Chapter One~ A Bad Dream

___I wake up, it's a bad dream,
____No one on my side,
_____I was fighting
______But I just feel too tired
_______to be fighting.

~A Bad Dream, Keane

The sign in front of Xestra read 'Traverse Town', but that didn't help her.

She still didn't know where she was, or where she had been, or even where she was going.

The last thing she remembered was the pain she felt, and the darkness that consumed her. She couldn't feel the pain now, though.

As she walked around the town, she felt nothing at all. She sat down on a nearby bench and tried to remember, if there was anything to remember at all.

She closed her eyes and saw a few faded images:

A man in a black coat, who told her in a deep voice that her name was Xestra. He reached out his hand, offering to give her what she was missing.

Before she could respond, the man disappeared, and taking his place were a background of flames and a pair of bright green eyes filled with concern.

In their silence they beckoned her to find them. She tried to cry out to them, to ask them where they were, but only silence escaped her lips.

The eyes faded away, leaving Xestra to feel suddenly alone. After that, she couldn't remember anything but wandering around mindlessly.

The pain she should've felt didn't come. She just felt hallow. It was a hallow she couldn't put into words. All she could do was sit and endure it.

She leaned over a bit and noticed something was around her neck. She grabbed it and examined it closely. It looked like a very long key on a chain. She had no knowledge of what it was, or how she had gotten it.

Everything seemed overwhelming to her. She was about to get up when a boy with brown hair came into her view. He was followed by a duck wearing a blue outfit holding some kind of wand, and a tall dog wearing green carrying a shield.

He looked in Xestra's direction and walked over. He stopped when he reached her.

"Hello there," he said cheerfully.

She stared up at him, half from confusion and half because she wasn't sure what he wanted.

"Um, right, so I was wondering if you've seen a guy about this tall," he said, standing on his tip-toes and motioning with his hands above his head. "With a big scar on his face, and brown hair…big sword…"

Xestra continued to stare up at him, unable to speak.

He suddenly reached for the key on her neck. "Where did you get this?" he asked in a curious voice.

She paused and took a deep breath before she spoke. "I don't know…" she said quietly.

He held out his hand and suddenly a bigger version of her key appeared in his hand. "I have one, too."

She looked at the ground, and avoided eye contact with him. "I haven't seen him," she said, answering his question from before. She didn't want him to pry her more on the subject about the key, because she didn't know anything about it.

The key in his hand disappeared. "Oh…well, thanks anyway, I guess," he said, rubbing the back of his head in disappointment. "I'm Sora by the way."

He held out his hand for a hand shake, but as Xestra tried the same, the giant key from before appeared in her hand.

"Whoa!" Sora exclaimed, jumping back in surprise. "Hey, your necklace disappeared!"

Xestra felt her neck for the key, but it was just as he said: it was gone, and she realized the thing in her hand was her key.

"That's so cool! How did you do that!?"

"I…don't know…what is this…?" Xestra managed to ask.

"It's a Keyblade," Sora explained.

"Key…blade? Like…a sword?"

"Yeah, you use it for battling heartless."

"Heartless?" Xestra was being bombarded with so many new things.

Sora paused to see if she would claim she was joking but when all he received was a blank stare, he thought about how to explain. "Well…see…"

"Gawrsh, do you think she's serious?" the dog asked, speaking up for the first time.

The duck next to him shook his head. "She can't be…"

"No, I think she is," Sora said. "Heartless are these creatures that steal people's hearts. They're little black shadows…"

As Sora was explaining this, he was making little gestures with his body to help with his explanation.

Xestra nodded in understanding, though she only slightly understood what he was talking about. She pointed the Keyblade at him. "So, I would use this to…hit them? What for?"

"To defeat them. And stop them from taking people's hearts."

"Why do they need hearts?"

Sora paused to think. "They don't have ones, so they collect them to get ones for themselves…"

Xestra stayed silent, taking this all in. She looked at the Keyblade in her hand. They don't have hearts…?

"I haven't seen any…" Xestra said as her Keyblade disappeared and turned back into a necklace on her neck.

