Sorry for the long delay, again. I just found a way I can type without being bothered. I promise that I'll get it together and get moving faster on this. Now without further ado. On with the show.

Chapter 2: An Old Friend & A New Day

KH2: Hollow Bastion

"Hey! Hey! Can you hear me?" a high pitched voice drew me out of my sleep.

"Ugh-Ugh. What-what happened? I feel like crap." I said.

"Well I'm not surprised. Being surrounded by Heartless can take a toll on someone. Not to mention, when you fainted you hit your head pretty hard." the voice said.

I tried sitting up and when I did, I found I had a huge migraine.

"Ow!! You got anything that can take care of the headache?" I said rubbing my head, "I swear I will not be in bed all day."

"Yeah. Sure. Hang on one second." I opened my eyes just as the girl got up to leave. She was wearing dark-blue jeans and a white t-shirt with green sleeves and a red heart in the middle. As she walked out the door I noticed she had bright-red, spiky hair and I couldn't shake the feeling I knew that voice.

I took a quick look around the room I was in just to get a bearing. What I saw didn't impress me: no wallpaper; drab, old, yellow carpet; two windows with no drapes; the bed I was on; and the chair the girl was sitting on. All in all it looked like a spare room that was never decorated.

I pulled the covers off to find my shirt was gone. I still had my joggers and my shoes on. I swung my legs off the side of the bed and stood. My footing was still uneasy and my head protested the quick movement. As soon as I had footing, a man with spiky-brown hair, the same style as the girl, walked in that drew my attention away from my headache. He was wearing a black shirt, capri, and jacket each, with an elaborate design that I couldn't understand. He looked to be in his late twenties to early thirties.

"Well, it looks like our guest is finally up." he said.

"Hey, Sora. Long time, no see." I said not really thrilled to see him.

"Yeah, no kidding. And judging from the tone of your voice your still a bit pissed at me for making Kari stay away from you for so long."

"You could say that." 'I thought I knew her; spiky hair like her father, red hair like her mother. I can't believe it but that was Kari.' "I knew after what happened six years ago that I wasn't safe to be around. But she was my only friend so I couldn't help but be mad even though I knew it was for her protection"

He walked over to the wall and leaned on it, "Well, lets get on with the questions I know you must have for me."

The headache was getting worse, but I forced myself not to collapse so I could at least get my shirt. 'At least I had enough sense to get my favorite shirt yesterday.' My favorite shirt was black with a red, flaming dragon wrapping around the torso with the dragon's head ending right over my heart. I walked back over to the bed and by that point my head finally had it with my ignorance and started throbbing again, forcing me to sit down. "I will if I can get my head strait." I just was able to get my shirt on before Kari walked in with some medicine and a glass of water.

"Here. This should take care of the headache in a few minutes." she said.

"Thanks. My heads been killing me." I took the pill and chugged the water, being thirstier than I expected.

She moved like she was about to sit down, but she jumped slightly. "Oh, crap. Nearley forgot something. I'll be right back."

Sora and I both chuckled at his daughter's quirkiness, but only Sora had a smile on his face. "Hehehe. She always is impulsive like that." he said.

"Yeah. That was one thing that was always funny about her." I said, "But back to the topic. First question: how did you know I left the city?"

"A few days before their death, they came to me and Kairi and told us they felt like something horrible was going to happen soon. They had some kind of premonition ability that just told them something bad would happen, no specifics or anything. They came to us and told us this feeling was stronger than ever. They asked us if anything happened to them that we would keep an eye on you. We knew you were pretty independent and we agreed."

"So you follow me."

"Pretty much."

"Alright, two: why did you save me?"

"Same answer as the first. And because of the dream you had."

I was about to ask him how he knew but before I could he said, "I'll explain about that later."

I just left it at that and moved on to the next question, "Okay then, three: if I was unsafe to be around six years ago, why did you let Kari keep an eye on me alone?"

"She can handle herself now."

"What do you mean?"

"I think it would be better if I let her show you. Kari!" he yelled.

It took about five minutes before I even heard footsteps. 'Must be a pretty big house." I thought.

A little bit longer and Kari came through the door, "You called, Dad?"

"Yes. Our guest here wanted to see something incredible from you."

"If you want to call it incredible." I said, "Your dad said you could handle yourself, I just wanted to know what he meant."

