Hidden Bonds

Summary: AU. Sora and Naminé are the royal twins of Radiant Garden. Their parents have a strained relationship no one will tell them about. But when Naminé hears a rumor about the past and Sora meets a man named Terra, pieces of their family's past come together.

Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts.

NOTE: The title is mostly to describe events before this story that move the plot along. They will be shown fully in a prequel.

A shout out to Fantasy0Girl and The Infinite Dani-Chan Replika, who both knew about it first and gave me some title ideas. None of their ideas were the ultimate result, but their suggestions did give me the final result, so I thank you both.

Chapter 1 – Sora

The clanging of metal could be heard in the courtyard of Radiant Garden's massive castle-fortress, Hollow Bastion. Two young warriors were training to master their Keyblade-wielders' skills.

One boy was the son of King Xehanort, Sora. Some found it hard to believe Sora was actually Xehanort's son as the boy looked nothing like him. Sora had dark brown hair and deep blue eyes, and his skin was a light tan shade. Many believed Sora's eyes were a trait inherited from his mother, but it didn't explain his hair. They had no explanation, so the subject had been dropped when Sora and his twin sister, Naminé, were still babies.

Training with Sora, was his tall, silver-haired, blue-eyed best friend, Riku. They'd been best friends since they were little boys. Riku often outdid Sora in their little competitions, but Sora was fairly adept in combat.

Riku darted around Sora. Sora blocked with his think skeleton key-like Keyblade, simply known as the Kingdom Key. It couldn't look any simpler, the blade, teeth, and Keychain, shaped like a mouse head, were all silver while the guard around the handle was gold.

Riku's Keyblade was far more unique in appearance compared to Sora's. He called it Way to the Dawn. The blade was a red and blue bat wing with a light blue angel wing. Similar wings served as the guard and a black heart was the Keychain symbol.

"Too slow, Sora!" Riku had managed to force Sora back onto his butt. And the force Riku had used had caused Sora to drop his Keyblade.

"Don't you have anything better to do than taunt me every time you win?" Sora asked. "I mean, c'mon, Riku, you could say something nicer."

"I'm just trying to toughen you up. You can't be a Keyblade Master if you're soft."

"Soft, schmoft. I'm plenty tough." Sora slumped down on the ground.

"Tell that to my Keyblade," Riku said as he dispersed it. "So, Sora, any plans later?" Riku stretched his arms and laid back, facing the sky. "Gonna go see Kairi?"

"Uh…" Sora's face flushed red. Kairi was the maid who took care of Naminé's room, and also his sister's friend. Sora had had a crush on her since she'd come to the castle six months ago. She'd started helping because her mother also worked in the castle.

"Answer the question. Are you gonna go see Kairi?"

"She's with Naminé," Sora replied. "I'm not interrupting them."

"Whatever, you should get up the guts and ask her out, though,"

"All right, you slackers, enough dillydallying," a stern voice said.

Riku sat up straight and Sora jumped to his feet. Approaching them was their Keyblade Master, Eraqus.

Master Eraqus was an old friend of Ansem the Wise, Sora's grandfather on his father's side. The wise man dressed like a warrior in samurai robes. With a stern expression in his brown eyes, he was enough to make any enemy shake with fear. His black hair was tied atop his head in a knot that gave you a clear view of the scars on his right eye and left cheek.

"I see you both have been practicing," Eraqus said. "Very good. But you both are going to be instructed in magic today, as opposed to physical strength."

Riku groaned. He hated magic. Learning it was a pain. You had to concentrate to get a spell just right. It wasn't like physical Keyblade dueling. If you didn't perform a spell just right, you'd get burnt, frozen, shocked, and anything else that was a bad side effect of being hit by a spell.

Riku was better at combat than Sora was, due to his speed. Sora focused on damaging opponents with heavy hits, but he was also better at magic than Riku. He'd managed to learn a few advanced techniques, Riku had managed to learn only two since he was more adept with Way to the Dawn.

Master Eraqus believed Sora's inept magical ability came from his mother, Princess Aqua, who was brilliant with magic. She'd been Eraqus's students for a few years, but had to stop just prior to Sora and his sister's birth.

