This is not a story. Well, alright it is. But it's sort of not a story. I know, I know. I've confused you, haven't I? Believe me, it's not nearly as confusing for you as what I'm going to tell you about.
This is more of a warning than a story, but there's a story to it too. I guess you could call this a meta-story.
What's the warning? Read on and you'll pick up the warning from what I had to go through.
What? Who am I? Didn't you read the author name on this? Yeah. It's little old me. For the purposes of this story, let's say my name is Liam. Or Lee. It's not really, but I like the name, so I'm using it.
Now honestly, stop interrupting me, or we'll never get anywhere with this.
Oh yeah. And I don't own Kingdom Hearts. Guess I shouldn't forget that, huh?
Normally, whenever I write a story it goes straight from head to computer via the hands and the keyboard. I keep getting told this isn't the right way to go about it, and that I should write it down on paper first, then transcribe it to the computer.
Quite aside from the fact that my handwriting is dreadfully illegible even to me sometimes, I've just never got on well with writing anything down. I hate paper and paperwork. I'm allergic to the stuff – I break out in a nasty rash of procrastination. Means putting things off unnecessarily, for those who don't know.
But I also made myself a promise ages ago that I'd always give anything a try once. Twice depends on the first time, of course.
So I went out and got myself a book. Not one to read, one made for writing in. Like a pad, but with more pages and a hard cover. They're not easy to find, and I swear the one I found was the only one there. The store never did have them in again, though I know why now. So will you if you let me get on with this and don't let me get sidetracked. It happens a lot.
Nothing out of the ordinary, you'd think, right?
Nothing is further from the truth. Except maybe some of my more random ideas.
The book itself caught my eye mostly because it had a tiger stripe design on the cover. I like big cats, tigers especially. Inside the covers was the same, except for a small blue patch in the bottom right corner of the front cover.
On that patch was a little note that read 'Written is real'.
I figured it was just someone who'd scribbled it there for a joke and ignored it while I sat trying to think what to write. I've been writing a fair bit of Kingdom Hearts stories lately, and I have a habit of carrying around one of the characters in my head to talk to. Maybe I'm just schizo, but I find it helps me think.
What does that have to do with it? Everything – the story I came up with was Roxas's idea. We were arguing over what the story should have been and who it should have then we got on to who it should be about. While we had that argument out, he told me I'm a lot like Sora.
Alright, I admit I'm somewhat impulsive, I rarely think of the consequences to my actions, I hate planning and I'll stick up for my friends no matter what, even past the point where it becomes stupid. But I don't go around meddling like he always does, and I try to put some thought into things. And I'm more creative than he is. I travel a lot less too.
So Roxas had the 'bright' idea of making the story putting me in Sora's place. Literally and completely. Alright, not completely – but in this idea of his, I just end up looking like Sora. The idea was that I'd get the chance to prove I wasn't like him and do things differently.
Just think about that idea of his for a moment. If you unexpectedly got to lead Sora's life, but without his personality getting in the way and everything, wouldn't you jump at the chance to enjoy it?
Normally I would. It'd be a welcome change from some of the more recent annoyances in my life.
Normally though, I'd type the idea straight onto the computer though, and not write it into this book I had.
I'm not sure if I make a mistake or not in writing the start of that story in the book.
I'd planned to use what I wrote there as a kind of rough draft, and expand on it when I transcribed it, so my first line was a bit plain, hardly the kind of thing I normally put up for you all to see.
It read: 'I found myself in Sora's body'.
I'd been sat up in my bed, the top bunk. I have to share with my brother, who is likely to read this, so I won't pass comment on him here. He happened to be playing Kingdom Hearts from the bottom bunk at the time, starting a new game as it happened. So naturally when I was writing those words, I was thinking of Sora as he was way back at the start. Before the Heartless, the Keyblade, running around saving life as we know it... you know what I mean.
What's the first think Sora does after he goes through that Dive to the Heart? He wakes up.
What did I do? I woke up. Feeling disoriented – not something I normally get at all, immediately raising my suspicions – I pushed myself up, looked out over the sea, then just let myself fall back on my elbows to see Kairi looking back at me.
Normally, I can think pretty quickly – but as certain people will tell you, I deal very badly when surprised. And coming face to face with Kairi on Destiny Islands, when you firmly remember being sat in bed just moments before... if that's not a surprise, it's at least unexpected enough to startle anyone.
Like Sora does, I sat up again quickly in surprise.
"Sora, you lazy bum," she told me. Of course, she had no idea what had happened. "I knew I'd find you snoozing down here."
Surprised or not, I was quick enough to realise where I was, and even managed to cover by answering, "I guess I just dozed off again."
