The Garden of Assemblage
By: Tsukisamu Sayako
Disclaimer: I do not own, in any shape or form, Kingdom Hearts II and characters of the game. Nor do I own, in any shape or form, the Disney characters that are in Kingdom Hearts II. They belong to Square Enix and Disney respectively. I do own the fanfic and any sort of plagiarism will be reported.
Author's Notes: Rated T for blood… and some mushy stuff at the end.
Summary: Not a month had passed by since Sora's last battle against Xehanort's Heartless in The World That Never Was before a letter from King Mickey calls for Sora's services yet again. Target: The Garden of Assemblage and the remainder of the Organization XIII in their individual Proofs of Existence.
Chapter 2 – Leaving the islands
In Sora's opinion, the next morning came entirely too early for his taste. White sunlight streamed through the draped windows, illuminating the bedroom in a bright light. He let out an annoyed groan as he woke from his slumber, noting a small chuckle from the back of his mind as Roxas amused himself with Sora's reaction to the new day.
The brown-haired Keyblade master stretched and yawned, rubbing his eyes to get rid of the sleepiness that lingered in his eyes. He looked about with half-lidded eyes and saw that it was already past nine o'clock on the island. He got out of his warm bed and trudged over to the bathroom to perform his morning rituals, noticing the amusement in his tired eyes as Roxas looked into the mirror at Sora's reflection.
His mind wandered back to the conversation he and Roxas had while he was asleep. They talked more about the islands and the worlds beyond. Sora smiled as he thought about Roxas's insatiable curiosity, much like his own. Of course, eventually the conversation returned back to a solemn one as he asked Roxas once about existence. Roxas grew distant from him after their argument, but didn't hold a grudge against the Somebody. Sora thought that maybe if the conversation had gone on longer, Roxas would see the reasoning behind his desire to return Roxas to the realm of the living. However, Roxas was too stubborn to see Sora's desire to have him as another true friend who can interact with all of his other friends. Truthfully, Sora felt that Roxas has lost sight of the fact that he was very different from Sora, regardless of what others may think.
One body was not meant to house two souls, Sora reflected mirthlessly, yawning as he stepped out of the bathroom.
He changed into the familiar navy blue garb he wore during his journey to find Riku and exited his house. He shielded his eyes from the bright sunlight that shined down upon the island and breathed in deeply, a smile making its way up his face. He then set off toward Riku's house to find the pale blue-haired teen.
"Riku!" shouted Sora as he knocked on the door to Riku's residence, "you there?"
"Yeah," came Riku's voice, muffled by the door. "The door's unlocked, come on in."
Sora then pushed the door open and entered into the cool hut similar to his own. Riku was off in the kitchen area putting a scoop of ice cream on top of a plate of fruits.
"Ice cream this early?" Sora asked. Riku laughed heartily at the comment and proceeded to pull out two spoons for himself and his friend, placing the plate of fruit with melting ice cream on the round dining table. He handed a spoon to Sora and the brown-haired boy smirked as he joined his friend in enjoying the bizarre yet fitting breakfast.
"I didn't feel like making waffles or pancakes today," Riku said after swallowing a mouthful of fruit. "And just plain fruit didn't sound that appetizing."
"Well, I'm glad you came up with this," Sora replied with a wide grin. The two continued to eat as they conversed about their expectations for the upcoming trip, not letting the somberness of the journey interrupt their cheer. Within twenty minutes, the two were done with the breakfast and they set off to Kairi's hut.
As they knocked on the door, they noticed Kairi's voice coming from the hut but no other voices. Riku assumed that Kairi was talking on the phone while Sora frowned at the fact. He knew that Kairi was probably talking to Naminé and he envied her ability to chat to her Nobody when she was conscious while he was unable to.
Kairi's one-sided conversation ended abruptly and she opened the door to Riku's smiling face and Sora's stern face. She smiled weakly, knowing the reason behind Sora's frown, and let the pair in.
"So when do you think Chip and Dale will be here?" she asked as she busied herself with pouring cups of paopu juice. She willed her blush away as she poured and grinned happily as she joined the boys at the table.
"Should be sometimes during this morning," Riku replied, taking a sip of the paopu fruit juice.
"How's Naminé doing this morning?" asked Sora. Kairi jumped in surprise, nearly knocking over an empty glass on the counter in front of her.
"She's doing well," she replied softly. "I'm sorry, Sora."
"What for? I'm not the one who hears voices in their heads," he said, sticking out his tongue in a childish manner.
