And there they were - Beast's Castle, right outside the gate. Sora stood rigidly, Kairi by his side. Sora, Kairi, and Riku had set out on a journey recently, but Sora and Kairi got separated from Riku not long after leaving Destiny Islands. They weren't sure where he had gone or what had happened, but they didn't dare split up to look for him; all three of them had been torn apart too many times as it was - Sora and Kairi weren't about to do so on purpose. So the two had been travelling alone together for a while. Before landing at the castle gates, the Gummi Ship had been pulled in the direction of this world, and although Sora still had control of it, he thought it'd be worth checking out; if the ship was being tugged to a particular world, there had to be a reason why.

Sora had agreed to Kairi leaving the safety of the ship only reluctantly. She didn't have the fighting experience both he and Riku had, so Sora was worried for her safety, worried that her lack of combat skills may bring about a horrible result. But she wouldn't have it. At the mention of her staying behind, Kairi had become huffy and argumentive.

"Absolutely not!" she had snapped, "I didn't come with you just for you to leave me behind again! I want to help you this time, Sora!"

He wanted to tell her that she had already helped him, so many times. Whenever he needed courage or faith, all he had to do was pull out her good luck charm and remember their promise. Were it not for her, Sora would still be a heartless right now. If she hadn't have been there, Sora never would have been reunited with Riku, for whom he had been searching for over a year. When he and Riku had been trapped in the Dark Realm, it was her letter that had opened the door to the light. How could he ever thank her for all she had done for him?

But Sora knew it was no use arguing. Kairi had, after all, been left out and left behind for almost all of his travels. It was only natural she'd be restless and want to do more. If only she knew how much she had already done.

Still, the fact remained that he wished she stayed behind on the ship. Who knew what was waiting for them? She could get hurt! He didn't dare think of the possibilities, like her being stolen by whoever was causing trouble, or worse - her losing her heart to the heartless. The thought was pushed to the back of his mind; he was there if she needed protection, Kairi would be fine.

From where they stood, Kairi looked over at him, determination lighting her crystal blue gaze. He nodded and the two of them walked forward. They didn't need to walk long, however, for they were soon greeted by two loud roars coming from within the castle. The place then fell silent.

The Beast? Sora wondered.

"We have to get in there!" Kairi exclaimed to him, her expression alarmed. Without waiting for an answer, she charged through the gates, past the stone gargoyles in the courtyard and ran up the stairs to the doors. Sora hastily followed, reaching the steps just as Kairi finally managed to push the heavy set of doors open. As he got to her side, Kairi blew out a small gust of breath.

"There's nothing here." he commented, instantly understanding why Kairi stood in the doorway; the interior was still, quiet. Whatever the cause of the noise was, it was obviously not here.

Brushing his hand lightly over her's, Sora moved forward, Kairi a pace behind him as she examined the luxuirous mansion. And indeed, it was rather luxurious; what used to look like an abandoned manor was now very elegant and bright, as if the richest of kings made their home there. The wallpaper was no longer shredded, but new with not a scratch on it. The pillars bore no battle scars, and instead stood strong and beautifully. The floors lay shined and relfected the magnificent mural upon the ceiling, whereas they once were dull and lifeless. Yes, the castle had become a much more wonderful place, much more pleasing to the eye. But this fact merely made the deadly silence all the more forboding. Sora quickened his step, nearly bounding to the stairs ahead.

He looked behind him and saw Kairi slipping into a door on the left, where a little bit of light filtered from. Sora hesitantly followed after her, worried what they might find there. Luckily, by time he got there, the roomed seemed empty of life. Beast's chair was sitting in it's usual spot in front of the fireplace, looking more glorious than Sora could ever remembering it being. The fire was alight with beautiful burning embers, lighting up a room that lit up all on it's own with it's brilliance; the room was not dark a shabby like it once was, but rather as dazzling as the entryway, with it's small size making the place more humble. Kairi was happily admiring the classy sitting room, enjoying the view, the gorgeous colors of the walls dancing in her eyes. Sora hated to intterupt her, but they needed to continue their task.

"Kairi," he called quietly, "C'mon, we have to go find out what that noise was."

