A/N: Am I CRAZY? Yes. Am I out of that writer's block? I think so. Did I have fun? Bitchin'.
This story is basically in Riku's point of view for ALL THREE GAMES. (I've never played CoM, but I looked at some cutscenes. If I got some facts wrong, that's my excuse. Seriously.) And how he loves Sora, but he thinks he can never have him. He goes through an emotional ride during this, and the darkness affects how he thinks a lot, making him a little stalkerish/creepy/possessive. But that was the darkness messing with his heart.
And then we see him getting over the darkness slowly, learning that he had been a fool.
And then we see him feel so bad about everything he's willing to just hide in darkness for the rest of his life, just to stay out of Sora's life.
...This was inspired by the song 'Open Your Eyes' by Snow Patrol, and the picture 'Forgiveness' by kitten-chan on dA. She's good. I really love that picture, too. SO! Yeah. Enjoy this. (smiles)

Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts, Chain of Memories and Kingdom Hearts II belong to Square Enix. Characters belong to Tetsuya Nomura and Disney.

He kneeled on the beach quietly, bathed in the soft, pale moonlight; silver hair shining just softly enough to give him almost an angelic glow. His green eyes, narrowed and almost dull-looking, reached forward and grasped at the sand, though he didn't feel it through his gloves that covered his fingers or through the numb feeling of his skin from being next to the sea breeze for so long. Taking in a deep breath through his mouth, the young boy slowly stood up, brushing off his blue pants and tugging at his yellow shirt, looking up at the moon, shining softly for what he felt like would be the last time.

He then looked over at the mainland, seeing storm clouds forming over them and he smiled grimly as he thought of who he was leaving behind...That girl that seemed infatuated with his looks—what was her name? Kairi? Something like that...He always forgot. He only remembered when another person said her name...

His smile disappeared into a look of despair as he thought of the other one...The young boy whose life he was destroying this night; probably sleeping soundly in his bed dreaming of adventure and fun with his two best friends. He placed a hand on top of his chest over his heart; Riku had been his only best friend once, when Kairi wasn't in the picture. The young boy...His hair was spiky and defied gravity but it was the deepest shade of chocolate brown ever seen. His blue eyes were as wide and deep as the sea that they were surrounded by both on the play island and the mainland. He flinched as he thought of him, looking away from the mainland. He hated the thought of hurting his best friend...His Sora...

But, he thought as he turned towards the cavern where he had seen the mysterious wooden door, knowing that it was time to open it. If I don't do this...Then I'll never feel complete. I need to get off the island...This world. And if that means destroying it...Then I'll destroy it. The only dear memories I hold are with him...With Sora. My Sora...and he doesn't even feel the same way.

He walked to the wooden door, looking at it with determined green eyes before he reached forward; the soft voice cooing in the back of his mind as he touched the handle, giggling in delight as he twisted it open. He felt his entire body fill with a cold that wasn't like the breeze from the beach. This was chilling, bone deep and settling, curling around his bones and his stomach and lungs...His heart gave a shudder and he gasped, before he looked up to see a cloaked man smiling at him quietly, amber eyes looking at him almost endearingly. Though there was something terribly off about him. He seemed almost...Void.

"Are you the one who's been speaking to me?" He asked softly, looking up at the much taller man. The man in the black coat and hood nodded quietly, his face hidden in shadow, and Riku nodded. "Then...You'll help me travel the worlds?"

"Another will help you." The man said softly, sidestepping and showing another man much like the first, though in clothes much different, his white hair trailing down his back and amber eyes looking at him as he grinned. He almost seemed malicious...But they had spoken to him in such soft voices.

They couldn't be evil, right?

When the black void appeared in the sky, and the beach and mainland were being torn apart, Riku guessed that the others would come. Oh, not Tidus or Wakka or Selphie. He wrapped his arms around his torso, hands gripping his biceps as he stared up at the roof of the cavern, waiting for someone to come, be it that girl or Sora...

They did not disappoint. Soon that redheaded girl Kairi came running in, looking around with wide, scared violet eyes. She turned to Riku then, gasping for breath; she must've run. But the run wasn't that long; she must've just been weak. She exclaimed that something was wrong with the island and that they had to figure out how to stop it. Riku turned to her then, and smiled coyly at her; a smile she had always fallen for before, no matter how much in 'love' she was with Sora. His looks still charmed her like any other girl on the mainland. It was pathetic how many things he got away with using his looks alone.

"Don't worry," he said, turning to her and reaching forward, beckoning her to him. "You'll be fine, Kairi. Everyone will be fine..." Kairi bit her bottom lip, staring at him unsurely, before she slowly walked over to him. As soon as she grasped his hand, much larger than her slimmer hand, trails of smoky black snaked around her arm and she gasped, trying to yank her hand away from him. But he held on tightly, and soon the trails of black were pushing into her chest, her wide eyes loosing their lustre and her face loosing expression. Soon she stood there, still and like a zombie, and he let go of her, her hand falling limply to her side. It wouldn't last long, what he had done; it was to temporarily keep her out of his way. He would have his wish...Even if he had to hurt others.

He walked out of the cavern, walking towards the Paopu Tree. He stood at the end, looking up at the sky as the void grew larger, turning black and purple and red; a cataclysm of colours. He watched as houses tore from their roots into the void, folding into themselves; lawn gnomes spinning in after a wishing well; the school was dragged in piece by piece. He didn't have much time to muse on what had happened to his teachers or family, because he heard footsteps behind him, and turned to see the brunette looking scared, looking around at the chaos around them. He smiled, then; a true smile. Sora had come, after all. He must've been worried about the raft. How naïve...It made him loveable though. Could you blame Riku for loving him?

"Where's Kairi!? I thought she was with you!" He asked, and Riku flinched inwardly, though didn't show any difference in his outward demeanour. How could he talk about her now? Why would he? He had always known Sora didn't love him like that, but Kairi...?

He looked so worried, though...

"...The door...has opened." He said softly, his back turned from the brunette. He must've been so confused.


"The door has opened, Sora! Now we can go to the outside world!" He turned to look at him, looking at him excitedly. He wanted Sora to be with him; he wanted to share his happiness with this boy. His best friend whom he loved very, very much.

"What are you talking about?! We gotta find Kairi!" Sora's persistence had always been a quality that Riku had envied. Now he loathed it.

"Kairi's coming with us!" He completely made up on the spot, looking at him with determined eyes. He looked at the sky, continuing. He couldn't stop now, not when he had his full attention for once. "Once we step through, we might not be able to come back." He paused, knowing they'd never get to come back since he had destroyed this world, but why let Sora know? "We may never see our parents again." Like he actually cared. "There's no turning back. But this may be our only chance." A chance to be together without interference..."We can't let fear stop us." Fear of never being forgiven for this. "I'm not afraid of the darkness!"

He then paused, looking down at Sora and held out his hand, much as he had with Kairi before. But he didn't want to hurt Sora...He just wanted him to come with him. "Riku..." He said it so softly, and suddenly a black hole with purple and blue appeared at the silverette's feet, swirling around his legs, black trails of dark trailing around him delicately in their chill that had grabbed hold of him.