"Naminé resents that fact, by the way," Kairi said with a giggle. Sora just grinned goofily at the answer.
"Can you tell Naminé 'thanks for everything'?" Riku asked with a smile. Kairi nodded and closed her eyes to talk to her Nobody. Soon, she opened her eyes again and grinned brightly.
"She said 'No problem'."
"Good to know," Riku said, taking another sip of the paopu juice. Both Sora and Kairi also took a sip from their respective glasses and each of them relaxed with thoughts of dedication to one another filling their heads. A blast of wind through the open window jerked them from their reverie as a familiar Gummi ship landed on the beach near Kairi's hut.
"They're here," Sora grinned widely before downing the remaining paopu juice in his glass and running out to greet the two chipmunks. Riku followed his example but Kairi stayed behind to rinse out the glasses.
"Chip, Dale!" greeted the brown-haired teen as he waved wildly at the door to the Gummi ship, where the two chipmunks stood, talking animatedly at each other. The two chipmunks turned at the sound of Sora's voice and jumped up and down, greeting Sora in their fast-pace, squeaky voices.
"Sora!" they shouted simultaneously and ran over to the Keyblade master, scurrying up to sit on his shoulders. Sora laughed as they began to detail their versions of the trip from Disney Castle. Anyone who haven't listened to the two chipmunks would've immediately become confused by the torrent of words. However, Sora was able to follow both versions and laughed as the two chipmunks argued over which version was the right one.
"Slow down there," said Riku as he came up to the three, smirking at the chipmunks. "You're going to give Sora a headache with all that loud, fast chattering. Sora, I can't believe you can stand that!"
"Hey!" shouted the two chipmunks simultaneously. "We're not giving him a headache!"
Sora could only laugh.
"So are you guys ready?" asked Chip as he scurried back down onto the sandy beach. Sora was about to nod when he looked toward Kairi's hut.
"Where's Kairi?" he asked Riku. The pale-blue haired teen shrugged.
"She must still be back there," he said.
"Go get the Gummi ship ready," said Sora. "I'll go get her."
"Yes sir!" saluted both chipmunks as they ran off to the ship with Riku following them.
Sora ran back the way he came from toward Kairi's hut and wondered what was taking the red-haired girl so long. He entered the spacious hut and smiled softly as Kairi looked around one last time.
"Ready?" he asked tenderly, breaking Kairi out of her nostalgic mood. She smiled softly at the Keyblade master and Sora frowned to see a hint of sadness within the bright blue eyes. He walked over to the girl and embraced her in a loving hug.
"Are you okay?" he asked softly.
"Mmm," she replied softly. "I just had a feeling that we wouldn't be coming back here."
"We will come back. We've always come back, no?" he said cheerfully. Kairi giggled softly.
"You're right. We will come back." She pulled away from the embrace and grinned at the taller boy. "Let's get going, we wouldn't want to delay our return now would we?"
Sora laughed with a nod. "Of course not."
The two friends then left the hut and joined Riku with the chipmunks on yet another journey away from Destiny Islands.
Sora was mildly surprised by the shortness of the trip when they arrived at Disney Castle just shortly before the sun went down at the castle. The Gummi ship landed smoothly in the large hangar and Sora immediately jumped out of the ship to tackle his comrades in his journeys through the world.
"Donald, Goofy, I missed you!" he exclaimed with happiness.
"We've missed you too," said Goofy as he and Donald hugged the fifteen year old boy.
"Riku, Kairi!" greeted Donald as the two other Destiny Island teens made their way down the ramp from the Gummi Ship.
"Donald, Goofy, nice to see you two again," grinned Riku. Kairi looked about the hangar with awe, the whiteness and cleanliness of the hangar was a nice reprieve from the messes she's seen at Riku and Sora's places (particularly at Sora's). She smiled at Donald when addressed.
"Where's King Mickey?" she asked softly.
"In the audience chamber," said Goofy. "Come on, he's waiting for you."
The five then made their way out of the hangar and through the large red-carpeted hallways to the audience chamber. The enormous doors sparkled pinkish-red as light fell upon the multifaceted mosaic door. Donald cleared his throat and opened the smaller door, stepping through it to announce the arrival of the three teens.
