Le gasp! Did I just come out with another oneshot less than three weeks after the last one!? All together now: OMZVG! O_O
Do not ask me how this happened. Suddenly, the inspiration just came to me (likely from watching adamwestslapdog's Majora's Mask Abridged, of all things!), and I had to write it before it left me. Actually, Majora's Mask Abridged is probably a good thing to mention here because the music that plays during its opening is the source of inspiration for this fic. So with that in mind, thank you, adamwestslapdog and Sonata Arctica! Without the former, I would probably have never heard of that super-special awesome song.
You could say that this story is a sequel of sorts to my previous fic, "Xion's Protector"; however, you can read this story first without the previous one being spoiled. Pretty cool, eh?
Anyway, please enjoy! And see if you can find any of the references I put in here, as well as the parallels to the song "Full Moon." A small interpretation of the story's telling would probably be good, too! ;)
He kept on running, ignoring the protesting pain burning his throat and eyes. His dark cloak loosely followed behind him in the dark streets, which he desperately tried to stay out of. I'll be safe in the alleys, he thought madly. He couldn't be seen, his new dark stench like honey to the creatures of darkness chasing him hungrily like bees to a large flower. Sprinkles of water from the splashes out of the potholes along the path, however they could've possibly come to be in a place quite literally in the middle of nowhere, cooled his face and hid the tears that mixed in with the rain that was pelting him.
He took a sharp turn to the right in hopes of finally completely losing the Heartless on his tail. Ah, good, he pondered once again, an alley for me to hide in… With a plop, he landed on his chest and tasted the dirt, damp with humidity and the occasional raindrop. Nearby was a puddle, reflecting the newly-shining moonlight like a sky's mirror; he was parched from the running and too tired to get up, so he, instead, dragged himself lazily across the ground.
As he weakly lowered his head for a drink, he instantly re-saw what he had become on the inside: his hair had grown even longer than before, right down to his lower back; his skin had acquired a darker hue; and yellow eyes stared right back at him in complete horror of what he had done. He was no longer the Riku his friends had known—he was now Ansem himself. Once a puppet to the dark, always a puppet.
He turned away in disgust at his reflection, ready to vomit. Oh, what have I done!? he despaired. Xion… His eyes shed what had remained of his old cerulean orbs that were without as much darkness as his friend Sora's. Xion, I'm so very sorry…!
Sunset once again dyed the seas orange in the now-quiet realm of Destiny Islands. While not many would've guessed at a first glance, the rays still leaked into his blindfold as he lie on the shore with the back of his head lazily placed in his hands, he himself pretty achy from recent battles. As he looked up, a small cloud floated aimlessly toward the island. Without a drop of rain to give, it was only able to fly off and out of his mind within a few seconds of guessing its shape and then dismissing its existence completely.
He found himself coming to the islands more and more frequently, despite the guilt of his past keeping him from showing his face around anyone who might still have been playing there. Ah, what did he care? With the cloak and the blindfold, who'd notice him?
But then a black-haired head popped into view and obscured his vision of the sky, startling him out of his wits. "Gah!" he gasped as he bolted upright. Behind him, his heart pumping, he saw a girl cloaked just like he was, looking confused.
"Uh…what's wrong, Riku?" she asked.
"Don't do that again, Xion…!" he said as he made an attempt to recover from the shock.
"What? What'd I do?"
"You freaked me out!"
"You scared me," he said plainly in summarization.
"Oh." She still had a confused look on her face, but it was slowly being replaced by a look of sincere apology and guilt—a weird combination if it were ever able to be seen midway. "I'm…sorry."
Riku laughed as he got back up to his feet and ruffled the girl's hair. "Eh, it's all right." He knew that wasn't overly fond of his messing with her hair, but for some reason, it was his favorite way of teasing her in the most friendly way possible. She never told him outright that she thought it was kind of annoying—kind of—but she never had the heart to tell him. …Quite literally, in fact, to her knowledge.
Actually, to her, it wasn't that bad. In her eyes, merely dealing with it was her way of getting closer to him. Even if it did end up ruining her hairdo, it wasn't like the rest of the Organization had any…questionable ones, either. Come to think of it, there were a lot of people she saw that had hairstyles, both unique and weird to the extremes, that looked like they required mountains of styling gel. Hmm…
He let go of her head, the departure of the touch leaving a bittersweet aftertaste for both. As Xion struggled to restyle her hair with her hands, Riku looked fondly at her, giggling inside when he saw the irritated focus in her face. He turned away to the sunset just as quickly when she was about to see the look on his.