Sora ran towards him, looking terrified of the ribbons wrapping around his arms, confused at the look of peace as Riku listened to the soft whispered voices of his guides...Those amber eyes burned in the back of his skull. The boy paused though, as he noticed a familiar black portal at his feet, and he grew frightened. The ribbons trailed around his arms, and he shivered before he reached out for his best friend's hand; the strong, comforting presence only mere inches from him, but he couldn't move...He could barely breathe...

But his fingertips only grazed Riku's hand, and the young male watched as Sora sunk into the darkness, clawing at the surface before he disappeared. His smile disappeared, and his arm dropped to his side. "...I'll find you...I promise. And I'll protect you from anything cruel that might harm you...My beautiful Sora..."

He watched with hurt eyes as he looked at Sora in the house, talking to some people. He had just found him with those two new...Friends of his. Some dog thing and a duck; they seemed to be dimwitted. Sora was happy with them, though...He felt a thin hand on his shoulder, and looked up at a woman he had met in his travels; she called herself Maleficent. "You see? It's just as I told you." Her voice was high and grating, but he listened anyhow. She seemed to know things he didn't quite...Understand. All this time, he had been looking for Sora...And he had gone and made new friends...And was still looking for that girl.

"While you toiled away trying to find your dear friend, he quite simply replaced you with some new companions." She paused, smiling a little as she saw the light in his eyes slowly being glazed over by the dark in his very core. "Evidently, now he values them far more than he does you." He flinched at those words, and she grinned. She was winning him over.

He stared at them through the window, biting his bottom lip as he contained his hurt and rage. How dare he...How DARE he?! "You're better off without that wretched boy." She hissed, looking disgusted as she spoke of him. He stiffened, eyes narrowing. She then bent down, arm wrapped around his shoulders; she was cold, but not as cold as his darkness or his guides..."Now think no more of him, and come with me. I'll help you find what you're searching for..."

He stared at Sora for a moment longer, watching the Keyblade Master laugh with some people he didn't even know. People that couldn't possibly hold Sora as dear as Riku held him. He nodded jerkily after a moment, closing his eyes as the soothing darkness wrapped around them, and the witch led him away.

He would get his Sora back...Even if he had to play dirty about it. He'd use Kairi as bait...He smiled softly, eyes narrowing. Yes...Yes that was a plan...

He sat on the boat's railing, arm thrown over his knee as he waited for the brunette's arrival. He knew he was coming...He had been watching him through the darkness. He had acquired skill and ability to control it since he went with Maleficent. Maybe she was useful after all, and not just a manipulating witch. Though she was definitely that, too...Finally, he saw the boy walk out onto the deck, and slipped to his feet, standing in front of his prize. He watched as he looked around. No doubt for that stupid dog and temperamental duck. He stared a moment longer, before his eyes narrowed.

"I didn't think you'd come, Sora." He said loudly, sounding bitter. And he was. He had abandoned him...Abandoned him for things that didn't care for him like he did. He heard his gasp as he noticed him, and he smiled sarcastically. "Good to see you again."

"W-where are Donald and Goofy?" He stuttered, and Riku frowned at that, hands fisting at his sides angrily. Donald and Goofy. Those were their names? He doubt he'd ever remember them...Like he had always forgotten Kairi's name. Because they weren't important. Not to him.

"Are they that important to you?" He asked quietly then, looking at him with narrowed eyes. "More important than old friends?" More important than him? Than me? "Instead of worrying about them, you should be asking..." He paused, inwardly smiling. Time to use my bait...He'll come to me then, won't he? And he'll never leave me again...When we're united. She won't be responsive, but he'll have us. We have to be more important than talking animals. He side stepped then, showing the dead-looking Kairi. "...about her."

"Kairi!" He cried out, looking terrified. Riku didn't blame him; Kairi wasn't exactly in topnotch shape, was she?

"That's right. While you were off goofing around, I finally found her." It hadn't been that hard. Riku had known where she had gone, after all. He had asked her to be sent there so she wouldn't get in the way. It just...Took him a while to collect her was all. Sora started to run towards him, but Riku watched emotionlessly as Hook came out, shoving his hook hand in front of him.

"Not so fast. No shenanigans aboard my vessel, boy!" Heartless surrounded the boy, but Riku watched quietly from the deck, watching as he was surrounded; helpless. He hadn't wanted this...But Hook let him use the ship as his location. He supposed he'd let him have this glory. Not that the pirate would last very long, seeing as Sora was growing...Progressively stronger.

"Riku, why are you siding with the Heartless?" A foolish question. Riku thought he was smarter than that. The dimwits must've been getting to his brain...Must've been making him stupid.

"The Heartless obey me now, Sora." He said with a smile; it was twisted and felt strange, but he smiled it anyway. Because it was true; it was deranged, and it was true. "Now I have nothing to fear."

But Sora had to open his mouth; had to say what was in his heart. And Riku didn't want to hear it. "You're stupid. Sooner or later they'll swallow your heart."

My heart? But it belongs to you...How can they swallow something I don't even hold any longer? I haven't held it for years...

But he didn't say that. That was...Too personal. "Not a chance. My heart's too strong." He said confidently; he was always playing confident, because it was his nature to be cocky. He couldn't drop that, even when betrayed and hurt. It wasn't like him.

"Riku..." Sora trailed off, and Riku watched him, frowning. He was tired of this. He didn't want to hear him say he was stupid or that he would become a Heartless anymore. Sora didn't understand...

"I've picked up a few other tricks as well." He said, lifting his arm. He didn't want to do this, but if he got it through Sora' head...Maybe he'd understand. Maybe he'd accept the fact that the darkness wasn't all that bad. "Like this, for instance." He smiled, closing his eyes. He then opened his eyes quickly, lifting his hand palm out as if summoning someone...Or something...

And in front of Sora, from his shadow, popped up Anti-Sora. The dark Sora...Blank eyes staring at him. Riku then looked away. He had to do what he did next...So that Hook wouldn't second-guess his loyalty.

Though he held none for the man.

"You can go see your friends now." He muttered, watching as Sora fell from the floor to the deck. He watched him fall into oblivion, before looking over at Hook, frowning. "Let's get under way, already." He paused, and then continued. "And keep Sora away from Kairi until we're ready to land." He then turned, walking away...Ignoring Hook as he complained to his first mate.

He didn't care...

When he had heard that Sora had escaped with some kid named Peter Pan, Riku did the only thing he knew what to do; he hurried to the hostage's room and grabbed Kairi, lifting her up. Though he waited for Sora...He wanted to see Sora one more time before he left. He hadn't seen him since they had been inside of that whale...And those weren't good circumstances. Neither were these, either...But still. He wanted to see him...Needed to.

When he had finally managed to get up there, he stepped back towards the door, eyes narrowed. "Riku, wait!" He stepped back again as he summoned a dark portal beneath him, and up popped the Anti-Sora; his first creation. A thing to remind him that Sora was still part of his heart...The creature kept him company. Bright yellow eyes glared at Sora, and Riku knew it was going to be defeated...But it was enough time to escape. He chanced one last look at Sora as he disappeared, watching as he prepared to fight his clone.

I'll find you again...Sora.

