Hello, and welcome to my epic-in-the-making, This Time I'll Fight. I have some important details to share with those who stumble upon this story for the first time, since it's been around for such a long time.

1) This story was first published in June of 2005. In other words, Kingdom Hearts II was not out yet. Therefore, this is considered AU (Alternate Universe) because it does not take into account ANY of the events that occurred in the game.

2) As you can probably guess, the writing style from my sophomore year to my senior year has changed and improved vastly. So, please take the gradual transformation from decent writing to good writing in stride. :D I will be editing the first few chapters soon so they read a little easier.

3) This story begins from the ending of Chain of Memories and moves forward, IGNORING THE PLOT OF KINGDOM HEARTS II. Just thought I'd put that again, in capitals, so everyone knows. xD

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story. Moving on, here is Chapter One as it originally appeared!


Disclaimer: All characters are property of Square-Enix, Squaresoft, and Disney. Plotline is loosely based on what information has leaked about KH2, such as Another Side, Another Story: Deep Dive and the Jump Festa 2005 trailer.


Chapter One

It was certainly not a morning she would call a "sailor's delight".

Rowing around the island would probably only result in a thorough soaking before she returned to dock. Selphie scanned the horizon, seeing ominous rainclouds gathering. She sat on the end of the pier, her nunchaku jump rope rolled around itself and resting in her lap.

She missed the children's island. She had woken up one morning, three months ago, to find it gone, undisturbed ocean right where it had used to be. The only evidence of it ever existing were the photos they'd taken there, and a few splintered pieces of what used to be the dock washed up on shore like driftwood.

Selphie stood up, pacing across the wooden planks, swinging the rope of her small weapon around in a pinwheel. Silently deciding she'd rather risk it, she climbed down to the waterfront to untie her small rowboat. A rasping cough immediately to her right startled her out of her wits as she worked on the knot. She dropped the rope, glancing frantically around for the source of the noise.

Selphie saw a slight figure laying inside one of the other small boats. It rocked slightly as the person coughed again.

Slowly she approached. Curled up on her side, a girl in a purple skort and white camisole, and dark red hair masking her face, was fast asleep.

Selphie stared dumbly, not believing what she was seeing. Was it possible? She had been gone for so long, now to simply show up, asleep in her boat?

Carefully she leaned across the boat, and pushed the long red hair from the girl's face. Before she got a good look, the person's eyes flew open, and she sat bolt upright, startled out of sleep. Selphie shrieked, falling backwards into the dampened sand. The figure stumbled out of the boat, which had capsized in the commotion, and landed on her hands and knees.

"Kairi?!" Selphie cried, her eyes widening.


"Let me get this straight..." Selphie said, on her stomach in a beanbag chair on her bedroom floor. "You...uh, lost your heart, and came back to life. Sora lost his heart, you brought him back to life. You're a princess...you've been to three worlds other than this one...and Sora...is some big hero with a giant key?"

She didn't like the wording, or the way that Selphie made it sound like complete idiocy, but Kairi nodded fro her spot on the bed, where she was on her stomach clutching a pillow to her chest.

"Jeez...if I didn't see that island disappear with my own eyes, I wouldn't believe any of it."

Kairi grinned, rolling over to stare upside down at the younger girl.

"So...what now, Kairi?"

Kairi pushed her long red bangs out of her eyes, groaning.

"Unnnghh...I don't know. I'm so mixed up."

She rolled back over and slid off the bed, onto the floor.

"I'm not even sure how I got here. I was in our secret base with Leon and Yuffie and Aerith...then they decided to go back to Hollow Bastion to see what was going on. I don't really know what happened after that. Sora came back once to check up on me. Then I was alone for a day or so...all of a sudden I was on this sandy platform in the middle of the darkness. This huge, dark void...but Sora came running up, and..."

She was blushing furiously. She flopped backwards onto the bed with the pillow over her face.

Selphie was slowly understanding. She grinned and yanked the pillow away from Kairi's burning face.

"You two like each other, don't you?" she asked. Kairi's face blushed to an even deeper shade of red and Selphie shrieked, clapping her hand over her mouth.

"Oh my gosh...and to think I thought...you and Riku!...wait. What about Riku?" Selphie said all in one breath, regaining seriousness.

The smile faded from Kairi's face.