She turned to her dad and asked in a low tone I shouldn't have been able to hear but did,

"You want me to show him the blade?"

"Yes. Don't worry, you can trust him."


I kept the notice of heightened hearing pushed into the back of my head. 'I might need to look into that later.' I thought to myself.

She turned to me and didn't say a word. She raised her hand and held her palm down facing the floor. One second there was nothing there and the next a flash of light appeared and she had something in her hands. It held a vague resemblance to a sword. The handle was a red ring with 2 white points at the bottom, the shaft was two black lines that crossed over in the middle, and the head was another red ring that had white points in five directions and with two white lines crossing in the middle.

"This is a Keyblade. This particular form is called the Bond of Flame. One of my dad's friends gave him the Keychain before he died." she said. I noticed a hint of reverence in her voice. "Then he passed it onto me when he found out I was skilled in Fire magic." She opened her hand and in another flash of light the blade was gone.

"Wow, Kari. It looks like you've grown up a lot since I last saw you." I said, making it sound like I was older than I am, just wanting to mess around with her a bit. This was already helped by the fact that I look older than I am.

I was looking for a certain reaction and I got it with the next thing she said, "I never told you my name. In fact, I don't even think I know you. Who are you?" She backed away as she said that, almost panicking.

I cut a glance at Sora who just had a big smirk on his face. He nodded that I could tell her, "I kind of figured you wouldn't remember me. A lot about a person can change in six years."

She turned pensive for a minute, seeming to think about what I meant. Suddenly, a look of realization flicked across her face. The next thing I know, I'm being tackled to the ground, unable to breathe because of the bone-crushing hug I was getting,

"I can't believe it! It's Richard! It's been way too long! Dad, why didn't you tell me it was him!?" she said, almost all in one breath.

"Well, to be honest, I was wanting to see that happen." he said, pointing at us. He was trying to stop himself from laughing... but was just barely succeeding. Kari blushed intensely when he said that.

A woman with long, red hair and a pink dress, who I recognized as Kairi, walked in. She turned to her husband and asked, "Did I miss something?" At this point Sora couldn't contain himself and burst out laughing. This caused me to start blushing as well. Kairi pulled Sora off to the side for some discussion, obviously not wanting us to hear.

Being my arms were trapped, I tried to tap Kari on her side to get her attention. To my luck she felt it and turned towards me.

"Kari...choking, not breathing." I was able to rasp out.

"Sorry." she apologized, "I'm just so happy to see you again."

"Likewise. Even If I don't show it."

"Don't worry about it. After all you've been through, I'm surprised you let me tackle and hold you for as long as I did."

"Yeah, least one good thing has happened to me recently." I really didn't want this situation to turn downhill from happy to depressing that fast so I changed the subject, "Hey, I've got an idea why don't we take some time to catch up with each other. Maybe we could go get some sea-salt ice cream and go to the Bailey like we used to."

Kari didn't get a chance to answer before Sora butted in, "Sorry, Rich, but could you take a rain-check on that?"

I looked over to Kari and she just nodded her head. "I guess. What for?" Even though this is Sora we're talking about, I was suspicious. If my parents taught me one thing, it was: be careful who you trust. I, personally, had not been around Sora long enough to know if I could trust him.

"I just want to talk with you, and see what you can do." he said.

I was dumbstruck by that last comment. 'See what I can do? What the heck does he mean by that?' I decided I would find out about that while we talked.

I turned to Kari to find she had her head hung and I could tell she was seriously disappointed. I put my hand on her shoulder and told her, "Hey. I'll tell you what, I'll finish as fast and as soon as possible. And if it comes down to it we'll go first thing tomorrow. Okay?" Her head snapped up and I could tell that she was as far from against the idea as she could be.

She quickly threw her arms around me and pulled me into a tight embrace, although this one was not as bone-crushing as before. She then told me, "Thank you. You have no idea how much I have missed you."

I just stood there silently and wrapped my arms around her. I said nothing. I just wanted to stand there silently and enjoy the moment.

Suddenly a voice broke us out of our reverie, "Well if you two lovebirds are done, I would like to get moving before it gets too late."

Both me and Kari gave a half-annoyed, half-angry glare towards Sora. Kairi whirled on him in an instant, "Sora! That was completely uncalled for! You used to be like that and everyone had patience with you! You maybe could've returned the favor this once!"

