Kingdom Hearts: From the Ashes

A/N: (Updated) Hey guys, so this is my first fanfic so all feedback is greatly appreciated. PLEASE REVIEW! If you like it, tell me; if you hate it, tell me; if you have some advice or suggestions, tell me. This going to get very intense. Trust me. Well sit back and enjoy the ride. This is only the beginning...

Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or the characters. I am merely a fan with the utmost appreciation for the series.

Updated: I've been meaning to come back and edit/revamp parts of this story for a very long time, and now seems like the perfect time; especially since it gives me a reason to procrastinate my next story XD I'm still only at chapter 5 at the moment, but in time I'll fix up the entire story and hopefully the majority of its mistakes. P.S. Thank you so much for everyone's comments, support, and constructive criticism. I couldn't have done it without all of you ^_^ Anyways...that's all!

Chapter 1: Home

The sun setting over the horizon blazed like a flaming fireball, slowly sinking beneath the ocean's serenity. The waves lightly sloshed along the shore, spreading seaweed and demolishing the last remnants of sandcastles from earlier on in the day. I could taste the familiar, salty breeze that was gently caressing the surface of my skin. After wanting to escape from these islands for so long, who'd have thought that it would feel this good to finally be back...home.

Life was finally getting back into the normal swing of things now that the Organization was defeated. Riku, Kairi, and I were finally able to return home to the Destiny Islands and relax without having to worry about the forces of Darkness crawling down our backs 24/7. It appeared that our duties as Keyblade masters were complete, or at least on hold for the time being. Everything was finally falling back into place, and it seemed that we would finally be able to live out normal lives for once like average teens. This was something that we thought would never happen after what we had gone through already. Maybe the time has finally come for me to finally tell-

"Sora!" a voice called from the distance.

I looked over to see a smiling Riku making his way down the beach. He looked so happy for the first time in ages. It reminded me of the good times we had together when we were younger. The swords fights, careless adventures, and simply laying out in the sand all day being beach bums. Those were the good times where thoughts of death and darkness never entered any of our minds. I wonder how things would have turned out if we were never thrown into the whole struggle between Darkness and Light; if we'd never became Keyblade Masters; if we simply remained on this island, left wondering what else was out there besides our tiny little island. Would we all be together still? Would I even be the same the person that I am today? It was these thoughts that were surfacing now more than ever.

"What have you been up to ya goof?" said Riku as he plopped down beside me, resting his hand on my shoulder.

I felt my body heat up at the closeness of our bodies, and a light blush began to form on my face. I tried to turn away without being too obvious, so he wouldn't see me lighting up like a ripe strawberry. You'd think that being around Riku my entire life would have given me some immunity to prevent this from always happening, but I guess that would be too convenient. If only he knew how much I truly loved him though. I've wanted to tell him for so many years, but what if he hates me for it? I couldn't live with that...I just couldn't. Having Riku hate me...well that's worse than any-

"Earth to Sora," came Riku as his waving hands finally came into focus. "What are you thinking up in that thick skull of yours?"

"Oh, it's nothing," I grinned instinctively. "It just amazes me how peaceful things are, ya know? I'm still not used to all of this."

"I know what you mean, Sora. We've been fighting for so long it just seems too normal to be real," responded Riku.

"Exactly, Riku," I agreed.

I turned back to see Riku's beautiful, aquamarine eyes gazing off towards the last glimpse of the sun. He looked so statuesque and perfect. The way his silver hair flowed over his sculpted shoulders and back. And how his pale skin appeared to glisten even without the rays of sunlight. Riku was just perfect and always made me feel safe and warm when I was with him. I'm not sure how much longer I can keep these feelings to myself. It eats at me every time I see him; every time I think of him. It just hurts too much being so close to him yet so far. I have to tell him even if means facing his rejection. It's better than living a lie and suffering the rest of my life.

"Riku," I started.

"Yeah, Sora," he answered, gazing straight into my eyes, our faces only inches apart.

"There's something I-"

"Sora! Riku!" Kairi was steadily trudging over the sand, waving energetically at us.

Leave it to Kairi to get in the way as usual. She stopped in front of us bent over, hands on her knees, trying to catch her breath. "I knew I'd find you guys here." She stood up, pushing the stray strands of hair behind her ears. She gave that classic grin of hers, and I couldn't stay mad at her. Who could? It didn't matter how many times she got in the way or needed rescuing, I couldn't hold it against her when it came down to it.

"What's got you so excited that you had to run all the way out here to tell us?" I asked.

"I was just wondering if maybe you guys wanted to come to Tidus's party tonight. I don't really want to go alone, because things are still kinda awkward, ya know. We've only been back two weeks, and it's still a little weird for people. It's kinda hard to explain how we had to travel from world to world fighting the forces of darkness in order to save universe from destruction. That would go over well. Anyways...I'd feel much more comfortable if you guys were to tag along. That way it wouldn't be so weird. So, what do you guys say?" she asked happily.

I was trying to think up some excuse that wouldn't hurt her feelings, but would still get the job done. I needed something that wouldn't be too out there or she might catch on to it. The gears were turning rapidly in my brain, but I was coming up blank. Just when I was about to make up something ridiculous, Riku beat me to the punch.

"Actually," began Riku, "Sora and I had already made plans for tonight, Kairi. I wish you would have told us sooner silly, and maybe we could have been able to work things out."

They looked at each other for a moment, and something seemed to register between the two of them. "Oh, of course. It's fine really. I'll just drag Selphie along, and it should be ok. Sorry for interrupting. Have fun you two."

