A/N: My cousin wrote this in Chinese and I translated it. We are co-authors.
Warning: This story is based on the ending of the new KH game Dream Drop Distance that was out in Japan on March 29th. The very first part is exactly what's been shown in the game, and the rest of the story is our alteration of the ending and what we think could have happened to Sora inside his heart when he fell into the Darkness (which the game didn't tell directly). So there will be major spoilers for KH3D. If you don't want to get yourself spoiled for the whole game but you're still reading this, it's better to stop at this point. Because for you to understand this story better, first we'll have to give you a brief summary of what's happened in KH3D during the ending event. (You may also want to learn about Vanitas's back story to make sense.)
KH3D Ending Summary: ****SPOILER! DON'T READ IF DON'T WANT TO KNOW**** So basically, the whole Mark of Mastery exam for Sora was a trap set up by Xehanort since the very beginning (Yen Sid didn't realize this). After having traveled six Sleeping worlds, Sora dived into the dream world of The World that Never Was, where Sora thought the "first" Xehanort (the young black-hooded silver-haired figure) and his accomplices Xigbar and Xemnas were showing him many illusions to mess his mind up, but later Xigbar revealed that those "illusions" weren't illusions per se but indeed dreams created from Sora's own heart, and his job was simply to put Sora to sleep. So it turns out that it was indeed Sora's own Nightmare world that he dived into as Xigbar hypnotized him. The red-eyed black-hooded figure appeared in the trailer is Sora's Nightmare personified, or another Sora himself (a DE version) you could say…(why do I have to say 'another' XD).
In his nightmares, Sora was chasing after the ghost illusion of Terra and Aqua (whose image overlapped with Riku and Kairi). He also met Namine, who then turned into Xion, but without having a chance to say anything (though Sora did shed a tear), Xion ran away. Once Sora caught her up again, it was Roxas he ended up meeting. Roxas told him "it has to be you" and that Sora had all his thoughts and feelings. But Sora disagreed, he eagerly told Roxas that he always believed "Roxas is Roxas, you're not me" and he always wanted Roxas to be able to exist as his own person, not as Sora but as Roxas (Damn I almost cried when I saw that part). But Roxas only smiled back, telling Sora "that's exactly why it has to be you" (though no specification on what "it" thing he meant exactly). And then Roxas grabbed Sora's hands to transport all of his memories from 358/2 Days and KH2 to Sora (later it was revealed these memories included Xion). This time, Sora consciously learnt about Roxas' past life, which twisted his features into agony, anger and sadness. But eventually, Roxas also disappeared. Enraged, Sora shouted into the empty sky asking what the bloody hell did Xehanort intend to show him and what the hell did they want from him.
Finally he encountered Xigbar and Xemnas, who explained the whole plan to him. As the result of the ancient Keyblade War, the original X-blade that guarded Kingdom Hearts (it was also said X-blade and KH are equal existences) had broken into Seven pieces of Light and Thirteen pieces of Darkness. Nobodies, contrary to the previous believes, could indeed regain hearts depending on individual cases. Sora angrily questioned then why they just had to tell lies to Roxas and other Org members. Xemnas told him that he brainwashed the whole Org XIII telling them Nobodies didn't have hearts in order to completely obliterate the members' self-consciousness and to dominate their minds, so that they could turn into perfect vessels for Master Xehanort to transplant his own heart into them. The real purpose of Org XIII was in fact to collect thirteen suitable vessels to re-create Thirteen pieces of Darkness, preparing for the coming new-age Keyblade War. And the clash between the Seven Light Protectors and the Thirteen Darkness Seekers would eventually re-forged the true X-blade. Xehanort was recruiting a new Org XIII and Sora, was chosen as one of the Dark Vessels, the thirteenth one.