"Riku...Riku's lost his heart. I have no idea where he is. He...he tried to kill Sora to give me back my heart. Oh, he didn't know what he was doing," she said quickly, in response to the look of utter shock and revulsion on Selphie's face. "He was possessed. Last I saw him, he was...like a ghost. And, if Sora hadn't fought, Riku would have killed him. And then he would have brought me back only to kill me too."

Selphie sat back in the beanbag chair, staring at the ceiling.

"I'm sorry I asked," she said quietly.

Kairi smiled softly. "It's all right," she whispered.

Neither of them spoke for a few moments.

Selphie sat up quickly. "Kairi, I still can't believe...my gosh! You..." she held up one index finger. "...and Sora..." she held up the other. "I just..." She intertwined the fingers and dropped them into her lap.

She laughed. "It's so...romantic!" she cried, falling backwards and out of the beanbag chair.

Kairi giggled too, the color rising in her cheeks again, and she tossed another pillow at Selphie.

"Well, Miss Princess of Heart, you're back in your kingdom and I am your lady-in-waiting. What would Her Majesty like to do now?" Selphie said, regaining her balance and grinning.

"Uh...I dunno."

"Generous and articulate," Selphie remarked, shaking her head, and grabbed Kairi by the forearm and led her out the door.


"So what're you going to do?"

Tidus was hitting Wakka's blitzball back and forth between his two palms. Wakka hung precariously from the paopu tree's nearly horizontal trunk, his flip-flops skimming the calm ocean. Selphie sat on the trunk of the tree, and Kairi stood leaning against a palm tree with one arm.

"Ugh...I don't know. It doesn't seem right for me to just sit here and wait for them."

She kicked at the base of the tree absentmindedly, her eyes to the sea.

"What do you say to this..." Wakka began, swinging his legs up and over the trunk and maneuvering back onto the small islet. "Sora and Riku are still out there somewhere, ya? And it's just a matter of gettin' up there?" He put both hands behind his head and stretched backward, his eyes searching the sky.

Kairi glanced at him. That odd habit of his reminded her painfully of Sora, when he used to do it.

Selphie looked up.

"What's the last thing you remember before you ended up in Hollow Mashing or whatever?"

"Hollow Bastion," Kairi corrected automatically. "And I told you before...I don't remember. I was in the Secret Place one second, there the next."

"That's it, then!" Tidus said, tossing the blitzball up in the air and kicking it to sea expertly.

"I'll go take a look..." Kairi said doubtfully, turning and walking slowly back up the pier.


She ducked into the low tunnel that lead to the cavern in the hollow tree. The sun was finally beginning to peek through the clouds, and shafts of light played upon the floor as rays his the branching roots and pierced through.

She smiled softly as she emerged into its familiar warmth, and the sunbleached carvings seemed to shine clearer on the roughened walls in the filtered sunlight. She couldn't help it. Despite the fact that she was still in shock by all that had happened the past four days, the familiarity and the comfort of this place brought her nearly back to normal. She smiled wider, euphoria swelling within her. She admired the sloppy sketches on the wall, passing her hand along their shallow carving as she walked.

Kairi felt older. Her eyes had seen quite a lot since she'd last visited. This startling reminder of her long-past childhood was almost too crazy to contemplate.

She approached the great wooden door with dread, avoiding casting her gaze upon it. That door had been where it all began...

...and why it had all ended.

Instead, she looked down at the closest carving. She sank to her knees as her eyes fixed upon it, staring incredulously at the carving of Sora and herself. Her heart began beating painfully fast within her.

Someone had added to the drawing recently. Her fingers traced over the carving, and a fine powder rained onto the packed-dirt ground. It was fresh.

From the drawing of Sora there ran a sweeping tail ending in a hand holding a star-shaped something, connecting to Kairi's cariacature.

She felt her defenses breaking. A paopu fruit...?

A smile tilted her lips as she brought her trembling hand up to them, and laughed softly as she began to cry, a tear escaping down her cheek. She closed her eyes and leaned her forehead against the stone, an uncontrollable smile spread across her face.

This was too unreal. Now, Sora seemed like a distant memory, off in other worlds where she might never see him again, a hero she hardly knew.

But here, in this place, he was the friend she had known all her life, her best friend who wanted to keep her safe and who would never change. And he, perhaps...even felt the same new feelings she had for him.

She swallowed hard as the thought occured to her, a thrill of mingled euphoria and fear making her tremble. A slow warmth spread from her heart and her hand flew up to cover it, to protect it.

He would always be right there, with her always.

