I actually like this, surprise surprise. It hit me like "wham!" all of a sudden, and so I had to write it down. And -gasp- it's canon! Amazing!

And to all of you who I've talked to today, whether it was a PM, review, or otherwise, I thank you, because I am now a hundred times more cheered up. So this is to all of you. I just hope you don't hate it. xD

Disclaimer: Nuh uh.

It was scratching paint off the surface.

Responsibility. A foul, loathsome, soul-straining thing that clenched it's teeth into his being and didn't let up, because it was hateful and he was not. Tainting, tainting, it tried to change him, because he was naïve – yes, he'd admit it – and the world looked down upon the weak. And what was a key, to stop the glare of darkness and condescending stares of expectation? Rather, it fueled it on, so he nearly lost his mind from grief day in and day out, that calm of night where blankets smothered his nightmares and kept his insomnia alive the only thing comforting to him while he was alone.

Yes, he was alone, because he was Keyblade Master and apparently legend gave no room for hope or kinship.

Everything was chipping away at the heart that had once been full in his chest, and his hands were shaking as they tried to cover the gaping hole, the tears trailing out from under the lids of his ceaselessly-moving eyes. His mouth kept twitching, too, the shake and shudder and madness of fear and wretched sadness never giving him that peace of mind that could lie him down and coax him to sleep. Nightmares were a hero's best friend, after all.

Because they were the one thing that would not leave.

Gasping back the tears that choked at his throat and made breathing just another labor of the day for him, he turned alien, furious, steely-blue eyes on the heartless as he rounded about and slashed through with the key that bit into his palm. And he screamed, how he screamed, because with each end of darkness the darkness in his life multiplied, because hope was dwindling away and he knew whatever he did would never be enough.

Falling to his knees, striking his palms on the cobblestones as he doubled over, did not make that truth any easier.

He may have been the perfect picture of happiness once. He may have had a smile true and bright and full of light, so the story would go in rhyme-like quality, but that was happily ever after and this was the hellish sequel. This was where the prince was missing in the shadows, the princess was worlds and worlds away, and the knight was sacrificing himself for a cause that would never be finished, forever left undone.

Oh, how the story went, and the pictures along with it, burning in the fires of disapproval and hopelessness.

He just wanted it to end, he really did, but where he could save the destinies of others he couldn't make his own. He was the hopeless little toy in the game that was only meant to benefit everyone else, and the tears he shed and the blood he gave were only tokens of relief to all those who refused to look past their blinded hopes and see the rank and bitter truth of it all.

Heroes don't have pain, they would think. Heroes don't have regrets.

Well, then. What say they to the hollow shell of a fifteen-year-old boy that he was now? What say they to the lack of color in his life in expression, of the absence of hope, of the worn-away picture that once was a portrait? Were they speechless? Or were they just stubborn?

Because he was stripped of innocence and full of pain now. And if they thought that a hero couldn't scream or feel, then he wasn't much of a hero at all.

Done. Please review.