Kari and I watched in amusement as her mother just continued ranting at Sora and I eventually blocked it out. I turned towards Kari and she turned towards me at the same time I did. We let each other go and backed away from each other slightly, my hands were still on her shoulders. "Like I said, I'll finish as fast and as soon as possible."

I turned and started walking towards Sora, who was still being chewed out by Kairi. He was leaning back, his hands up in a surrendering position; Kairi was letting him have it about 'interrupting a heartwarming moment' or something like that. When I got up to them, I cleared my throat to let them know I was there. When Kairi noticed, she almost immediately stopped lacing into Sora, but she had one last thing to say, "I'll finish with you later."

Kairi walked out of the room followed by Kari and Sora let out a heavy sigh of relief.

"Thanks for saving my neck. That was brutal." he said.

"Well don't get used to it. When we get finished with whatever it is you want me to do she gets free run of you even if I'm around because, personally, I think she was right."

Sora's face darkened a little after I said that, but he retained a bit of his upbeat attitude.

"Well then, let's get going. I know somewhere we can go so I can see what kind of power you have. If you'll just follow me. It'll most likely take us a while to get there." he said.

"What the hell are you talking about, man."

"Are you freakin' kidding me? You haven't figured it out yet?"

"Okay, Sora, I guess I'm gonna have to repeat myself: what the hell are you talking about?"

"Let's walk and I'll explain what I can."

His house is pretty damn big from what I could tell in the section I walked through. We got outside and I looked back to see one of the biggest mansions in Radiant Garden. I was surprised and I wasn't at the same time. It came as no surprise that the hero that put down Organization XIII and Maleficent's band of villains would have a house like that. What surprises me is that they live in something that big and don't have a bigger family.

He said it would take a while to get where we were going, and that was very easy to believe. Radiant Garden is a pretty big place. The whole time though, Sora was leading me the back way around everything.

After walking for a while, Sora started on his explanation, "I know about the dream you had, Rich."

"How?" was all I could ask.

"I guess the best way I could say it is that I can feel the strength of your heart. It became even stronger before you woke up. Could you tell me where you were in the dream? I have an idea and if you were where I think you were I know what happened."

I told him about the stained-glass pillar I stood on and the pedestals that held the strange weapons. After I said "stained-glass pillar", a huge smile appeared on Sora's face.

"Just like I thought. It happened."

"What happened?" Everything he said was just confusing me even more.

"You've had, what I have come to call, an Awakening."

"A what?" All I could do was stutter out short questions.

"An Awakening. It's how new Keyblade Wielders are born."

At this point, I was struck speechless. My mind was racing, 'Me, a Keyblade Wielder? How? Why?' Another thought reared its head, 'If I'm a Wielder, why haven't I seen my blade?' I voiced this thought to Sora, "If I'm a Wielder, why haven't I seen my blade?"

"Probably because you just haven't had need of it or called it yet."

"How do I call it?"

"For the first time, just envision a sword in your hand. The Keyblade will respond if you will it to come to you."

I did as he said. I remembered fighting the giant, black Heartless from my 'Awakening'. In a quick flash of light, and to my surprise, the blade actually appeared. At this moment, Sora just stood, rooted to the ground even though we had a lot of ground to cover still.

I was marveling at the blade, but I noticed Sora had stopped. I turned around I all I saw was a look of pure horror on his face. Really it was more like a cross between fright and nostalgia.

"What's wrong?" I asked him.

"That blade...where did you get it?"

"I...I don't know. I just called it like you said to. What's so special about it?"

My blade had a black and white color pattern. The hand-guard was black and had one spike on each side, the blade was curved and the teeth were spikes that shared the same color pattern as the rest of the blade. To my surprise, on the tang was the Nobody symbol.

"That blade was Roxas'. He gave it to me after I fought him. I call it the Two Become One but I've also heard it referred to as the Two Across." Sora said.

Now it was my turn to go into shock. 'How the hell do I have the blade that Roxas gave him. Why would I get this one to start with. Shouldn't it have been the Kingdom Key?'

"What blade did you use in the Awakening?" Sora interrupted my train of thought.

"The Kingdom Key."

Sora's look turned pensive for a while. "I think I have a theory as to why you have that blade." he said finally. "The only way to know for sure though is to see what you can do.

