DISCLAIMER:

I DO NOT OWN KINGDOM HEARTS OR ANY OTHER CHARACTER THAT WAS BORROWED IN THIS STORY, THE ONLY THING THAT BELONGS TO ME IS THE STORY ITSELF AND ANY ORIGINAL CHARACTERS I MAY CHOOSE TO INTRODUCE

(Please don't sue me, I am but a poor boy with nothing to take!)

Sora and company had reached the mainland in record time, due to a bet between Sora and Riku that one could get there faster than the other. While the two teens were near exhaustion, those they had ferried (Donald and King Mickey) were just a little dizzy. A couple of minutes later Goofy rowed in the other boat with Kairi laughing about something he had said before. "So Sora really sang in a musical? Underwater?" there were tears coming out of her eyes as she spluttered the question.

"Ahyuck! Yup, Sora wasn't half bad at it neither." Goofy seemed to enjoy telling Kairi about the trios previous adventures on their search for their friends. "I have to say though, being a turtle was pretty fun!"

This only elicited more laughter from Kairi, who appeared as though she was having some difficulty breathing. After helping her out Goofy turned to Sora, "Gawrsh Sora, Kairi wanted to hear about where we had been so I kinda told her about Atlantica!" He seemed a little bashful as Soras face took on a sunburn red from Kairis antics. Sora and Riku were still just a little out of breath, so he let her laugh until he could catch his breath.

"Just for the record Kairi, I have an awesome singing voice! Apparently……" Sora was never one to boast, but luckily he had two friends to back up his claim this time. "Yeah! Sora has the voice of an angel! An angel with a terrible sense of direction, but an angel nonetheless!" Donald thought he was helping, but Goofy knew better.

"Ahyuck, Sora had all of the mermaids in Atlantic wanting his autograph when the show was over!" Goofy put his arm around Sora, "He had his hands pretty full until we had to leave."

Now Kairi was done laughing, "And what exactly does he mean by that Sora?" She put her hands on her hips in a most Kairi-like-way. Sora knew he was in trouble by just looking at her eyes. Now there was someone you didn't want to get angry! "Uh, ummm……." Sora got out of this one the only way he knew how, "I'm sure my mom is waiting for me, so see ya later guys!" With that he dashed off in the direction of his house.

Kairi reached out a hand, "Sora wait-!" He had gotten a lot faster then she had remembered, he was out of sight before she could even say anything. She let her hand drop to her side as a worried look made itself at home on her normally relaxed features. "I didn't get a chance to tell him about…….." For a moment she looked close to tears.

Riku was the first to speak up, "Tell him what Kairi?" She turned to him with desperation in her eyes, "We can't let Sora get to his house, we- we just can't…….." Now everyone was looking at her with confusion and underneath it, fear.

Kairi started to head after Sora, "I don't have time to explain, guys we have to catch up to Sora and stop him before its too late!" Riku decided to put his trust in her until he could hear her explanation. "Okay Kairi, I'll stall him until the rest of you catch up." With that he opened up a Corridor of Darkness and vanished inside of it. Goofy only had one thing to say, "Ya know Donald, I really wish we could do that."

Sora thought he had heard Kairi say something when he had left, but he figured that it wasn't something that couldn't wait until later. Anything to avoid an interrogation Kairi style. He could see his home in the distance, he didn't even notice that he hadn't run into anyone else since he had separated from the others. Another thing that went unnoticed by him were the pools of shadow that had formed behind him. Oblivious he continued on his way towards his house. He was only a couple of houses away when a Corridor of Darkness appeared in front of him. In a flash of light his Keyblade was in his hand, the Kingdom Key shone in the afternoon sun. It vanished as soon as Sora saw Riku emerge from the portal, "Riku, what's up?"

Riku wasn't really sure what to say, "Uh, Kairi said to wait for the others because……" He racked his brains for anything that Sora would believe, which in hindsight was a lot. He had to say something fast! "Because they all want to be there when you explain things to your mom!" Sora didn't even have to think about it, "Okay, makes sense to me," Phew, Riku had winged that one and it had worked.

His sense of accomplishment didn't last long because the pools of shadow began spawning Heartless by the dozen. Luckily, they were all Shadows so when one leapt at an unsuspecting Sora, Riku was able to take it out in a single stroke. The Way to Dawn parted the small Heartless like a hot knife through butter. In an instant Sora had his weapon out as well. They went back to back, "What are Heartless doing here!? I thought that the worlds were closed off!" Sora turned his head towards Riku, "How many do you think you can take?" Riku just smiled, "Who do you think it is that you're talking to?" Without another word Riku leapt at the scores of Heartless before him, Sora grinned and followed suit.

Goofy, Donald, Mickey, and Kairi hurried after Sora and Riku. Mickey, being the fastest, saw the fight before the others. His Keyblade materialized into the small Kings preferred reverse grip and he charged into the fray. Goofy and Donald were about to follow Mickey when they heard Soras voice, "Donald! Goofy! Stay with Kairi until we thin these guy out!" The two animals looked at each other, until Mickey yelled out, "It's okay fellas! Listen to Sora, I'll be alright!"

Goofy pulled out his shield, Donald his staff, and Kairi her newly acquired Keyblade. The trio stayed together, taking out modest numbers of Shadows while Sora, Riku, and the King cut a swath through the Heartless swarm. Riku used deft swordplay to take out multiple Shadows with ease, the occasional flash of dark power only augmented his skills. The King was like the mirror image of Riku in the respect that his skill with his blade was accented with bursts of light, defeating chains of Heartless without hesitation. Sora on the other hand was utilizing all of his skills from the previous journey to crush any and all Shadows that lay within his line of sight. Within minutes the throng of Heartless had been reduced to a small handful by the group's skill. Just when it seemed victory was theirs time seemed to slow, Sora could only watch as his friends seemed frozen in place.

"I applaud your efforts, but alas they have all been for naught my dear Keyblade Master," the voice radiated from everywhere at once. Sora had heard it more times than he could count, the last being inside Kingdom Hearts……. "Xemnas!"

He turned around, "Show yourself!" Laughter exploded from all around, making Sora hold his head in his hands. "You're only half right dear Sora!" A man appeared in front of Sora, he looked like Xehanorts Heartless……. But there was something different about him. His clothing for one thing, he was wearing a gold arm guard with its straps going across a dark skintight shirt. He had on tan samurai pants that grew larger as they went down, sandals adorned his feet. The Heartless symbol that had been on his chest was gone, the only things Sora saw that were familiar were his golden eyes and his silver hair.

"Who are you?" Sora asked out of curiosity, this seemed like an entirely different person. "I am Xehanort, The True Seeker of Darkness!" Xehanort smirked at Sora, "Surely you know how I came to be? After all, I have only you to thank……." Sora was at a loss for words, "I was the one…… who brought you back?"

While Sora was meeting his true enemy that had hidden behind his various masks in the past, Aqua was spinning a tale for the mysterious stranger. A story about three friends who had been torn apart by fate, a story about betrayal and of an unfinished errand. It was her story, but it did not belong to just her alone, her friends were just a large a part of it as she was. Her story faltered for a moment, "Ventus……. Terra……" the names escaped her lips as a single tear rolled down her face. The moons shining reflection on the waters surface gave the robed man a clear view of Aqua's face, he shared her sorrow for he too had lost those that were closest to him…….