Chapter One: Awaken from Your Nightmares

Sincerely, this story is almost like a repeat of Kingdom Hearts, except with some twists of my own, some added characters I made up, and changes in the plot. Make sure you note that. Enjoy!

He was falling.

The swooping sensation resided in his stomach, making him smile, loving the feel of wind against his skin, yet at the same time, dreading it. Yet, still at that exact same time, there was no wind. Just… nothingness. Like he was falling through nothing. He concluded once and for all that he liked this feeling, this sensation of something and nothing, of falling and rising, of coldness and warmth… For some reason, he just did.

His bangs fluttered to and fro, back and forth. Opening his eyes to reveal stunningly captivating aqua ones, almost like a mixture of blue and green, he stared upwards as he fell, his body tearing through the air slowly as the wind parted to allow his body to continue its descent through the dark sky… or was it something else?

I've been having these weird thoughts lately… Like, is any of this for real, or not…?

It was as though he were drifting, almost in an ethereal way, slowly through the area. A single orb of light lingered high above him, far out of his reach, though it emanated such great light, illuminating the entire place, though he still couldn't see anything but plain blackness. Reaching a muscular arm outwards, hand stretched as though he wished to take hold and grasp the light, he drew a sharp intake of breath.

His drifting was converted into a tumble, almost like a headfirst dive downwards, with unawareness of where he was going. The speed increased as he continued to fall, slowly gathering velocity, the swiftness rather sudden, yet gradual. He closed his eyes again, though he was not afraid, as though to prepare himself for what would occur next. Trails of bubbles trailed after him as he dropped downwards.

Then it came. In an almighty burst of vibrant and vivid color and light, he stood before the ocean, waves lapping gently at his shoes, shimmering with indescribable beauty, splashing and spraying foam about as its waves tumbled about on the rippling surface, the aqua shade oh so beautiful. His sharp eyes quickly adjusted to the suddenly high amount of light, thus he did not bother to shield them from the blinding rays of sunlight. But what was that thing right there? Standing in the water, merely yards away from him?

Peering intently outwards at the said object, his brows furrowed in concentration, closer examination proving fruitful. There was a streak of brown… some red as well… blue and white accompanying the color. Wait, was that…? Yes, that was Sora! It was his best friend, silly little Sora! Why was he just standing there in the water, as though he had no purpose to remain there? It was as if he were simply standing there for the heck of it!

Stumbling forward in an attempt to run forward and most likely tow his friend out and scold him for remaining there, like he was waiting for the tide to sweep him away, he paused, staring downwards at the water that was still dashing at his shoes. Surprise swept over him when a wave formed, rising feet above Sora, slowly making its way towards him. But the boy was standing there, in the water, as though he had not a care in the world.

Tilting his head, spiky-brown hair shaking as he did, Sora turned, smiling cheerfully at him. He found this behavior rather odd; didn't Sora usually grin with that trademark grin of his? Where had it gone? It seemed like Sora had suddenly took a sharp dive towards the way of seriousness. Reaching out a gloved hand, Sora held it out, still smiling, as though he were patiently waiting for his reaction. He suddenly had the notion to run and swim over to the brunette and seize his waiting hand.

Running forward, straight into the water, his hand was outstretched, reaching to grab Sora's. But the wave was too fast for them. It tumbled over both of them, sending him struggling against the current as he continued to reach for the other boy's hand. Sora just stood there, waiting, smiling. He fought against the current as best he could, but his effort was futile, he was still swept away, away from Sora.

Soon, he burst out from underneath the water to the surface, inhaling deeply, shaking his head as droplets of water dripped from the ends of his silken hair to drop into the water once again. Inclining his head, he began to search around for Sora. Had he vanished? When it was confirmed that Sora was not there since the boy was not in sight, he gave up and turned to look in another direction, towards shore.

"Riku! Come out of the water! You should get dried up!"

"Y-yes! Riku! Come o-out!"

He smiled, and waved back to the two speakers, who were still calling out to him. The first who had spoken was one of his other best friends, Kairi, a charming, sweet girl with auburn hair and blue eyes. The second was Kairi's twin, timid and shy Kaiya. She looked much like her sister, who was an inch taller than her, but unlike Kairi, had significantly longer hair reaching her mid-back that was usually tied in a high ponytail and hair that was much browner. Kairi was the only one she could speak to without stuttering due to her shyness.

