For xsynthetic-smile's challenge.

And I gotta tell ya, I was fretting over this for quite a few days. Seriously, I must've made up a billion summaries or whatever, and then this hit me, for no rhyme or reason. -sigh-

Haha, I'm pretty happy with it, though. I hope it meets the criteria, and that you like it, above all else. -beams-

Disclaimer: Alas, it is not mine to own.

There was a time when the world wasn't moving so fast and he could stop his momentum and he wouldn't feel sick with the way his thoughts were still whirling. There was a time when life wasn't so bleak and his heart didn't thud in his chest as a scheme of distant memories pounded into his brain over and over and over, making the tears burn at his ocean orbs and making his stomach do round-about flips. There was a time when happiness and smiles and giggles and races and palm trees and paopu fruits and secret caves and gritty sands and docks…and life…was sweet…and calm…and he felt safe.

And then the darkness came and swept up his best friends in a whirl of wind and that was gone.

And he was scared.

Nightmares used to be monsters under his bed and scary stories his jerk of a friend Riku would tell to make him appear cowardly in front of Kairi. Fear used to be the clatter of wind against the windowsill and horror movies making him curl up in his sheets, afraid to ever move again. Unease used to be the thought that the weird, new person in town was someone who could hurt him, the thought that someone was watching as he walked down the street, fists clenched at his sides and eyes straight ahead, home always in mind.

Now fear and unease and nightmares were in the yellow eyes that wanted his heart, hungered for his life. Now fear and terror was the thought that his friends could be gone, suffocated in the darkness, never to see the light, stolen from him.

His friends could do no wrong but leave him. Only for that would he never forgive them.

Tears used to upset him. He'd sniffle and whine and pout when Riku, better at everything – even…now, it seemed – would always tease him and call him a baby, mocking him because he cried over bruises and loses and everything his young mind found unfair. Now he didn't notice that he'd stand on rooftops and the tears would fall, he wouldn't notice that the only reason he got the meager amounts of sleep granted to him was through crying and sobbing over the burden over his head and the two friends he might not be able to save.

He didn't notice…because he was too busy being Keyblade Master, worrying over them.

Maybe that wasn't how it was supposed to be. Maybe he was supposed to be a saint, someone with a clean conscience, someone who could fight without failure and restore the worlds in record time, coming out unchanged, unscathed. But when he fought, when the keyblade materialized in his glove-covered hand and his eyes grew harder, his resolve stronger, and hate at those monsters grew inside of him, he only thought selfishly. When he fought, when he battled, he didn't think about the worlds.

He thought of them.

He thought of his brother, who for whatever reason was swallowed by the dark and hid away from him. He thought of his girl, his princess – at least, she'd always been a princess in the games they'd played when they were younger – who'd always needed him in some way, even if it hadn't been in dependence. And he tried to get stronger, because they were his light, no matter if he was supposed to be light.

They completed him, and he cared for nothing more than them.

There was a time before that, when things were taken for granted, when friendship was taken for granted. But as he stood in the middle of Traverse Town, sided by Donald and Goofy, afraid, and facing those despicable eyes, keyblade shaking in his hands because he still didn't know what he was doing, all he thought about was them, and that they needed him in some way, in some form…

…like he needed them.

He no longer wanted to be independent, if it meant that they would disappear on him again. He no longer wanted fearlessness, if in the end it ensured that they wouldn't be around to make him afraid. And he no longer wanted the tears to stop, because he wanted to keep feeling for them, wanted to keep having their memories fresh enough so that he could feel misery for them.

Because the fighting was erasing who he was, and the darkness was swallowing more and more – and more and more – worlds…with every passing day.

He closed his eyes tightly, gripped the keyblade tight, and charged, their light shining in his heart as his footsteps pounded the cobblestones.

He was running, fighting, failing, trying, and living…only for them.

Ah, good ol' Kingdom Hearts I. We love you. Yes we do. (Plus Sora is awesome)

Review, please. It shall make me very happy.