His eyes – yellow, smug – bored into mine, and I felt the weight of a thousand memories that weren't mine, shouldn't be mine, never were mine bearing down on me with each step he took. I carried too many hearts, one too many, two too many, how many people lived inside me?
"Nothing but a puppet. Are you even the real one? Do you even exist?"
I put my hand to my head and felt the weight of all those memories… and then a voice inside me that cried out, Don't give up, Sora! I believed in you, and I still do… so let's do this!
A familiar voice. A voice that had once told me I made a good Other. I felt the uncertainty, the memories, the darkness, all trying to swallow me, trying to pull me in and eat me alive until I just couldn't take it anymore, and then I felt light. I opened my eyes inside my heart, stared into the darkness without fear, because I knew in my heart that my light was stronger.
Then I felt the memories swirl around me, but this time, I could feel each of them, all of them, holding me up and supporting me. I took each memory and put to it a face, a name, a heart that floated beside me.
I felt the pain of not knowing who my friends were, after a meeting with someone I had never seen again… but who I knew I would meet, years later, down the road. The real me. I set it aside, the uncertainty, the fear, the pain, and I felt a smile from deep inside as I touched a vague memory of my own voice. I stared at a twisted version of my own face, and stared back from those same, twisted eyes, because both were two halves of a shattered whole. I felt the pain of being split in half, the pain of being forced back together, and I moved on, accepting the darkness along with the light; I felt it rage in me and I knew it's echo from my own heart.
Darkness had its place in many memories; all the pain and fear of too many lives, wrecked by the guy whose yellow eyes had mocked me throughout this entire journey.
I felt the pain of a choice that split apart a group of friends, buried memories lost by far too many that had found their way to me, after she returned what she'd accidentally stolen. She called herself a she, identified herself as a girl, but deep in her mind, in her fabricated heart, she knew she was just a puppet doomed to play her part. She knew him better than I ever would; I let myself be a little jealous of that. I wished I could meet him. But she'd had to choose what was best for everyone… I could understand, just a little, how that must have felt for her. I knew what it was like to face a friend over the shaft of a Keyblade.
"Chin up," I heard, and turned into another memory, staring out of two different sets of eyes at two different versions of me. He took control of the memories' flow and showed me the way, showed me wistful pictures of friendship from two different lives.
Then he showed me another one.
I hate you, so much!
You should share some of that hatred with Sora. He's far too nice for his own good.
And then he did, showed me what it was like to hate, showed me how angry he was, how sad at the los of friends, all the emotions he'd been told he could never have, and it pissed.
Ansem had wanted him to teach me how to hate. How to be angry. How to take that anger, and direct it at a purpose, a person, so I could avenge him.
But this was bigger than that. It was bigger than revenge, or hatred, or payback or life or death. It was about a bunch of people who had deserved to live their own lives. Who, even if their existence was screwed up, deserved that existence. People who should never have had to stand at opposite sides of a field from their friends, who should have been friends forever, who should have never even heard of a cursed Kingdom Hearts and the heart of all worlds.
Who was this guy? Who did he think he was, ruining so many innocent lives, hurting so many innocent people?
I felt it, felt that rage, felt that anger, and I took it and channeled it not along the dark path of vengeance, but into a driving, raging hunger for justice.
I felt him, my Other, press something into my hand, and I grabbed it, and grabbed his power at the same time, opening my eyes fully to the world as I summoned Roxas' twin Keyblades into my hand – Oathkeeper and Oblivion, light and darkness, the ultimate balance of creation and destruction, love and hate. I felt them all, felt their power inside me, and I felt like my entire body was radiating with energy and light as I looked up into those golden eyes.
"So what if I' nothing without them?" I cried, raising Oathkeeper to my side. "With their combined strength within me…" I raised Oblivion as well, felt energy rippling through me, lifting me off the ground.
"I can take you down," I yelled, and power surged around me. "PERMANENTLY!"
It burst out of me, and I backflipped in the air, feeling as powerful as I did while in my Final Form, but I didn't have that power right now. It didn't seem to matter; here I was, floating in the air, the Keyblades' strength flowing through me, and the man who'd once been called Master Xehanort staring up at me in a mixture of surprise and shock.
Then, slowly he grinned, pulling his own Keyblade out of the air and readying it, beckoning me toward him.
And we fought.
A/N: Hello all, Miri here. Yes, it's another oneshot, and yes, it's DDD related. I found this super-amazing piece of fanart by =ssceles on DeviantArt of Sora... pretty much losing it, presumably at YMX. I asked her (him?) if I could do a fic based on it, and she (he?) said yes! So here it is. You should go look him/her up when you get the chance; the artwork is titled "22 MORE DAYS" as it's part of her/his countdown towards DDD's JPN release.
Lemme know what you think! Hope you liked it. ~Miri