Disclaimer: I in no way own Kingdom Hearts. Don't sue; I'm simply an E5 in the USN, therefore I have no money. Ha.

A/N 1: Each chapter is written from a different POV. The identity of the 'speaker' is located with the chapter's name. Just trying to avoid confusion here. :) For further notes on this silly thing, please see the long author's note at the end of the story.


Chapter 1
The Heartless – Identity

I have a name.

I use that fact as something to distinguish myself from those who surround me, from those who are so very like me in so many fashions. I use it to define myself, to separate myself from the gathered hordes that remain without identification, likened unto the atmosphere that engulfs us.

I am different. I am not one as they are.

They are nothing but emotionless beings, driven to grasp that which we don't possess ourselves. That beat we all lack. That warmth we all exist without. They strive for that touch of light they can never reclaim because they lack identity. They lack definition. They are nothing.

Nothing more than the shadows created by light, nothing more than the shadows remaining once light has been stripped from the heart.

I was not created as they were. I know this fact.

They were once ordinary people like myself. Their hearts were claimed by darkness, ripped away from their chests by the sharpened claws of our brethren, the light crushed from them with one mighty squeeze and demolished for all eternity. They are the byproducts left behind once that light is destroyed.

Their entire purpose in existence is to find more light, to decimate more light. To seek that which they will eternally lack owing to their lack of ability to assimilate it and return to what we once were.

They cannot bring that light into themselves, cannot find balance between light and dark every again, because they have no definition of self.

They've become one with this place. They've become the darkness that floods this realm.

I have not. I can still the quaking desire to destroy.

They cannot. They exist only to find light, only to bring it to darkness. They exist onto to see the expansion of the dark Kingdom's borders, to see all worlds brought in and absorbed by it. They exist only to bright to reality the ultimate goal of supreme darkness – to mess with all light that floods all worlds and bring it into itself, to create and absorb that heart of all worlds.

I want no part in that.

I have different goals, a different purpose.

They seek the doors to other worlds. They seek to open them. They seek to plunder those worlds that lay beyond those doors, to terrify and take in those individuals they discover, to create more of their seemingly infinite numbers. They seek destruction.

I wish to stop them.

I don't really know why anymore. All I know is that goal sets me apart from them. That goal. The fact that I know I'm different. The name I have. All of those things set me apart from those creatures that surround me, despite all appearances.

Others might look and not realize I am different. I couldn't find any blame to lay in that. To one who's not familiar with my brethren, it's an easy mistake to make. After all, we all look identical.

Same antennae. Same claws. Same stooped posture. Same bodies crafted of nothing but darkness. Same ability to flatten ourselves to any surface and move as a shadow anywhere we desire. Same nomenclature assigned to all of us.

We are all Heartless.

I, however, have a name. A name other than 'Heartless' or 'Shadow.'

I also used to have different eyes. Those few times I've peered out upon the waters of the worlds outside of the Kingdom, they were drastically different from those my counterparts sport. Lately they've been fading to the same gold as my other brethren.

That fact has driven me to restrict myself to the darkness I now inhabit.

I fear that I am becoming one of them, that I am being assimilated by the impermeable darkness. I fear that soon I will have no name, no goal, nor any method of separating myself from the mindless hordes that follow the Kingdom's lust for destruction.

I would rather remain forever locked away in this land than risk destroying those worlds outside. I will remain in the innermost shadows of darkness if the urge to crush the light I still find so precious and fascinating becomes overwhelming. I will refuse the light when my eyes are permanently gold.

That's another thing that differentiates me from them.

They're driven by greedy lust to the outside worlds. Whenever a doors is discovered waves of my fellow Shadows race towards that exit from our world, their claws sharp and the dark abyss within their chests that once held hearts begging for light.

I don't run for that light. I linger by the door.

Once I didn't just linger and helplessly stare at the door with my fading eyes. Once I'd held a purpose, distinct and detrimental to the plans of those who inhabit this dark realm with me.

I was closing them. I was closing those doors from the inside, making them ready for whoever it was that was locking them in my wake.

I no longer know how I was doing that, though.

I still seek out the doors. I usually find them before the others. But I can no longer remember how I was getting those doors to close.

