hoshiko's note: So this is my first fanfic and I'm kind of attached to this. It's like my baby. It'll take awhile to get others up, but I really hope you enjoy it. If you don't like pairings, there will be other stories I have in mind to publish that won't be pairings. (I'm kind of embaressed even writing one U)

Special thanks goes out to my lovely "little sister" Yami, whom I adore with all my heart. She's under OhMeGawd and you should all read her glorious stuff.

Reviews loved, criticism needed, flames ignored. (And yeah, I know I didn't do a marvelous job on Xemnas. It was hard to do for the situation he's in...)


Chapter 1

It seemed so much longer than a year ago when the darkness devoured the islands and everything else that Sora had known in his life. He thought he had lost it all; his family, his friends, his home. Working and fighting and believing so hard paid off when, in the end, he had gained everything and more back from his experience.

I'm not afraid of the darkness! Sora… So, this is the key? All for one and one for all! And right now my conscience is telling me you're on the wrong side! Instead of asking about them, shouldn't you be asking about her? Kairi's a princess?! Giving up already? C'mon Sora, I thought you were stronger than that.

Take care of her.

Riku's lonely words gave Sora the courage to keep going. He had to see Riku again, had to bring him home, had to get home himself. Sora agreed to helping Donald and Goofy find their king as well. He promised Kairi he'd return to her someday.

Static memory. Something's missing. Thank Namine.

Ah yes, the wonderfully mysterious Namine, whom Sora still didn't understand well enough to think about her, but he knew who she really was. He felt light hearted to know Kairi worked just as hard to see him again too as he had for her.

You…were never meant to exist.

Not his memory, but his memory. He understood it as being his other memory. Roxas was his nobody, the repercussions of sacrificing his life for Kairi. He wished he knew more about this other side of his heart, but Roxas was now locked away.

For you see…Nobody's do not truly exist. The Keyblade…a truly marvelous weapon… were it only in more capable hands. Roxas, come back to us! But what you actually fought was his Heartless. He wasn't really named Ansem; he just went around tellin' everybody that he was! We'll be the darkness…

Upon returning to his home, his parents wept for joy. They didn't know where he had been, but they never questioned it. It was okay, but only just so. Simply teetering on the edge of wrong, yet no one said a word. Not even Selphie, Tidus, or Wakka. They were just glad to see their friends again.

That's right. Sora wasn't the only one who came home. He had first found Kairi, leaving her safe on the islands to await his return. Then he found his best friend, Riku.

We'll go together.

Those words still affected Riku. The ultimate words of forgiveness. Everyday he tried so hard to make-up for his mistakes. Only Sora and Kairi knew what was really up while everyone else teased Riku for his new quiet side. His eyes and demeanor held such a guiltiness to them that it was painful to watch him live his life. Like he didn't feel right being back in the Realm of Light.

To make up for his betrayal he decided he'd do everything in his power to help Sora and Kairi in their new found relationship. Sora may have promised to take care of Kairi, but who would ensure he didn't slack? Even if he was the Keyblade master and the hero of dozens of worlds, he still had a teenaged life to now live out.

Their duties done, for now, the trio settled back into their old lives. Old lives? No, this was their new life with a secret past. They all agreed they would never tell their friends or their parents. Things like that were better left unspoken. Sure, it was a little strange for Sora and Riku to return with another year added onto them without an explanation. Sora was taller and had reached puberty and Riku had lost his outward cockiness. It would pop-up from time to time, especially when with Sora, but never around anyone else.

The only problem was that their trials were not done. In a last ditch effort to spite Sora, a certain leader of an Organization sent a curse upon the spiky-haired warrior. Too bad it would become a blessing.

Word spread around the island very quickly; it was small enough for such a thing to happen. Girls seemed to form out of bushes and guys poked around corners curiously. It couldn't have happened. No one could believe it, yet there it was with their own eyes.

Sora and Kairi were officially a couple? No way.