So Xehanort took the advantage of the exam and set up the trap to lure Sora into his own Dream world, as Sora insisted on chasing after those "nightmares" of his because his heart hurt so much, he was sinking deeper and deeper into the dream world, to the point that they could lock him up in his deepest nightmare and seal his heart into an eternal slumber in the Darkness, so that they could take his body as a Vessel for Darkness. Even though angry Sora successfully defeated Xemnas again after telling him people's heart were not tools they could abuse for their mad plan, Sora used up all his energy and unavoidably started falling into sleep while his body/heart started being engulfed by dark aura. The young Xehanort showed up again, telling Sora everything was fated and this was what it meant by "Light falls into Darkness". After he said goodnight to Sora, Sora started falling, but a ball of light chased after falling Sora, that light glowed stronger and stronger, eventually became Ventus' armor wrapping around Sora's body, saving him from being completely engulfed by Darkness. That's the truth of Ven's armor that you see in the trailer. Inside Ven's armor (so as the Nightmare-symboled dark version armor), it was actually Sora himself. Nevertheless, Sora's heart still fell into the deepest slumber.
Yen Sid sent Riku to dive into Sora's heart to wake him up, where the last boss fight took place and Riku met with Roxas, Ven, Xion and DiZ. Roxas, Ven and Xion respectively asked Riku three questions (which were the exact same questions the player was asked at the beginning of KH1). Afte then, DiZ told Riku, Sora was not here anymore and he had already woken up, but he gave Riku the research data he secretly hide in Sora's heart and asked him to bring it back to the outside world, the data could help them to revive those whose hearts were still lost. In the real world, Sora did wake up way before Riku did (and was actually having a party with Donald and Goofy….). Because he fell to Xehanort's trick, he didn't pass the Mark of Mastery, but Sora didn't show any negative after hearing the result, instead he congratulated Riku who was now a formal Keyblade Master cheerfully and sincerely. At the end of the end, Sora started a new journey alone, though it was not clarified what's the purpose of his new journey. (Don't tell me all he wants to do is just to go back to Traverse Town to look for those damn cute Dream Eaters…) At the same time in Castle Oblivion, Ventus seemed to start waking up…
Our story started with the part of Sora defeating Xemans. The title "Destati" means "Awaken", which I think KH fans must have known this already ya? XD Also, the terms appeared in this fic and the summary above are all directly translated based on their Japanese meaning. The official English translation may be different once the NA version of KH3D released.
(holycarp…sorry this summary ended up to be unexpectedly long)
I won! I beat him!
But why…why does my body feel so heavy? Why do I feel all my power is gone?
Sora couldn't support himself anymore. He fell onto the ground, lying on his back. His keyblade disappeared with a flash of sparkling lights. He was shocked to see his body start emitting ominous black aura. But he was too exhausted to move a single finger at the moment.
It was him who won the battle. It was him who defeated Xemnas again. But then why…?
"You are so simple, Sora."
"You again!" Sora struggled to turn his head to the side to face the silver-haired figure who was walking towards his direction.
"You think you won? No. You pursued too deep. In fact, you never have had a chance to win from the very beginning."
"What do you mean?"
"Ever since you set out this journey, you are already in our hands. The Symbol of Heresy carved on your chest is the best proof."
The symbol on my chest?…That X?
Sora moved a hand to touch the X-shaped, intersecting silver strips on his black top. He originally thought it was due to Yen Sid's magic that his outfit changed and had this weird "X" on it. Was it…not so?
"That's right Sora. We can track you down wherever you go because of this Symbol of Heresy. You must be curious why we are after you. Because Sora, you are important to our grand plan. No, to be more precise, this empty shell known as you is what is wanted by us. You are the Thirteenth Vessel of Darkness."
Sora felt his eye-lids were heavy as lead. He struggled to keep them open, but the overwhelming sleepiness blurred his mind. He could hear the black-hooded silverhead keep on rambling about something like fate and time traveling and blah blah, but none of the talk really made any sense to his hazy mind.
"I'm here to welcome you, No. XIII."