He had changed. His time in the darkness, after he had turned from Maleficent and spoke to his guide again—Ansem, his name was. He'd remember that, because it was important...He was his guide after all—he had changed. He was different; nothing near the young boy from a beach island. He looked at his new clothes, flexing his fingers and summoning briefly the Way to Dusk, looking at it with a small smile on his face. Ansem lived within him; said he'd help him control his powers better than he had been. Refine his abilities. And he believed him; solely believed him.

He looked up as he felt a familiar presence; a warm glow in his chest, where Ansem whispered deathly things to it. But the silverette ignored his voice as he stood up from where he knelt, looking at nowhere in particular. He was close...So close to me now...

He remembered his earlier encounter, though...That had been interesting. The Beast...A strong opponent, but easily beaten. But after he had fallen, Riku had heard his voice...His beautiful voice. He said one thing, and it just made Riku freeze. "Stop!" The boy of darkness looked at the Keyblade Master, grinning shrewdly; though inwardly he was glad to see he wasn't hurt in any way...He was still so perfect.

"So, you finally made it." He said laughter in his voice. "About time. I've been waiting for you." I've always been waiting for you...He then took a deep breath inwardly, speaking again; but not the words he was desperate to say. He couldn't say those now...He was still so hurt. "We've always been rivals, haven't we?" He asked then, looking at him in contemplation. And in some aspects, it was true. They had always been rivals...Over trivial things. Riku's true rival was Kairi...For Sora's heart. His precious heart that had so much light. "You've always pushed me as I've always pushed you."

"Riku..." He sounded desperate for a moment, and Riku almost faltered...Only almost.

"But it all ends here. There can't be two Keyblade masters."

Sora looked at him unsurely, stepping forward and waving his arms about as always. "What are you talking about?" He asked then. Riku ignored him.

"Let the Keyblade choose...its true master!" He held out his hand then, and the Keyblade in Sora's hand shone, faded, and appeared in his hand in front of him. Sora looked so shocked as Riku looked at the weapon, holding it as if it were an extension of his very arm. "Maleficent was right. You don't have what it takes to save Kairi! It's up to me. Only the Keyblade Master can open the secret door...and change the world."

"But that's impossible. How did this happen?" Riku stared at him, long and hard; why was it so impossible? Why was it so astonishing that Riku could wield the Keyblade just as well as Sora? "I'm the one who fought my way here with the Keyblade!" Like it mattered. He only fought. And for what purpose? To save a girl that could never appreciate him. Not like Riku could. But Sora ignored him, and Riku was sick of it. He'd have his way now. He'd save Kairi...And then he'd take Sora. Even if Sora didn't want to be with him. He'd have him.

"You were just the delivery boy." He spat hatefully, and his inside gnawed and grew cold. He didn't mean that...He couldn't have meant that! But his heart whispered that he did...The darkness that had consoled him hissed that he did. He then turned to Sora, looking at him pitifully. He was so weak...When he was like this. "Sorry, your part's over now." He pulled out a wooden sword from behind his back, where he had been keeping it; he didn't know why he had kept it, but he had. "Here, go play hero with this." He mocked, tossing it at his feet. Sora stared down at it, and Riku thought for a moment he might've started to cry. But not Sora...Sora would never cry. Not in front of him. He fell to his hands and knees in front of it, though, in a pretty desperate position.

Before he felt anything other than bitterness and pity, Riku turned, walking away. He didn't look back. He couldn't look back. He wouldn't.

When he had come into the castle, he had met up with him...Met up with him with the dimwits at his side. They had said they followed the Keyblade. Some friends. Abandoning the one they 'cared' about just to follow some King's orders. True friends, that's what they were. Riku wasn't abandoning Sora...Just trying to teach him that his true friends were Kairi and himself. Mostly himself. Forget Kairi.

"Quit while you can." He muttered darkly, and Sora turned back to him, eyes narrowed. He looked so defiant now...So different from just earlier. He was so different...He wasn't the naïve little boy anymore. But that just made him love...and hate...him more.

"No. Not without Kairi."

Darkness surrounded him and in the blink of an eye Riku was in new clothes; created by the darkness but it gave him power. Ansem resided within him at this time...Gave him control like he had never had before. "The darkness will destroy you." He said bitterly; he didn't want Sora to die by the darkness...He wasn't going to die by the darkness. If anything...If Sora was to die...Riku would kill him himself.

"You're wrong, Riku." He paused at the confident tone Sora used; so much confidence. His stance was even straight. "The darkness may destroy my body, but it can't touch my heart." He paused then placed a hand over his heart. "My heart will stay with my friends. It'll never die!"

Riku frowned. "Really...Well, we'll just see about that!" He blasted a ball of darkness at Sora then, watching him with wary eyes. It'd kill him if he didn't dodge...It'd kill him...!

The dog thing then jumped in front of him with his shield, blocking the ball's path. "Sora ain't going anywhere!" Riku's eyes narrowed. So much for following orders.

"You'd betray your King?" He asked spitefully; the duck was on his side. That's impressive.

"Not on your life!" Okay now he was confused. "But I'm not gonna betray Sora, either. 'Cause he's become one of my best buddies after all we've been through together!" He had given the thumbs up, and Riku was really confused. That dog thing was WEIRD. He then turned to the duck. "See you later, Donald! Could you tell the King I'm really sorry?"

"Hold on, Goofy!" Was the duck gonna betray him now too or speak rare words of wisdom? "We'll tell him together!" Ah. Betrayal. Like that wasn't seen coming a mile away. The duck ran over to the dog thing and Sora, looking at Sora with a smile...How did he smile? He was a freakin' duck. "Well, you know...All for one and one for all." That had to be the corniest saying in the book. Seriously. What were they, the three musketeers?

"I guess you're stuck with us, Sora."

Not for long he isn't...Since he'll be mine.

Sora didn't look too happy, though; his head was hung, and he was looking at the floor. "Thank a lot...Donald, Goofy." He smiled a little then. He was grateful to the talking animals that had so easily left him. How...sickening. The boy looked up, though, as the boy of darkness spoke up.

"How will you fight without a weapon?" He sounded genuinely curious, and he was. How was he expected to fight him? He had the Keyblade...

"I know now that I don't need the Keyblade. I've got a better weapon. My heart." Riku's eyes widened, then narrowed. His heart? Your heart...Will never belong to me, will it? But I can try...I'll always try...

He made a 'hmph' noise, rolling his eyes before looking to the side; his face was angry but dejected. "Your heart?" He then turned cocky, mocking him. "What good will that weak little thing do for you?"

"Although my heart may be weak," It's anything but weak! It's stronger than anyone's! "it's not alone. It's grown with each new experience, and it's found a home with all the friends I've made." He looked at the duck and the dog thing, and Riku scoffed. "I've become a part of their heart just as they've become a part of mine. And if they think of my now and then...if they don't forget me...then our hearts will be one." He stomped his foot, before grabbing the wooden sword Riku had thrown at him. He stared at him ludicrously.

"I don't need a weapon. My friends are my power!" Riku stood there, gripping the Keyblade he had summoned when in threat of a fight, before suddenly it glowed and disappeared from his hands. "Wh-what?!" He gasped as it wasn't in his hands, eyes widening. He looked over at Sora as it appeared in his hands in place of the Keyblade. He turned to him, eyes narrowed dangerously.

He'd pay for that.

