What does not reach the mind can always reach the heart. Words of wisdom pale in contest to the will of kindness and hope…
"We have to find the door to Kingdom Hearts. But… Why are we doing that, again? I can't seem to remember why… Are we looking for someone?"
Hope only stands in the face of those willing to fight for it. Hope stands in those who are willing to reach for it. It matters not what cause you support, only that you believe in hope…
"Sora's memories have been shattered. I can salvage some of the pieces, but others will take some time to repair. There's no telling how long that will take, but I'll do everything I can to get it done soon."
Belief grants power to those who receive it. Belief is power for those who desire it. And with that power, anything in the world can be achieved…
"You've been a hindrance to the Organization for long enough. We've been lenient with you, but our kindness has run out. By order of our leader, I'm bringing you in, using whatever means necessary."
Achievements can be proven though strength, but true strength is not proven through boasting. Achievements are proven through desires, and the determination shown to fulfill them…
"I have a favor to ask, Your Majesty. Take me with you. I can't sit around waiting for them anymore. I have to go look for them, and you're the only one who can help me."
Fulfilled desires are nothing more than dreams. Through dreams, the impossible is possible. Through dreams, everyone can be someone. Through dreams, reality can be altered beyond anything even known…
"What… what happened to me?"
Chapter 1 - Good Night, Good Morning
Sora's eyes shot open and he gasped, waking in a cold sweat from his nightmare. Shivering, he sat up and wiped the sweat off his forehead. The last three months had been like this, and he couldn't get used to it. His dreams were so real that every scene was painful.
"Sora, hurry up!" Donald called, standing in the grass about fifty feet away, "We're not gonna get anywhere with you lying around like that!"
Goofy leaned closer to Donald, speaking louder than he had intended. "But Donald, you were asleep until ten minutes ago, too…"
Donald squawked and stamped his foot, glaring at Goofy in reply.
Sora chuckled. 'It's always the same with those two…' "I'm coming, I'm coming!" Cringing as he moved his stiff body, he pushed himself up off the ground and jogged over to them. "Let's get going, then."
Together, the three of them continued their march along the seemingly endless path, conversing about whatever they could think of. Sora only contributed half-heartedly, though. There was something else on his mind. They had been walking the same path for a long time, but some things didn't make any sense. For one, when they had started walking, it had been just after they had defeated Ansem and sealed the door to Kingdom Hearts. Sora had only been fourteen at the time, but at one point, he realized that he had gotten older without knowing how or why. When he had realized that, he also realized that he felt different, as if something inside of him had changed as well. His clothes were different from what he had been wearing before as well. Most of all, somewhere in the back of his memory he recalled seeing a white castle, but he didn't know where it was or why it gave him chills when he thought about it.
The only thing that had struck all three of them as odd was the fact that they hadn't encountered any Heartless from the moment they arrived until now. Not a single creature had found them the entire time they had been walking. Sora had even walked for a couple days with his Keyblade in hand, but not one Heartless had shown up.
When he withdrew from his thoughts, Donald was complaining. "We've been walking here for who knows how long and we're nowhere! Is there anything along this path? I'd even welcome some Heartless…"
"Don't worry, Donald," Sora smiled. "We'll find something. I've got a good feeling about it."
Donald didn't look convinced. "You said that three days ago, and a week before that, and four days before that, and…"
"Alright, alright, I get the point!" He groaned, throwing up his hands in defeat.
"You never know, Donald," Goofy shrugged. "Sora might be right this time."
In a world of nothingness, in the room Where Nothing Gathers, seven members of Organization XIII met. At the head of the room, the leader of the Organization looked down on his subordinates. Two sat on his left, three on his right, and one across from him. He rested his hands lightly on the armrests of his throne. "How has the search been progressing?"
A voice from his left answered. "Well. We've received reports from XII. The target is within our grasp."
"Typical of her," a voice on the right snorted in annoyance. "She's trying to get all the glory by butting him out."
"There no point in worrying about it. We'll use this to keep her in line. If need be, we can send IX or XI to keep her in line," another voice from the right added, waving his hand to emphasize his point.
The leader nodded. "We'll proceed as planned. IV, continue with your experiments. VII, compile reports from II, III, IX, X, and XI and deliver the summary to me when you finish. V, prepare for today's… entertainment. XIII, bring in the prisoner."
Across from him, XIII nodded, a smile visible under his hood. "I'm sure he's looking forward to it…"
From in the distance, looking on through a pair of binoculars, someone watched Sora, Donald, and Goofy. Behind them, another presence arrived.
"We're on schedule for today. It should work out fine."
"Welp, it better. They're moving."
Dropping the binoculars with a curse, the person stood. "We haven't much time, then. Let's hurry!"
Something sent a shiver up Sora's spine, and he stopped and looked around, trying to pinpoint the source. Donald and Goofy stopped ahead of him.
"Something wrong, Sora?" Goofy asked.
"I… feel like…" he muttered, "Like we're being watched…"
"Oh, you're being more than watched."
Summoning his Keyblade, Sora turned in the direction of the voice and was met by a person in a hooded black coat. Behind him, Donald and Goofy pulled out their own weapons, a wand and a shield respectively, but something told Sora that it wouldn't be enough.
"Who are you? What do you want?"
"No one special," the hooded person replied, pushing back the black fabric that obscured their face. Underneath was a blond woman, her hair slicked back from her icy blue eyes. "I'm Number XII, Larxene. It's a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Keyblade Master… or, it would be. Unfortunately, you won't have the chance to enjoy it."
Sora blanked, lowering his guard. "Huh?"
With a dark smile, short yellow-bladed knives appeared in Larxene's hands and she charged, faster than anything Sora had encountered. He barely had enough time to guard before she bore down on him, relentlessly stringing together a combination of overhand and underhand strikes. She only stopped when a magic fireball, summoned up by Donald, almost nailed her in the back.