Splashing through the water, he made his way to the two girls, responding to their cheerful calls by running faster until he finally made it on shore, dripping wet from being in the water. Breathing heavily at the two, he watched them laugh, when Kaiya gently tugged at Kairi's shirt and stared up at something in the sky. Kairi looked up as well, her interest piqued. Riku, too, finally decided to look up, and stared into the sky as well to see what was so interesting.

It was a pretty sight. There were stars shooting from the sky, but among them was something different. It was in the shape of a person… strangely familiar. Hearing Kairi's gasp, he realized, to his horror, that the object was him! But if he was still falling, how could he be standing there with the two girls? The falling Riku's eyes were closed, as though he were asleep as he fell toward them. Then suddenly, he began to fall backwards, slowly dropping towards the ocean again. The two twins called out his name, Kairi's face wearing a surprised, anxious expression as she called, Kaiya reaching out her pale hand towards him to grasp, but it was no use.

The girls disappeared in a flurry of ripples as he went underwater, vanishing completely from view. As Riku fell, it was as though he were still falling through the sky. Falling into an immense orb of light, his surroundings instantly changed to become similar to the deepest depths of the ocean, bubbles trailing after his form as he tumbled through water again.

It seemed like an eternity before he finally landed on something. While plummeting through the "water", he turned his weight into a flip, landing skillfully onto his feet. Straightening himself up, Riku looked around, taking a hesitant step forward. Out of the ground came white doves, dozens and dozens of them, fluttering higher and higher, away. The ground, gradually uncovering, was soon shown to be what looked like a platform made of stained glass. It was a lovely sight, seeing all those birds flying outwards. Feathers fell, wavering past his face to rest on the ground. When he actually looked though, there was nothing but the glass.

Focusing his attention on the glass, Riku took his time to inspect the gigantic platform. In the middle was a woman with short black hair, a ribbon wound around it, holding an apple. She was dressed in a dress with a high, white collar. The top section was blue, the actual dress area a bright yellow color. Around her were the faces of small men with beards, and around them were small animal images.

However, right now, Riku wasn't focused on that. No, he was focused on the voice he had just heard. It suddenly rang out in the dark area, seeming to echo in his mind. There was no doubt that it had sounded.

So much to do… So little time… Take your time…

Curiously baffled, Riku stared upwards, eyes narrowed in suspicion. "Whose there?" he called out, his voice reverberating in the darkness. Still searching around, he gave up when there was no one in sight. He was all alone… at least, for now. Sighing, he combed his fingers through silvery hair, unsure of what was going to occur next. But he didn't understand the statement. If he had so much to do, and so little time, why bother taking his time? It was simply incomprehensible.

But don't be afraid. The door is still shut.

Immediately after the voice had resounded again, he looked around once more. He saw nothing at all besides the stained glass and the black atmosphere surrounding him. "What door?" he asked no one in particular. He wanted answers, and he was definitely going to get them… or so he thought.

Now, step forward. Can you do it?

A common smirk slowly made its way onto his lips. Of course he could do such a simple task… who wouldn't be able to? But when he actually tried, he found that his legs would not move at all. It was like he was bound in place by invisible ropes, freezing him in his exact place, leaving him immobile. Gritting his teeth, Riku tried once more, forcing himself to move. Slowly, he raised a foot and walked forward one step. So far so good. He soon discovered that every step he took made walking easier, as though he were gaining experience, one step at a time. A voice in the back of his mind told him to stop when he reached the center. So… he did.

Power sleeps within you.

With a ray of light, a pedestal raised directly out of the ground on his side, slowly rising until it seemed to end. A shield appeared in a flash of light, outlined in red, mostly black. In the center was an insignia composed of three circles, one at the bottom, two on top of it on both sides. For some reason, it reminded Riku of a mouse.

If you give it form…

Another ray of light beamed down on his other side, another pedestal rising from the ground. With another flash, a staff appeared. Most of it was green, but the emblem on the top was blue, identical to the "mouse" symbol he had seen on the shield.

It will give you strength.

Last of the bunch, another ray of light came, signaling for the last pedestal to rise from the ground. Perched upon it was a simple sword, some gold and black on the handle, the blade a silver-white color.

Chose well.

Easily figuring out which of the bunch he wanted most, Riku made his way toward the sword, effortlessly jumping upwards onto the pedestal and picking up the weapon with ease, a small smile on his face.