She stiffened, then turned, and nodded in determination. Sora left the room first, making his way back to the staircase. Another roar sounded then, and Sora realized it was coming from the ballroom. Kairi caught up to him and the two made their way through the large radiant doors in front of them, just as the roar sounded. Their eyes were blinded by the sudden light the ballroom was casted, but it was quickly shut out by a massive creature hover over them. It took Sora a moment to adjust to the odd lighting of their current location, but once he was finally able to see the details of the creature, he opened his eyes in astonishment; the creature was just as large as he thought it was, larger than even the Beast. While it resembled the Beast as well, there were obvious differences: four horns, rather than two, portruded from it's head; it's fangs were on the top jaw, and were long enough to reach it's ugly chin; it stood on all fours, much like Sora's grizzly Anti-Form, and it's claws, while also like Anti-Form, were much longer; it's fur was kinked and stuck up everywhere; it's muzzle was long, the lips drawn back in a vicious snarl; the body was skinny, skeletal; it's eyes were navy blue, and it looked as if a mask was over it's head, for a long white material-like thing stretched out of it's head, and Sora suddenly remembered why such a creature reminded him of something else; unlike the Beast, this creature had tails, and more than one - Sora was unable to count them all before the creature lunged, barely missing Sora and Kairi as the two of them bolted in opposite directions. Running towards the door to the balcony, where Belle was being protected by a blond-haired man, they stopped, side by side, and continued to examine the creature, not quite sure how to approach the inevitable fight.

"A Heartless?" Kairi mused aloud.

"No," Sora replied, "A Nobody." The skinny white body, the dark blue eyes, the tail atop it's head looked all to familiar - it reminded Sora of the Nobodies, the Dusks specifically. The Nobody insignia upon it's chest only confirmed the suspicion.

"So, what do we do?" Kairi asked, turning to look at Sora, as the creature paced on the other side of the room.

"Nobodies are good at dodging. So we need to pay attention to it's movements, and move with it." Thinking for a moment, Sora added, "Coming at it from two sides might help, too."
"Okay," was all Kairi said before dashing off to the left. Sora reached out a hand for her just as she left, not having expecting her to take up her position so hastily. He ripped his gaze from Kairi's stance, dangerously near the strange Nobody, and took his own post on the opposite side, summoning his Keyblade as he ran. He peered over to see what the creature was doing, and saw that Kairi had already summoned her own, the flowery blade Riku had given her originally at the World That Never Was, and with a jolt, he realized Kairi and the Nobody were already fighting! And yet, despite the matter at hand, Sora couldn't help but marvel at how much improvement Kairi had made in her fighting style; she was lith, agile, paying attention to the Nobody's own technique and matching it, able to dodge most attacks... until it's great, white paw slammed into her back and threw her to the ground as it roared in delight.

Sora rushed over to her, avoiding the creature's other paw and hitting it with a counterattack, and knelt down beside Kairi.

"Kairi!" he exclaimed in alarm, "Kairi, are you okay?"

After a moment, she shook her head a bit and opened her eyes, suddenly casting Sora a stern glare.

"What are you doing? Get back to the fight!" She got up, stumbling a bit, but refusing Sora's help, and after testing her feet for a moment, raced to the other side of the room, ready and waiting to try out Sora's battle suggestion again. Sora stared after her for a second, then stood up and got into his fighting stance. Catching Kairi's eye, he held up his hand, using it to count to three; that would be when they were initiate their attack.

The Nobody reared it's head left and right, confused on who it should attack first, growling in frustration. In the meantime, Sora slowly lowered one finger after another. As he hit one, the Nobody finally settled it's gaze on Kairi, who nodded as Sora's last finger went down, and jump forward with an attack, a vicious snarl ripping from it's chest. Sora mirrored her from the other side and the bashed into the creature's great head. It fell to the ground, stunned, as Sora and Kairi landed on opposite sides of the room. Sora looked at her, nodded once, and they attacked from either side once again. Just as they jumped, ready to attack for a third time, the Nobody seemed to have registered their fighting style, and slammed both paws against them to stop the assault, baying in triumph. Sora landed roughly against the wall, and he thought he heard a thud that meant the same had become of Kairi, but Sora could not be sure. Dazed, he had trouble seeing he his surroundings. Suddenly, the light from above dimmed as the mighty creature loomed over him, looking quite frightening. Sora didn't have time to attack, so he held his Keyblade out in front of him, hoping it would soften the blow.

Moments passed, and still, Sora had not felt anything. He tenatively looked to find out the source of the delay, only to see Kairi expertly battling the monster! She fought as if for her own life, but somehow Sora knew it was for his. Kairi landed blow after blow, yet the beast was still standing; her hits weren't hitting hard enough. She seemed to realize this, too, and backed away, examining it as if trying to find it's weakness. Sora did the same, taking in the creature's appearence again, as it got down on all fours and paced, obviously confused by Kairi's sudden cease-fire. As it walked, Sora remembered it's fighting style before, how it's attacks focused on using it's two front paws, using only it's hind paws to lunge. That was it! That was the weakness! It's hind legs had only the one use, and nothing more.