Sora took a swipe at her with the Keyblade but she flipped and tossed her knives at him, which he knocked away with a flick of his Keyblade. Almost instantly, she was behind him, slashing at his backside. Goofy stepped in, knocking her attack back with his shield.
Larxene jumped back nimbly. "Not good at all, Keyblade Master! I'm not even breaking a sweat!"
Suddenly, something blurred behind her and she fell forward, rolling in the grass until she could get back into a standing position. Where she had been standing was a girl with long red hair in a braided ponytail, wearing a loose white tank top with a pink vest, black gloves, and tight black shorts, her blue eyes blazing anger. The girl ran at Larxene, aiming a kick at the woman's head, but she ducked under it. Her foot whistled through the air.
Sora watched in awe as the two women fought, the girl dodging Larxene's swipes with her knives while Larxene had to weave and maneuver around the girl's punches and kicks. Each one of them moved quickly, trying to catch the other off guard, but they managed to avoid each other's attacks as if they were mirages. Larxene used the sleeves of her coat to pull feints, trying to outmaneuver the girl, but she didn't fall for any of them. They were fighting to a standstill.
"You're not going to get anywhere fighting me like that, girly," Larxene goaded, jumped back to give herself some space.
A loud rustling alerted her to the second presence a split second before a black blur burst out of the grass behind her. The blur attacked her with a Keyblade, golden with a silver handle, moving almost too fast to see. It flipped and spun in the air as it attack, and Larxene fended all of the attacks off with her knives. The girl renewed her assault, making Larxene have to contend with attacks from both sides.
"Sora," Goofy muttered, watching the fight with a nervous expression, "Ya think we should help them?"
Donald crossed his arms, looking sour. "They look like they're doing fine to me."
Larxene, on the other hand, was furious. "Enough playing nice" she screeched, knocking the blur away from her long enough for her knives to become coated in electricity, crackling loudly. She quickly took a swipe at the girl, who leaned out of the way quickly enough to avoid being slashed across the neck.
The blur was unaffected, attacking faster and with more ferocity than before. Larxene threw her electrified knives at it, but the Keyblade knocked them away as if they were flies. It sprung around her, slashing at her around her attacks. Meanwhile, the girl kept Larxene moving, taking swings at the woman's chest and trying to kick her feet out from under her. Larxene was clearly frustrated, her expression growing more enraged by the second.
The girl performed a high kick close to Larxene's head, but she jumped back to dodge it, landing right in the path of the blur's Keyblade. The metal shredded the back of her coat and she let out a scream of agony and rage. She turned to strike the blur, knives crackling, but turned in time to meet the girl's fist. The girl's hand hit Larxene's knives and came away electrified. The blur, appearing almost out of nowhere, attacked Larxene from the side, taking her attention away from the stunned girl, slicing into her coat again. Furious, Larxene took another swipe, but missed and suddenly stopped moving.
It took Sora a moment to comprehend what happened. The girl, standing behind Larxene, has shoved her fist through Larxene's back wound. Her gloved fist had punched clean through to the other side, still cracking with from Larxene's previous attack.
Then something unexpected happened. Larxene began giving off long strands of Darkness, the tendrils radiating from her form, but something changed. She shrunk a few inches and her short blond hair morphed into longer, wavy strands. Once the change finished, she gritted her teeth, let out a bloodcurdling scream, and disappeared into strands of blackness.
"Wh-what just happened?" Sora blurted out.
The girl walked over to him, shaking the last of the static from her hands. "Believe me, Sora, it's a long story."
Sora blinked. 'Wait, who is this?'
The blur walked over to them, still holding its Keyblade, walked through the grass towards them. Now that it had stopped moving, Sora could see that it was a small person wearing a coat like Larxene's except the hood had two large flaps at the top. It reached up and pushed the hood back.
"Your Majesty!" Donald and Goofy shouted before they raced over to hug their king.
King Mickey yelped as they almost tackled him to the ground, but he smiled and joined in the laughter. "Gosh, guys, it's good to see you again. And you too, Sora."
"Same to you, Your Majesty," Sora said with a smile, and then turned to the girl. "And… who are you?"
The girl and Mickey looked at each other before the girl turned to him. "Don't you recognize me, Sora?"
He looked at her again. Something was familiar, but he couldn't place it. Then it hit him. The red hair, the blue eyes… "Kairi?"
Kairi nodded and smiled. "It's been a long time. It's good to see you again."
Sora stared, awestruck. "But, wow… Kairi, you're changed… a lot!"
"It's been four years, Sora. We haven't seen each other in four years."
Sora looked at Donald and Goofy, and they stared at each other before they all shouted, "WHAT!"
"Four years?" Donald squeaked, looking at the King for clarification.
Mickey nodded. "Yup, it's been four years."
Sora turned back to Kairi. "Four years? Then… we're eighteen?"
"Yup, that's right. You haven't changed much."
"Guess I haven't," he chuckled sheepishly. Something else clicked in Sora's head. "Oh right! Your Majesty, what happened? When we last saw you, you were behind the door with Riku. Where is he?"
Mickey looked skeptically at Kairi, who shook her head. "I'm not sure we should just yet."
"Kairi, Sora has a right to know. I think we should tell him."
Sora was confused. "Tell me what? What happened?"
Kairi sighed, looking sad. "Sora, you have to understand something first. That woman-"
"Yes, her. She's a member of Organization XIII. I'll explain it in more detail later, but-"
"What does that have to do with Riku?" Sora asked, not seeing where the conversation was headed.
"Sora, it has everything to do with that," she explained, "Riku has been captured by Organization XIII."
Sora could only stare blankly at her. "What?"