Sora could no long resist the sleepiness. His eyes were slowly closing as the dark aura emitting from his body growing denser and denser.
No! Not again! I don't wanna sleep! I can't! I have so many people I want to meet. I have so many things I have to finish. I can't fall asleep again! NO!
"Your heart will slumber in the abyss of Darkness for the rest of Eternity. Your body will become a perfect new vessel of mine. Light has finally fallen into the Darkness.
"Good night, Sora."
The moment his eyes closed completely, falling was all he could feel.
Falling and falling and falling. It was no strange experience to him but this time, it terrified him the most.
Can't see anything. Can't feel anything. Can't do anything. All he knew was that Darkness was pulling him down, swallowing him, tainting him.
He wanted to struggle, to fight back, but the warmth of the Darkness numbed his mind, the cozy sleepiness anesthetized his being.
Is it nothing I can do anymore? Is it…really the end?
But suddenly, he felt the coldness, the coldness belong to some kind of metal armors. That coldness wrapping around his body was warmer than the warm Darkness. That coldness was protecting him.
Sora felt he saw a ball of light chasing after his falling body. It seemed that light was talking to him, but he couldn't tell clearly.
He couldn't hear the words but only the voice, the familiar, nostalgic voice, reminding him of his Nobody. Somehow, it comforted him.
"Sora! Sora! Don't let your heart fall asleep!"
Sora opened his blue eyes suddenly. He looked around, saw nothing but darkness filling the whole space, isolating him.
"Where is this place?"
"Why every time I see you, you're always sleeping?"
He turned his head to where the voice came from. As he expected, he saw the blue-eyed blond boy in his casual cream-white jacket. If it wasn't his Nobody Roxas!
Sora couldn't hold back the pain that immediately attacked his heart as he remembered all the memories of his Nobody's past life that was passed to him not long ago. He still remembered how hurt, sad, angry his heart was feeling when he touched his Nobody's memories.
"I'm so glad to see you again Roxas! I still have lots to tell you, y'know?"
The excited brunet boy couldn't help himself but immediately grabbed his Other's hand forcefully as if to prevent the blond boy from disappearing again.
Yes, he had so many things he wanted to tell Roxas, especially after seeing the cruel truth that happened to his Nobody. But then as the overwhelming emotions all rushing back, his chest felt too heavy to breathe, his mouth felt too dry to speak. The inflating anger and sadness all stuck at his throat. Sora suddenly didn't know what to say or what he could say to his Nobody. He knew too well that if he let the anger and sadness take over his heart, it would only fasten his falling into Darkness. But he just couldn't help. He just…didn't know how to face all these negative emotions he was feeling right now.
"It's okay Sora. You don't have to."
"It's really okay. I need you to answer my question first."
"Sora, what are you so afraid of?"
Looking at the blond Nobody who was smiling at him gently and sincerely, Sora was confused. Somehow he felt like he had been asked this question before by someone else long time ago.
What is it that I'm afraid of? What is it that I fear?
He lowered his head, keeping ask himself the question again and again. He couldn't remember what answer he gave when the question was last asked. And he knew, this time, his answer would be different.
"I fear I would lose all my friends. I'm afraid of being left alone."
"Is that so?"
"Then, Sora, what is it that is most important to you?"
Sora heard another voice asking him. He instantly turned his head to where he found another blond boy who looked exactly the same as Roxas but only with different outfit. Without realizing how idiotic he looked as he hanged his mouth wide open, Sora looked back and forth between the two "Roxas" standing in front of him.
"Another Roxas? Wait, no, you are…you are…"
Scratching the back of his head out of habit, Sora knew somehow he already knew who this person was, not only that, he had known this person for a long time. And he knew that the voice that was warning him not to let his heart sleep belonged to this person, even though it sounded exactly the same as Roxas' voice.
"What's your answer, Sora?"
The second blond boy also smiled at him gently, crystal blue eyes staring at him with expectation.