I also have a feeling you left out some detail from your Awakening. Did something happen when you fought Darkside?"

'So that's what it was called. How the hell did he figure out that I didn't tell him I used the power of Darkness? Man, how do I tell him about this? I guess the only way is to come out and say it.'

"You're right. I left out something on purpose. I have no idea what you'll do when I tell you this so I'll just say it, I used...the power of Darkness...against Darkside. It was just so natural; I didn't even know I could do it. It was out of pure instinct." I said. Only after I said it did I realize how animalistic it sounded.

He just smiled and we started walking again. "I know. I just wanted you to accept that fact." he finally spoke up. "Don't ignore the Darkness. You can embrace it or you can leave it alone, but you must know that it is a part of you."

"I thought you would reject me a a Wielder if you knew I could use Darkness. What makes you so accepting?"

"Have you ever heard my friend Riku's story?"


"That would explain why you were worried. Riku is like you, he can freely wield the power of Darkness. At first he wanted nothing to do with it and even tried to rid himself of it. But eventually he came to accept it and embrace the strength it offered. He could also use powers of Light. Prime example is his Keyblade's alinement. It may look as if it belongs to Darkness, but it actually is a 'blade of the Light and does not reject him. I actually don't know too much. You should ask him if you want to know more."

"I guess, if I get the chance I should talk to him. Either that or I could figure it out myself."

"Your call." he shrugged it off.

"How much further do we have to go?"

"About twenty minutes if we keep going at this pace."

After about 15 minutes of random chatting, Sora brought up a subject I was silently dreading, "How was it seeing Kari again?"

I nearly blushed but I was able to keep myself calm enough to keep it from showing.

"It's been forever. That's the happiest I've been in a long time."

"You don't sound too happy about it."

"After all that's happened to me, especially after the death of my parents, I would think you could understand that I would not show much emotion." I bit back at him, slightly annoyed.

"It was good seeing you two so happy together again." he paused a second before adding, "And you two did look like a pretty cute couple back there."

This time I couldn't stop myself from blushing which, obviously, got Sora to start snickering.

"Yeah." I replied. I had nothing else to say on that subject.

"Hey, Rich, lighten up man. I was only kidding."

I just let the conversation hang from there until we got to wherever it was we were going

which did not take us that long.

We were just a little ways past the Bailey, almost to Ansem's Castle. There was a bright white door in the rock face that I had never seen before.

"Welcome to the entrance to the Cavern of Remembrance."

Cavern of Remembrance

"Where?" I had to ask.

"The Cavern of Remembrance. It's a special area that was used by Organization XIII for data storage. This door leads to a special area that uses data gathered on the members to recreate them for special battles."

"Which members?"

"All thirteen of them."

At that, my jaw had to drop. "All thirteen!" I nearly yelled.


"What in the worlds would they need something like this for?"

"We haven't figured that out yet, and we probably never will. The only people likely to be able to answer that would be one of the higher ups in the Organization."

We walked over to the men in front of door. I noticed from their uniforms that they were part of the Radiant Garden Defense Force. They also looked like they weren't just part of the regular military, but some special operations units.

"Why are these two here?" I asked.

"We're here to keep unauthorized personnel out of the Cavern." one of the guards answered.

I just looked at him like he was an idiot and he kindly repaid the favor.

"Look, my father was part of the Defense Force. I know that you two are special ops and are here for more than that."

"Who is your father?" the other guard asked.

"Sgt. Patrick Giessman."

"Well, knowing that I guess I can tell you, we're here to keep a control on the Heartless inside the Cavern. For some reason, many Heartless propagate in the Cavern and are very strong."

"Now that makes more sense." I turned to Sora, "Please tell me we aren't going to have to go through a hoard of Heartless to get wherever in this Cavern."

"Don't worry, we're not. This side takes us right to where we need to go." Sora said.

We walked through into a bright, almost blinding, white room. I heard running water and saw that the walls of the room had water flowing up the sides. In fact the room itself looked as if it was in the middle of a pit of upward-flowing water.

"Since we discovered the room, a lot of progress has been made in understanding it. Tron helped out with understanding much of the operations. We have found way to limit the fights and certain members are used as training partners for fresh recruits to the Defense Force." Sora explained.

