Copyright: If I owned Kingdom Hearts then I would buy and force Gainax to rewrite the last bit in Gurren Lagann's know...the one where someone dies right after she marries the main character...yeah, that bit. But since I don't, I am. I'd also be funding animes and video games about my fanfiction instead of just writing them, but a man can dream.

Reseach Center Foyer, Hollow Bastion

A young boy leaned upon the railing as he overlooked the city adjacent to the fortress he now stood upon. Radiant Garden truly was a beautiful place, but not so beautiful as to make the boy forget of his parent's loss a few years ago. All he remembered were the nights of loneliness and starvation, how every day was a gift and that to fall to the illusion of happiness was to invite tragedy.

Ansem the Wise found him and took him in as a son. Perhaps it was an act of genuine kindness or the old man's fertility was inert to where any drifting child would have satisfied his need for an heir to his estate. Still, of everyone he'd encountered, the wise sage was among the only few whom the boy could say he loved. He hated the illusion, but Ansem was like a father to him and he cared for the man as a son.

Ever since Xehanort came however, everything had changed for the worst. He had strange powers, powers identical to the blond haired boy who had saved him from the blue creatures a year ago. But Xehanort was much more sinister and cruel with his abilities, he had witnessed the man do terrible things with those powers. The boy was not blameless either, he had the power to do something but did nothing for he had fallen under an illusion of promise. A promise soon broken, Ansem was now missing and Xehanort had likely taken on his name and identity long before this point.

The air carried an awful smell.

The city itself did not stink, but the creatures that lied beneath it. Soon it would be time for the final stages of the plan to unfold and this city, his home would be sacrificed to achieve those stages. Soon he would be reborn or so their ringleader stated. Recent events had caused the boy to question the trustworthiness of the man named Xehanort.

"Ienzo!" The boy turned to the source of the annoyance and found his former caretaker. Evan was panting like he'd run a marathon, but Ienzo knew that it was because of his poor atheletic ability. "Where is he?"

"How should I know?" Ienzo retorted, having no intention of trying to prob where their ringleader now was, "His plans are his own now."

"Don't get smart with me child! The heartless are getting more out of control!" Evan cried as he held Ienzo's shoulders. He then released the young boy and started pacing back and forth in front of the child, "Just like him to vanish before everything gets out of hand." Ienzo rolled his eyes and happened to catch an eavesdropper above them. He signed and concentrated to create a projection of an older version of himself next to the eavesdropper to make him aware that his cover was blown.

"He's in the Usual Spot." Braig stated before jumping down and landing gracefully behind Ienzo. "Decided to double check something about the plan." Judging from Evan's panic, this was not comforting to the academic.

"Of all the times to go there!" Evan shouted but hung his shoulders in defeat, "And you'd think he'd bother to inform us of the heartless' condition?"

"As if! Let's just get to the pods." Braig suggested, gently ushering his colleagues towards the doorway leading to the escalator, "Aeleaus and Dilan are getting a wee bit impatient."

"Affirmative." Ienzo agreed before turning for the escalator. Evan followed behind with Braig keeping closely behind.

"No tricks now Braig." Evan nervously warned before turning and walking down the escalator to the lower levels of the facility. Ienzo stopped and gazed at his one-eyed senior. Ienzo knew the man to be a keen trickster and someone never to be truly trusted. In fact, ever since the wielders of the keyblade came to their Garden a year ago, Braig seemed to act more and more underhandly.

Still, it was too late to turn back now. So Ienzo reluctantly turned back and started down the escalator, but not before he heard his colleague hauntingly laugh and mutter to himself.

"Just as planned." Ienzo heard Braig muse, all but confirming his suspicions, "Right Mister Master?" Who was this Mister Master? Whatever awaited within the chamber of rebirth, Ienzo would get to the bottom of it and find out what happened to Ansem the Wise.

All the while, the smell of Darkness stank the air.

