((Warning: There may be spoilers in this story for the game, but the story can generally be considered an alternate universe of the game series, seeing as how people who should be dead are alive. I did my best to keep true to the Organization members' personalities, so in case I messed up on some of them, forgive me.))

Chapter 1: New Beginnings

Alexandra stood back-to-back with her older brother, her silver sword in hand. The light that radiated forth from it made the dark creatures around them keep their distance, but they were slowly beginning to advance. They were now in front of the town's fountain with no way to break out of the encirclement.

The Heartless: Creatures born from the darkness within peoples' hearts. They were a plague in all the worlds, devouring the hearts of the innocent to make even more Heartless. And lately, they had been in Traverse Town.

Alex's brother, Joseph, cut through several of them with his double saber. His arms were covered in scratches, and he looked as worn out as she felt. "Alex, we can't keep this up! We have to run for it!"

"And go where? We can't hide from the Heartless!"

"But if we stay here, we're toast!" Joseph shot back. "We don't have any other choice! When I give the order, make a break for it. Got it?"

Alex nodded, hoping her brother knew what he was doing. Joseph held up his double saber and flung it at the Shadows, using his Raid attack. The spinning blade wreaked havoc among the Heartless, cutting a path through them. "Run! Now!" Joseph shouted, grabbing Alex by the wrist. He pulled her through the mass of Heartless, taking them out as they ran. When a strange looking Heartless, a Neo-Shadow, appeared in front of them, Joseph pushed Alex out of the way as its claws raked across his chest, sending him to his knees.

"Joseph!" Alex cried, the Neo-Shadow standing over her brother. Its hand reached for him, and she instantly knew it was going for his heart. Joseph, her big brother, was about to become a Heartless.

Alex darted out in front of him, her arms spread wide, tears in her eyes. Joseph screamed her name, but it sounded far-off, distant. The Neo-Shadow's hand actually passed into her chest, pulling out a small heart-shaped object that glowed. Alex's body felt cold and numb as she fell backwards, darkness engulfing her mind. The last thing she saw was a figure in a black cloak standing atop the clock tower, watching her.

I'm sorry, Joseph… For leaving you…

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It was dark and cold, wherever she was. Buildings towered high overhead, but they were all empty. There wasn't a single person in this city. It was completely uninhabited.

She looked around, her hands in the pockets of her green cargo pants. Her white T-shirt was still, most of it hidden by her forest green jacket. She brushed her brown hair out of her face, her blue eyes taking in her surroundings. Dark, dreary, silent… It was so disheartening to see the empty shell of such a large city.

The distant rumble of thunder made her look up at the dark sky. A warm droplet splattered on her forehead. She wiped it away, the blue ring she wore passing before her eyes. More droplets splashed on her face before the light drizzle grew into a downpour. She darted under an alcove nearby, already drenched from the rain. She tried to warm herself up by chafing her arms, but it didn't do much good.

There was a sudden blast of warm air from behind that dried up her clothes almost instantly. She spun around, facing a cloaked man she knew hadn't been there moments before. A hood hid his face from view, but he held a ball of flame in his gloved hand. He clenched his hand into a fist, and the fire dissipated. "Well, well! Didn't expect to find a kid like you here!"

Her eyes narrowed. "Who are you?"

"That doesn't matter right now. The more important question is: Do you know who you are?" The man slowly circled her. "Do you remember?"

She hesitated, thinking of what he had said. "My name is… Danielle."

The cloaked man pulled down his hood, revealing red spiky hair and unnatural blue-green eyes. Two peculiar green marks were under his eyes. "So, you do know. I'm impressed."

"Why would I forget who I am?"

"All Nobodies forget who they truly are. We're just shells of what we once were; empty husks without hearts, pretending to have them while longing to be whole."

Danielle frowned slightly. "Nobodies? What're you talking about?"

He smirked. "So, you don't know after all. Should have known. A Nobody is born from the body left behind when a person loses their heart. Those with strong hearts retain their human forms. Like me. Like you."

She shook her head. "I'm not a Nobody! I have a heart!"

The man stepped up closer to Danielle, peering down at her as she backed up against a wall. "You say you do, but are you really so sure? Is it just the memories of when you had one that makes you say that?"

His words made doubt creep into her mind. Now that she thought about it, she really did feel an emptiness inside. Danielle hung her head, speaking just above a whisper. "I really don't have a heart…"

The man nodded, his expression one almost of pity. "We Nobodies aren't even supposed to exist. And yet… we do. It's our curse." He stared out into the pouring rain. "I'm tired of being with the Organization. Ever since Roxas left, I wanted out. But it's not so simple."

Danielle looked up at him, surprised that he was suddenly talking about this from out of the blue. "Why can't you leave?"

"Xemnas won't let anyone leave. Traitors are killed. I'm not the only one, though. Two others feel the same." He smirked. "I must be insane telling you this, but oh well. Even if Xemnas does catch and kills me, I'm going to fade away anyhow. Fate of the Nobody, you know?"

"Well, how about I help you and your friends? If we all work together, I'm sure you guys can get away."

He glanced back at her, laughing. "A kid like you help?" He stopped when he saw the blue ring on her hand. "I see. So that's why… Well, I suppose there's no harm in it." The man turned around. "The name's Axel. Got it memorized?" Danielle nodded and was about to reply when dark creatures rose up from the ground. Their yellow eyes locked onto the pair, their antennas twitching in excitement. "Neo Shadows!" Axel hissed. "Hang on!" He grabbed Danielle, a dark portal appearing in front of them. Danielle barely had time to blink before they plunged into darkness.

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Demyx hummed a tune to himself, playing it on his sitar. He frowned, shook his head, and started over, leaning forward in his chair. When a portal appeared in front of him and Axel came out with a young girl, Demyx let out a startled yelp and fell over backwards, his instrument landing on his face. "What's the big idea, Axel? Can't you just knock?" he grumbled, standing up. When he saw Axel's eyes darting around and the confused look on the girl's face, he knew something was up.

"Keep an eye on Danielle. I'll get Larxene." Before Demyx could even ask what was going on, Axel vanished, leaving Demyx alone with the girl.

Demyx was confused. Larxene was number XII in the Organization and thought by everyone else to have been killed in Castle Oblivion by the Keyblade master. Only Axel and he knew the truth that she had faked her death and escaped alive, reluctantly coming to Demyx to ask for help. Larxene went into hiding, waiting for the time when Axel would get her to make their escape. But why did—

"Are you one of Axle's friends that want to leave the Organization?"

Demyx shushed the girl, Danielle, and looked around. No one was in the room… yet. Being in the Organization's lair wasn't always a good thing, especially when it came to secrecy. "Be careful of what you say. You never know who could be listening."

"Where are we?" she asked.

Organization XIII's castle in a world that isn't supposed to exist: The World That Never Was."

"A world that isn't supposed to exist…? Just like Nobodies…"

Demyx nodded, but he cringed as a commanding voice called out his name. It was Xaldin. "So, the information was correct. Did you really think you could just walk away from the Organization that easily?"

Demyx panicked. He wasn't a fighter! He immediately strummed a tune on his sitar. Watery clones of him surrounded Xaldin, but in one move he teleported in front of Danielle, a lance piercing through her shoulder and pinning her to the ground. "If you want this girl to live, call off the clones."

Demyx hesitated, Axel's order coming to mind. He was supposed to protect this girl, not let her die. He halted his playing, the watery clones vanishing. Xaldin smile that chilling triumphant smile of his, calling another lance to his hand. "Too bad, traitor." He pulled his lance back, thrusting it straight at Danielle's chest.