Master of My Destiny

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The keyblade was not light. It was not darkness. It was power. It did not choose pure hearts, but strong ones. Sora knew this, even when it seemed like everyone else had forgotten. He was more powerful than any of them, and he wasn't the happy, naïve little boy who didn't realize it anymore. He saw the signs. He knew what they meant.

Anti-form had been his first clue. A terrifying transformation, giving him access to a depth of power he was afraid to use, afraid to speak of. Donald had told him that it was a result of drawing on too much power too quickly. Merlin had suggested that it was the result of having lost his heart once, his hearts way of purging the lingering darkness. Sora did not believe them the first time they'd told him their theories, but he'd said nothing, hoping they were right.

The more it happened, though, the harder it was to explain away, and Sora finally had to face the truth; slowly, surely, the darkness was seeping in. The others never guessed. They didn't feel it like he did. The bone chilling black that spread through his limbs, the void within him, the power he could taste, could reach out and take if he wanted it.

He didn't want it. He had never wanted it. At fourteen he'd wanted to see new worlds, to broaden his horizons. He'd wanted monsters and adventure with his friends at his side. Like Riku and he had always imagined. He'd wanted to be someone, to achieve something, to prove himself as Riku's equal once and for all. Not the nightmarish destruction of his home, the painful rift between Riku and himself, Kairi's blank, lifeless eyes. Not the goddamned keyblade and cryptic dreams. If he hadn't seen the darkness behind Riku's eyes, he would have just let the older boy have the thing. It wasn't worth it. No amount of power could ever be worth losing Riku. He'd defeated Maleficent and Ansem in the hopes that killing the people that had manipulated his friend would free the older boy from the darkness inside him. They were poison that had to be purged.

Only the poison ran too deep, and then Riku was gone, and Sora couldn't help him any longer.

At fifteen he'd wanted his friends and his islands, the peaceful, wonderful life that he had so stupidly left behind, that he had thought was not enough. Damn the keyblade and destiny and duty. It wasn't worth fourteen years of promises and secrets and safety- safety- because no matter how Riku teased him and bruised him, he knew that the older boy loved him. Riku's betrayal had been pain like he had never felt it before. But he'd sucked it up and kept walking, because Kairi was depending on him, and he loved her, too, and hoped that she loved him, and even if she didn't he'd go to the end of the world and take on any monster fate threw at him to keep her safe, to take her home. Kairi and Riku were his friends, and he'd do anything for his friends.

Defeating Organization XIII was necessary. The keyblade whispered that they were dangerous, and Sora had agreed, had recognized on some primal level that they were the enemy, a danger to him and his. He'd cut them down as they stepped in his path. He'd have cut down Axel if he had to, even though the man felt like a friend, even though the part of him that was Roxas would have raged against it. Xenmas had been the easiest to kill. A tumor that needed to be cut out. He'd needed power to do that. He'd give it all up in a moment if he thought that his loved ones would be safe.

If he thought that the keyblade would let him.

There were so many things that people over looked. Even the king, though Sora sometimes thought that the mouse knew but said nothing, withholding the information as he had withheld what he knew of Riku. Sora sometimes wondered if the king's promise to Riku was really all that had kept him from speaking, if maybe some part of it had been to keep Sora looking and fighting rather than running straight for his friend. He needn't have bothered. The keyblade hungered for hearts, and Sora had no choice but to feed it.

Leon had told him that the keyblade chooses its master. He wondered if Leon ever gave the statement a second thought. The words haunted Sora. The keyblade chooses its master. It had a mind of its own, a will of its own. Keyblades recreate the world. In order to recreate, you must first destroy. The old must go before the new can be born. Sora did not understand his keyblade, not really, but he understood enough.

The more powerful he became, the more powerful it became, and the vague whispers that he'd heard the first time he'd touched it had merged into a single voice. One that whispered in his ear, directed his hand when he was distracted, slipped into his thoughts. He knew that the keyblade was not dark in itself. The amount of darkness in the keyblade was equal to the amount of darkness in his own heart. Raw strength and magic and knowledge. His keyblade had its own personality, one that grew more and more distinct each year. Playful, almost whimsical at times, it would then surprise him with an impulse- it could speak, but only when Sora was at his most unguarded- so shocking in its brutal violence that he was almost tempted to cast it away.

He learned that the keychain he attached to it could channel not just the strength and skills of the person who had given it to him, but the personality too. At first he hadn't been able to control it. He'd just find himself humming as he used Mysterious Abyss, or hear Mushu's obnoxious comments come out of his own mouth as he used Hidden Dragon.

Soon though, he had learned to reach through the link that the keyblade provided and feel them, these people who had given them a piece of themselves. Cloud's tortured confusion, Leon's careful aloofness, Kairi's soothing contentment, Riku's battered pride, struggling under the weight of his guilt. Just impressions at first, but eventually he was able to dig deeper, read their every emotion and thought and impulse. He dug deeper and deeper, trying to figure out the mystery of the keyblade through their hearts. Soon he realized that he could be them, could channel their very essence, could become them- It hurts I'm sorry please Sora I'm sorry if I take it all back will you love me too- but somehow never managing to lose himself, never managing to disappear into them entirely.

He'd asked Riku what his keyblade was like once, and Riku had looked at him, puzzled. Sora hadn't explained, had instead said that he was just wondering if all the keyblades felt the same. Riku had handed him Way to Dawn with a raised eyebrow and Sora had taken a few experimental swings with it, listened to its murmurs. Riku's keyblade wasn't as playful as Sora's, more distant, arrogant. He'd handed it back with a grin and never brought the subject up to Riku again.

Riku didn't hear his keyblade then.

He's so afraid of the darkness that he blocks out his keyblade's voice. Roxas said.

"Did it talk to you?" Sora asked.

No. Roxas said. But it chooses its master because of the strength of their heart, right? I never had a heart.

Sora wondered at the fact that the keyblade's personalities differed. Was it that the keyblade's were shaped by their wielders? Is that why Sora's was light and carefree while Riku's was cold and riddled with self-disgust? Or was it the other way around? Was it the keyblades that shaped their personalities, slowly warping them into the form that would be most useful to their tasks? Slowly molding them into whatever destiny ordained?

The keyblade was supposed to be a tool to defeat the darkness, but the longer that Sora wielded it the more he began to wonder if it was him that was the tool.

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Author's Notes: I just replayed KH1 and that line of Leon's "the keyblade chooses its master" stuck in my head and viola. I'm not sure if I like how it turned out. What do you think?