Hollow Bastion Basement, Section 101

Neither breath exhaled nor sound echoed from the chamber in which the scientist sat. He sat unmoving upon a colorless throne surrounded by walls adorned with the upside down symbols from a memory distant yet close. His lips moved as though to speak but if any were there they would hear no voice nor whether or not the armor before him ever answered.

After a time, the man opened his eyes and stared down the armor lying in it's heap. He knew had seen it before, he vaguely remembered fighting along side a comrade who wore this armor and fought with the keyblade lying next to it. But attempting to pry further into his subconscious would only now waste time. He would likely return to this room in one form or another, but now, his plans had to be set into motion.

"Thank you once more..." The Seeker said to the armor, a hint of genuine gratitude within his voice which often incited chills, "But I must go for now...perhaps when I return we may speak friend." He stood from his throne and motioned his hand towards the door to the chamber. At his command, it opened and he walked forth, knowing that the next time he saw this place it would be through eyes foreign to the ones he now held.

He walked through the corridors of his creation. Section 101 was rendered as an area which even their master had dared not investigate. Here great monstrosities of darkness formed from the fallen hearts of Radiant Garden's worst criminals were kept here to keep from destroying and consuming the smaller weaker heartless in the other sections. Already he could feel their hunger for his own heart and would likely try and take it without hesitation.

Fortunately, not only did the scientist have the power to keep them at bay, but even if they could break through their bars, they would never be able to escape the corridors of this area. They would have to break the very fabric of time and space and open a corridor which would certainly increase the amount of darkness in this world.

Making it all the easier to fall.

Lady within the Shadow

How long had it been since she was saved from the two large creatures of darkness? She had no way of knowing. All Aqua knew as that she still lived and traveled along a long rocky path in this dark depth of despair known as the domain of darkness. She remembered calling out, hoping that someone else was in this place but stopped. If those giants from earlier were a clue, then sinister forces roamed this realm. For now however, her blue, star-shaped wayfinder gleamed brightly against the darkness.

"As long as we remain connected, I'm sure that I'll return home to you." She stated to herself as she held the wayfinder in her hand. It reminded her of better times, when she and her fellow apprentices used to encourage each other's dreams and were always at each other's side.

As she walked, unease suddenly grew within her and she started looking left and right. She couldn't see any of creature of darkness, but she still felt uneasy. She still remembered when a humanoid muscular creature of darkness with a pair long antenna had pinned her down and clawed down her neck before she destroyed it. The wound had healed but she remained weary of any surprise attackers. Worst of all, she was alone.

Her wayfinder started to glimmer off and on as the whole realm seemed to shake. She looked up to the pitch black ceiling of this world and saw a bright circle open within it. The light gleamed down into the world, as if to herald the coming of a Light master who would save those trapped within.

Whatever hope this may have given Aqua was soon silenced by the torrentous pillar of darkness that fired into the portal and dimmed out that light. As the shaking grew less and less, Aqua watched her wayfinder as the light weakened and eventualy faded out entirely.

"What is happening?" Aqua's gaze lingered on her dimmed wayfinder as the pillar of darkness faded out and the shaking ceased. She watched as two dark portals appeared on the ground on either side of him and summoned her keyblade when she sensed the hunger that eminated from them. From either portal leapt dark humanoid creatures which she avoided with a backflip and destroyed with one slash. She cartwheeled to avoid the claws of dozens of smaller creatures that had snuck out of the portals.

She warped to narrowly avoid the slash of a stealth creature and appeared behind the creature to cast a Firaga that burned through the creature and took out one of it's partners. She warped into the fray and continued to slash and vanish away to destroy these creatures. They were swift, but the most they could manage was destroying the afterimages that her warping created. She stopped to see that only two of the more muscular creatures remained and threw her keyblade to destroy the two.

Before she caught it, she was tackled from her feet by a smaller heartless that painfully clawed into her lower back without hesitation. She shuddered and wimpered from each desperate strike the small creature gave as she searched for her master's keyblade. Seeing no other choice, she flipped up and threw the heartless onto the ground with a desperate pull and fired a shot of lightning from her hands that left a small crater in the ground after she landed. Now freed from panic, she cast a healing spell on herself and felt the pain ease and dissipate as she summoned her keyblade.