"It's not true, is it Riku?" "How?!" "It's a joke, right? Someone lost a bet?" "I think I'm going to cry…"

Riku never did well with hysterical females. He did his best to keep their harsh comments and fangirlish fantasies away from the couple. It was all he felt he could do, for now. The boys were no better.

"He's too short!" "HOW?!" "Why would such a flower like Kairi go for him?!"

Sadly, on many occasions Riku got into a lot of mess with the boys for the things they said about Sora. He would not hear of his best friend getting put down. If only they knew…

"You look tired, Riku."

The trio was walking home from their school. Kairi and Sora routinely held hands now, but today Kairi was busy catching up on her Literature studies. All three of them had quite a lot of catching up on to, Sora more than the others thanks to his lack of note-taking in Math.

Riku smirked lazily at his friend. "Not used to working on school work. Gotta get back into the routine."

"Tell me about it!" Kairi piped up suddenly. "When I first came back it was a nightmare trying to explain to everyone what happened, where you two were, and keep up on my studies. Not to mention dealing with your parents freaking out on me."

Sora noticed Riku wince a bit, but only for a brief second. It was getting easier for the sixteen-year old to hide his pain. The brunette was the only one who could see it. After their time on the dark beach, he knew better. It would take a lot for the silver haired boy to recover.

"That reminds me… My parents are gonna kill me if I don't get home soon," Sora moaned.

Not that he wasn't happy to see his parents, it's just that they turned into very protective parental units ever since his return. He missed their old carefree days when they would let him sleep on an abandoned island with another girl and boy without a question as to when he'd return. Those were the days.

We may never see our parents again…

Sora glanced up at his friend. He patted him on the shoulder and managed a smile. "Come by later, okay? I need help in Math."

"And Science, and History, and Literature, and-"

"I'm not that behind!"

The trio laughed. It felt like old times. Felt, but wasn't. Knowing that feeling left a horrible hole in their hearts. And Riku took all the blame.

"Actually, why don't you come over now?" Riku raised an eyebrow at Sora. You don't have to be alone in your pain, buddy. Riku understood and nodded. His body language thankful for the relief as it relaxed.

Kairi sighed sadly. "I wish I could join, but father has something in store for me. I'm not sure what, but he says it's important that I get home as soon as possible from school."

"It's okay." Sora clenched Kairi's hand in his lovingly. She flashed a smile at him. "If you get out early enough, come on over. My parents would love to see you again."

"Thanks!" The redhead waved to Riku who returned the gesture. "See ya!"

She ran off in the other direction clutching her bag to her arm. The two boys continued on their way to the seaside house of Sora's. Along the way, Kairi felt something in her heart begin to thump. It got louder and louder. Her heart faltered making her tumble down. Something unfamiliar and horribly evil was swallowing her heart. Something a girl of her purity should not have in her body.

Darkness.

The young girl struggled to free herself, but she didn't know how to fight this enemy. It didn't eat her or even try. Instead, it replaced her. She felt herself still lying on the ground, but watched as her body sat up. It had an evil smile to it. It looked down at her hands.

Get out of my body!

The alien in her body chuckled with glee. It sounded oddly familiar. Didn't she encounter this creature once before? A… nobody? Why was it in her heart? How did it get there? Namine? No, Namine was pure like her. Then what was an evil nobody doing using her body? How did it get there?

My little magic trick worked. Thanks for that one, Ansem the Wise…

That's where she knew the feeling from!

You're…Xemnas aren't you?

Good to know you're quick. That'll be easier for me to play as you.

What?!

My trick was to get into the heart of the closest person to Sora. Now that little brat will pay…

Don't touch him!

Wouldn't dream of it, princess. I'm just going to rip out his heart and deny him of any happiness. It's a pleasure to know I'll be bringing it to you as well. This makes my last attempt at life worth it.

Please! Don't!