The power of the warrior. Invincible courage. A sword of terrible destruction... Is this the power you seek?

It sounded good… he did like using swords to fight, and he was good at fighting. It was a fact he couldn't deny. Opening his mouth to speak, he confidently called out again, "Yes." The said sword exploded into wisps of light, drifting away from existence as they faded. As he turned to get down from the pedestal, the voice spoke again.

Your path is set. Now… what will you give up in exchange?

Riku's eyes gazed around at the remaining weapons, lingering at the shield. He did like offensive… but if he lacked defensive, he was sure to suffer. Now staring at the staff, he firmly nodded, stepping down to walk across the platform to the other pedestal. Why not surrender the staff? After all, he preferred melee over magic… it wasn't like he was good at it, even if he was good at everything he tried. But then again, he had no knowledge about magic. Shaking his head, Riku grasped the staff.

The power of the mystic. Inner strength. A staff of wonder and ruin. You give up this power?

Riku nodded. The staff, too, exploded into wisps of light, vanishing from reality. Now he had to wonder. What was going to happen next?

You have chosen the power of the warrior. You've given up the power of the mystic. Is this the form you choose?

It seemed that the voice had a habit of voicing out what he wanted, while plunking a question to the end. Chuckling, Riku nodded once more, murmuring a soft, "Yes."

Your path is set. You have chosen your power.

There was an earthquake-like jerk that knocked Riku straight off his feet, sending him sprawling to the ground – if he hadn't regained his balance quickly. That was when the glass shattered. He fell down again, a strange emotion in his heart, as the glass vanished from view when he fell.

When he landed, it was on another platform, this time depicting a lady in a rather formal blue-white gown, surrounded by some other pictures. Breathing out sharply, Riku took his time looking around, waiting to hear the voice again.

You've gained the power to fight. Take a swing.

Riku grinned, slashing the sword through the air in a deft swipe.

There will be times you have to fight.

To his dismay, blotches of black appeared all over the platform. Emerging from them were strange creatures that had antennas, swaying almost drunkenly as they approached him. To Riku, they looked like oversized, ugly versions of ants.

Keep your light burning strong.

Positive that he knew what the statement meant, he hefted his sword up a little higher just as the ant-like creatures swarmed around him to attack. He smirked. Time for a little practice. Maybe they'd prove more of a challenge than his friends.

One of them lunged forward, claws drawn out in offense. Riku immediately ducked, before spinning around and charging at it, blade raised. Stabbing and slashing at the creature, he jumped backwards when it dodged when of his attacks by squashing itself into the ground and moving, like a shadow, to another location.

Whirling around, he blocked the creature's next attack with the blade, flinging the creature backwards with said sword. The rest of them squashed themselves into the ground, vanishing.

Behind you!

Riku, acting on instinct, leapt out of the way just in time to see a creature fly past him and land onto the ground several feet away. Scowling, the silver-haired boy rushed toward it, attacking it with a series of hacks and slashes. In moments, the creature had vanished in a shower of black particles, but there were still the other ones. However, when he was about to strike at the other, more splotches of black appeared around. This time, nothing emerged from them. In fact, now, the black splotch under him was sucking him in.

Gritting his teeth, Riku reached upward in vain, as though trying to grab something – anything – and get out of the darkness. It made him so… uncomfortable. It was just that the feeling… it was weird and unpleasant. But now, the darkness swallowed the last of his body.

When he next opened his eyes, what was seen was another platform, this one with the shadows of the figures of women. At the edge of the platform stood an elaborate door, almost a pinkish tinge, a complex design stretching its entire length. Riku stared at it, a whisper escaping his lips. "Is this the door that the voice was talking about?"

Heading over to the door, not slow enough to be walking, but not quick enough to be jogging, Riku reached out his hand, grasping the smooth handle of the door, giving it a sharp tug. When nothing happened, he tried pushing it.

"I can't open it…"

Turning around, sighing, he caught sight of a chest. Curious, the boy walked over, attempting to pull it open. Nothing happened. "What am I supposed to do, tap it?" asked Riku impatiently, crossing his arms. However, when he reached out actually tapped it with the sword, the chest swung open and vanished, leaving Riku blinking like there was no tomorrow.