The dog leaned to the duck. "So, which Keyblade wielder do we follow?"

The duck shrugged.

"Hey!" Sora exclaimed, turning to them. "You guys are already willing to ditch me?!"

"We didn't mean that!" the duck protested.

Sora gave them a long, hard stare, and then they all started laughing.

Xestra failed to see what was funny. Sora looked back at her and smiled. "So, what is your name?"

"I'm…Xestra…nice to meet you, Sora," she said.

"Oh, and this is Donald," Sora said, introducing the duck, before pointing to the dog. "And Goofy."

Goofy took off his small hat in a gentleman-like gesture and shook Xestra's hand. "Nice to meetcha!"

Donald crossed his arms and tapped his foot impatiently.

Sora leaned to Xestra. "Don't mind Donald, he's always in a hurry," he said with a teasing roll of his eyes.

"Hey!" Donald protested.

Sora and Goofy laughed as Donald fumed.

Xestra stood in amazement as they laughed, unsure of why they kept laughing. She didn't find anything funny, so why did they?

"Anyway, where are you off to?" Sora asked once he and Goofy were done laughing.

Xestra hesitated, knowing she should've left before it got this far. But something about this boy made her feel…happy? No. But something close.

"I'm…not sure. I think I'm looking for someone," she said, remembering the green eyes from her memory. They had to belong to someone she knew. Maybe they could help her?

"You think?" Sora asked. "You're not sure?"

"It's…complicated…" was all Xestra could say.

"Well…who are you looking for?"

"I…don't know…" Xestra looked down at her feet at a loss. She didn't know how she would go about looking for them. "All I know is they have green eyes and something to do with flames…"

"Green eyes and flames, huh? Any other details?"

Xestra looked up at him, and noticed he was deeply thinking about it. Like…he actually cared. She had to decide if she could trust him with the only memories she had, and, after reading his completely innocent face, she decided she could. "Yeah…but it was almost like a dream…the green eyes appeared after a man in a black coat disappeared…"

"Black coat? Could you see his face?"

Xestra shook her head. "It's not a lot to go off of, I know…"

It was Sora's turn to shake his head. "That's a lot. I have to go to a lot of different worlds, because I'm looking for someone, too. Actually, three people. So, I'll keep an eye out for something that could help, and come back to find you."

His voice was so kind and convincing, he could've told her anything and she'd believe it. He gave her a little spark of hope.

"Thank you…" she muttered. "I'll be easy to find."

Sora smiled. "Even if you weren't, I'd come look for you," he assured her. "You should give your Keyblade a try, see if you can master it."

Xestra looked up at him and nodded. "I'll help you by doing that. I'll defeat Heartless wherever I go," she promised.

"Good, then we have a deal!" Sora said, putting out his pinkie.

Xestra hooked her pinkie on his. "Deal."

"I'll see you around, Xestra. Good luck!"

"Good luck to you, too."

Sora, Donald and Goofy waved and walked away, leaving Xestra with her thoughts.

She looked at her hand again and the Keyblade appeared.

Who am I?

"Tell me again what she looked like," the man in the black coat said to the other man in the black coat.

"Long black hair, bright blue eyes…her name is Xestra, Axel. From what I gathered she was not a new nobody. She had not had contact with anyone when Xemnas found her. But it was a while ago," the other man replied, obviously irritated at his persistence.

"Why am I just finding out about this now, then? That has to be her, Saïx."

The other man removed his hood, revealing his long blue hair and an X across his face. "You do not know that."

"But I have to at least try!" he exclaimed, taking off his own hood so he could look at Saïx in the eye. His red, spiky hair stood up and his eyes burned with fire. "Where was she?"

"That is none of your concern."

Axel sighed and laughed a little to himself. "Why am I asking you? I already knew you wouldn't tell me."

"Tell me, why do you 'care' so much?"

Axel glared at him. "You wouldn't understand."

With that Axel left the room.

He was fuming, and had to come up with some way to have contact with this girl, if she was indeed the one he had been looking for.

Please let it be her…