Finally calm from the sudden surprise, Riku sat back down and gazed at the horizon, motioning for Xion to do the same—not that she got what was going on, but it was evident that he didn't want her to leave him be. With a plop, she took a seat next to him, and the two cloaked figures stared off into the ocean, each with an entertained thought about the other…
Riku descended deeper into the mansion, finally taking refuge from the twilight that followed him above. It got colder and colder the more steps he took; ice cream freezers had a tendency to do that, after all, and it did help that the heat from the advanced technology he would never understand had a tendency to rise to the surface. Maybe I can snatch a bar of ice cream without DiZ knowing…
When he saw his bandaged face standing in the doorway ahead, though, he immediately thought better of it and removed his hand from the freezer handle. While DiZ, fortunately, didn't notice, he looked a bit fearful and, strangely, excited. For someone like him, excitement was another thing that he'd rather keep himself composed about, which he often always did, so to everyone else, an excited DiZ only showed slight differences in behavior—quite alarming for those who knew the oft-unchanged old man.
"Riku, follow me," he said, and a curious Riku followed closely behind. Along the way, they passed his computer room (And what a large computer it is… Riku mused without a true thought of interest afterward) and the corridor where some of the sleeping pods were being kept.
As he looked up, he saw Donald and Goofy sleeping soundly, their memories supposedly being reconstructed by the minute. He didn't get so much as a long look at them, but he at least managed to hear a snore or two coming from the latter's pod.
Soon, they both found themselves in the all-too-familiar white room that had been holding Sora for nearly a year. He, too, was in a deep sleep, not disturbed at all. Boy, is he going to wake up refreshed when this is all over… he thought once more.
In front of them was the young girl Naminé, worriedly looking on into the pod. At that time, she looked particularly weak, like she hadn't eaten in a day or so. The stress was surely evident on her face. "Sora…"
DiZ approached the pod in a longer stride than usual. "It appears we've come to a standstill," he said, trying to hide his excited impatience, but the other two knew plainly well that he was excited that his plan was about to come to fruition.
Certainly, he knows what this must mean. If there's ever to be a final dissolution of Organization XIII…can he do it? Even though DiZ couldn't see his eyes, he could tell that much unlike he was acting, he was filled with doubt and dread. The boy couldn't make eye contact, despite the fact that he knew that no one would notice. I told him from the very beginning that he should never grow attached to that girl. He would only get hurt…
"This has gone on long enough," he finally said before turning around to face the platinum-haired, apprehensive teenager head-on. "Riku, I think you know what needs to be done."
How could he be so willing…? he sadly wondered. Why is he making me do this? Never in my right mind would I… However, DiZ stared at him sternly, waiting for an answer—or, rather, the acceptance to his proposal. Riku looked into his face and found no shame, even though, to be fair, his face was bandaged. All he could see was the excitement that anyone with a working creation would have…and with that, Riku was completely disgusted.
"…Right…" was all the excitement he could reciprocate—a solemn, hateful reciprocal to an act that he would never commit. That is why, he said to himself, I cannot actually be myself when that time comes…
"Hey, Riku?" Xion suddenly asked out of the blue, breaking his attention from the remaining sliver of sun in the distance. "Can I ask you something?"
She hesitated for a second before resuming. "You…haven't been looking too well lately. Or, at least, you look sick or something. Are you…feeling all right?"
He looked at her in confusion, but she herself was staring down, apparently afraid to look back at him. A small chuckle managed to slip out in surprise—rather knocked for six by her non-lack of empathy.
She was right, of course. For her sake, he wanted to keep it under his hood, in a manner of speaking; she probably wouldn't have liked the causation. Nevertheless, the remaining cover he had on it was starting to become useless. He would never forgive himself if he stooped to the level of lying to her as a last resort... But she must never know.
"I have," he began, "been…feeling a bit under the weather lately…" He let it out shakily and with nerves, but even then, they seemed too stealthy for her naïveté. Seemed like it, at the very least, so he kept his guard up, lest his cover were blown completely.
"Oh…" was all she said before the sun's complete setting fueled another pause. Within minutes, the bright colors of orange and red were beginning to fade to black, and with the sun's parting, the silver light from the moon began taking its place. She built courage again to break the pause and look up at him, her face, as per usual, plastered with the inquisition that he adored in her. "…Will you be all right?"
