I took a Break from Schemes of Evil to get my head clear for new ideas. Well, the first thing that came to mind was more KH. Surprise, surprise.
For those of you who don't know, Keepa, Dotto, Miyu, Jassu, Letty, and Botta are all Blitzballers from Final Fantasy X.
"As long as there are hearts, there will be darkness." –Master Yen Sid, as transcribed by Jiminy Cricket.
Sora shot up in bed, eyes wide, swinging his keyblade like the world was made of locks. But his phantoms refused to materialize and accept his blows. After all, they were stuck in his dreams. Or at least his wishes held them there for as long as he remained vigilant. He had seen the same things as before: himself, in a dark corner of a bright room.
All of his friends beckoned him toward the light, but now he was the one in darkness, too scared to come to them, holding his darkness like a shell. And the darkness held him in turn. Then he left the darkness for nothingness. And there he hid, in another corner -one without dimensions- where again his friends tried to beckon him to the light. And again he hid. And again he was accepted in turn. But the whole while that he saw this, he tried to refuse. Tried to force the limbs he saw to move away from the danger, out of the poison. And then, just before he tried to heave with his greatest effort, his body (which he had been watching as if from another's eyes) turned to him and spoke with the voice of an old enemy. "In the end, every heart returns to the darkness whence it came."
But he wasn't there anymore, in those places where time has no meaning. The World Terminus, or the World That Never Was. He was here now, alone in his own room, with only his own shadow to scare him. And scare him it would. He stayed in "soft light" as he had heard it called before. He desperately sought out places where shadows weren't cast, even to the curious bemusement to those around him. But a shadow like his, as he would discover soon, was not meant to stay with its owner.
Sora turned his attention toward the window at his side. It was open already, letting in a breeze that seemed to beckon him outside for a midnight adventure. He let out a breath and settled himself back onto his bed, instantly feeling the dampness of his sheets. To be more accurate, they were soaked. He sat up again and felt around them. Nothing was dry on his bed anymore. Not even the down side of the pillow. His night terror had given him as much of a workout, if not better, than he could expect from a proper Blitzball game.
Sora turned to his alarm clock, a miniature, porcelain moogle with an over inflated belly.
Three in the morning is never a good time to get up, unless something bad is planning on happening at three-fifteen. Sora sighed and looked out his window again towards the street that led towards town. He watched a bush sway in the wind for a time that he didn't bother to count, and intensified his stare as something piqued his senses. He couldn't identify it, but something was definitely bothering him. He turned around and scanned the interior of his room. He was alone, he was sure of that. He turned back towards the window and would have smashed it in an instant with his keyblade had he not fallen backwards off his bead just before he swung. Right beside the bush he had been watching was a shadow that had been perfectly camouflaged. He hadn't seen it until he caught a glimpse of its outline in the corner of his eye. It had been watching him the entire time. Sora landed hard on his head, with his feet still on his bed, tangled in the sheets. He scrambled up to the window again and faced what he had seen with slightly renewed vigor. The shadow was still there, glaring at him with the telltale yellow eyes of a heartless. It began laughing then, a guttural sound that seemed to ebb the shadows around it further outward with each spasm.
"The champion of darkness, destroyer of all worlds, nearly dying of shock at the sight of an old man."
It shook its head.
"This won't do at all."
It took a step forward, out of the shadows around it that were cast by the nearby paopu trees, and Sora rubbed his eyes with astonishment. What had, moments before, been only a shadow, was now an elderly man (not a very menacing one, either) that stood idly on the street with his hands folded behind his back. Sora breathed a sigh of relief. His eyes must have been playing tricks on him. Of course they were, it was three in the morning!
Sora looked again at his alarm clock to double check, and was then struck with a peculiar thought. What would anyone be doing outside his window at three in the morning muttering about the "destroyer of all worlds?"
Sora turned back to the old man in the road and found him gone. He was simply not there anymore. Sora closed his window cautiously, and did not sleep.
"Weapons have very few functions. The Ultimate Weapon, only one." –unknown, as transcribed by Jiminy Cricket.
Sora stepped out of the front door, something he was unaccustomed to what with his window being an easy replacement for stairs. The door shut behind him under its own weight. Sora took a breath of the morning air, which hadn't been graced by the sun yet, and hiked his backpack higher onto his shoulders. Today was the day of the game. And his team, the Destiny Island Destroyers, desperately needed him to keep the bench warm while Tidus and Wakka tore up the field. He started up the street while a fleeting thought about whether or not there were any local skate parks passed through his mind. He walked straight past the bush that had most definitely not, as he told himself, been graced by the presence of a heartless last night.