"What were...those creatures?" Aqua had sensed the negative dread that the creature's aura had produced but they were far more menacing and hungry then the unversed. "Darkness...they were made from the darkness." Her eyes widened as her own realization shook the very foundations of her core. She looked up and saw only darkness. Down and on the side of the path she tread was darkness. Even the soil she tread was very dark, the only light that could be gleaned in this place could only found in the small patchs of crystal glass found on the various formations in this realm. Whatever these creatures were...they could attack her from anywhere at anytime.

This was their home afterall.

A part of her immediately regretted giving up her armor...if she and Terra had stayed together they might have fought off the darkness that had taken him...the darkness that was Xehanort's heart. Instead...she separated them and she had no way of knowing if Terra would be able to stay strong or succumb...

There was only way to know for certain.

Thus did Master Aqua steel her resolve and continue her tread through this dark realm. True...she was outmatched by the predators that she could even know sense watch her. But had no other choice, it was either fight or die, stand up and be strong or fall to oblivion and fade.

Outcast in Despair

Even now, he still heard them. These dark depths had yet to deteriorate his memory of the Garden he once lived in. The friends he held dear, the family he loved and vowed to protect, everything he had worked for that had been taken from him. He had fought, but fate was on the side of the wicked and he failed. For his defiance, he was cast into this place of darkness with only a single sentence.

"Should you stand within the darkness, then you shall prove worthy to avenge yourself," The boy remembered the words of his mentor-turned tormentor like a bad rash, "Fall and you shall prove yourself as nothing more than a waste of time." Those were the last words that he ever heard before he was cast into this place. The foremost apprentice of Ansem didn't even have the decency to heal him first. However, these depths were quiet enough to catch one's breath without being interrupted.

Suddenly all around him shook, he looked up and saw the cause. A torrential pillar of darkness was striking a portal of light, the boy shuddered when he realized just what had happened. The apprentices of Ansem had beaconed the darkness of this world into the Realm of Light. He had trouble breathing when he fully realized what this meant, the realms were separated into light and dark for a reason, once this invasion was begun then nothing would be the same.

He wiped the sweat from his brow and turned to continue on his path. That was when he saw something fall through the dark ceiling, an entire piece of a beautifully created castle landscape. He instantly recognized it and the other alike pieces that fell into these depths of darkness.

His home had fallen.

"No..." He fell to his knees, tears streaming from his eyes as he watched the pieces of his home fade into the dark horizon. The creatures of this dark realm appeared from the shadows around him as he looked upon the ruin that was once his home. Part of him just wanted the heartless to kill him...but this was an idle fantasy, a way to run away from his responsibility. He gritted his teeth and forced himself to stand and face the heartless. These were different from the one's his master had marked, these were the true heartless, creatures formed from the darkness of the worlds and those who lived in them.

Some he recognized while others he would be sure to make note of. The boy exhaled as summoned his changed but still familiar keyblade and barely managed to smirk as the advancing heartless stopped in their tracks. Apparently, his kind weren't too common in this place. But that didn't look like it would matter for long. They didn't care how he had gotten there, all these heartless knew was that he was an intruder in their realm. An intruder with a strong heart that would keep them feed for a long time. An intruder who would have to die.

Something he didn't plan to do.

The healthy human mind doesn't wake up thinking this is its last day alive. But it is a luxury instead of a curse. The boy felt that knowing he drew to the close was a kind of freedom, freedom to take time for inventory. Here he stood, on his last wind, outnumbered by the spawn of darkness and out of his mind for thinking he could outlast these creatures. These creatures, who'd likely lived in these depths and stained the soil with their mark probably knew the terrain inside and out more than he could ever hope to do in a decade, but they would remember him...for his stand. Because out of all his vast array of nightmares, this was the one that he would not attempt to wake from. As he charged forward, he felt as a breath exhaled from the winds of hope. He slashed through these creatures without a sound escaping his mouth, but vigor roared in his heart, empowered by the one goal that would keep him going:

He. Will. Kill him.