On impulse, she took a sharp rock from the floor, and etched in an outline of another paopu from her to him. She smiled as she slowly ducked out of the cavern and into the Islands' sun.


Interlude One

His eyes slowly fluttered open as the pressing darkness gave way to light around him. His surroundings slid in and out of focus.

"Hello?" he slurred blearily, his senses returning rather reluctantly. He stretched out, but found himself closely confined to whatever he was standing in. Panic surged through him as full memory flooded back. He had been at the crossroads...an enigmatic man in a black hood...

Riku! Kairi!

The King! And where were Goofy and Donald?

Fully awake now, he forced his limbs as hard as he could against the cocoon-like chamber. Just as his muscles began to weaken with exhaustion, he was released. Out he tumbled onto a white marble floor, and his lip began to bleed as he collected himself.

"Hey! What's going on here?" he shouted, his voice echoing in the chamber.

"Sora?" said a voice softly behind him. He turned.

A girl about his age and about a head shorter than he stood timidly in front of him, her blue eyes looking up at him through her blonde bangs.

"Who are you?" he asked roughly, his frustration getting the better of him. The girl was visibly saddened by the question, though Sora couldn't understand why.

"I'm Namine," she said. The look on her face was so wrenching that some of the blind panic left him and he softened.

"Should I know you?" he asked.

"No...actually, I'm glad you don't. That means it worked," she said, seeming to be convincing herself more than anything else.

"What worked? What's going on?" He brought his gloved fingers to his temples, frantically trying to remember.

"The moment you set foot in this castle, all your memories left you. I've just relinked them," Namine began. She swallowed hard and continued. "You've been asleep for nearly eight months."

Sora's heart skipped a beat.

"Eight months?" he said faintly.

She nodded fearfully. Every time he moved, she flinched. What was she so afraid of?

Eight months...anything could have happened in eight months! They had wasted too much time here...

Suddenly, an all-too-familiar squawk echoed in the great room. Donald's hands flailed as he tried to catch himself, rolling out of the large pod they had been sleeping in. He somersaulted onto the floor, his Violetta staff catching him behind the head as he regained balance. He stood up, brushing himself off and muttering to himself.

"Sora!" he exclaimed, waddling toward him as fast as he could. "What's the big idea?"

Before he could answer, Goofy came toppling out of his pod, his large golden shield clattering away across the cold floor. He stood up, wobbling and scratching his head. He picked up the shield where it lay, and walking towards the group, slung it over his shoulder.

"Gawrsh, it sure is bright in here," he remarked, glancing around, his eyelids half-closed and a bemused look on his face.

Donald shook his fists. "You big palooka!" he quacked angrily, giving Goofy a sharp rap on the nose with his staff. Goofy stumbled, shaking his head, and his eyes opened wide and focused.

"Sora! Where ya been?" he said, cuffing Sora on the shoulder with one gloved hand.

The spiky-haired teen wasn't quite sure how to answer. He hardly knew, himself.

"There isn't much time," Namine said, putting both arms behind the group and pushing them toward the door. One arm braced a large drawing pad against the small of Sora's back.

"You'll need this to leave Castle Oblivion," she said, pushing a metallic card into Sora's gloved hand. "Use it at the door just ahead. It should let you through."

She fumbled with the lock for a moment and the door sprang open, revealing a long white corridor lined with vases.

"Anything else we need to know?" Sora asked amusedly, smiling at the girl as he pulled his Keyblade off its attachments at his hip.

"No..." Namine answered as Donald and Goofy began to walk away, down the hall. "You'll figure it out on your own."

Sora nodded to her and made as if to follow his friends, but Namine's fingers closed around his forearm.

"Wait," she said softly, reaching inside the pocket of her white sundress. "You dropped this while you were sleeping. I thought you'd want it back."

She held up by its chain Kairi's good-luck charm, a blue and pink star held together with twine, with a scrawled-on smiley face on its uppermost point.

He took it from her silently, looking over its simple beauty, relief spreading through him.

"Thanks," he said finally, pocketing it. He turned and began to follow Donald and Goofy. As they reached the door out, he turned back to look at the thin figure standing on the threshold of the great hall.

"I'm not really sure why, but I feel like I should remember you! If I can, I'll try and come back!" he called, grinning.

Namine giggled and waved, and the door closed behind the trio. Amid her laughter, a tear of sorrow slid unheeded down her face and died on her lips.



I actually really like how this chapter turned out. What do you guys think? Please rate and review! I LOVE REVIEWS!