He made it into town in a matter of minutes and was soon joined by Tidus and Wakka, who only abated their conversation long enough to say high to him before they continued arguing about wether they should go for victory or do their best. Sora busied himself by judging the weight in his backpack. He grew bored of it quickly and interjected, "Hey. Does it really matter? I mean, we're not even playing in a Blitz Sphere. It's on a field, with soccer nets. I mean… who really cares?"
Wakka threw his hands in the air. "You see? It's like I been sayin' this whole time!"
Tidus shook his head. "No way, man. It always matters! Haven't you heard the coach like a thousand times already? It pays to be a winner! Besides," He nudged Wakka. "That Goth chick you like is gonna' be there watching you the whole time. What's her name?"
Wakka grew defensive. Her name's Lulu, and she just likes to dress in black, okay? It doesn't mean she's Goth, or Emo, or anything like that."
Tidus capitulated the point easily and turned to Sora, whom he had noticed fidgeting with his pack.
"What about Kairi? Is she gonna' be there?"
Sora perked up at the mention of her name, then blushed slightly. He hadn't actually told her about the game.
Wakka leaned toward Tidus. "He didn't tell her."
"What?! Why not?"
"Of course I did! I just… uh… didn't tell her when it was."
Tidus shook his head. "That's sad man. You're never gonna score like that."
Now Sora was on the defensive. "Well maybe I actually like her as a person, okay?"
Tidus grinned. "Doesn't mean you can't have some fun."
Sora tried to get some sympathy from Wakka. "You can't possibly agree with him here."
Wakka grinned. "Well… he does have a point there. I mean, we're guys, and they're girls. Gotta' figure we got different parts for somethin'."
Sora was about to retaliate when Riku arrived and joined their procession. He was dressed, just like them, in a white polo shirt, tan khaki pants, and a plaid tie.
"Riku! You've gotta' back me up here."
"Slow down, Sora. Just because you like her doesn't mean…"
Sora gaped at him.
Riku looked taken aback. "What?"
"You can't be serious!"
Riku shrugged. "It's not like it's okay to go at it like rabbits. I mean, we are teenagers after all. But what's wrong with a little second base? Miyu and I kissed and I haven't turned into a heartless, so I don't see the problem."
Sora frowned. "That's not funny."
Everyone turned to see Miyu, who had been walking with them for most of the conversation.
Wakka nearly jumped out of his skin. "Where'd you come from? You're like a ghost, ya?"
She smiled. "It's one of my many amazing abilities."
Riku pulled a power bar from his pocket and tossed it above everyone's heads, intentionally aiming it just out of Miyu's reach.
She sped up ever so slightly and put out her arm just perfectly enough to catch it without even looking up. She was the goalie for a good reason. She opened the top of it and asked, "What's our goal today?"
Everyone answered simultaneously.
"To do our best!"
"Not give an inch!"
"Score like crazy!"
She glared at the rest of them. "You boys are so silly! Just don't let 'em score."
The guys all cocked their heads. "Wha-?"
"If they don't get any points they can't win. So, don't let 'em score."
She shrugged like she had just said something obvious and took a bite out of the power bar. "Mmm. This is good."
Sora and Keepa watched glumly from the bench as Tidus, Wakka, and Riku sprinted like mad toward the center of the field. Tidus ran straight past the ball to get into position almost right on top of the goal, while Wakka stopped several yards short. Riku rammed into the opposition's Center Fielder, stopping him from claiming the ball first. It bounced on the ground and was scooped up by the Left Forward of the other team, the Traverse Town Terminators. He passed to the Right Forward, who bounced off his knee toward the goal. Miyu caught it easily.
"I coulda' caught that one."
Sora sighed and looked at Keepa, who was sitting next to him. "She's a better goalie and you know it."
"Man, if coach would just give me a chance-"
"He did. You accidentally knocked the ball into your own goal, remember? They're better at Blitzball than we are. So what? We can find other things to do."
"It was slippery, though."
Sora felt something snap within himself. He couldn't take the whining anymore.
"It's a WATER SPORT!"