Shores of Destiny

"Dad! Riku!" Riku was dashing as fast as he could. He had heard his best friend call for him and he was going to answer, even if it meant ignoring his mom when he ran from the table at the island party. Of course, Sora's dad, who was basically Sora except taller with black hair and a pony tail, easily beat him to the scene. Riku wasn't too far behind though and managed to put together what had happened.

"Sora?" Riku looked from Sora's dad to the little girl that Sora was barely carrying in his arms. Riku looked into the evening sky and saw that stars were falling across the sky. He had never seen this red-haired girl before, could she have come from the stars?

"She's really tired..." Sora said pleadingly, "Can we help her?" Whatever question Riku had for his friend would have to wait. For now, his friend wanted to help this girl and he would be at his side.

"Of course Sora." Sora's dad told his son which made him smile reassured, "I'll find the mayor, stay with her until I get back." Riku watched as Sora's father ran off to find the other grown-ups and then turned back to Sora. He was calmer, but his younger friend still looked baffled on what to do with the girl in his arms. Rolling his eyes, Riku took one of the girl's arms and put on his shoulder to help Sora carry her. Not that he wasn't doing a bad job, but Sora was more of a runner instead of a carrier. Plus, little boys at their age can't really carry much.

Then Riku stopped and looked back to the shore.

"You take her to the cabin," Riku suggested to his friend. "I'm staying out for a bit."

"What for?" Sora asked, almost looking afraid to be left alone with the girl.

"The girl might have dropped something." Riku said, it was right off the top of his head but Sora accepted the explanation. In truth, Riku wasn't sure what he was looking for, but he felt something call to him on the shores of this boring island. He walked to where Sora most likely carried the girl from shore and gazed upon the fading tracks in the sand until he found it.

A keyblade.

Unlike the keyblade of the man who Riku had met a year ago, this keyblade was round and curvaceous to the point of appearing harmless. One side of the hilt was formed in the shape of a breaking ocean wave, while the other was formed into a beige vine of sand that wrapped around the shaft, which was colored to resemble a sunset. The vine running along the shaft connected to a bouquet of colorful flowers, which formed the teeth of the Keyblade. A red, sulken keychain connected the hilt to a token Riku thought resembled a paopu fruit.

Riku gripped the keyblade and found that like the other one, it was very light to pick up. Maybe it was because of the ceremony that the keyblade warrior put Riku through, he smiled at this thought. As he held the keyblade, he felt it resonate in the direction of the cabin and put two and two togther. This was her keyblade. How did the girl get one? Maybe she had gone through the same ceremony that he did, that meant that the keyblade order was real, which meant that the warrior was real...

Which meant there were other worlds out there.

As he looked upon the keyblade, a white light covered it and vanished, taking the keyblade along with it. Riku was both dissapointed and mesmerized by the display, but somehow felt that the keyblade would return when it was needed. He had been promised his own keyblade afterall and one day, he would return the girl's to her.

"Riku?" The silver haired boy turned to see that Sora was still kind of nervous. Of course he was, he didn't know how to handle girls and looked to his older friend for help.

"It's nothing..." Riku said, "You sure she came from the ocean?"

"Yeah!" Sora jumped up and down as he started talking about his brief conversation with the girl as if he had just met the queen of his life. Her name was Kairi and according to Sora, she had pretty blue eyes. Riku noted that a lot of people on the islands had blue eyes so he wasn't quite sure what Sora saw in them. Judging from the way Sora acted for the rest of the day until the Mayor and Sora's dad came to their cabin, Sora had fallen in love at first sight.

Just like in a fairy tale.

"Maybe he'll marry her." Riku thought with a smirk while Sora kept talking. Chances were, she'd end up living on the island anyway so that would give him and Sora another friend, Sora would get cuddies one day, and Riku would find answers.

Answers to take him beyond this ocean.

Ten Years later

Hallow Bastion, Radiant Garden

"Well, that's what happens when you put your whole being into an attack. You know what I mean? Not that Nobodies actually HAVE beings... right? Anyway, I digress."