Of course, after the battle, Riku had had to run away...Almost like a coward. He had temporarily lost control of his darkness; Ansem was displeased with him, he could hear his growling in the back of his head. He hadn't understood why it had left him...Why the Keyblade was gone...

"Why? It was mine." He was panting after his run, feeling weakened...He felt so drained...

He suddenly heard the voice of Ansem, and he looked around for his guide, his precious guide. He wasn't in him anymore, then. He had only temporarily stayed in there. He was displeased...

"Know this." He said slowly, his voice soft like silk. Riku paused, looking around. "The heart that is strong and true shall win the Keyblade." Riku frowned at this. So my heart is weak...But he wouldn't act as if he had known...

"What? You're saying my heart's weaker than his?"

"For that instant, it was." Riku shook his head, his face crumbling with despair. He knew he was weak...He had always been weak...around Sora. "However," the voice spoke again, and Riku looked at the black and blue spot in front of him where it was coming from. "You can become stronger." He felt the smile in his voice then. "You showed no fear in stepping through the door to darkness." He saw his silhouette in the shadows, and watched him transfixed. "It held no terror for you. Plunge deeper into the darkness," The voice was smooth like ripped satin then; convincing...Using like Maleficent. But Riku didn't care...He was always used, after all. "and your heart will grow even stronger."

His head had dropped, and his shoulders fallen. He was desperate. "What should I do?" He asked softly; his voice was weak, giving up. No more confidence.

"It's really quite simple." The voice soothed the smile still apparent. "Open yourself to the darkness. That is all." He paused, letting the idea sink in. "Let your heart, your being, become darkness itself." And Riku started to glow the strangest green, looking up as the darkness neared him...Opening himself up to it; accepting it like he had on the island.

And then he had changed...Changed back into that outfit of power, with a new weapon...And new control. Though he knew something was different...Something was wrong. But he didn't care. He was stronger now.

I can have him now.

He looked up then, looking at Maleficent who stood in front of the Keyhole the princesses had revealed. "So, I see the path has emerged at last." The voices were mixed; Riku and Ansem, one and the same...The same entity...The same body...Darkness itself.

"Yes. The Keyhole to the darkness." She said, pleased with herself.

"Unlock it and the Heartless will overrun this world." He said, almost as if warning her; yeah, right.

"What do I care? The darkness holds no power over me." She sounded so overconfident, just like he had what seemed like years ago...He was aged now...Aged in a powerful way. "Rather, I will use its power to rule all worlds."

"Such confidence." The mixed voices spoke, smirking at her mockingly. He then summoned Way to Dusk again, holding it in front of him and gripping it tightly.

"Oh!" She looked at the winged Keyblade, before huffing. Unlocking it had failed. "Impossible! The princesses of heart are all here!" She then glared over at the unconscious Kairi, lying on the ground in front of the Keyhole. "It must be her!" She said spitefully.

"Without her heart," Riku mused, Ansem musing with him; or was Riku musing with Ansem? "she will never be able to release her power." He then looked up, and narrowed his eyes; the warmth was returning...Sora was near...

"The king's fools are here." Maleficent said, smirking mockingly. "I'll deal with them myself." She made a flourish with her arm, as if proving that the order was final. "You stay here and guard the princesses." His eyes narrowed. He was no babysitter. But he said nothing, only looking over at her, knowing she was soon going to die. Sora would kill her...

And then he'd face him...

The door opened, and his demon was vanquished. He stood on the other side, holding onto his chest; it hurt so much...And he didn't even have a true body anymore. Ansem had taken it from him...His beloved guide, betrayed him like he had thought Sora had...But Sora had never betrayed him. Riku had betrayed Sora. He looked up as he heard his angelic voice, eyes wide; he was trying to close the door to light? But by himself...By himself that was impossible!

The duck and the dog thing looked into the door, saw the Heartless...And freaked. How natural. But Sora...Sora was weakening. He had been fighting for so long. "I...I can't!"

He couldn't take that weak voice.

He lunged, grabbing the side, and looked at him. "Come on, Sora! Don't give up! Together, we can do it!" Together we can do anything...He saw Sora nod, and he smiled, pulling as he pushed. But no use...It still wasn't budging. He heard the duck cry out 'It's hopeless!' and he was about to agree with him, when he heard something shatter behind him...And he knew that the company that he had been keeping on the other side had arrived finally...Help had come...

There was light in the side of darkness.

"Your Majesty!" The mouse popped up, pulling out his own Keyblade; it looked basic, but it was gold...

"Now Sora! Let's close this door for good!" He cried out optimistically, and Riku had to admit; it kind of freaked him out. Oh, not that the mouse spoke or was a Keyblade Master. The fact that he was a mouse and knew Sora was what freaked him out. But it was also the comfort he felt from him...The pure light.

"Close it, quick!"


"Don't worry! There will always be a door to the light." The mouse, a King, spoke confidently.

"Sora, you can trust King Mickey." Mickey was his name then? Mickey Mouse...He sounded like a Saturday Night Cartoon, but whatever. He was help, and felt powerful. He was shining in light, after all.

He spun then, looking at the Heartless advancing. "Now! They're coming!"

"Donald, Goofy, thank you." Why did they have to pause for pleasantries at a time like this? This was desperate. If they didn't close the door, the Heartless would escape...And Sora would be fighting forever...

He has to stop fighting...

After those words though, strength seemed to come, and the three on the other side started to push it closed with all their might; the great white door moving with their sudden strength. Riku then looked back into the crack of the door before it closed, looking at Sora with a smile. I love you. He thought, closing his eyes before smiling again. "Take care of her." He said instead. Sora paused, nodding to him, before he pushed the door closed all the way...

Locking him away from his light forever...

Mickey then pulled out his Keyblade, and Riku assumed Sora had as well, and the two of them pointed their shining keys to the door...Locking it.

Riku placed a hand on the white door, staring at it for a moment, before smiling weakly. "...Take care...Sora."

He felt so weightless...Just floating there, deep into sleep...But suddenly, a pain shot through his spine and he jerked, choking on a gasp before letting out a small breath. His eyes opened hesitatingly, blinking at the grey tones around him, before looking around in confusion. "Where..." He laid there in the air for a moment longer, limbs limp, lying comfortably as if he were in the waters of Destiny Islands all over again. I miss them...I actually miss that little spit of land.

"You've been sleeping." The voice was sudden and he didn't recognize it, and he inhaled sharply, jerking up to float right-side up, legs bent a little in the awkward stance; he couldn't plant his feet on anything, nothing that he could see. It was all so...strange...

"Who's there?!" He called out, looking around with narrowed eyes. He looked up to the right as he heard the voice again, trying to find the source; it was like talking to Ansem again. When he had been travelling with him...After that first sight of the man, he had disappeared, staying in shrouds of darkness until he took over his body.

"You've been sleeping. Here, between light and dark." The voice said instead of answering; that frustrated him. He wanted a name, a face...Someone to look at. This was unnerving...Unsettling. He kept looking around for the body of the voice, eyes curious as he took in his surroundings but hesitant and suspicious all the same.

"Between light and dark...?" He frowned at that. This grey abyss was the center of light and dark, then? This small, depressing world...Was the middle? The grey? Well, it was certainly grey enough...