Aw, how cute. You're being polite? A princess to the end, huh? Well, into the darkness you go little princess. Enjoy it. I know my master did…

The evil chuckle followed Kairi down into the darkness. She grabbed a hold of all her light. She would need it to keep herself somewhat in control. She was able to watch the events unfold. The poor girl watched as her body headed to her house where she rudely turned her foster father down for the new dress he had bought her and then insulted Selphie on the phone.

Things were only going to get worse.

"You didn't have to do this, you know?" Riku asked as he sat on the floor.

"Nonsense! I love having you over! Who else will play video games with me for hours on end and talk about nothing into the night?" Sora had flopped onto his bed happily with his head dangling upside down off the side of the bed. He smirked at Riku upside down. "Besides, you didn't need to go home."

"My parents would like to see me too, ya know?"

"If they miss you they can call you." Sora spun around so he was now on his belly. "So! What do you wanna do first?! You name it and we'll do it!"

Riku was silent for a few minutes. His eyes looked so closed, Sora worried if he'd ever open up again. Finally, the boy looked down sadly.

"Riku…I'm trying… but…you're just-"

"Pathetic…" Riku lifted his head with a fake smile of self-pity plastered on his face. "I'm trying too…but it's not that easy. Everyday I wake up, I'm reminded of how I used to hate going to school and doing my everyday routines…even seeing you and Kairi getting so close…"

"But that's all gone now! You apologized tenfold and repented for it. There's no need to feel so bad!"

"But I do feel bad!" Riku sounded on the verge of tears as he held his hand over his heart.

"He's still in there, I know it. I want to keep him away so badly, to keep him away from you; it gets hard to even breathe. My heart can only take so much more humiliation. I thought I was the shit, but now I know I'm nothing."

"Then why do you have a Keyblade?"

Sora had finally won something against Riku. The sixteen-year old opened his mouth only to close it again. Sora snickered at the fish-like movement Riku had just made.

"Wow, no witty retort? I'm surprised."

"Oh, it'll come…when you least expect it. Just you wait." A smile danced along Riku's lips.

That was all Sora needed. He jumped off his bed and landed hard on the hardwood floor. He got right into Riku's face. Riku looked at him coolly with an expression of, Is this necessary?

"You still haven't picked out what you wanna do."

Riku didn't say a word. He put his hand over Sora's face and pushed him backwards. "Get you out of my face is a good start…"

The two began to laugh. So what if it wasn't the good 'ol times anymore? They had "good ol' new times" to create. Knowing this gave Riku some hope in his heart and gave Sora a wider smile on his face.

"Sora! Kairi's here!"

Sora jumped up in surprise to hear his mother calling him. He ran out of the room, Riku shaking his head and chuckling. He raced to the banister overlooking the living room below. His face broke into a childish grin as he saw his redheaded girlfriend standing at the foot of the stairs.

"Hey! Come on up!"

"Actually…" Kairi messed with the bottom of her shirt. "Can I talk to you alone?"

"Oh boy… I'm leaving you two alone, am I?" Sora saw his mother gathering up her things.

"Where are you going?"

"The grocery store. I need to get some things for dinner tonight. Make sure Riku keeps an eye on you two and wear a condom if you need it Sora."

"Mom!"

With a loud and witch like cackle, she was out the door. A sweet woman with evil intentions, that was how Sora described his mom to his friends.

Sora rubbed the back of his head with blush running clear across his face. "Ah hah…don't listen to my mom…she means…well I don't know what she means half the time."

Kairi giggled nervously. With a quick word to Riku letting him know where he was, Sora joined Kairi downstairs in the kitchen. She sat at the counter barstools with a hesitant look on her face. Sora was apprehensive to ask what was wrong, but pushed anyways.

"Is everything okay? Your dad didn't tell you any bad news, did he?"

"Huh? No… I'm just… It's… well…"

"You can tell me, Kairi. I'll listen."