"Think I'll pass. My heart just wouldn't be in it, you know? Haven't got one."

"I wanted to see Roxas. He... was the only one I liked... He made me feel... like I had a heart. It's kind of... funny... You make me feel... the same..."

"I want everybody I meet to remember me. Inside people's memories, I can live forever."

"Got it memorized? What's your name?"

"It's..." His mouth moved, wordlessly muttering his name as the youth released that he was conscious, "Wait...did I just talk..." Having spoken again, the youth lifted his back off of the floor of the laboratory, amazed that he even had true strength. He looked around his surroundings, he recognized them immediately...

"I'm alive! Wasn't I..." The youth asked himself as he shakingly stood on his feet and looked up, raising a hand over his eyes due to being unused to the ceiling lights, "Only one way to know for sure..."

He read out the first joke that he could think of.

"Three guys, stranded on a desert island, find a magic lantern containing a genie, who grants them each one wish." The youth recounted to himself, "The first guy wishes he was off the island and back home. The second guy wishes the same. The third guy says-" He found himself unable to finish due to the laughter that bolted him back onto the floor.

The true, unrestrained laughter that sounded from his lungs.

"He says...'I'm lonely. I wish my friends were back here.'" The youth finished as he continued to laugh, his sound of joy echoed through the seal-off laboratory before he finally contained himself, "That's...that's actually...funny!" His laughter subsided as the true dawned upon him. He was real...

He was...reborn.

"I'm back...I'm really back..." The youth saw a window nearby and walked to it and saw his reflection. He saw an older version of himself look back, the only thing missing were the purple reverse-teardrop shaped markings that used to be under his eyes. "I'm...taller too and still got the good looks" Indeed, the youth chuckled at how much taller he was from the last time he was in this lab.

"I wonder..." The youth wondered as he held out his hands and focused. Two boleros of fire and flame circled around them and formed into the chakrams that he'd used in his past life, "Yep! Still got the fire baby!"

"Better keep it down...I'm probably not the only one in here-" The youth stopped when he sensed a presence that he hadn't fully felt since he'd died in this very room, "Damn it...I hate being right."


"But darkness did cover the world once, in legend. We know so little about the Keyblade War—only that it was just the beginning. Amidst the crisis a precious light was found. It is a curious tale—and one worth exploring. They say ruin brings about creation. So what, then, would another Keyblade War bring? When the darkness falls, will we be found worthy of the precious light the legend speaks of? I must have these answers. The χ-blade needs to be forged, and with it, the door to the Keyblade War unlocked!"

"This heart belongs again to darkness. All worlds begin in darkness, and all so end. The heart is no different. Darkness sprouts within it. It grows, consumes it. Such is its nature. In the end, every heart returns to the darkness whence it came."

"I will guide you into the Depths of Darkness!"

"The Keyblade is said to hold phenomenal power.One legend says its wielder saved the world, while another says that he wrought chaos and ruin upon it. I must know what this Keyblade is. A key opens doors. It must be connected to the door I have opened."

"Hear me, Kingdom Hearts! It seems we must begin anew. Ah, but know this: I will give to you as many hearts as it takes. Mark my words! You can no more be complete without me than I without you. Heed me, Kingdom Hearts! Lend me your power, so that we may be complete! The power to erase the fools that hinder us."

"Kingdom Hearts! Fill me with the power of darkness...Supreme darkness..."

"That fool Ansem said the heart's true nature was beyond his understanding. But it's not beyond mine! Hearts are the source of all power!"

"Darkness conquers all worlds!"

"How long has it been since I walked these halls?" The Traveler mused as he walked the halls of a now forsaken citidel. Despite it's restoration, most inhabitants still felt unsure about revisiting the halls of the once-revered Sage whom held vigil over them. Many stories persisted of his actions and how they had brought about their Garden's destruction once before.

Then again, the truth about the man's actions were not entirely known to most. Nobody knew that one of Ansem's own apprentices had taken his name to hide his own activities. Nobody knew that the apprentice then lead a coup and overthrew Ansem before casting him into nothingness. No one knew that the apprentice cast the world into darkness to satisfy his urge to seek that which lied in darkness.

