A/N: This chapter was tweaked a little bit. I didn't really know what I was doing when this little writing journey began, but I'd say I'm doing a bit better now!

Heartless; those without hearts. Nobody; a shell with no reason. Unversed; emotions with no boundaries.

After failing the mark of mastery exam, 16 year old Sora left to clear his mind. He decided to look for the answers he knew his friends wouldn't be able to give him. He needed to make sense of thing things he saw while in the sleeping world. Just who was that lady he met all those years ago? Was the organization truly back? Did they want revenge? Why was he tricked so easily?

While racking his brain for answers, Sora was unaware that 17 year old Riku was on his way to bring their friend Kairi from their home world, Destiny Islands, to Master Yen Sid for Keyblade training.

Riku was at first a little worried about how Sora would react to Kairi being thrown into all the dangers of combat. Anyone would have to be blind to see how much Sora liked Kairi. Hell, he wouldn't be surprised if he loved her at this point. It always frustrated Riku that Sora never said anything. Nevertheless, he kept his doubts to himself, and left for Kairi. When he finally reached the Islands, he started down the familiar route to his childhood friend's house. Knowing her parents were at work, Riku knew the task of speaking with Kairi privately would be easy. He felt lucky that way because he felt bad enough that he would have to take her away from her family. With a sigh, he made his way closer to his destination. Riku slowly approached the front door of the mayor's house, and knocked, only having to wait a moment or two,

"Riku! You're back!" she hugged him, and he gently returned it, "Where's Sora?" she peered over his shoulder. He only stared into her eyes, deciding whether or not to tell her he failed the exam, giving her the wrong idea, "Did something happen…?"

"No, no!," Riku shifted around, uncomfortably, "I just…We need to talk."

Kairi had known her two best friends for far too long. Long enough that if there was something one of them wasn't telling them, you could bet Kairi would figure it out in a heartbeat.

"You're a little jittery, are you okay?"

"Never better," Riku asked too quickly.

"Riku, what aren't you telling me? Just say it."

"Not out here."

"Okay, come in, then."

Kairi didn't hear fear, but more stress in Riku's voice. This made her not so fearful, but more concerned that something bad was going to happen.

"Well, congrats on becoming a master! But, what about Sora?" Kairi wondered.

"He'll tell you all about it when he sees you." Riku tried to avoid any eye contact; Kairi knew it.

"I'm assuming this isn't the only reason you're here, is it?"

"You're too smart for your own good. You know that, right?" Riku shook his head with a small smile.

"It's a girl thing," Kairi laughed, "But seriously, this wasn't it, was it?"

"No, Master Yen Sid requested for me to bring you to the tower, but before you ask, he wouldn't tell me why," Riku answered as he noticed Kairi about to ask.

"Me? That's weird. What do you think he could want from me?"

"Who knows at this point..."

"What's that supposed to mean? Is something happening? Is Sora...is he okay?"

"Yeah, of course he is!" Riku lied, "So, are you gonna come with me to see Yen Sid?"

"Well, yeah, I suppose I am. It's not like I'm going to just say no."

With that, Kairi gathered a few things, and left a note for her parents. She didn't want them to worry, but she knew they'd never let her go if she even dared to try.

Sora was trying to think of the best way to ask Master Yen Sid for a second chance to take the test. Sure, he was happy for Riku, but he wanted to prove to himself that he could do it too! He didn't really understand why he even failed in the first place. He knew that he he wanted to be given a task that would aid them in their final clash against Xehanort. But he didn't know what else he could do to show the mark. All he knew was he was wasting time just sitting around. As he stood up, he could have sworn he heard someone whisper 'Master Sora', but he decided it was perhaps the wind, or his overacting imagination. He summoned his Kingdom Key, with his next destination already in mind.