"Your majesty, presenting Sora, Riku, and Kairi of Destiny Islands," his voice echoed through the spacious audience chamber. Goofy nudged Sora and the brown-haired Keyblade master snorted with amusement as he entered into the audience chamber, followed by Kairi and Riku. Knowing that Donald would hit him on the head with his staff, Sora knelt down to pay his respects for the mouse king while Kairi gave a simple curtsy. Riku followed suit, albeit awkwardly, having used to treat King Mickey more like equals rather than the monarch of a world.
"Your majesty," greeted Sora as he knelt.
King Mickey Mouse shook his head with amused resignation and hurried to have them stand back up like they were his equals.
"No need for such formalities. We're all friends, aren't we?" he said with a smile. The three teens stood up and smiled at the king.
"So have you found out more information about how the Organization came back?" asked Riku solemnly. King Mickey frowned as he nodded.
"Based on the reports Ansem the Wise had compiled on the Organization, it seems that he and his six apprentices – that would be the first six Organization members – had created an underground laboratory somewhere in Radiant Garden. After Ansem had left, it appeared that the apprentices had been conducting further experiments there and ultimately created another secret laboratory. In this other laboratory, you can find all the data they had compiled on their experiments. It seemed that they had been experimenting on themselves prior to their becoming Nobodies."
The three teens looked at each with worry.
"Do you know how to access the area?" asked Kairi.
"Merlin's figuring that out with Leon in Radiant Garden as we speak." He turned to Sora. "Do you know anything else about the Garden of Assemblage?" he asked unexpectedly. Sora jumped slightly, blinking in surprise at the strange question.
"Uh, what do you mean?" he said, uncertain whether to divulge his ability to talk to his Nobody to the mouse king.
King Mickey looked at him with watching eyes, seemingly sensing Sora was hiding something from him. Of course, it could be that Sora was just paranoid.
"When you were fighting against Organization XIII at the Castle That Never Was, did any of them hint at anything about the Garden of Assemblage?"
Sora frowned, thinking back on his fights before shaking his head. "None of them would tell me anything, especially not when they were referring to me as 'Roxas'."
"Yes, your majesty," confirmed Donald.
Sora sighed with resignation, knowing he can't keep Roxas's existence a secret from King Mickey any longer. "Roxas is my Nobody, created when I released my heart for Kairi. He could use the Keyblades because I can."
"You know not to trust everything Roxas tells you right?" said King Mickey solemnly. Sora gritted his teeth.
"He's not like the others," he said softly. Riku laid a supporting hand on Sora's shoulder, grinning at the shorter boy. "Besides, he's inside me." Sora patted himself on his chest where his heart was. "He can't hurt me from there."
King Mickey frowned. "He's a Nobody."
"So is Naminé," said Kairi. King Mickey gave a soft laugh.
"So she is," he said. "So is Axel. I apologize for my rudeness." (1)
Sora scratched the back of his head nervously. "You didn't need to apologize, your majesty. I understand the need to be cautious with Nobodies, but I trust Roxas and Naminé. They won't do anything to endanger us."
"I will accept your words."
"And to answer your question about the Garden of Assemblage, Roxas's told me what he knows about the place."
"Oh?" questioned the mouse, his ears perking up in expectation. Sora nodded grimly.
"He said that the Garden is at the end of a long pathway called the Cavern of Remembrance. The entrance into the Cavern is at the Castle Postern in Radiant Garden where we first met Sephiroth."
"I see. What else did Roxas say about the place?"
"Nothing much," replied Sora, shrugging. "He just said that when each of the members joined the Organization, parts of them were gathered to generate a data version of each member. He said that the Garden was a place where the remnants of the Organization lingered. He's never been there himself and believes that Xemnas, Vexen, and Zexion were the main ones that had ultimately created the room."
"What exactly is its purpose?"
"Roxas said that the members were ordered to go to the Garden if they ever lost themselves to the madness of needing a heart. What they were supposed to do once they were at the Garden, though, I don't know."
"I see." King Mickey returned into a pensive mood and silence fell into the room as each of them waited for the king to figure out more. He looked up and was mildly surprised to see their eyes upon him.
"Sorry," he said with a laugh.
"Perhaps it's best to get some rest before tomorrow's journey, your majesty," said Goofy.
"Yes, you're right, Goofy. Would you join me for dinner?" he asked the three teens.
"Of course, your majesty," grinned Sora. Riku and Kairi both nodded.
"Are you excited about seeing your friends in the Organization?" asked Sora. Roxas shrugged.
"Not really," he replied as they stared into the distance, sitting on the ledge of the clock tower in Sora's memory of Twilight Town.
"Why not?" Sora asked, turning to face the blond-haired boy.