He then realized, belatedly, that he was alone and gasped, looking around before fisting his hands. "Where's the king?!" He demanded of the voice. "Together we closed the door to darkness, and after that..." After that they had walked down the path, looking for their door to light...For a way back. But Riku didn't have a proper body. Not anymore, since Ansem had taken it.

"You're the only one who washed up here." The voice said simply, and Riku frowned. So he was separated from the king, then? This was upsetting...He was a comfort to him. "You didn't have the power to prevail over darkness." The voice paused, contemplating. "No, you should have embraced the darkness."

"Hmph," he scoffed sarcastically, hands loosely curling at his sides randomly. "You talk like I'm some kind of demon of the dark." And maybe he was. He had let it in once, but had rejected it almost too late. Was he doomed to forever be apart of the darkness...?

The voice scoffed much like he had, sounding momentarily amused. "You turned your back to the light, before you closed your eyes." They said, and Riku frowned; that was true, wasn't it? But he had only done it so he could be freed...And he had wanted to be stronger. The darkness promised to make him stronger. If he had been stronger, he could've taken Sora...

But now I know I'm so wrong about that...

"Here, blanketed by the darkness, sleep is safety. Sleep is eternal." Eternal sleep...It sounded nice. No worries...No pain...No troubles. Just sleep. But I can't sleep...I need to get out of here...Back to Sora. He thought, looking down. Where he and Kairi are probably making a very happy couple..."But..." The voice continued, and he paid attention again, veering away from his morbid thoughts. A sudden ball of light shone in front of him, and he winced, holding up a hand as if to protect himself, eyes squinted closed. It was so sudden, and so bright. It almost burned his eyes...His skin. Was he that sensitive to the light now?

When the light had faded, he saw a crown-shaped blue card, with a picture on the front. It floated in front of him, moving around him; taunting him almost. It glowed slightly, sparkled from residue light. "Is this...?"

"It is the door to the truth." The voice responded to his unasked question. "Take it, and your sleep ends. Take it, and take the first step toward the truth." The voice paused, letting it sink in. "But, the truth will bring you pain. Will you still go?" The silverette watched as the car floated behind him from the corner of his eye, slowly revolving around him to the front of him. Would he go? Would he take pain?

Nothing is more painful than never seen his face again.

It floated in front of him tauntingly, and he stared at it, eyes narrowed in determination. "There can be no returning to the sweet security of sleep." He closed his eyes, face straight as he thought. No return to this grey place...This place that felt so empty. No returning to security and safety nets. No turning back, basically.

He never turned back.

Reaching forward, he grabbed the sparkling car, holding it delicately in his hands. He stared at it, looking at the picture in interest; it looked familiar to him. But not. He didn't truly recognize it, but he had a feeling in his gut he might've. It stopped glowing once he had grabbed it, turning into a plain card that would fall if he dropped it into the abyss. He then brought it closer to him, looking up. "Seems like a boring place to nap anyway." He commented with a smirk; cocky, arrogant, confident. Just like he had been before...Before everything had happened. Like nothing had changed at all.

The voice sounded pleased. "As I expected of you, Riku." Once he had spoken, the card glowed brightly again, and he inhaled sharply, closing his eyes and turning his face away from the card; it burned again, burned so badly, and he knew he was much to sensitive to the light now. The darkness had corrupted him completely...But he'd overcome that.

Everything grew white behind his eyelids, before it all faded, and he blinked open his eyes, looking around the white expanse of the room he now stood in. It was bright and plain, fancy but simple. There was a staircase in front of him with a door a slightly different colour than the walls and floor and ceiling. He stared at the door for a moment, before looking at the card.

"A door to the truth, huh..."

He walked through a hall, inhaling before he blinked, licking his lips. Something...Something tasted in the air. Something tasted strange...

"Something...tastes kind of funny." He murmured stopping and looking around. "What is it? It's so familiar..." He frowned, looking to the floor before he gasped, eyes wide. "That's right. The taste of darkness..." He frowned, fisting his hands at his sides. "The taste of darkness...am I just a tool of the darkness?"

He suddenly heard a familiar voice, though, and looked up and around for the mouse he had heard. He swore he heard the king. "Don't you worry, Riku."

"Your Majesty!" He cried out, looking up at the roof as if expecting him to be floating there, smiling at him. He watched a ball of light instead float down in front of him, before it shone and after the brightness faded, a see-through version of King Mickey stood there, smiling at him. He smiled in relief, before he blinked, realizing how unclear he was. He huffed in surprise. "What happened to you? You're all...fuzzy."

The King proceeded to then move around, explain. "I can only spend a little bit of my power here. But, I have a request." He said then, and Riku watched him carefully, waiting for him to continue.

"A request?" He asked when he didn't continue right away.

"Yes, Riku." He said, before continuing. "Don't let go of yourself just because darkness has a hold on you." He then looked demanding; he looked kind of angry. It was strange to see the normally happy king looking angry at him. "Fight the darkness inside you! It won't be an easy battle...But don't forget! Even in the darkest darkness, there's always a little light." And that light for me is Sora...But I thought I'd never see him again...Does that mean my light is gone in my darkest darkness?

"Light within darkness...?" He asked doubtfully. He had never seen it before...Only when Sora was near.

"You and I have seen it!" They had? Was that when they closed the door? "The far-off, wandering light inside the door to darkness...The light of Kingdom Hearts will show you the way." Kingdom Hearts? What was that going to do? Shine like a lighthouse if he ever fell to the darkness again? Yeah, right. "Please don't give up. Believe in the light." He did. Just not in Kingdom Hearts. He believed in the Warrior of Light...Not the Heart of all Worlds. "That's all I ask." He'd humour him, though. The King was very important to him after all.

"Okay...I'll try my best." The best he could do.

"And I'll try to find a way to reach you. I'll come, I promise." That was all he could ask for from the mouse.

He walked down the dark path, Mickey by his side; they wore dark cloaks that those Riku had fought had worn, though why they wore then he wasn't exactly sure. He wasn't even sure how Mickey had found him, but he had. That's all that mattered to him.

As they walked down the path, Riku saw a figure in front of him, and narrowed his eyes. He stopped in front of the man swaddled in red, glaring at him dangerously. "What are you making me choose now?"

"Will you take the road to light.." The man said, pointing to the road on his left, Riku's right. "Or the road to darkness?" He indicated to the path on his other side. Riku frowned, Mickey looking at the roads, and then concernedly to Riku. Riku smirked though.

"Neither." He said, feeling the king's surprise by his side. He then started walking forward, leaving the king behind as he passed the man who did not give him a name. "I'm taking the middle road."

"You mean the twilight road to nightfall?" The man asked; he didn't sound incredulous, he just sounded curious.

"No." Riku denied again, pausing on his path. He then looked back, grinning. "The road to dawn."

The king left had left him, holding onto a promise that he swore to keep, and the silverette sighed as he looked down from his spire; he didn't actually look, though, since he was blindfolded. But he could see all the same. He knew who was down there, tearing through the many Heartless that surrounded him. His aura was familiar...Similar to the boy he loved so dearly even now, but he knew that he wasn't the same. He was blonde, and Sora was brunette. He was bitter, and Sora was forgiving. He was violent, and Sora...Sora was calm. Insane, clearly, but calm when he was about to fight. He didn't glare; he didn't spit out insults. He just got into a ready stance. He tried to avoid fighting. And then, when forced into a corner, he beat them back.