"Great. So I'm weaker than a new trainee for the R.S.D.F." I said rolling my eyes.

"Not really." Sora said.

I just turned at him and shot him a confused look that seemed to be predominate on my face today. 'Not much of anything has made sense today.' I thought.

"A Keyblade Wielder has some natural abilities that others don't. But it is up to you to unlock them." he explained

"Well, that's some more good news to brighten my day."

I looked around and saw a computer command console in the middle of the room. At the console was a man with blonde hair; baggy, green shorts; a blue shirt; and a brown sweater tied around his waist. (A/N: This is his Advent Children outfit.)

"Well howdy, Sora. Didn't expect ta see ya here." he said.

"Hey, Cid. Aw come on. I thought we got you to quit smoking."

I looked closer and, sure enough, there was a cigarette in his mouth.

"Naw. Just kept forgettin' to get a new pack." he turned to me, "Who's this?"

"Cid, this is Richard. He's a new Keyblade Wielder."

"Well, it's a pleasure to meecha." he said, extending his hand.

"Likewise. But call me Rich." I said, not bothering with his hand.

"Okay then. Rich, I'll be your operator for the day and run the simulation as needed." (A/N: a cookie to whoever can tell me the reference.)

"Great. Thanks." I said, nodding my head.

"Come on, Rich. Let's see what you can do." Sora said.

He led me up a ramp to the middle door that had an elaborate shield with the Nobody symbol on it.

"Who's door is that?" I asked.

"That would be Xemnas."

He took me down two doors to the left and we stopped in front of a door that held another shield.

I quickly ran through memories of Sora's adventure stories and a name surfaced.

"That's Vexen's shield, isn't it?"

"Good memory. Yes, this is the door to Vexen's battle." he turned around, "Cid, cap the simulation at trainee level for now. Go ahead and step on through."

"What about you?"

"I'll follow after the fight starts so I can be where I won't interrupt it."

"Works for me."

Music Stops

I stepped through and I was instantly transported into a clearing in front of large brick wall and locked gate. Behind the gate was a mansion, overgrown with vines. A forest covered all sides except for a path into it. About eight feet in front of me, some kind computer code materialized for a second, than vanished. In its place stood Vexen. A barrier blocked off the path behind me. Suddenly I heard Sora shout, "Get ready!" I called my Keyblade and let my arm hang by my side. Vexen, in turn, dropped his shield and let it hang in front of him in mid-air.

13th Struggle (KH2)

"Don't worry about him attacking. This is the training part of the simulation, he'll only defend." Sora explained.

'Well this ought to be interesting.' I thought.

I let instinct take over and ran in towards Vexen. Not even thinking about it, I closed the gap by letting the Keyblade pull me forward over the ground and strike him about three times (A/N: Sliding Dash). Continuing on the combo, I did two downward, diagonal slashes that formed an X; immediately after, I jumped back slightly and a light enveloped the end of my blade. I thrust the blade straight forward and it pulled me past Vexen and knocked him into the air.

I landed and looked over my shoulder to see an opening and jumped into the air after him. I threw an uppercut-slash first, followed it with a horizontal left-to-right slash, and finished with a straight-down, powered up slash.

We landed and he bounced away a few feet. I looked over at Sora to see him give an approving nod. He raised a hand to his ear and nodded a few times as if listening to someone.

'Must have an earpiece.' I thought.

"Alright, Cid, crank it up. Full power but no Data Circle. I want to see what this guy can do in a full fight." he took his hand away from his ear and spoke to me, "Get ready for a full fight. He'll be coming at you with everything." I looked at Vexen as another data stream enveloped him. He came out looking the same but I could tell he meant business.

13th Reflection

Vexen re-took his stance and let out an annoying/menacing laugh. I decided not to wait to see what he could do and kicked things off with a Dark Firaga. It hit and bounced him back a few feet. This gave me enough time to charge up Dark energy for a powerful attack. The Darkness channeled over me and I jumped into the air. My blade pulled me forward and I smashed it into Vexen's head. I repeated this over for another five times.

I landed and he bounced backwards again, but as he flipped he sent three spinning ice-blades over the ground. I realized I didn't have enough time to dodge. Again instincts ruled and I just...shifted-for lack of a better word...out of the way.

'Heh. Time to have a little fun.'