Kairi smiled up at Sora. Such a sweet smile could only belong to a princess. All she needed was a long dress and a tiara and the fairy-tale look was set. She was so innocently cute.

"It's just that I hate being here."

There went the fairytale image.

"What? In my house or-"

"Just anywhere you are, Sora. I hate it. It makes me sick."

Sora felt his feet slip a bit, but he started laughing instead. "Okay, what's going on? Who put you up to this? Is it Tidus? Oh, he's a dead man tomorrow."

"It wasn't him or the others. I'm telling the truth." Her smile remained, that princess smile.

Sora's laughter died down and his smile faded. "What…?"

"I wish you hadn't saved me. No wait…I'm glad you did, 'cause now I can go to whatever world I want, but I wish you had stayed dead. You brought so many problems and you still do. I didn't need to be saved by someone like you."

Sora's heart got heavier and heavier. The beat raced as his emotions sank. What was going on? Something was horribly off-kilter, but the boy was too engrossed in the heartbreak to find a solution.

"Kairi… I…"

"Oh just shush! Your voice annoys me. Everything about you does! I'm just gonna go." The entire time Kairi's sweet smile of purity and innocence never once wavered.

She smiled brightly at Sora as she brushed past him. She kept smiling as she walked out the door and down his walkway to the sidewalk. His deed done, Xemnas laughed the whole way home. Kairi cried inside and tried to reach Sora's heart. Hadn't they once been connected? Why wasn't it reacting now?

It's gone, your highness. He'll no longer respond to an evil harlot like you anymore.

Why can't you be gone too?!

Because the deed isn't quite done yet. I'll know when his heart reaches the bottom. It's not there yet… But it's almost there. Once there, the Keyblade master will no longer know where to turn. He'll be too scared to see your face ever again. Good luck winning him back.

Luckily for everyone, Xemnas had forgotten about the tall silver haired companion that fought alongside Sora not too long ago. He did remember there was an annoying boy with him that prevented him from kicking Sora and letting his sabers pierce through his skin. Such a delightful act was instead administered on Riku. The boy would not forget that kick to his liver anytime soon.

He glanced up casually when he heard Sora come back into the room. He was busy reading a magazine to really see Sora at the moment. "Hey, did you know anything about that boardwalk renovation thing? We should go see it. There's gonna be free food."

Upon receiving a silence from the usually responsive teen, Riku looked up. He was met with a horrible sight. Sora was in complete shock as he leaned against the door frame looking like a zombie. Riku jumped up instantly and rushed to his side.

"What happened?!"

A small smile still made its way across his face, but a single tear slipped out. The rest stayed inside their cage.

"She hates me…"

Riku's eyes grew. He put a hand on Sora's shoulder. It was enough to make him fall down in utter confusion and tears. Riku followed him down and rubbed his back. He listened as Sora relayed the events of what just happened downstairs through his sobs and eventual hiccups. Soon, the constant reassurance of touch wasn't enough for Sora. He clung to his best friend with everything he had left in him.

His heartbeat was in a furious flutter. Riku felt his little strength that was summed up in Sora drain away with each cry. He held onto him tight. There had to be something he could do. What else could he pull out to make the situation better? He had returned an entire half of Sora to him before, why couldn't he return Kairi to him with a simple flick of his hand.

A horribly familiar voice of an older man invaded Riku's mind. Sucks to not have the dark-

Shut the fuck up. He shook his head to try and interrupt the thought of darkness that entered his head. Even the notion of using the power of darkness was not something Riku would be willing to do, even if it was to help his best friend.

"I'm sorry, Sora… I honestly am… I wish there was some magical spell I knew to heal this… But I don't think even Donald could do a thing for you…"

Sora's cries had died down a bit. He sniffled pitifully. The younger boy slowly curled up into a ball as he thought more and more about the times he'd never get with Kairi. The things he had planned for them. That boardwalk renovation thing Riku mentioned? Yeah, that was going to be their first date. Was.

