If somebody had approached Roxas one day and told him that he would die the day before his wedding, the boy more than likely would've seen the person has a loon and merely shrug off the warning. However, that was no longer the case. Looking back on it now, if somebody had, indeed, approached Roxas one day and told him that he would die the day before his wedding, he would have thanked the person deeply, run upstairs and lock himself in his bedroom, and never enter this damn forest. Because, hey, look where that got him: dead. There was none of that "light at the end of the tunnel" nonsense he had heard about - all he could see was darkness. That pain he felt immediately before the darkness came was gone, so he surely must have been dead. Death wasn't nearly as cold as he would have thought it would be, though; in actuality, he didn't feel cold at all, not even from the snow. He wasn't exactly what you could call "warm" -

Darling... Darling, are you alright?

- but he wasn't cold, that was for sure. And even if he was, he wouldn't have been able to feel it. He was dead. A voice was calling out to him...was it God? Was God calling to him to welcome him in open arms and grant him entrance into Heaven? There was faint music in the background...and he could see lights blurred and dimmed somewhere in the darkness. But if he was dead, he wouldn't have been hearing a voice - much less a young person's voice and one that called him "darling".

Please wake up...! Are you okay?

So, then maybe he wasn't dead at all! Maybe that fall down the hill and that blow to the head from the frozen pond didn't kill him! He must have been invincible to be able to survive in freezing cold without warmth or water and fall from that height and survive. Bring it on, Mother Nature! You can't break this kid!

But...if he wasn't dead...


...then, where was he?

"Please, wake up! You can't leave me now!"

Roxas opened his eyelids to a voice that was pleading with him to return to consiousness, his vision hazed. Hearing the voice call him "darling" over and over again, he expected to wake up in the Everlost's mansion, upon Namine's bed, with her standing beside it and holding his hand tightly. Then when she saw that he had woken up, she would embrace him and cry tears of joy, and he would embrace her and comfort her and tell her that everything was alright. And then after that, he would finally prove to Father Ansem, as well as both of their parents, that he was ready to become a husband. And then, he and Namine would be wed and they would surely become the happiest they have ever been in their lives. Oh, if only the world would have granted him at least that wish.

He was convinced that the world must have hated him.

"Ahh!" he let out that squeak once his vision became focused and he saw not the fantasy that he was praying for, but a certain corpse boy staring down at him with concerned eyes. There was a tall skeleton kneeling down beside the boy, staring down at the blonde with empty eye sockets.

"He sure is a jumpy fellow, isn't he?"

"Oh Jack, I'm sure he's just startled to have finally waken up from his death. He'll calm down once the shock goes away," the boy glanced over at the skeleton, a small smile gracing his lips. Roxas' body shot up, finding himself surrounded by the dead. Heart pounding against his ribcage and breath heavy, he scrambled backwards in a pathetic attempt to get away. Well, that failed once he bumped into something behind him.

"Pardon me, old chap," a rather aged and rough voice spoke from behind the blonde. He looked over his shoulder to see a pale middle-aged man with a large moustache towering over him. At first he seemed normal...until he stepped past the blonde with both halves of his body on each side. Roxas stared in horror at the sight of a man split in half, intestines dangling out, lungs shrivled, heart black and rotten, just walk right past him.

"Are you alright?" an all too familiar voice brought the blonde back down to earth. His head snapped from the man-cut-in-half to the corpse he had encountered earlier that night, who was currently making its way over to him. Roxas scrambled onto his feet and back away from it and the dead that followed it. Eventually, his back hit something - wait, this "something" didn't feel like bones or flesh. Maybe it was something he could use as a weapon!

"G-Get back!" he warned, one hand reached back towards the object that he hoped he could use to defend himself. "I have a -" His arms swung said object in front of him. It was, in actuality, a weapon - a sword, to be more precise. But he wasn't exactly expecting something to be impaled upon it.

"...I have a duck," his voice was mixed with shock, more horror, and unamusement. The duck that was impaled upon the sword was wrapped in bandages. Maybe it was a family pet? No time to think about that for now. The dead were closing in!