Sora tried for a few moments to catch Kairi's eye before he succeeded, and mouthed the words "hind legs" to her. She seemed to understand and nodded once. Sora silently slipped behind the beast, getting ready to attack him from behind while Kairi came from the front, both of them switching to battle stances. The Nobody knew instantly that she was readying herself for an attack, and, growling, it reared up on it's hind legs, extending it's fore legs with it's paws hovering over Kairi. Just as it was about to drop down, Sora rushed from behind and attacked the right leg, while Kairi ducked beneath it and attacked the left. This brought the Nobody down switfly, and it didn't take long to take it out thereafter, for it was unable to even fight back.

Once the black smoke of the Nobody disappearing in the darkness faded, Sora and Kairi quickly made their way over to Belle and man she was with.

"Belle!" Sora called to her, "What happened here? And where's the Beast?"

Belle giggled a little and placed a hand on the blonde-haired man, who, in turn, smiled a little and looked Sora in the eyes.

"It's me, Sora," he said, eyes sparkling, "It's the Beast. My true name is Adam."

Sora looked into his eyes, and knew it to be true; those were definitely his eyes. "Then the spell was broken! That's great!" Sora exclaimed.

Kairi turned to Sora in confusion, "Spell? What spell?"

But it was Adam who answered, "A beggar woman came to me and asked for shelter, offering a rose in exchange, but I refused her. She turned into an enchantress and turned me into a beast - a form she found fitting to my true nature. She gave me the rose, and told me that if I could learn to love and earn love in return before the last petal falls, the spell would be broken."

Belle looked into Adam's eyes, affection warming her gaze. "You can see how well that worked out," she told Sora, not looking away from Adam.

Sora nearly jumped when he heard a quiet, "Maestro" from behind him; Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Chip, all of them had silently filed in, and all of them were every bit as human as Adam. Other servents of the castle had instruments, and they began to play a song Sora had only heard once before. Without a word, Adam took Belle into his arms and they began to dance around the ballroom. Sora and Kairi went off to the side and stood against the wall, watching as the happy couple danced to a sweet melody.

After a moment, Kairi broke the silence between the two, "I wonder where that Nobody came from?" she mused quietly, so only Sora would here.
"I don't know. It looked a lot like the Beast." Sora wondered that, too. Though, admittingly, he had another matter on his mind.

"How did you know it wasn't him?" Kairi asked of him.

"I dunno," Sora tried to find the right words to explain, "Just a feeling I had, I guess. It resembled him, but it definitely was not him."

"I wonder..." Kairi paused before continuing her spoken thoughts, "If the enchantress did that to Adam, who's to say she hasn't turned other people into beasts? What we fought could've been the Nobody of one."
"Yeah," Sora replied absently, "Maybe."

Kairi went back to watching Belle and Adam dance. Sora watched, too, it was, in fact, the source behind his cloudy thoughts. He took to looking around the ballroom; it was absolutely stunning. Granted, this is one room that had not changed from the last time her was here, and yet it somehow seemed more beautiful, brighter, as if Adam's transformation that stemmed from his deep love for Belle had made everything around him more glorious. The only thing that seemed unchanged was Belle; her eyes were still alight with tender love for her prince. No, nothing had changed there. Nor would that ever change. Belle would love Adam forever, even if he had stayed a beast, for she knew his old exterior hid his beautiful heart, that glowed with the affection he held for her.

Sora was back to watching them dancing again, and his thoughts were still clouded with the question of what to do next. What he wanted to do was so easy, and yet the choice was so difficult to make. He wasn't exactly sure how to go about it. And what if turned out badly? Would the risk be worth it? Sora thought heavily on it and decided that yes, yes it would be worth it. Swallowing hard, Sora turned to face Kairi, bowing slightly, and holding out his hand. His face was red when he asked, "May I have this dance?"

Kairi was surprised, that much was obvious. Her eyes were wide, a blush creeping across her cheeks, before smilling widely and accepting his hand. They took a few steps towards the middle of the ballroom floor, but once they reached their destination, Sora had no clue what to do next, for he had never danced. He tried figuring out where his hands were supposed to go, glancing back at Adam and Belle to see how they were doing it, but they spun too quickly for him to get a good look. Kairi just giggled and placed one his hands on her hip, and took the other in her hand. She led as they Waltzed across the floor, but after a little while, Sora got used to the movements and was able to take the lead himself. He was reminded of the daydream he had once had in Halloween Town; he had danced with Kairi in that dream.

The dream had finally come true.