I know why. I was protecting people who exist on the other side of these doors from my brethren. I was protecting them from being absorbed by Kingdom hearts.

But how I was doing that is a mystery. I don't even recall who it was or what it was that was successfully locking all of those doors I was barricading against the Shadows of these lands.

And so now I sit, useless and afraid, watching as my counterparts flood yet another world. Another world I was unable to save, another door I was unable to force shut before they desecrated it.

As I watch the last of the Heartless pour through the opening into that once pristine and untouched world, as I watch the animals fall one by one to the claws of the Shadows, as I watch light being stripped away from the farmers and the hounds and the foxes that inhabit the woods, I bow my head, my antennae quivering slightly with the movement, and lightly caress the one vestment of my former self that I still possess.

My sharp claws delicately touch the simple swath of black fabric, the feel of its silken material comforting me.

After all, I only have three things remaining to separate me from the horrors that flood this place. Those ideals that beat within my lost, distant heart and keep me from leaping towards those with light in a lust-driven frenzy, intent on stripping it away to supplement my own loss. That piece of cloth that rests in my hand, salvaged from my human body before it faded and became what I now am, seen minute moments before vanishing from reality by my different eyes.

The name I possess.

If only I could remember what it is….


A/N 2: Alrighty, a little bit of explanation's in order. I'm attempting to keep this game-based. I'm also attempting to place this in whatever short span of time might have elapsed between the end of KH1 and KH:CoM. So while it can be taken as exceptionally AU, I'm trying to make it no so unreasonable to purists.

Keeping true to the KH game, I've kept the ages of the characters: Sora's 14, Riku would be 15, the Disney characters are indeterminable (lol), Cloud's 22, Aerith's 23, Yuffie's 16, Cid's 42, and Squally-boy's 25. A bit of research proved that the FF7 characters weren't subjected to the same miraculous aging that Squall/Leon was (except Cid. I'm claiming he lied about his age), so any future appearances of VII characters will feature them at their VII ages (once again, except Cid). No other FF8 characters will be popping in – explanation's provided in the story.

I'll also be attempting to integrate FF7 and FF8 storylines into this, so don't be surprised if Leon decides to take a few moments to mentally whine about missing Rinoa and the gang or ponder if the continuous battles against the Heartless could possibly be even worse than his war against Ultimecia or if he blasts forth with sarcasm concerning magical happenings and how the mystique with them is rather dulled by having been through a few bouts of time compression before. And don't be surprised if Cloud wanks about Sephiroth and all of his poor convoluted little problems experienced in his rather entertaining past – or if he breaks a wig and a shimmery purple dress out of storage for a quick trip down memory lane. XD I love Wall Market in FF7! (snigger)

Weapons that I'm using are weapons I earned while playing the game – I'm one of those annoying 'must complete everything' players, so expects ultimate weapons. The big exception to this is Cloud – it'd be confusing to have 2 Ultima Weapons running amuck, so Sora gets to keep his. Cloud gets his First Tsurugi instead which isn't from the game, but rather is that awesome 6-sword combination bastard from Advent Children. It's sooooo kick-ass! (drools all over herself). But from what I've heard, it actually appears in KH2! Woot! (happy dance)

I started writing this on cruise. I'd beaten KH1, decided to go mash the crap out of KH:CoM, and was whimpering forlornly because KH2 wasn't coming out for another freaking 6 months. So on watch I started writing this, wasting my time dreaming about fanfiction instead of monitoring my nuclear power plant. Yeah, I'm a bad little girl. :)

In the interest of keeping this moving and easier to write than some of my other stories, there's page limits on the chapters. As the Heartless degrades, its chapters will get continually shorter – the max chapter for it is 3 pages. Everyone else is set at 9 pages flat. Just so it's made obvious that there won't be any 30 page word-fests in this story like there are in my other tales. (sweatdrop)

Anyway, if you like this, please review! While lack of reviews won't necessarily stop me from writing, it does slow me down – I work on what gets reviewed first, and the rest gets attention only when those stories or my brain's attention span for those stories are exhausted. So if you want more faster, please submit!

(thwacks her forehead) I just said 'submit.' Why does that bring back terrible memories of Ansem battles from CoM and 1? Aiiiiiiii…..