"Stop!" he commanded, pointing the weapon at the group. They obeyed, though out of confusion and not fear. "N-Now, listen. I'm not sure what in the hell is going on, but I demand you give me questions! Now!"


"...w-what?" Roxas looked at the duck on his sword. It could...talk? "I believe you mean you want answers."

"...right, yes. Answers. Thank you."

The group began to move closer.

"Not so fast!" Once more, the sword was aimed at the dead. "I have a right to know what is happening! Who are all of you? Where am I? What's going on here?" The questions just poured out of his pink lips, not exactly thinking straight. He must have asked them all in only one breath, because by the time he was done asking he was panting heavily. There was an eerie silence that seemed to drag on. The corpse boy cautiously approached the blonde, much in the same manner that Namine had when they first met, and gently removed the sword from Roxas' hands.

"I'm afraid...that's a long story," he looked at the boy with a forlorn look, his dull-but-bright eyes hiding something behind them. Eyes were supposed to be the window to the soul. This boy had no soul...but...Roxas could definitely see something in them.

"And what a story it is!" the skeleton from before came out from behind the blonde, a toothy grin on his boney face. Startled, Roxas jumped away from the skeleton, bumping into the corpse briefly before jumping away from him. "You just sit down and listen, boy. Jack Skellington will tell you anything and everything you need to know." He turned to a group of skeletons huddled by a piano.

"Hit it boys."

The place was instantly filled with lively music, crazy music, music that Roxas was sure would have been forbidden up in that monochromatic world he had lived in before. It had a sort of...swing, to it. The boy had a hard time resisting the urge to tap his foot and move his body to the beat. The skeleton called Jack grabbed the boy's shoulders from behind and pulled him in close as he looked at him from the side.

Hey! Give me a listen you corpses of cheer

Leastles of you who still got an ear

I'll tell you a story make a skeleton cry

Of our own corpse groom and the way that he died!

Jack forced Roxas into a spinning chair as a group of the dead surrounded him and joined in the chorus.

Die, die we all pass away

But don't wear a frown 'cause it's really okay

And you might try 'n' hide

And you might try 'n' pray

But we all end up the remains of the day

The fear had long left the boy's body at this point. This sound...this wonderful music. It was so new and foreign and...alive. There was never anything even remotely close to being like it in the world he lived in before. And he just couldn't get enough of it! He bopped in his seat while he listened to the group sing "YEAH, YEAH, YEAH", an uncontrollable smile brightening his face. Jack returned to begin the story behind that corpse that seemed to have some sort of infatuation with him.

Well, our guy is a beauty known for miles around

He lived with Mom, Dad, and twin, the richest family in town

One day he met a stranger and while he had no cash

Well, our poor little babe, he fell hard and fast

Well their daddies said "no", and they just couldn't cope.

So our lovers came up with a plan to elope.

Trying not to be distracted by the most amazing sounds he would ever hope to listen to, he tried to comprehend the events in the story: the corpse and his family were the richest in town. He met someone one day and the two fell in love. Their parents forbid their marriage, so they ran away to get married. ...that sounded about right.

Die, die we all pass away

But don't wear a frown 'cause it's really okay

And you might try 'n' hide

And you might try 'n' pray

But we all end up the remains of the day

Roxas stood up from the chair, unable to to control his body and wanting to lose himself in the music. He closed his eyes and moved his feet to the jazzy rhythm, almost completely forgetting exactly what was going on. This music was a world all on its own. It was an almost perfect world...except, it was missing just one thing... Before he could figure out what that "one thing" was, Jack took him out of his thoughts, grabbing his arm and dragging him towards the other boy.

So they conjured up a plan to meet late at night

They told not a soul, kept the whole thing tight

Now his father's wedding tux fit like a glove -

You don't need much when you're really in love

Roxas was thrown into the corpse's arms, who took his hands in his and gripped them tightly.

He snuck out of the house that night, supposedly alone,

And left behind that place that he called "home".

Then next to the grave yard by the old oak tree

On a dark foggy night at a quarter to three

He was ready to go when suddenly...