"You can't really say that any one of them is my friend," he frowned.
"Except for Axel."
"Yeah, except for Axel."
"Tell me what you thought of the Organization. I never really got a chance to know them."
The Nobody grimaced, facing his Other with skepticism. "Do you really want to get to know them?"
Sora thought about it for a moment and laughed. "I guess not, but enlighten me."
Roxas sighed with feign annoyance. "Fine." He looked at the dull but bright sun in the distance.
"Well, Xemnas was the one who found me and although he gave me a new name, I didn't really like him. He was too cold, too much focused in the completion of Kingdom Hearts. Even though I never confronted him about my Keyblades, I suspect that he had sent me off on a lot more missions to destroy the Heartless than the others."
"Sounds like Ansem—I mean, Xehanort's Heartless," muttered Sora with grimace. "What about the others?"
"Both Xigbar and Demyx are a bit off. Xigbar's probably the oldest member who's the most personable. All the rest are rather quiet and emotionless. Demyx, on the other hand…"
"He's the type that doesn't like to fight. He just likes to go with the flow."
"How did he end up in the Organization then?"
"I don't know," replied Roxas with a shrug. "I don't know their pasts like they don't know mine… well to a certain extent."
Sora laughed. "Being the Nobody of a Keyblade master doesn't entitle you to privacy."
"In any case, part of me didn't like either of them since Nobodies didn't have emotions and they were simply acting as if they had emotions. But at the same time, you can't help but like them because they showed a side to life that we had taken granted before and now we have to work hard to get our emotions back."
"Hmm, yeah. You can say the same thing about Axel." Roxas nodded silently.
"Zexion and Vexen don't talk a lot. Most of the time they spend isolated in their rooms, doing who-knows-what. Luxord's always trying to get people to play cards with him. Lexaeus and Xaldin are always trying to beat each other up. Don't get me started on Saïx. Marluxia really liked flowers. I think all the guys besides Xemnas and Saïx tease him for being such a girl. Larxene was the only girl in the Organization, but if you pissed her off, you better pray she doesn't find you. She's scary when she's angry."
Sora laughed. "Must've been hard to be the only girl in the Organization."
Roxas shrugged. "Marluxia and Larxene left the Organization a month or two after I joined though. Then suddenly Zexion, Vexen, and Lexaeus all left too. I never saw them since."
"Where'd they go?"
"I don't know. I know that Axel knew, but he never told me." Roxas sighed.
"I don't think I've ever met them," admitted Sora, frowning.
"Didn't you say you remember Vexen?" asked Roxas.
"I did… but I don't think my knowledge of Vexen came from my own meetings with the Nobody."
"What do you mean by that?"
"It's like someone else was telling me about Vexen. Another me."
Roxas blinked at Sora. "Another 'Sora'?"
"Maybe it's the Sora who fought at Castle Oblivion. The one who Naminé took apart to bring me back…" The brown-haired teen frowned.
"Don't think that way, Sora," said Roxas. "We're part of you. If we had lived on our own, we would never be complete. You make me, and this other 'Sora', complete."
Sora didn't reply. Roxas sighed with feign annoyance, turning his attention back to the setting sun.
"Did you ever fight against the others?" asked Sora after several minutes of uncomfortable silence between the two. The tension between the two teens faded away as Roxas nodded in response.
"Of course. When we're training, that is. I haven't fought any of them after I left though."
"Except for Axel."
"Yeah, except for Axel."
"Would you want to fight them again?"
"I don't know."
"I'm sorry, Roxas."
"No, it's okay. It's not your fault that you have such a screwed up life."
"No, it's not okay. If I hadn't-"
"If you hadn't released your heart to return Kairi's heart, I wouldn't be here today and we wouldn't have this conversation."
Sora frowned slightly and looked at his Other sadly, breathing a small sigh of melancholy before turning his attention back to the setting sun.
"Yeah, you're right."
(1) I wasn't sure if King Mickey knew that Roxas was Sora's Nobody, even though he was present when Ansem apologized to Roxas. And since King Mickey was with Sora the majority of the time before going to The World That Never Was from Twilight Town, I'm assuming that he knew about Axel's partnership with Sora at Between and Betwixt. This is why King Mickey is acting like that in my fanfic.
I have a confession to make… I have never played KH2: FM+ (or KH2 for that matter…), but I have seen someone else play it… So if I mess up on something, I apologize in advance. This can also serve to explain why some of the characters might act like they do in this fic.