Even now, no one knew that the very same apprentice had returned. He awoke upon a bench near the fountains with two nightmares occuring in each eye. In his left, he was floating amidst a great abyss of darkness crying for the door to the Heart of Hearts to appear. The doors opened, but the light shrouded his vision and burned his being. In the other, two mere children held a blade of keys and fired a white light through his body and then leapt up to cleave through him.

Now he stood before the doors of what he remembered to be the medical ward. He looked inside to see that it had not been used for quite sometime, not since he and his fellow researchers had been there. Still, he found no need to stay there and continued searching the citidel. Occasionally he would spot a member of the Restoration Committee but he was well enough versed in the citidel's layout and confident in his own abilities of stealth to avoid all he came upon.

As he neared the area where he had first spawned his army of darkness, he stopped when he realized an annoying fact. A fact that made him open a corridor of darkness which he stepped through to emerge into the lower chambers of his creation. When the corridor dispersed, he looked upon the great stairs that spiralled down from the closed hidden door. He could never quite remember why he had made the stairs so vast and long, but mistakes of the past were best left there.

He walked along until he found a familiar door, one marked with the symbol of the Nobodies who he led in a past life. He placed his hand upon the symbol and watched as the door slowly slid open. He walked in and gave not a glance to the broken empty cells. He stopped and glanced to his left at a door ordained with the nobody symbol and had an urge to enter.

But he stopped, that which lied in that chamber was of no use to him now. It was not his friend, but the friend of he who once held this body. A fool whom he had manipulated into wading to far and deeply into darkness, as penalty, he likely lies within a mere shell of his former self formed of regret and hate. In any case, he no longer felt the fool hinder his actions. The Seeker was free to seek for that which he had sought for all of his lives.

Kingdom Hearts.

He kept walking, not stopping until he had come to the door which he sought. Like the other door, it too was ordained with a nobody symbol. But beneath it was another symbol which took some time for him to remember. It was the emblem of a chalice, filled with a great flame that emitted rays of light that cut through the outer circle of darkness. He knew this to be the marking of fellows he had called comrades long ago in the travels of the master who sought for what lied beyond the war he attempted to begin.

He placed his hand upon the calice and watched as thirteen blank squares appeared around the nobody symbol in a circle. Knowing what do to, he focused upon the memories within his mind and watched as each panel filled with the original names of they who had served him.

Braig. The trickster sharpshooter with whom he had schemed since before taking his body. He knew little of what the man hoped to gain, but made little note of long as his accomplice remembered whom he was partnered with.

Dilan. A furocious man of wind and inception, he could rely upon the Lancer of whirlwinds and maelstroms to keep others in line. Sadly, he fell while carrying out a pet-project that would have succeeded if not for the meddling of a certain boy.

Even. This academic alchemist always intrigued him. Curiosity always seemed to be the primary motivation for his involvement but his fear clouded his brilliance. Despite his attempted betrayel, there always a use for a man of science.

Aeleus. A silent stalwart guardian, though they had their disagreements, he did find comfort in this man's unwavering support. However, he knew that this guardian had no love for the Seeker and only followed him because there was no turning back.

Ienzo. The boy was an enigma at best and he schemed for his early overthrow at worst. When the boy was killed during an attempted coup, the Seeker found him hard to miss. Still, he was the third most capable in his band and could still be kept in line.

Isa. While he had doubted this beserker's loyalty at first, now there was no doubt that he was incredibly trustworthy and useful. Afterall, that was how he had been formed. The Seeker knew that the berserker may have planned to betray him but ultimately succumbed to the chains which had been placed on his heart.

Lea. This young man was entertaining to follow. A dancer amidst the flames of fate who believed his every action could somehow leave a mark on those he encountered. He was very competent and reliable in all but one matter, however. He died by his own hand defending that which he had already lost.