She left skipping with joy, and somehow I felt as though I had totally missed something between the two of them. I don't know exactly what it was, but it was definitely something fishy. It's like they have their own special language that I am obviously not fluent in...

"What was it you were saying, Sora?" spoke Riku, interrupting my thoughts.

Well I guess it was finally time for me to speak up and tell the truth. My hands were shaking from nerves and my mouth felt like it had been in a drought for months. I turned back to Riku, gathering up what little courage I had and started hesitantly, "Oh, uh...well...I think...I think that-"

There was loud vacuum sound and then a loud splash on the beach. Jeez! How many times am I gonna be interrupted...this is hard enough as it is, people. You'd think they could give a guy a break when he is trying to confess his love to his best friend; it's not the easiest thing in the world...I looked over to see what was making all of the commotion and was dumbstruck. I couldn't believe what I was seeing or what to think. It was Axel on his hands and knees, clothes torn and bloodied. This was absolutely impossible. People don't just spring from the dead like this.

"Axel! But you're supposed to-" I babbled.

"Dead," Axel cut in. "I know squirt. You don't need to tell me twice. I would love to sit and have a little chat with you over some tea and scones, but we don't have time for that. I need the three...wait, where's the spunky little redhead?"

"Never here when you need her," answered Riku sarcastically.

At that moment, however, the same spunky little redhead was sprinting back towards us like our earlier encounter with her. Riku's jaw dropped at the sight of Kairi coming closer to where we were standing.

"How does she do that every time?" Riku gawked. "She somehow manages to show up at the most random times. It's uncanny..."

"I must admit, she's gotten pretty good at popping in and out unexpectedly," I added, amazed by her extraordinary ability. "It's quite impressive."

"Axel!" she huffed, gasping for air as she managed to reach us. Kairi looked as though she had just run a marathon without any prior training; so pretty much she looked like a beached whale gasping for life.

"In the flesh," announced Axel and gave a flamboyant little twirl.

"How'd you know that something was happening over here?" I questioned her. "It's like you have a GPS for action and drama."

"Well for starters, I have been noticing an increasing amount of dark energy recently..." she started. Riku and I glared at her for not managing to share this little bit of information with us. "Oops...well don't be mad at me. You guys were so happy, and I figured that maybe it was just me imagining it or something. I didn't want to spoil our little bit of happiness over something that might have been nothing. Anyways, as I was heading over towards Selphie's, there was this huge spike of dark energy, and I knew that I couldn't ignore it and would have to tell you what was going on...whatever this thing might be. I made up some excuse for Selphie, ditched her and the party, and raced back here to tell you guys as fast as I could. This is why I stand before you now. So what exactly is going on around here, and why is Axel alive?"

"I didn't feel any huge surge of energy," I said, feeling let down that it wasn't me, the true 'Keyblade Master' who was informing everyone of the present predicament. I can't help but feel a little let down by all of this.

"It must be a Princess thing I guess," she said proudly, flicking her hair.

"Modest much Kairi," Riku retorted.

"Well at least-" she began defensively.

"We don't have time for this you guys!" Axel shouted. "We need to get to somewhere safe, so that we can talk about what's going on. I have a lot of information to explain, and this is not the ideal place to be doing it. Demyx and Zexion should be getting to the hideout sometime soon, that is, if they managed to escape alive..." he trailed off remorsefully.

"You mean," I said. "The Organization is back? But how? We-"

"Not here, Sora," Axel answered. "Once we get to the hideout, I'll explain everything. I promise." Axel gave a half-hearted smile, and then turned to open a dark portal. He spun around and gestured toward the darkness. "You coming?" He walked forward and disappeared.

My head was spinning with confused thoughts and fears about what could have happened to bring about this situation. The group looked at each other with the same thoughts in mind. So much for the peaceful getaway from all of the danger and adventure. How typical...

"Do you think we can trust him?" Riku asked.

"He has done a lot of bad things in the past, but Axel did sacrifice his life to protect me from that swarm of Nobodies. Plus, I know that Roxas definitely trusts him." I closed my eyes and looked deep inside myself. There, before me, stood Roxas as clear as day. I glanced over at him, and he simply nodded. That was all the reassurance that I needed. "And so do I."

"Axel was the one who brought me to you guys when I was stuck on the island, too. He didn't have to go out of his way to do that for us. We'll trust him for the time being and figure out what comes next when it happens," she replied. "I guess we should get going if things are as bad as Axel says they are." She jumped into the portal and vanished in the darkness.

I looked over at Riku, and his eyes met with mine. I was just moments away from telling him my true feelings. Why do things always have to get in the way? He smiled, and it felt that, in that very moment, he somehow knew exactly what I was thinking. Nah, he couldn't have. Could he? He turned towards the entrance and casually walked into the darkness without saying a word.

I turned around to take one last look around. I looked up to see the stars gleaming and the moon's light illuminating everything so clearly. The palm trees flowed from side to side and the ocean's waves ebbed in and out. It was so peaceful; so soothing. This was home, and I had to leave it once more for who knows how long; maybe permanently. I turned around reluctantly, and ran into the unknown. I could have never guessed what plans the future had for me and everyone else, but hard times were definitely ahead us. For where there is Light, the Darkness is sure to be close behind.

A/N: I would love to hear what you guys think. So just take a second, and tell me what you think so far. And trust me...there is much more to come. Thanks ^_^