He smiled then, lifting his head to the sky and letting the rain pour down on him. Thoughts of Sora always made him so calm...It helped him when he was about to go into battle. And this battle was important...Vital to Sora. When he had learned he was asleep in a pod, because his heart had been messed with...Well, he wanted to do all he could to help him. But he was slowly forgetting the dear boy; his face...His voice. Sometimes even his name. It concerned him, but he had been warned this would happen. He needed to capture the blonde boy, though. That boy was his Nobody; the other half of his heart, his power.

He then jumped off the ledge, falling to the ground and catching the flying Keyblade that the blonde had thrown in the sky, passing him. They didn't look at each other; they didn't even acknowledge each other. Riku landed on the ground then, and tore through some of the black things, the blonde landing behind him soon enough. The Heartless disappeared, and Riku twisted around to the blonde, the blonde twisting at the same time, Keyblade clashing.

He jumped back then, scowling. This boy was strong. Stronger than his Sora. His eyes narrowed behind the blindfold.

He would defeat him.

He blinked amber eyes, looking at the floor before he sighed and looked up at the man swaddled in red. He called himself DiZ, and he was the one helping Sora. He was helping Sora to use him, though. He frowned as he looked away from the man, glaring at something else.

He only knew the boy's name because DiZ had told it to him. He barely remembered the boy...But his heart ached when he saw him in the pod, and he knew he was important.

He knew he was vital to him.

He watched him from the dark, watching as he fell under a horde of Heartless; watching as Kairi screamed for him. She had changed a lot since he had last seen her. Hair was darker, longer...And she seemed to have matured. But her feelings, it also seemed, were the same. He scowled, looking away. She didn't care for Sora as much as him...But Sora was in trouble. He'd have to swallow his distaste for her so that they could help him. He walked out of the darkness, walking over to her and destroying the Heartless that had jumped on her, before helping her to her feet. She looked at him, smiling, and he nodded back, pulling out a brightly coloured Keyblade from somewhere. She took it, holding onto it and looking at it in awe, before she nodded to him. "Come on, Riku. You know Sora's helpless without us."

He nodded, summoning Way to Dawn, before he jumped into battle with her, killing off the squealing black things as they swarmed. He watched from the corner of his eye as Sora shoved the Heartless off of him, before he fell into battle with one of the Nobodies that Riku had been watching for months, a year even. Xigbar, number 2, Freeshooter. He's strong. But Sora will survive it. He's stronger.

"Kairi! You did great!" He watched from the sidelines as that duck, dog thing and Sora all appeared before him. He watched as Kairi gave a girlish giggle, flicking back her hair, and he inwardly grimaced; how horribly...Girly.

Kairi and Sora walked towards each other, and he watched as Sora looked over at Kairi quietly before speaking. "You are different Kairi. But I'm just glad you're here." Riku frowned; he wasn't saying anything to him. But why would he? He didn't look like Riku...He looked like Ansem.

"You and Riku never came home, so I came looking for you." Sora lowered his head then, looking ashamed, before looking away.

"I'm sorry—" He was cut off though when Kairi suddenly hugged him, and he stood there awkwardly for a moment, eyes wide. He hesitatingly wrapped his arms around her, his hands—larger than they had been before, back when he was still young in the mind—resting on her back.

"This is real," she whispered. Well what did she think it was? An illusion? Sora was not an illusion...He was really and truthfully there. Even Riku knew that...He could feel his pulsating, warm light. It soothed him in his numbness. Riku, getting sick at the sight, opened a portal of darkness and turned to enter it. He was stopped, though...Stopped by that voice that had changed, but had still stayed the same. An angel's voice.

"Wait, Ansem." Not the name he wanted to hear, but what did he expect? "I mean, Xehanort's Heartless." He paused, Riku looking back at him, waiting for him to continue. "I never thought for a second that I'd ever see you again. Just thinking about all the things you did makes me really mad." He flinched inwardly; did Sora really think he was Ansem? Or maybe...He knew it was him, and was actually angry at him, Riku...For everything he had done. He wouldn't blame him; he had been a fool. He was still a fool. "But..." He blinked, raising an eyebrow. "But you saved Kairi, right? I have to be grateful for that." Because Sora loved Kairi...Of course. "Thanks."

He stood for a moment longer, before he continued on his path to his gateway; he had to get out of there. He had to get away from Sora...It was hurting him. He heard footsteps, though, small footsteps. Kairi. She grabbed his arm, yanking him back, and he looked back at her in aggravation. She had Sora, why couldn't she leave well enough alone? "Riku, don't go!"

The shocked gasped of the duck and the dog thing filled his ears then as they learned that he was actually Riku. He grimaced again; good going, Kairi. Good going. She should've stayed silent, and he would've continued to watch from the dark. The darkness...Where he belonged. "Kairi, what did you just say?!" Of course he'd be shocked.

She turned to look at them. "Riku," she said his name softly, like a lover, and Riku scowled inwardly. He wanted out of her hold. He tugged at his arm, trying to get her to let go; she had a surprising grip of steal.

"I'm no one. Just a castaway from the darkness." And it was true. He was nothing but a castaway. A tool to the darkness. It was engraved into his core...His being...His very heart. He knew it to be true.

"Sora, come here. Say something to him." What could he say? 'You're a liar!' That's what he could see. 'He's not Riku!' That's what he expected. He heard him walk over, looked at the floor as he stopped behind him. One of Kairi's hands let go of his arm, grabbing onto Sora's hand, and she moved his hand up. He looked back in surprise, wondering what the hell she thought she was doing. She then held their hands over one another. "Here. You'll understand."

She placed Sora's hand on top of his own, and a shiver ran down his spine; he hadn't felt his warmth in such a long time...Over a year. It felt so...Strange. In a good way. "Close your eyes."

He watched as Sora looked at her, before turning to face him, looking at his face. He then did as she told him, closing his eyes, and he watched in anticipation, wondering what was going to happen. When he opened his eyes again, he did not expect to see the face of someone about to cry. His eyes widened marginally as Sora lifted his other hand, grabbing onto his hand and falling to his knees. "Riku! It's Riku. Riku's here." He was almost looking over his hand, and Riku had to turn so he wasn't at such an odd angle. Why was he reacting like this? He thought he would've been so angry at him...

He saw his shoulders start to shake, and his eyes widened again; he was crying? "I looked for you." He confided, and Riku bit back a startled intake of air. He looked for him? But why? Why would he do that? After everything...He felt he had to say something then. Say something to console him...

"Come on, Sora. You've got to pull it together." Not exactly what I was thinking...But it'll do. But Sora just continued to cry, shaking his head before he looked up at him; Riku saw the desperation and truthfulness in his bright blue eyes.

"I looked everywhere for you!" He said it so desperately, and Riku bit his lip before frowning.

"I didn't want you to find me." He said softly; it was true. He didn't want to be found. He just wanted to rot away in the dark.

The dog turned to the duck. "But it was him that was helping us!" He exclaimed; the dog was smart? He put that together? Damn. "Wasn't it?" Okay, maybe he wasn't so smart. The duck made one of his squawking noises in return to the question, not too sure himself. "Those clues we kept findin'! That must've been Riku!" Damn. And he had been helping Sora, not the other two. They tagged along for the ride. Riku wanted Sora safe...So he helped him in tight spots. That was all.