A large box, almost taller than Riku himself, appeared in the center of the platform. Walking over, Riku searched for the opening. There was none. Thus, he sliced it open, the splintered wood flying in all directions before it completely disappeared. However, standing where the box used to be was another box, though it was much, much smaller, small enough to fit into his hand. After opening it, he received a small bottle of a green liquid labeled potion. Afterwards, a barrel appeared in the box's place. When he saw that this, too, had no opening, he sliced it in half with a single swipe of the sword.

Straightening up, Riku turned to gaze at the door again, when he saw, to his surprise, that the door was transparent no longer. Striding over to it, he reached out, and pushed it open. Light streamed from within, blinding his vision almost completely. When he next got his eyesight back, he was back home… At the Destiny Islands. He sighed with relief, about to walk away.

Hold on. The door won't open just yet. First, tell me more about yourself.

Riku frowned. The voice was still there. Looking up, he saw three people standing around him, one at each side of the area. The first he saw was Sora, casually leaning against a railing as he stared skywards, grinning. To the right stood Kaiya, leaning against the wall, wearing that serene smile of hers as she stared out into the horizon. At the left was where Kairi was, hands held behind her back as she gazed at the ocean.

"Sora!" he cried out, hurrying to the brunette boy to check if he hadn't been hurt from the wave or anything. "Are you ok-"

"What do you suppose is most important to you?" he asked innocently, turning to stare into Riku's face. He gawked at Sora in disbelief, but decided to answer anyway.

"…Friendship," answered Riku sincerely, watching for Sora's reaction.

"So friendship's that important, huh?" asked the brunette, cocking his head in a way that would remind others of a puppy. He then turned around, resting his arms on the railing as he stared out without saying another word. Riku opened his mouth to interrogate his best friend again, but his legs, suddenly as though having lives of their own, made him walk towards Kairi.

"What is it that you desire in life?" she asked cheerfully, looking away from the ocean to face Riku as she spoke, smiling at him. Riku almost frowned. Something was up with them. Or maybe these people weren't really them, but just illusions that were literally interviewing him? Maybe the voice was controlling them or something… But anyway, he decided to answer every single one of the questions truthfully.

"…To be strong," he admitted quietly, his eyes meeting Kairi's blue ones.

"You really want to be strong, don't you?" replied Kairi, before she too turned away once again to gaze back to the ocean. Riku sighed, and, without being forced by his legs, walked over to Kaiya for his last question. The auburn-haired girl jerked her gaze away from the horizon, her tranquil smile unwavering as she spoke softly in her timid voice.

"What d-do you believe y-you fear most?" she almost seemed to murmur, inclining her head, much like Sora, in a way.

"Being indecisive…" Riku stated, watching the girl carefully.

"T-truly? You truly f-fear being indecisive?" inquired Kaiya quietly, before she too turned away to stare into the ocean. That was when the voice chose to speak again.

You want friendship. You want to be strong. You're afraid of being indecisive…

The voice seemed to pause, as though thinking of what to say.

Your adventure begins at dawn, midday, and the dead of night. Take the light into your grasp and walk your road through destiny. You'll succeed at all you try.

"W-what?" stuttered Riku, eyebrows furrowing in confusion. What did the voice mean?

The day you will open the door is both far off and very near.

Hadn't he opened the door? That pretty pinkish door with that intricate design? If the voice wasn't talking about that door, then what door was it talking about?

Abruptly blinded by light, Riku raised his arm, shielding his eyes with it, in a futile attempt to block the light, he was confused when it suddenly went dark, even though he had not yet shielded his eyes. Blinking to adjust to the sudden change, Riku shook his head. "What is happening…?" Brushing those thoughts from his restless mind, the teenager studied the platform he stood upon.

This time, the woman depicted in it was one with long blonde curls, clothed in a purple dress. Surrounding her were black thorns, as though intent on keeping the sleeping lady captive in its hold. Riku took a step forward, and immediately, shadows sprang up around him, surrounding him in a circle. Readying his sword, he shrugged uncaringly and sliced a nearby shadow in half.

Another shadow was brave enough to try its luck, but it pushed too far. The agile boy had dodged its charge, and the unfortunate creature was stabbed directly through its back to end up pinned against the glass, dispersing in a flurry of more particles.

Riku whirled around, lunging towards some more of the heartless, now standing in a small cluster. Raising the sword, he thrust it forward, slicing it through numerous creatures. Nodding with satisfaction, he was about to turn around when something sharp sliced into his back, causing him to hiss in pain.