Myde. A competent but insignificant musicion who only joined to save his own existance. He fought and lost a battle he could not win though the attempt was admirable. In truth however, it was Lea and Isa who insisted on his recruitment, to the Seeker, he was nothing more than a pawn to fill in the ranks.

Ordul. Little could be mentioned of this gambler for he kept most opinions to himself. Perhaps he had been weary of the plans of his superiors and dreaded to be used as a pawn, but if that were the case, he eventually accepted his role and did not intrude upon his superior's goals

Lumaria. The man was a graceful figure but was a poor murderer from the seeker's own experience. Not content with his role on the board, he took possession of a fortress of oblivion and incited rebellion. The seeker laughed when he was killed by a whims of a lonely little girl and a powerful but naive boy.

Renela. This sadistic nymph always amused the seeker. She claimed not desire a heart but he could see through her. It wasn't that a heart was not her goal, but that she feared it. A detail emergent from her past no doubt, but it did not excuse her betrayal.

Sora. An interesting tale, the boy was both the bane and golden egg of his assembly. But his curiosity got the better of him and caused him to abandon the Seeker's fold. He sent a shadow of the boy after him, but it was absorbed and empowered the fool. Then he was captured and reformed with his original self.

When the slots were filled, the nobody symbol faded away as the outline of the chalice glowed. The seeker placed his hand upon it and uttered a two words with the voice of his mind.

No Heart.

The chalice faded and drained into the material of the door and slid open before him. Inside was a room of colorless walls and a floor of clear glass. He walked upon the floor and did not slip, appearences were decieving indeed. As he walked it did not take long for him to recognize that which sat upon a throne of Gold.

His Armor.

The Armor was branded with a single Nobody emblem centered on the torso, Nobody emblem-esque thorns protruding from its greaves, and Nobody emblem-esque thorns wrapping around its boots. Its crown and shoulder pad were gold, while the rest of the armor was colored in light shades of blue and silver. It had two silver belts on its waist and what seem to be white feathers on its right shoulder in place of a spiked pauldron. Several cords crisscrossed in front of its torso, connecting a pair of baggy sleeves to massive, oblong pieces of armor worn on each arm. The helm's faceplate was beak-like in structure and it possessed clawed gauntlets.

"A shame that I may never thank Xemnas...but it matters not." The compulsion of gratitude to a being that did not exist was of course only practical. Though the deeds of his alter egos did not meet his original plans, their efforts nontheless would go along way in advancing his current schemes. "I had cast you away once...didn't I?" The helm of the armor looked up to the intruder and slowly raised it's gauntlet towards him and charged a black orb circulating with white electricity.

While others would have been on guard at once, the man just stood and held up his own hand. His face was unflinching as an identical orb appeared in his open palm while white and grey electricty also sparked from around it as though it were a sprout of thorns.

"You acknowledge me?" The helm swung it's gauntlet and the orb broke into a surge of black grey that crashed all around the Seeker. When the surge was gone, he dissipated his own orb and felt an armrest of smooth stone beneath and behind his hand.

"Here it began." The man whom once held the name Ansem said when he sat within the throne opposite of the armor, "And now it begins, again." His eyes closed and he drifted to sleep as he slouched into the surprisingly comfortable chair. All moved according to his will and when he awoke, it would not be long until the next stage of his plan would begin.

This time, Kingdom Hearts would be his.



Author's Notes:

Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Thrones of the Four Pillars.

I'd originally started this fic nearly two years ago in December. At the time, it was just a random one shot that I'd made called, "Xehanort's Victory". A story where Xehanort aizen-pwns all of the heroes and had a very Dark M-rated feel to it.

But, while it was initially the opening chapter for the story and was set in place as a "Foregone Conclusion" type story, I eventually scrapped it and wrote an appropriate first chapter much like you've just gotten done reading.

The story is an alternate continuity of the KH series after KH2, going down a darker path...basically something akin to a Final Fantasy game that barely got a T-rating despite it's depressing/scary content, violence and other stuff that would haunt even mature gamers.

You know the one.

So, thanks for reading and I hope you enjoy the story so far.