Sora finally let go as he turned to face them all fully, and he made up something on the spot. "I was worried you guys wouldn't finally catch on." He said, shrugging a shoulder. "Sora never did pick the, brightest friends." He was one of the many. He was just as stupid. He had let himself get stolen by darkness. Was that intelligence? No.

The duck look affronted. "Whaddya mean by that!?"

The others ignored him, though. And Sora looked at him angrily; worried, but angry all the same. "Why didn't you let me know you were okay?!" Do I look okay, Sora? I'm not even me anymore.

"I told you. I didn't want to be found." He looked away from him, narrowed eyes at the floor near Kairi's feet. I blame you, woman. I blame you for letting him talk to me...For letting me near him. This hurts...It hurts so much to know he'll never be mine "Not like this. I...couldn't...I...I fought with Ansem...With Xehanort's Heartless...When it invaded my heart and I won," he paused, smirking bitterly, before continuing. "But to use the power of darkness...I had to become Ansem myself." And he's really tall by the way.

"Does that mean...You can't change back?" Riku frowned, looking away. Of course she'd care about his looks. She was always attracted by his pretty face, no matter how much she loved Sora.

"This battle isn't over. And until it is, I still need the power of darkness." He looked away.

"Then..." Riku looked back at Sora as he started to speak. "...let's finish it. You're still Riku no matter what." The dog and duck nodded, as if that made him feel better, and then Kairi smiled and nodded. Again he didn't care too much. He cared that Sora still saw him as himself, though...Glad he didn't care for looks. Sora then turned to his companions.

"So how 'bout it? You think we can last one last rumble together? The King's waiting!" He was, wasn't he? With that man...Ansem. The true Ansem. Ansem the Wise.

"Yeah! Let's get going!" The duck had to have the last words, didn't he?

"We've said enough!" Ansem's majestic voice spoke, then the blonde man turned to Riku. "Riku, you know what to do!" Riku nodded, knowing what was going on. He had been on the know for a bit now.

Ansem turned to King Mickey. "King Mickey my friend...Forgive me. Farewell!" The machine started to glow dangerously, sparking and crackling before it consumed him. Riku turned, catching Sora as he ran towards Ansem, holding him back; his body felt so small in his arms, but he didn't say anything, just stood in front of the others protectively, making sure they didn't get hurt. The machine exploded, Ansem being swallowed by the explosion. It towered like a pillar of dangerous light, deathly and beautiful and simple all at once.

The residue explosion though...That's what they were in danger of. Mickey looked away sadly, Riku turning to see what was happening. And slowly they were all being pushed back. Riku tried to standing against the pressure, but he was pushed back and they were all blinded by a bright, white light. It seared his skin like the light always did, and he felt layers being peeled from his face; the thin cheeks and strong jaw he had felt for months were forming, mutating in this light. It was affecting him strangely...

They laid still on the ground, Riku moaning inwardly in pain. He felt so...sore. So different. He gasped quietly, eyes closed tightly. He could barely breathe..."Riku!" He heard his name from that sweet voice, and wondered momentarily if he was dead, and he had gone to hell because of all the pain he went through. He then heard footsteps, and mused that Sora wouldn't be in hell; he was light, after all.

He sat up slowly as Sora slid to his side, gasping and panting as he pushed himself to his knees, blinking behind a blindfold he hadn't felt in so long since he had engulfed himself in darkness. He was confused momentarily, wondering what was going on. Why was he like this? The darkness...Had changed him...He turned towards the others, where they were all standing. "Woow," he heard the duck and the dog, and he wondered what was so amazing about what he looked like.

"Riku!" Kairi said happily, and he realized that it was really strange that she sounded so happy. He scrunched his face, and felt it back to being young...16. His eyes widened behind the blindfold.

"Wh...Wha...Ahh..." He looked around in confusion, before turning to face the king.

"Ansem did say anything could happen." He said lightly, and Riku stood up as he turned to the others in explanation. Anything could happen...Even freeing me...

They all turned to where the professor had once been, noticing he was gone. Riku then felt blue eyes on him. "Riku...You gonna take that off?" Take it off...? Oh. My blindfold...But...I hid them so no one could see...what they saw...

"Ah..." he paused, before reaching up for the black cloth, gripping it. He felt so strange, about to take it off...But he pulled it off slowly, letting his eyes see for the first time truthfully for months...A year. He blinked, squinting and adjusting to the light, green eyes shining weakly.

"What was that?" Sora asked, looking into his eyes. Riku looked away, and he heard the mouse walking up behind them.

They turned to see him as he explained. "His eyes couldn't lie." He said simply. Sora blinked slowly.

"Lie?" He frowned, before turning to Riku, taking on the 'chastising mother' stance. "And just who were you trying to fool? Huh? Huuh? " He asked, half joking, half serious. Riku frowned, looking down.

"Myself." He muttered softly, sighing inwardly.

"Riku...Come on, man. Why did you try to do so much on your own?" Of course he wouldn't understand. How could he? Sora's so naïve...He then rushed over to the others, where he stood, arms spread. "You've got friends—like us!"

He stared at them, each one, before walking up to him. He decided to play along with childhood sayings. "Have you forgotten? I'll tell you why." He paused, smirking. "Because I'm not a total sap like you." ...Only I actually am, but you'll never know it.

"Say that again." Sora dared, and Riku smiled; so much like when they were younger...Nothing had changed...

Including my love for you...

They heard something, and looked over to see Kingdom Hearts crumbling. "Uh oh." The duck stole the words right out of his mouth. They all rushed over to the ledge, looking over to see hordes of Heartless gathering around. "What should we do, Riku?" Depending on me...So not like him.

"We must defeat Xemnas." He spoke confidently, knowing this was what they had to do. He knew, after all. He had lived in this place for so long. "He's the Organization's last survivor." The two best friends turned to each other, Riku gazing into Sora's eyes before sighing inwardly again. Never to be mine...But I can take these few moments with him to myself, can't I?

"Right!" He agreed, and they turned, Riku grabbing onto his coat and flinging it off, showing he was in an entirely different outfit underneath; nothing black about it. Though, he did have to admit that he thought he went too...Loose with it. His belly button was showing, after all. He saw Sora glance at him from the corner of his eyes, his cheeks darkening the slightest bit. What was that?

He then turned to the doorway. "Come on." Sora nodded, and Riku led the others towards their final destination.

They would end all of this...And return home...

And Riku would probably hide again.

He fell to his knees as they deflected the last of the red beams of light, gasping. "Riku!" Sora cried out. Riku looked up in time to see Xemnas try to smash a light sabre onto Sora's head and jumped, lunging and twisting, blocking it with Way to Dawn. He spun, but Xemnas pushed Sora out of the way and hit Riku in the back with his weapon. Riku cried out, floating there meaninglessly until he saw Sora lunge at him. "Sora!" He pulled Way to Dawn in front of him, and Sora grabbed onto it, pulling himself towards their enemy.

The brunette manipulated his Keyblade so it hit Xemnas in the chest, and then he brought his own Keyblade at him, bringing it down to clash violently with his body. He used the both of them, duelling them, hitting the Nobody repeatedly as Xemnas grew weaker, drained from his energy.