In another strike, the creature was annihilated, a terrible shriek ringing through the air when it was killed. The next few were destroyed with ease.

Riku turned around, searching for any more creatures, but found that there were no more. A glimmer caught his eye, causing him to look in the direction of the sparkle. Watching in fascination as stained glass seemed to magically appear, one after another, to form a staircase, he stepped toward it, slowly scaling upwards to the very top.

The next platform depicted an image of another lady. She was dressed in a fine yellow gown, brown hair framing her face in the stained glass image. The woman seemed to fit the description, "the epitome of beauty".

A beam of light shining down at the center of the platform was there, and Riku found himself stumbling towards it, almost as though it were against his will. It was like the light was a haven from this weird place, one that would protect him from harm. But later, this turned out to be a big mistake.

The closer you get to light, the greater your shadow becomes.

Obviously, the statement confused Riku. What did they mean, "greater your shadow becomes"? Riku turned around to eye his shadow on the ground. It stretched the entire length of the platform, knocking a sense of worry into him. He wasn't that tall. When the shadow moved, he flinched. The shadow then jerked, coming out of the ground, slowly changing until it no longer looked like him. The shadow's hair was like spiky tendrils of darkness, all hideous and ugly, swaying wildly around its face. Its hands were claws, its feet almost like… grotesque ribbons.

But don't be afraid.

Riku swallowed hard with large difficulty.

And don't forget…

He stumbled backwards, turning as though to run, when he saw that it was no use to do so. If he ran, he would only fall off the edge of the platform. That left only one choice. Brandishing the blade, Riku dashed forward at top speed, slicing the weapon through the shadow's fist, which had just slammed into the ground. Jumping backwards, he saw those smaller ant-like creatures emerging from the area where the fist had slammed. "Damn…" he swore, taking a step backward.

The first creature lunged forward in an attempt to slice him with its claws. The attack had been rendered useless when Riku, once again, dodged the attack, slicing the shadow through its middle to kill it. He quickly turned to the rest of the shadows, killing them in easy slashes until there was no one there besides himself and his large "shadow".

"Hey, no more minions to save you!" he shouted at the shadow, narrowly avoiding a strange beam of light that had come from a strange, heart-shaped hole at where the heart should have been on the shadow. He dodged another, heading towards the other fist that the shadow possessed, which was slightly raised from the ground.

He sprinted towards the other side of the fist, whirling around as he sliced deep into the fist in a graceful spin. When the fist was pulled away into the air, another beam of light was sent to attack Riku.

However, this time, it was successful.

Riku hissed as he felt the pain, smelling the acrid scent of scorched flesh. He, ignoring the pain, darted to the other fist, which had not been raised into the air yet, slashing repeatedly at it with all his strength. "Why – won't – you – die?" he yelled, striking the fist one last time before his arm dropped to his side, limp with fatigue.

That was when an excerpt of a book he read, "Life and Death Battle with a Bengal Tiger", rang in his mind. In an encounter with an enemy of superior physical bulk, attacks should be directed primarily toward the eyes. No matter the might of the warrior, no innate defenses can be trained to upper facial muscles…

Riku smirked, and leapt suddenly, onto the hand as it was being pulled away from the ground, scuttling up the length of the arm as he made his way towards the shoulder. Sliding to a stop on it, he summoned the last of his strength and thrust his energy into a full-blown strike at the face.

With a monstrous roar, the creature shook Riku off, sending him flying off towards the ground. Turning his fall into a flip, he landed onto the ground, watching in horror as he weapon vanished while the monster did not.

But don't be afraid.

Riku answered the voice bitterly, "Who wouldn't be afraid of a gigantic, ugly creature that suddenly appeared in someone's life and tried killing them?"

Collapsing to his knees, he panted for air, palms against the cool glass to support himself. With one last glance at the shadow, he glowered daggers at it.

The dark vines of darkness had wrapped around his body, slowly pulling him into oblivion. The more he struggled, the stronger the force that pulled him in, leaving Riku with no choice but to hold still or be dragged in immediately. No longer was he focusing on the monster.

-You hold the mightiest weapon of all.

Riku closed his eyes, no longer struggling as the darkness soon began to swallow the rest of his body, shrouding his vision in blackness, as though he were blind.

So don't forget… You are the one who will open the door.

Riku was flicked into the realm of unconsciousness.