It was difficult for him to say—needless in itself to say. He hadn't often felt sick in that way before; usually, medicine or something else of the sort would make him feel better. DiZ was never far from some (Didn't he say that he's a doctor?), but it did him little good. The sickness in his stomach still remained, and the depression from the future certainly didn't pack its bags. Come to think of it, he could've sworn that his face was a shade of green the last time he looked at himself in a mirror; what was he doing, fighting in that condition?
"Don't worry, Xion," he replied, still nervous. "I'll be perfectly fine." For good measure, he gave her a reassuring smile, which she returned before lying on her back to see the stars that were beginning to breach the surface of space above.
There was still something odd about him, though, she concluded. Is he hiding something from me? She mulled the thought over a bit. Why…would he hide something from me? It's not like him… I…I need to find out more. She then adamantly decided on that course of action, but how she was going to go about doing that was still undecided, but she did have an idea…
Whatever the case, it was nothing to worry about at that time, so she put it at the back of her mind for "safe keeping" and continued looking at the night sky. "That's quite a…" she said to create a segway, "large moon we have tonight, isn't it?"
Considering the large gibbous actually allowed the two to see a few meters away, it was a bit of an understatement. Riku himself plopped down on his back, and the two stared up at the large ball. It was almost full—not completely full, but just a small stint could fill it to the point of overflowing.
A magnificent sight it was, but it stirred something inside him…that he didn't like. He could feel the familiar grip of darkness squeezing his heart; Ansem was on the move again, finding his way through the protective labyrinth against his influence. It was filling his mind with expected dark thoughts…taunting ones. Can you feel the darkness rising? Just like the waxing moon you see. Much like it needs to rise in the sky, so, too, must temptation. I know you can see it, Riku—the future that beckons you…
He tried not to listen to it, but the thoughts of him doing the…unthinkable…kept coming. Surprisingly, it wasn't bad to the point of making him twinge, so he was able to effectively limit the attention being drawn to him.
"Yes," he answered, hoping to keep his mind off of it all, "the moon is big tonight."
The wind howled past his ears in the dark streets again. Oh, how much he hated being there, especially given the circumstances. He still had not completely recovered from the wounds of the previous battle with him, and to be blunt, he wasn't sure if some of the wounds would ever heal completely. It was a good thing that they weren't noticeable in the dark, at the very least…
Like before, he felt the force of the moon rising above him, and inside, Ansem basked in the comfort of his rising power in tandem. The sky was still dark—luckily, the moon still wasn't in sight. Better now than later… I'm losing control, regardless of whether I'm well or not.
So he traipsed through the empty city, eyes open and shifty. He was increasingly paranoid during that hour, so every sound around him kept him on his toes. A few Heartless eventually got in his way—it was kind of expected, really—but with a few swipes of his weapon, black clouds blew up in his face. He spat the dust out of his mouth as much as he could and continued through the bleak alleys.
Looking to the side, he saw a nearby coffee shop with its lights on; it was empty, of course, but feeling a little out of it at that time, he retreated to the shelter with quick, long strides. The door squeaked open, and he quietly made his way to a round table in the center of the room. It was scratched beyond its finish, much unlike the others, which were finished nicely and were completely without scratches, or even stains, for that matter.
Furniture wasn't his forte, though, so he let it slide without much thought afterwards. All he could really think about was his mission—he didn't want to do it, for fear of himself and…well, it was dangerous. He barely made it out alive last time. And worst of all, it was hard to keep it all a secret.
Strangely, there were about a dozen pots of coffee sitting on the counter and letting out hot steam. The few windows there were already steamed to the point of translucency. There was no one around… Eh, they were just sitting there, so one cup probably wouldn't hurt.
He reached behind the counter and grabbed a small mug, poured himself some brew, and sat back down. Taking a sip, he found that it was too hot to drink, so he waited for a bit to let it cool. Until then, he reflected on his life during the past year—the good, the bad, and the coming. Actually, what was coming was all he could think about after all that had happened. A hundred or so days since, he'd been waiting in dread of that night. Everything was perfect… There was no way for someone to save him from it.