Riku sat Sora up straight. He looked him in the eyes. It was painful to see such strikingly blue eyes covered up by the mist of tears. Riku's fingers dug into Sora's arm slightly as rage filled inside of him. He was going to have strong words with Kairi.

"I'm sorry…"

"What?" Riku was taken aback. "Why are you apologizing?"

"You didn't need this…"

Riku wiped Sora's face with his sleeve. "Oh, shut up. I don't care. I want to be here for you."

"I wish you knew what to do…"

Riku stopped and stared at his friend sadly. "Me too, buddy… But I don't…"

"I wish you knew how to heal a broken heart…"

"I can't even heal my own, Sora. I don't think me having interaction with any heart is a good idea" Riku half laughed trying to lighten the mood.

Sora sat up and looked at Riku.

"But there is… something you can do…"

'What? Tell me, please. I'll do anything to help you."

Sora looked at him for a few minutes, but then dropped his head uttering something. Riku grabbed him by the shoulders. "Damnit, don't do this! What happened to that hero of light everyone loves so much, huh?"

Sora lifted his head slightly. The two weren't too far apart by this time.

"There he is…kind of. I can see it in your eyes. If you wanna do something or say something, then say it! I'm right here to listen."

Without warning, Sora pushed his mouth on Riku's. The boy was caught way off guard and pushed his friend away.

"Not that!"

Sora's dull eyes stared at the ground. "What's wrong? You said to do what I wanted."

"Sora, taking your hormonal feelings out on me isn't what I meant… You're in a bad state right now." Riku wiped his face as if to hide his flash of red. "Please don't do that again."

"But it's what I want!" Sora moved a bit forward causing Riku to back up a bit. "Before Kairi, it was always you! I did everything to make you happy. My emotions revolved around how you saw me. I went out of my way to make you notice me. Then when Kairi came, it was like something clicked. I think it was just our powers responding to each other or something."

"Sora, stop." Riku was getting frantic. When he came over to his best friend's house he wasn't expecting a full out confession. "You're getting carried away. That's probably just childhood emotions mixed in with hormones. You haven't even talked to Kairi. I'm sure something was up and you're not getting the whole story."

"I don't care…"

"Well I do!" Now it was Riku's turn to move forward, but Sora didn't back up. "I don't want you getting involved with me! You'll only get hurt! I'm not a very stable person right now and frankly, I don't know when I will be. I don't wanna hurt you again."

"You won't."

"Damnit! Don't say that!" Riku was even closer, but he was also a lot angrier. "You can have it all with Kairi: a normal life, a future, true happiness! You'll only be dragged down into darkness with me…"

"That's okay." Sora smiled for real. "If I go down, I know you'll pull me up. And I won't leave you behind."

We'll go together.

The words struck both of their hearts. Some more awkward minutes grazed by before anyone moved. It was hard to tell who came at whom first, but either way, the two were intertwined with lips locked and this time it was mutual.

Oh no…

What?! Kairi felt her light begin to glow as the thought of hope settled into her chest. Was it really over?

Looks like my magic trick broke!

You mean I'm free?!

Yeah sure, if you wanna say free. Don't forget your little boy toy is now a broken mess. I hope you like cleaning up! Especially after you see the mess I left you.

You're so kind…

Kairi sat up in her bed, happy to be able to move her body on her own again. But this was no time to rejoice over her freedom. She rushed out her door, down the stairs, and outside. She had to see what happened to Sora. She prayed it was nothing. Maybe he cried, Riku calmed him down, and now they were playing games.

Maybe he fell asleep. Maybe he sat there the whole time and cried. Maybe… Maybe…

Maybe he hates me…

Kairi shook her head trying to hold back the tears. She did not want to think negatively. Nothing had happened, she reassured herself. He was still her hero and she was still his princess. Things could still be set right. She'd show that Nobody! She had a heart and knew how to mend broken ones!