Without a single hesitation, Sora answered firmly.
"My friends are my power."
Sora put both hands to the back of his hand as he gave both blond teens a toothful bright grin in return.
"Then Sora, what do you want to do from here on?"
Sora almost jumped as a third female voice asked him.
"Wah! You! You are…"
The name was just at the tip of his tongue, but why, why he just couldn't say it out.
Sora went into a trance as he stared into the same blue eyes owned by the black-haired girl. Not until a tear rolled down his face did Sora break the trance. Just like what happened before…
He tried to make couple chuckles as he hastily wiped away the tear. Great, now they must think he was some kind of weirdo for he could shed tears so sudden. But again, he just couldn't help. It was like the same with Roxas, whenever he saw the black-haired girl, those bitter, heavy, painful emotions all stuffed in his chest, making him want to grit his teeth.
Sora tightened his fists; he answered the girl's question with strong determination.
"What I want to do is to protect everyone. I don't want any of you to get hurt again! I have to stop Xehanort! People's hearts are not tools and toys for their experiments or tricks! I have to stop them, stop them from hurting anyone ever again!"
All three of them nodded and smiled at him as they heard his answer. All three of them reached out their hands to Sora.
"Now Sora, wake u-"
But they didn't manage to finish their sentence. The whole space suddenly started shaking violently. Darkness coming out of nowhere suddenly wiped away all three of the boys and girl.
"Wait! No! Don't disappear again!"
Sora wanted to catch their hands as he flied himself to their direction, only found himself start falling again, falling into unknown abyss.
"Crap. That hurts. What the heck's going on?"
Sora rubbed his hurt head. His head got hit when he landed on some unknown platform. He looked around as he trying to get back on his feet again. This space was even darker than the one he had just been. This place was so…void.
"Roxas? Ven? Xion? Where are you guys?"
Sora shouted out names that came out from his mouth instinctively. But no one answered him.
"Oi? Roxas! Where are you? Ro-ku-sa-su-!"
Unaware of the fact his voice was shaking with fear, Sora didn't want to give up and kept calling their names.
Damn. I just met them!
He started running in the empty space without knowing where to go. He was running and shouting until he completely exhausted himself.
Alone. This time, he was truly left alone.
Panting heavily from the running, Sora tried his best to press down the helpless feeling and growing fear as the irresistible sleepiness attacked him again. He reached out his hand, trying to focus his mind. But the Keyblade didn't show up in his hand as expected.
"What? My Keyblade?"
Xigbar told him that he didn't have the Keyblade-wielding power of his own. He was able to use the Keyblade only because Ventus' heart was connected to his. He was merely a vessel of the former Keyblade apprentice. But Sora could care less about that, as long as he was doing the right thing, he'd be happy to let the other's power run through him. As long as this power could help everyone, it didn't matter to him whether it truly belonged to himself or rather came from connecting to other people's hearts and power.
That was what he saw a Keyblade should be – Connected hearts are his power.
But then now, he could no longer summon the Keyblade. Sora found himself too afraid to think about the implication behind it.
Eyes were turning like lead again. Sora forced himself to lift his head high up, he kept hitting his own head with his fist hard and repeatedly.
Can't sleep can't sleep can't sleep can't sleep can't sleep! Roxas and the others told him he shouldn't let his heart sleep, so he had to keep himself awake as much as possible!
But now, even "they" were not here to support him, how long could he hang on?
"Hmph, hmphmphmph, hmphahahahahahaha, is that all you can do, the Hero of Light?"
The dead silence of the void space was suddenly cracked by a twisted psychotic laughter. Sora couldn't help but shivered at the sound. The creepy laughter totally sobered him up.
He instinctively shouted back with hostility as he sensed the sarcasm in that unfriendly tone.
"Why are you so afraid of being alone, Sora?"