But then he heard a heavy knock at the front door. No, I hope it isn't him… he prayed. Please don't let it be him! I'm not ready! He got up slowly, waiting for another knock, and when it came, the force of the moon crept up inside him even more. Remaining control was a mere shard, and sweat from the pressure was squeezing itself out of him. Breathing increased, and heart rate upped. With shaky hands, he opened the door, and what was in front of him surprised him. …It's…not him. But…oh, no… The pressure was at dangerous levels now, for no, it wasn't whom he was expecting. It was worse.
It was Xion.
What's she doing here? I thought I…
Yes, I'm at the end of the tunnel. And not surprisingly, there was no "light" at the end.
Don't fight it, my boy. You can't resist it any more than what you wish to go through with it. Do it.
"Riku," she began firmly, looking a little scared, "can I come inside?"
"Y-yeah," he struggled in answering, but he stepped away and stiffly walked back to the table. He couldn't look at her…not in the mental state that he was in. "Why have you come?" he asked in muffled irritation.
There was the sound of a Keyblade being summoned and then the locking of a door. She was blocking their only way out. "Because I want you to tell me something," she said sternly in return. Riku could tell that she was both mad and scared silly; she had never acted like that before in front of him. "You know something that I don't, and I want to know what it is."
He still kept his back to her. "What do you—?"
"You know darn well what I mean. You're hiding something from me." With that, she started sobbing (dismissing her Keyblade in the process; she no longer saw any need for it), and while pity for her began to rise, Ansem's influence over him did, too. "Riku, you can tell me anything. Please understand that."
Riku was dumbfounded. No words came to him; she had him cornered. Regardless, though, he kept his back turned, and he had no intention of looking at her within his own will. After what's been happening, he could never…
She walked toward him and turned him around herself. What she saw forced her to recoil slightly, but other than that, she still stood her ground. His face was twisted and drenched in sweat. His blindfold was looking like it was having a hard time staying on his face from all of the absorption. The teeth in his mouth were practically grinding into dust, and to her, he was looking like he was completely breaking down physically—if the spasms didn't give it away the first time, that is.
"Riku," she sighed sadly, blinking some of the tears out of her eyes. She meekly reached up for the soaking blindfold. "Are you really…?"
It's almost time, Riku. I'm but an arm's reach away from your mind…
She pulled it down enough—and she saw twin suns rising over a dark horizon, two golden eyes that stared at her menacingly, full of malice. There was another shing—his weapon suddenly appeared in his hand, and with that, she backed off.
"Xion… You…shouldn't have locked the door…!" That was all that was left of the Riku she knew. She was now alone.
You can't resist now, Riku.
He no longer had any choice. With a roar and nothing in his way, he leapt at her as strongly as he could and stabbed her cleanly in the stomach. The look on his face was full of hate and anger, but inside, the boy whom she really knew was watching on without any power to stop it. His face was a face of sheer horror. At that moment, his heart ached more than it had ever ached before in his life.
Her face, too, was a look of shock, but as the mortal seconds ticked on, it slowly degraded to a face without focus and without strength. The cute, inquisitive face that Riku had loved was no more. All that was of her was running off his blade and onto the floor. Drops of blood were pelting it like the rain that was falling just outside the door she had locked. Just as quickly as it had come, it had started to evaporate into mists of nothingness, completely blending into the nonexistent air.
Ugh, Ansem said in his head, what a nasty mess on the floor…
"Riku…" she mumbled, still in sadness. "Your eyes…they're…"
Ansem, you bastard!
He ripped the blade from her, and with another gasp of pain, she dived into her blood, clutching her large injury tenderly. Riku, drunk with the shock, dropped his weapon, and after a splash, it disappeared. She, with her blood, was beginning to fade away from existence…
She only had a few seconds of strength left: "They're blue…like mine…aren't they…?"
Then she was gone. Just like the moon that found itself hiding behind the rainclouds again.
He regained complete control over his body, but when he had found out what he had done, his emotions weathered as if they were in a hurricane. I hope you're happy, DiZ, he solemnly thought. You can get off of my back now.
But he, unfortunately, wasn't done yet. Now he had to face the physical injuries; the injuries in his heart were just the icing on the cake.
He summoned his weapon again, but when it reappeared in his hand, he realized that it looked different somehow. Soul Eater no longer looked like Soul Eater; rather, it looked more like a Keyblade itself.
A Keyblade? How?
But after gazing upon the place where the "mess" had been, he had a theory… Is this the reason why DiZ wanted me to…? No… I didn't want this! If it meant killing her, I would never want this!