"And then?" Roxas asked, looking over at Jack with curiousity and breaking out of the others' grip. How did this story end? Jack approached the two and crept in suspensefully.

"He waited..."

"And then?"

"There in the shadows, could it be his love?"

"And then?"

"His blue eyes met with yellow ones-"

"And then?" he interrupted. This was getting too good. Don't leave him on the edge of his seat, Jack! Tell him!

"...and then, baby...everything went black." Roxas' grin dropped the instant he realized that the events Jack just spoke of at that moment...were the last moments this person had alive. Those words meant...this person...was murdered.

Now when he opened his eyes he was dead as dust

His lover wasn't there and his heart was bust

So he made a vow lyin' under that tree

That he would always wait for him to come set him free

Always waiting for him to finally take him away

When out of the blue comes you, and as of today

You've vowed to love him for forever

Finally, our guy's back with his lover-

"Wait a minute!" Roxas shouted. The music stopped abruptly. The dead stopped dancing. Jack looked back at the blonde with a curious look on his face.

"What was that last part? I 'vowed to love him for forever'?" Whoa. That was bit too much to take in. "W-When did this happen?"

"In the woods," the corpse answered. His arms wrapped around Roxas' right, nuzzling his head into the boy's shoulder. "You came by and you said your vows. You said them so, so perfectly~" Roxas looked at the corpse who was showing affection with wide eyes. "I've waited for so long to hear them, and after going for all that time not hearing your voice...I could've died right then and there - I mean, if I wasn't already dead." He sighed wistfully.

"Y-You don't understand! That was mistake!" Roxas shook the corpse off of his arm. "A mistake? What do you mean?" Those dull-but-bright eyes looked at the blonde, showing him the hurt that he felt inside.

"I...I wasn't in the woods to propose to you!" A gasp waved through the crowd. "I was practicing my vows...I was getting married to somebody else!" Oh, no. Panic was setting in. This was not improving things. At. All. Damn it! What to say, what to say?

"Somebody else? That...That can't be..." the corpse seemed to be in denial. "No...No, that's impossible...You, you promised you would marry me!" Anyone could see that the boy was on the verge of losing it. What in the hell was going on?

"What? No! I never promised that I would marry you! I don't even know who you are!" Roxas took a step back. Was this guy crazy? How could he have promised marriage to someone - a guy, no less! - that he had never seen before? Apparently there was a way, because the corpse looked back at him with glassy, dead eyes that showed how broken he was inside.

"You...you don't remember me...?" his voice was soft, failing to hide that brokenness. He took a step towards Roxas. "We...met on the docks...we were both just five, maybe six, years old..." Another step. "We were friends...best friends...We told each other everything..."

Roxas took another step away from the corpse.

"We were so much in love...We were so happy together...Why don't you remember me? It's me! It's Sora!" he pleaded, hoping Roxas would remember. The problem was this: Roxas couldn't remember something that never happened.

"I...I don't know a Sor-"

"Why not? Were you away for that long?" Sora broke out of his shell, shouting with sorrow-filled words. "Away from what? I've never seen you before!"

"That's not true!" the room went silent with that screech. Sora looked down sadly. "...what's gotten into you...why...why don't you remember what we had, what we did..." He looked back up at Roxas, fighting back tears that the dead were not really supposed to have. "Why don't you remember me, Ven?"

"...what did you...just call me?" Roxas froze, staring bewildered at the brunette in front of him. Sora stared at Roxas, a single tear running down his cheek.

"...Ven...Ventus von Karn..."

Author's Note

Truthfully, how many of you were expecting that ending? The story gets even deeper than that. Trust me. C:

Sorry this chapter isn't as long as the last. And like a fourth of what's in here is song lyrics. The lyrics are based off of the song from the movie, "Remains of the Day", by the way. Just edited to make them better fit this story. Obviously, the original song is not mine.

I managed to do this in about 2 and a half hours, so it's obviously not my best. But I wanted to get some plot in motion. What exactly happened to Sora? Why did he call Roxas "Ven"? What is their connection? You shall all see in the next couple of chapters. :)

Until then, please review! ^^