A raven-haired boy slowly showed himself up from a cloud of dark aura. A pair of icy piercing golden eyes stared at Sora with a mocking and sadistic glisten in them.
Gasped, Sora realized he had seen him before at the Notre Dame. He was creeped out by this guy at that time as the crazy look and the dark aura radiating from this guy was even more terrifying and threatening than Xehanort.
But why was he here? Why was he meeting him here?
This place was supposed to be my heart…
And seriously? The guy has MY face and MY hair! Well, not exactly the same color but…Wait! Doesn't his voice sound like MINE too?
"Who the heck are you?"
Sora couldn't help but step back a little. Somehow he felt he knew the answer already, but…could it be? Could it really be?
"Hmph, Sora, let me tell you this-"
The raven-haired boy was approaching him closer and closer, making Sora stepping back more and more. That sadistic smirk pasting on his face, that madness flashing in his golden eyes, all made Sora want to keep away from this guy. Sora can't help but wonder, could it possibly be that his another self was a completely psycho?
"Being alone is nothing to be afraid of."
His back seemed to have touched some invisible wall, no more space for him to step back further. He was right there in front of him. He was reaching out his hand to him-
"Ever since I was born, I'm always on my own."
At the moment his hand touched him, there was something, something so overwhelming start invading his mind. Sora felt he was engulfed by the over-flooding negativity, hit by the enormous agony that was hundred times stronger than the pain he felt when he touched Roxas and Xion's memories.
Sora grabbed his head forcefully, curling his body up in pain.
Are these…are these HIS memories?
Endless killing, endless cycle, endless torment, endless struggle, never-ending DESPAIR.
A badly wounded boy lay on the wasteland ground all alone. Bone-chilling wind dried up all the tears on his face that was shed long ago.
"See? In the end, you're all by yourself. Do you honestly think anyone would come to your rescue?"
He heard his own voice asking him coldly and cruelly.
"Stop it, Vanitas!"
"You're ruining Sora's heart!"
"Don't hurt him anymore!"
He also heard voices begging him to stop, the three voices from far away, too weak to mean anything.
He heard his own voice laughed, laughing with contempt.
"Hmph, like now, even though they want to help, they are just as powerless as you. After all, you are all alone."
Sora struggled to get back on his feet.
"Even if they couldn't help me right now, as long as they have tried to, as long as they think about me, our hearts are bonded together! Connected hearts –"
"Cut the crap of your connected-hearts-are-your-power shit!"
Sora wasn't able to finish his sentence as he was stunned by the sudden burst out from the raven haired boy. He didn't understand why he got so furious so suddenly.
"Fine, fine, fine. Then show me! Show me your strength. Show me your so-called power of Bond. Let's see who is stronger, you and your connected hearts shit, or me!"
A gear-looking black-and-red Keyblade appeared in the raven male's hand as he posed for battle. Sora widened his eyes in disbelief.
"Are you kidding me? You know I can't use a Keyblade right now! That's unfair!"
Sora tried to summon his Keyblade again but again failed.
"Then stay here, be my company forever!"
His strike was as fast as bolts. Thanks to the fact that Sora was a well-trained warrior himself, he managed to parry his first strike right on time. But the raven continued his attack like waves after waves. Without a weapon, Sora couldn't confront his attacker directly, all he could do was dodging and running. But the other's moves were too fast, Sora ended up taking several blows which further slowed down his move.
Seeing that he was losing the battle, Sora used all his strength to make a large jump, getting himself out of the raven's attack range in hopes to give himself a brief break to breathe.
"You're playing dirty! Only if I had my Keyblade, I wouldn't-"
"Yeah that's right. Without a Keyblade, what are you really? You are nothing but a powerless worthless scum."
Surprisingly, the raven boy didn't pursue his attack, he lowered his Void Gear, looking at Sora with a blank emotionless face. Unable to argue back, Sora only tightened his fist, gnashing his teeth.