He had it, nevertheless. There was no getting rid of it. It was practically glued to his hand. No amount of scraping would ever permit it to leave him.
With an enraged swing, he unlocked the door and ran out into the storm, completely putting the blindfold over his eyes anew. It was now or never. With the strength he had at that minute, he still didn't think that he would've stood a chance…but his blind rage kept him from backing off. "Roxas!" he bellowed into the thunder. "Where are you!? Come out and show yourself!"
There was a stir in the darkness ahead. A dark figure, much like he, was waiting for him by the famous skyscraper. The hood hid his face, but he didn't need a face…
Speak of the devil…
The moon rose higher up over the beach, and the two yawned as loudly as they could. Both laughed at the informality of it all, but soon, Riku decided that it was time that he should go. Not that he wanted to go or anything; it certainly wasn't that in the slightest. After all, he would much sooner sleep there if he could spend at least a few more hours with her.
But alas, he wasn't feeling very well. He felt he needed to get some rest in a more hospitable area.
"Are…you sure you're going to be okay, Riku?" Xion asked again as he got up.
"You worry too much," he laughed. "I'm supposed to be looking after you, remember?"
"Well…" She was still rather unsure, obviously. She had never seen him sick like that before. With a sigh of uncertainty, she uttered, "Okay, then…but if you have something to say, you could—"
"I know… I know… But please, try not to get into business you're not supposed to get into." He started his walk back to…well, anywhere, he guessed, but after not wanting to just ditch her on the spot, he made a quick stop and turned around again to face her. "Just…sleep well, okay?"
Xion nodded in compliance, and after another smile of reassurance, he continued his walk. However, she stood behind and continued gazing at the stars in peace. They, too, didn't have too much time left before sleeping again…
"Should be a full moon tomorrow night…" she whispered, her thoughts continuing their focus on him.
"Restoration at 79%," filled the usually-quiet mansion one Thursday morning, days after the incident. Riku still hadn't woken up from what he called a nightmare, but as the days passed, the more he realized that he was never going to wake up from it. It was completely real.
DiZ was happy that the so-called standstill in Sora's memory regeneration was taken care of, and for the past few nights, that was all that he could think about. It made Riku feel enraged, but he never dared express it to the enigma's face.
"His progress is astounding," the man said out of the blue, breaking the silence that was more or less occupied with hardware clicks and software beeps.
"So, what happened?" Riku asked.
"Naminé's encounter with Roxas put his heart in contact with Kairi's. And that, in turn, affected Sora." He motioned to data comparisons on his computer screen. "You see?"
"Naminé… She's a wonder."
"She wasn't born like other Nobodies," DiZ said. "She can interfere with the hearts and memories of Sora and those aligned with him."
"But whose Nobody is she?"
DiZ smiled. "I could tell you…" He could feel the anger shining off the hooded figure next to him like the hot, hot rays of the desert sun. It was Riku's own fault, he knew, that he associated with their kind a little bit too much. He, after all, did want his friend to wake up. "But first, perhaps you could tell me your true name?"
Riku was completely disgusted by then. Who was he to expect anything more from him, now that it was he who pulled more than twice the weight that he had originally been assigned? He had to rely on darkness to get that far, and to that end… It's bad enough that I can't see Xion anymore. Why make it even harder on me?
No, he doesn't deserve it, he decided. He deserves no answer other than the one I see fit to give him. With a tug of his hood, he revealed his face, warped well beyond recognition of those who originally knew him.
Laughter. He…was laughing in reaction. Of all the expressions that he would show him from it…was laughter?
While many would clearly consider that rude—do they not have that right?—it wasn't the kind of laughter one would expect. I really am a fool, he contemplated. I had him do all this, despite the fact that he had to be torn asunder from the tender friendship he had developed, ensuring no desire of his to do it in the first place. I never should have asked him to sacrifice so much from it. And yet…
In the most utmost shame that he had in his chest, he continued laughing. It was his only way of hiding it.
"It's an honor, Ansem."
Yeah... Not the happiest fic, I know. :(
Anyway, thanks for reading! I hope you enjoyed it (and if you did, a review would be nice, wink wink ;) )!
By the way, for those of you who read "Xion's Protector" before this, no, this isn't the story I had in mind when I said I had another idea for a Rion fic (the multi-chaptered one). I still plan on writing that one later, but this story just started begging me to write it. I simply couldn't refuse.
Peace out, guys!