He flung him in the air, landing beside Riku, and looking down at him, holding his Keyblade out in front of them. "Riku!" He said again, urgently. Riku looked up at him through silver bangs, before he placed his hand on top of Sora's, and with their combined strength, sent a beam of light at Xemnas, hitting him square in the chest where no heart lay beating underneath.

The man lay there limply in the air, and Sora ran forward with his Keyblade, hitting him harshly just once. He gasped in defeat, managing to choke out the words 'Curse you...Keyblade...' before he started to die before their very eyes. And he didn't just fade away, either. He warped, and then popped out of existence, black smoke the only remainders.

"We did it!" Sora cried out triumphantly. Riku looked around as Nobodies started popping up then.

"I wouldn't be too sure about that..." He said, crouching again. Sora crouched behind him, the two with their eyes narrowed, before they jumped back into battle.

After only a few moments, though, Riku fell again, Sora panting behind him. He fell forward on his hands; a position he had seen Sora in over a year ago..."Sora..." He rasped out, looking at the ground. "...I can't."

"Don't say another word." He sounded so demanding then...Almost passionate. Riku must've been hearing things. He looked over at him, looking into his soft face. "It's not over. It's just not..." He stood then, and Riku watched as he walked over to him, grabbing his arm and slinging it over his shoulders, before grabbing the belt of his pants and yanking him up to his feet. He ignored the urge to blush.

"How can you say that?" He asked instead, looking at him. "Even if we could go on," he looked down at the floor. "Look where we are."

Sora then smiled. "Aw, come on Riku. You've been hanging out in darkness too long." He hoisted him up again, and Riku thought he saw a mischievous gleam in his blue eyes. Is he...PLAYING with me here? "You gotta try and think positive." He said, looking at him with a smile in his eyes.

He paused, looking at the ground before he spoke. "Sora."


Riku bit the inside of his cheek before letting go of his pride. "You lead."

"Got it."

He sat by the waters beside him, looking at the dark pools with contemplation in his eyes. He saw a bottle float up to his feet, and he felt like he didn't want to pick it up; it would destroy their peace...Their solitude. But he did when it bumped his foot, and he uncorked it, reading it. He paused though, smiling sadly. "Sora,"


"I think it's for you." He held the letter over to him, and the brunette took it, fingertips brushing over his paler fingers. A shock went down his arm, but he ignored it, watching as his friend read the letter by the girl that he knew Sora loved. He was hers...He would never be his.

They looked up suddenly as light was shining through, and Riku narrowed his eyes. "Light." He muttered softly. Sora's eyes widened.

"The Door to Light..." He murmured in amazement. He then jumped to his feet, holding his hand out to Riku. "We'll go together." Riku looked up at him, before smiling. "Yeah." He grabbed hold of his hand, hoisting himself up and squeezing the warm fingers for what he knew would be the last time, before they faced the door, and started through the water towards it.

To home.

Riku sat underneath the Paopu tree, reading the letter from the King; every letter, every word, every sentence reverberating in his head. Things were fine...Everyone was alright. They had gotten to their world safely...And the worlds were still connected, but safe all the same. No more Heartless...No more Nobodies. Peace. Quiet. Harmony. And he wished them the best.

He sighed, throwing the letter to the side. It was one of the many letters he had sent to them. They still kept contact; the duck and the dog thing wrote to Sora every day, and he was always so happy when he got their letters. He wrote them back, of course. He spent a lot of time in each of their individual letters.

Riku had pulled away from the others, sticking to himself. He hung around the play island a lot, looking at the secret place and the door that had started it all, looking at the sea and the old shack and the raft that was still resting on the beach, right where they had left it. Everything was so...Normal. So surreal.

Riku felt trapped again...But he'd never try to leave. He had caused too much harm before. He was staying in his world...Staying out of the others. It's why he never wrote to the King; Mickey understood though, of course. He knew his friend well.

He sighed, running a hand through the sand, before lifting his hand to his hair, pulling at a ribbon his mother had given him to hold his hair back; she was trying to be a proper mother, and not the cold woman she had been over a year ago. He had to give her credit; she was at least trying. Unlike his father. We wouldn't get into his father, though.

He looked at the black ribbon, threading it through his fingers. 'Black looks good on you. So I thought you'd like this...To hold your hair back from your face.' She had meant well. She just didn't know that he actually hated it...Hated it since it reminded him of a hateful time.

He heard footsteps then, and looked up to see Sora walking over to him, smiling at him quietly. This was rare; he wasn't with Kairi or someone else. He was actually alone.

"There you are." He said, stopping in front of him. He didn't crouch, and Riku didn't stand. "I've been looking for you everywhere."

"Maybe I didn't want to be found." He said, repeating words he had said over a month ago. Sora frowned, looking at him, before he looked at what was in his hands. His eyes widened, and Riku knew he was panicking. "A gift from my mom. Apparently black suits me." He said softly. He saw Sora visibly relax, before he reached forward, grabbing onto the ribbon as well, feeling it under the pad of his thumb; rough from all his fighting.

"Why are you avoiding me?" He asked softly then. Riku looked at the sand at their feet, and Sora frowned. "Riku..."

"Because I don't fit in your life anymore." He mumbled softly. Sora looked at him in confusion, and Riku sighed. "Sora, I can't be your best friend."

"What? Why not?" Sora asked, completely blown over. Why would he...Suddenly drop their friendship like this? When he had said it was so precious to him...

"Because best friends don't love their best friends." Riku spat then, looking away. "And they don't try to kill their best friends. And they don't leave them to rot in darkness. And they don't abandon them. What kind of best friend am I, when I've done all of that?" He asked, still not looking at him. "When I love you?"

Sora's eyes widened as he looked at Riku's suddenly flushed face. "...You love me?"

"I always have stupid." Riku mumbled, closing his eyes. "But you shouldn't even care. You shouldn't forgive me so easily! And you have Kairi. I can't be part of your life...I'm just...Terrible."

Sora frowned, his grip tightening on the ribbon before he touched Riku's cheek quietly. His eyes widened when he felt tears. "Riku..." He mumbled softly. Riku's eyes were closed, his face clear of anger; only filled with distress. "Silly. I've forgiven you because I know you feel bad for all of that...Everything you did." He then paused, and smiled. "And I don't have Kairi. She loves me...But she's my sister." He said, shrugging. "..As for loving me, though..."

Riku's eyes squeezed shut, waiting for denial, before he felt lips on the top of his head. His eyes opened for a moment, wide, before they dropped shut again; his hands fumbling with the ribbon, grazing his hand. His warm, comforting hand. "I love you too." He heard his whisper. And he laughed weakly. He heard the Keyblade master fall to his knees then, hands on his cheeks. "Riku...Open your eyes." His voice commanded softly.

Riku opened them slowly, looking at his eyes to see he meant every word before Sora leaned forward, pressing his lips to Riku's. And his green eyes widened as he tasted Sora for the first time...Felt his lips and felt how soft they were...Felt his warmth and his light pulsating through him. His eyes then shut and he brought a hand up, cupping the back of his head and pulling him closer, pressing him to his chest.

You've opened my eyes...And let yourself be mine...He thought, feeling warm and positive for the first time in a year.

Thank you.