"Why magic, of all things, WHY?" Riku yelled.

"Riku, as I've told you time and again, magic is a crucial skill for Keyblade wielders," Eraqus said sternly. "I've seen you do quite well with Fire spells."

"Which is relatively all I can do," Riku muttered.

"You are also quite adept with Zero Gravity and Magnet magic. Riku, you're doing quite well. You even mastered Cura during our last lesson."

"Riku, get over it," Sora said. "Magic's a Keyblade Master skill. We've gotta learn it."

"Says the guy whose mom is a natural at magic," Riku said.

"Riku, Sora, enough arguing," Eraqus said. "Let us proceed with our lesson."

For the next half hour or so, the apprentices practiced Blizzard magic. Sora got both his feet frozen to the ground, once by his own backfired spell. Riku froze a window and a tree solid. One of his blasts almost hit a guard at the front gate. The guy jumped down the stairs leading into town to avoid the blast. Sora almost burst a lung, he laughed so hard.

After another fifteen minutes, they were joined by a new visitor.

Sora's mother, Princess Aqua.

Fifteen years ago, Aqua had merely been a minor Radiant Garden noble's daughter. She'd married Xehanort around that time, just before he took the throne from Ansem.

Around Radiant Garden, Aqua was called the Water Princess. There was something about her that gave a person a feeling they were looking at a human embodiment of water. Her eyes and long hair were just as blue as the element for which she was named. Sora often heard how many people thought she was beautiful, and many men wished she were their bride, but she was Xehanort's.

Much to her own displeasure.

It was well known that she disliked her husband. The reason? No one knew. She never talked about it and Xehanort couldn't be bothered to talk about it either. Sora had once asked his grandfather about it, but his answer had been, "Your mother will tell you when she feels ready to. Now, please leave, Sora. I'm in the middle of an experiment."

"How's training going?" Aqua asked.

"Good, Mom," Sora responded. "We're doing a magic lesson."

"My favorite thing." Aqua smiled.

Sora loved it when his mother smiled because she rarely did. She was normally quite sad, or sometimes angry. This was all because of Xehanort. Something, that Sora didn't know about, had given her reason to hate him. Only Sora and Naminé seemed to give her any happiness. Them and magic, anyway.

Something Eraqus had taught Sora and Riku a long time ago was to be aware of the Light and Darkness in a person's heart. Aqua's heart was quite strange. All Sora sensed from her was pure Light, much like Kairi. But Aqua's Light was strange. Most of the time, it seemed quite dim, due to her sadness. When she was happy, her heart radiated light like the sun.

"Good morning, Aqua," Eraqus greeted.

"And to you, Master Eraqus." Aqua bowed her head as she sat down on a nearby bench. "But don't let me interrupt. I just came to watch."

"Very well." Eraqus turned back to his students.

After another twenty minutes of turning the courtyard into winter-halfway-to-becoming-spring, the lesson ended.

Riku headed back into the part of the main city where he lived. He lived close enough to Hollow Bastion, but he hated taking the long road through the front gardens up to the gates.

Aqua walked back into the castle. She said she was going up to see Naminé.

"Sora, will you stay behind a minute, please?" Eraqus asked.

"What is it Master?" Sora asked.

"I know Riku was just teasing you," Eraqus said, "but do not let some small affection for a young lady get in the way of your training. It cost me one of my best students several years ago." Sora's eyes bulged at that.

"Is he dead?" the Prince asked.

"I don't think so. He could still be alive, but if he is, he's still in exile." Eraqus sighed heavily. "I haven't seen him in a long time."

The Keyblade Master turned and walked away, leaving his apprentice to his thoughts. But the only one on Sora's mind was,

"What's he talking about?"

Feels good to be writing again. I can honestly say I've missed it. But this insane urge overcame me to write this story once I came up with the idea.

Chapter one is done. Hope you liked it. And before you ask, the Xehanort in here is the younger one. And yes, Aqua has long hair.

By the way, unlike 'Guided by the Heart', Eraqus is not as strict about romance between Keyblade wielders. You'll find out in a much later chapter why. Don't ask for spoilers. I'm not saying anything.