Sora caught himself suddenly. "Sorry. I… had other stuff on my mind. I didn't mean to yell."
Keepa was silent, and looking rather sullen. He turned away from Sora and scooted down the bench, leaving Sora feeling rather lonely.
"It's easy for you to say. We can't all be heroes."
That hit Sora hard. He'd just alienated a friend. He wanted to say something nice to make up for it, but something else was nagging at him from inside. Something unnatural was trying to claw its way up his throat and across his tongue. Like the after taste of whatever had possessed him to yell in the first place.
Keepa turned back towards Sora.
"Not everyone can be a hero."
He turned away from Keepa just in time to see Tidus throw the ball directly at the Traverse Town goalie. It caught him off guard, striking him directly across the face and bouncing straight back to Tidus, who kneed it into the air. Everyone's gaze went up with it, then back down as Tidus jumped up after it. He spun in midair for a moment, then tilted himself until he was horizontal, and stuck out his leg at just the right moment to slam the ball home. The crowd went wild right as the referee called halftime.
He glanced up at the coach, whose face was buried in a clipboard. "I'm gonna switch you in for Tidus in the second half."
Keepa perked up. "Can I-"
"Fix your attendance and I'll think about it next time."
The rest of the team walked in from off the field. Everyone was, of course, clapping Tidus of the back.
All eyes went to the coach.
"You've done enough today. We're gonna see how well the Heroes of Heart can double team the Terminators."
Tidus nodded and smiled. They all dispersed to their water bottles, while Sora sat motionless on the bench.
"This seems a good venue to start your trials."
Sora knew that voice. He swiveled on the bench and froze. The same old man from the night before was there behind him, only inches away.
The old man held up a hand to stop him.
"Master… Xehanort. I would like to differentiate myself from my son, if you please."
Sora jumped to his feet and summoned his keyblade; not nearly ready enough to believe anything the man was saying. This was Xehanort, without a doubt. He was significantly older, that was certain. But there was an uncanny resemblance that couldn't be passed off to anything but genetics.
Sora looked about himself. Everyone was frozen in time, a situation that was quickly becoming expected. The old man sighed.
"I mean you no harm." He held his hands aloft to prove the point, but the familiar timbre in his voice cancelled out his charisma entirely.
"Oh yeah? Prove it!"
Master Xehanort frowned. "The King sent me. He did mention me in his little letter, didn't he?"
Sora loosened his grip on the keyblade for a moment. He hasn't read the letter in a while, but he distinctly remembered one part of it now.
You never know what might come next; so always keep up on your conditioning. I don't know how you can practice with the keyblade just yet, but I'll send something your way when I figure it out.
"W-well… why would he send you?" The certainty was gone from Sora's voice.
"And why did you call me the destroyer of all worlds?"
Master Xehanort smirked. "That's what you are. But don't worry. Everything can be used for good. I can show you."
Sora steeled himself. "In my experience, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree."
That caught Sora off guard. He changed his defensive stance.
"Young Xehanort was raised by Ansem, The Apparently Not So Wise: the man who blew himself up trying to digitize Kingdom Hearts."
Sora relaxed a bit, then tensed again. He wasn't about to be tricked by words.
"I still don't think I can trust you."
"I can see that."
They stared each other down for a beat, Sora resolute and Master Xehanort passive.
"So… are we gonna' fight?"
"Kingdom, no! I wouldn't dream of it! But if you don't trust me there's not much I can do, is there?"
Sora shifted his weight again. Master Xehanort seemed lost in thought for a moment, then said, "I suppose I'll just have to leave you with a warning then."
Sora tensed his hind leg, ready to spring.
"One of your friends is a killer." He tapped a finger to his own chest. "Too much darkness built up in their heart. Whoever it is has the means and the motive. All they need now is the opportunity."
Sora was worried now; unsure as to wether he was being threatened, distracted, or, even stranger still, honestly given a heads up. "Why are you telling me this? What can I do about it?"
Master Xehanort leveled his gaze. "Cut out the rot."
He disappeared then, releasing his hold on time as did. Ambient noise came with it, bringing a sense of normalcy back to Sora. He turned in a full circle to look about, and heard, as if it was carried on the wind, "before it spreads."
Don't Trust him, Sora! He's def a bad guy!
Along those lines: shouldn't he be dead/incapacitated/taken care of byTAV?
Only time (or chapter 2) will tell.