"So this is all you have in you huh? To rely on others to lend you power, is that all you can do? Do you have any power that you can call your own if your heart disconnect from others? You always rely on others to help you, save you, don't you?"
"No, it's not like that!"
Sora wanted to argue more but then he realized what the raven said wasn't completely wrong. In fact, even though in many cases he didn't ask for it himself, it was true that he had been helped and saved by so many other people ever since the start of his first journey.
"Not like what? Just now, Ventus saved you from being completely consumed by Darkness by putting his armors on you. Have he not done so, you wouldn't be able to show your pathetic face in front of me right now.
"Also, aren't those three losers trying to wake you up by asking you those stupid questions? How laughable they really think that would work.
"Listen carefully Sora. Your heart may be connected to those fools, but nobody can suffer your pain for you. Same that nobody can overcome your fear for you. You have to face your fear and your darkness by yourself!
"If you can't overcome this on your own, then don't speak of shit like protecting others. It'll only make me laugh!"
Eh? What did he just say?
Finally starting to realize the true meaning behind the raven's words, Sora widened his blue eyes.
Could it be…Could it be that this psycho was indeed trying to…?
Blue eyes looked steadily into the golden ones. When he saw the same crazy smirk returning to the raven's face, a smile curled up on his own lips.
It's not that because it is true that deep down here I'm all alone. It's not that I can't rely on others at all. But only I can overcome my darkness and my fear. The burden is mine and mine alone to carry. Nobody can help me to fight my own darkness, not even my friends, not even 'them'. He is right that if I can't do this on my own, then that means I'm not strong enough. If I want to protect the worlds and save 'them', I have to be strong! I have to be strong enough!
My heart hurt so much when I was chasing after the dreams. I fell into Xehanort's trap because I didn't know how to deal with all that pain. But if I want to save 'them' from their sorrow, then I can't let this happen again!
This time, I'm not gonna wait for others to help me again. I'm not gonna wait for someone else to wake me up.
I will do this, on my own.
At that very moment, lights started glowing in Sora's hand. The lights eventually materialized into the Kingdom Keyblade.
As he posed himself ready for the battle, gripping firmly on his Keyblade, Sora grinned to the raven.
"Thank you, Vanitas."
The black-haired male simply snorted. He rose his own Keyblade and charged to the brunet boy.
The sparks from the clashing of two Keyblades lit up the whole void dark space. Beneath the two fighting Keyblade warriors, darkness started fading away, finally revealing a color-stained glass platform on which a portrait of the young brown-haired Keyblade wielder lies.
In the Mysterious Tower.
"Hey don't you guys think Riku has been gone too long? Is Sora really gonna wake up?"
Lea impatiently tapped his foot against the floor as he sitting backwards on his chair. He watched Donald and Goofy busily setting up a table full of foods in disbelief.
"Yup, he surly will."
"Goofy's right, stop worrying too much Axel."
"It's Lea! Darn, you guys never get it memorized."
"Whatever. Hey Goofy, go grab some sea salt ice. Sora would love to have some of that."
The redhead simply dropped his head in defeat.
A groan coming from the corner immediately caught everyone's attention in the room.
"Sora's waking up!"
Everyone rushed to his side, surrounding the brunet boy. As expected, the brunet teen slowly opened his blue eyes up.
"Thanks Kingdom Hearts he's awake!"
"Wait, but how come Riku isn't waking up?"
"Who knows. Maybe he will later. Sora, Sora, you feeling okay?"
Sora looked back at his cheering friends with his still blurry eyes. He rubbed his eyes couple times, and then he asked:
"Got any food? I'm so hungry."
A/N: My cousin and I don't like the fact Vanitas was given only one line in the whole game, so we decided to write this story. Vani should have played a more important role than just saying one line. If not, why bother showing him in the trailer SE? Anyways, I'd better not to start ranting otherwise it's gonna be another long AN. XD
Thanks for reading. Reviews please? Any questions about the game is also welcomed.