"You're always dozing off. Don't you get enough sleep at home?"
"Nothing wrong with lazing around a bit," I told her defensively. It's true, I tend to do it a lot myself. Good for thinking.
"You mean goofing off and dreaming about other worlds again."
"Who says they're just dreams? Maybe I'm really seeing other worlds in them." Alright, I was improvising.
I know what was meant to happen, at least in some vague way. Which meant that I'd know what to expect before I should have, be more ready to counter anything that came up and so on.
I could have played along and acted the part, but that would have gone against the entire idea. Maybe I didn't know what I was doing here in Sora's body and all, but the situation was perfect.
So knowing that, I added, "Someday I'll get out there and see 'em all for myself."
"So what're we waiting for?" she asked me.
I winked, turned and said, "You," to Riku. "Can't go forgetting you, can we?"
"Oh yeah? You're forgetting to work on the raft with me, aren't you?" Riku answered.
"Don't you know it's rude to keep working when everyone else is taking a break?" I teased.
"And you're just as bad as him," he told Kairi. Evidently Sora's story was going to try to unfold as it should do anyway, despite any differences I tried to make. I wasn't going to let that stop me change things though.
"You noticed," she answered. "We'll finish it together then – I'll race you?"
"Are you kidding me?" Riku asked.
"You're on!" I said over him.
"What's gotten into you?"
"What's wrong, Riku? Don't think you can keep up with me?"
"Oh, now you're asking for it!"
I beat him, naturally. Maybe I'm just competitive, but if I'm going to race someone I'm going to try and win it. Whenever I saw Sora doing it, he never seemed to be really trying.
As you've probably already guessed, Kairi sent me off looking for supplies; a couple of logs, a cloth to use as a sail and a rope.
I left the sail to last. Probably just as well that I did. You know that hollowed out tree where you get it? Well, when I got to there, the cloth wasn't the only thing there.
The book was there, with a pen beside it. The cover was the same tiger stripe design, the note inside the cover was still there. The only difference was what was written.
In place of what I'd written, there were new words in handwriting I didn't recognise. They read:
'Liam, if you're reading this, write a response please. I need you.'
So someone knew I wasn't who I appeared to be, and had left this here for me. Where anyone could have stumbled across it.
After the last time I'd written in the book, I was wary about writing in it again, especially with my words erased and replaced with these ones.
But I put caution aside and wrote:
'I'm here. Who are you?'
I waited. After a moment, more words started to write themselves below.
'Who do you think? Where else was I going to end up while you go running around in my life?'
Sora. Something clicked in my mind, and I realised what had happened. When I'd written those first words in the book, they had become real. I really had found myself in Sora's body – and there's no room for two people in one body, so he'd ended up in my own.
'Write something to put us back then,' I wrote. Alright, maybe I did want this chance, but Sora had no idea how to live my life.
'I already tried,' he wrote back. 'The words just disappeared afterwards. I don't think that will work.'
'I made the book appear there so I could communicate with you,' Sora's writing went on. 'Actually, it was Roxas's idea, but what is he doing around in your mind with you?'
I had to laugh to myself. That Roxas was hardly the real one, he was just there while I'd been working on my stories that he had a part in. It made it easier to write his parts with him around to point out mistakes.
But real or not, Roxas had been around with me long enough that he'd be able to guide Sora until one of us figured a way out of this.
'Long story,' I told Sora. 'Listen to him, because he'll be able to tell you what you need to know. Keep the book around too – if you've created it here, you should be able to make other changes to your life here that'll give me the upper hand just by writing in it.'
Then I realized something. Sora knew about Roxas. That meant he remembered his entire life, rather than just up to the point I'd jumped in at. Sora also seemed to know what was going on, and that left me with a nagging suspicion, so I added:
'Does that book there tell you what I'm doing here?'
'Including what you're thinking. I'll know if you want something, but keep that book on you anyway and check it from time to time, will you? I might need to hear from you if Roxas can't help.'
Well that made sense.
We talked a little more, mostly getting him used to his situation, then I pocketed the book and pen, took the cloth and returned to Kairi.
I joined Kairi and Riku that night, where he gave his rambling speech about other worlds. I didn't really change anything there, so I won't go and repeat it.
On the way back though, he threw the Paopu fruit at me.
"You wanted one, didn't you?" he called to me, catching up.
"Me? Are you trying to suggest something Riku?"
"Oh, I dunno – you're the one offering one to me here..."
No, of course I wasn't serious. I admit to having a bit of a crush on Riku (Keep it to yourself though) but that was one thing I wasn't going to change here. I was just joking with him.
The look he gave me was priceless though.
"I'm kidding you," I told him. "I'll share one with Kairi when I'm ready. Even if you share one first."