I channeled more Darkness and focused it into my hand and blade. I threw out my hand and a column of Darkness spouted under Vexen. He was sent into the air and I followed him, doing a mid-air front flip, I brought my blade down into him again but followed it through to the ground. When the blade hit, a shock wave of Dark energy pulsed a out and hit him again.

Out of nowhere, a blizzard formed and nearly trapped me in a block of ice. Vexen apparently decided he had enough of toying around with me and went into some kind of berserk rage deal. In a matter of seconds he had four chunks of ice floating around him that were just as tall and much wider than him.

Before I even had a chance to wonder what was going to happen, he started chucking the ice at me. I managed to dodge one but the last three hit. I dropped to a knee on the ground, extremely weakened from those hits.

Vexen started spinning the ice around him at an impossibly fast rate and charged at me. I was too weak to even try to dodge and I was caught in the barrage. I was constantly juggled by the ice and I could feel I was getting weaker. I was finally launched free but I was flung into the air.

The edges of my vision blurred and went black. I hit the ground hard and before I passed out I heard Sora yell, "CID, CUT THE SIMMULATION!!!!"

Music Stops

"Well. Here we are again. At least I know who you are this time." a high-pitched voice spoke. "I have to wonder what was going through my Dad's head when he made you fight that thing. I mean, I've got two years worth of experience on you and I can't beat even one of them."

As far as I could tell with my eyes shut, I was in a bed with Kari talking to me. I squinted my eyes just enough so that she couldn't tell they were open but just enough that I could see. Sure enough Kari was there and was sitting on the edge of the bed. She leaned in close and put her hand on my cheek. She spoke again in a soft, lower tone, "I'm just really glad to be able to see you again. You really have no idea how much I've missed you. Please, don't leave me again."

What she did next caught me really off guard. She pulled me into a warm embrace; but she didn't stop there. She continued and gave me a full-on kiss on the lips. My eyes shot open in a mixture of shock and amazement. I looked at her face to see her eyes shut. I decided to let her have her moment and faked still being asleep. Vaguely, I came to realize that I was almost enjoying this.

She broke the kiss on her own accord, probably for fear of waking me up, but she kept her embrace for another few moments. While we were sitting there, I noticed something pressing into my leg from my pocket. She finally let me go and gave me a quick peck on the cheek, but instead of walking out she stood there for a moment, staring at me, most likely trying to decide if I was still asleep.

I shifted in my sleep as if I was turning in a dream. This apparently satisfied her and she walked out as quietly as possible. I heard her close the door lightly and barely heard the latch click.

'Note to self: my hearing has been improved somehow. Look into it.' I said making a mental note of my enhanced hearing. However, my focus quickly shifted to whatever was in my pocket. I reached in and pulled out the strange, golden-white device I had picked up at the end of my 'Awakening'. I pressed the button in the middle, trying to get something to happen. The button pulled up some kind of gray screen with a red arrow rotating around it. It stopped spinning and seemed to point to the North.

'The only thing of any significance in the North is Ansem's castle. What could possibly be there?' I would have to find some point to go check it out and find out what was happening. 'This is crazy. Almost insane. But I think I can adjust to it.' I thought, rolling over and going back to sleep.

*Meanwhile on a hidden world, far from Radiant Garden.*

A figure in a black cloak drew in a deep breathe and opened his eyes.

"New worlds are opening. I can sense it."

"What do you want me to do?"

"Do what you always do, Alexion (A/N: Pronounced Al-eshion). Manipulate and destroy."

"Yes, Lord Mixodon (A/N: Pronounced My-zo-dun). I will mobilize our forces immediately."

"Good man. Make this a large assault. We cannot afford to lose this world." The being known as Mixodon threw his hood back revealing tan skin; shoulder-length, white hair; and burning yellow eyes. "When we have this world, our forces will increase and and we can begin an assault on the rest of them."

"Yes, sir. I will not fail." the being known as Alexion spoke.

Alexion turned and strode out of the very dim, gray room into a brightly-lit, white hallway. He mused as he walked, 'I have no reason to doubt him. He's been my friend since before the incident, but I can't help but wonder what he is getting us into.'

Shady ending for chapter 2. R&R please, constructive criticism only. I also want to know: should I switch perspective to third or keep it in first. Let me know and I'll see what I can do.