinging to him and resting her head on his shoulder.
"Do you have a home to go to?" Sora asked. He could feel her shake her head 'no' against his shoulder.
"Momma's gone. She went to a new place with the man she's friends with an' she used to say that Daddy was in Hell."
Soras blinked at this, wondering what kind of a person would first tell her daughter horrible things about the father and then abandon the child.
"Who takes care of you?" he asked.
"There's a lady who lives by the bakery. She tells me I can live with her, but I'm waiting for Momma to come back."
Sora knew the woman. She used to buy him bread every morning until four years ago, when he turned thirteen. She seemed frightened of him now, though he knew not why.
As he walked through the now dark streets he felt Oriel's breathing deepen. Her clinging limbs became limp just as he reached the woman's house. He knocked staidly on the door. After a few moments the woman appeared.
"Good evening," Sora murmured. "I...I was wondering if you could take care of Oriel for me, please? I would but I...I can barely take care of myself."
"Oh, oh of course, dear. I'd be more than happy to." She took the sleeping child into her arms. There was a small clink as the shell fell to the ground. Sora bent to pick it up, only to see it had snapped in two. He pocketed one half, and handed the other to the woman.
She looked at him, her expression softening. "I was afraid you'd hardened with age. You were always such a sweet boy. I felt that, as with most boys, it was only a matter of time before you hardened up." She chuckled lightly, "I see, now, how foolish I was."
Sora smiled, his heart begging for an invitation to stay, but the door clicked gently shut. He sighed and walked heavily from the house. Night had settled on the land and the sea was casting off her chilled air. It rolled over the streets, and Sora shivered in its clutches.
Looking up moments later, he found that his feet had lead him to the docks. The ship he had been staring at earlier was at the end of the pier closest to him. His bare feet thudded gently against the semi-rotten planks as he made his way to the ship. It seemed even grander, nobler, than it had before. His eyes went to the side of the ship, where her name was emblazoned; Mistress of the Night. Sora let the syllables play softly against his tongue. They left a cold taste in his mouth and left him with a sense of foreboding. But this ship held a piece of his destiny. He could feel it.
He glanced quickly around, surveying the ship and the one next to it. Judging by the second ship's name, Night Rider, it was the Mistress's companion. After scanning the area again, Sora moved to the edge of the dock and dove into the cold water. He surfaced with a gasp before swimming slowly, silently, towards the anchor-rope. His hands grasped the rope tightly and he pulled himself out of the water, shimmying up to the Mistress's cargo-hold.
Panting from the effort, Sora sat on the damp floor. His fingers and feet were stinging from the prickly fibers of the rope, which had embedded themselves in his skin.
Pulling himself to his feet he began to search for a semi-dry, halfway-comfortable, place to sleep for the night. He curled up into a ball in a corner of the room, drifting easily into sleep. He was finally free...
- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -
A strangely familiar voice called to Sora through the darkness, whispering fragile words in a frail language he did not understand. As he listened closely the words melted into a solid sound, a sound that faded until it was a feeling. He no longer heard the porcelain tongue, but felt its meanings.
"I have been waiting for you."
"Yes, waiting. For many years."
"Thousands. I have been lurking in all your lives, waiting to spring. Grab hold. Take form."
"Who are you?"
"I am your destiny. Or one of them rather. I am your destiny for this journey through life."
There was numbness for a while, until the feeling wrapped its arms around Sora once again."Will you accept me when the time comes?"
"I...I don't know..."
"You must decide soon. I am closer than you think."
The feeling grew in intensity.
"Will you accept me, Sora, or am I to be banished with the other Forgotten Fates? Will you walk this lifetime's path as an empty shell with no destination?"
"I will accept you, if you show me what you are."
"As you wish."
The feeling ended abruptly, and Sora waited expectantly, longing to gaze into the eyes of fate.
There was a sharp pain in his neck, and a slow, sleepy, draining feeling washed over him.
It spoke to him loudly now.
"This is who I am, Sora. Accept me."