Disclaimer: Still not mine

So I figured that I'd try Chain of Memories one more time from the beginning. I started with a different world this time, Agrabah, and that has helped since I levelled up a lot quicker. I've only done 2 worlds (excluding Traverse) and have Sora levelled to 17 where last time when I got stuck in the Wonderland boss fight I was 3 worlds in and only on level 12. I've done Agrabah and Olympus, which should I do next?

Chapter 11

Another level and still no sign of Sora. She was so worried about him, what if Ansem somehow took him over again? What if he forgot all about her? Would she forget about him by the time they found him again?

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"If Kairi disappears, that would mess up the Organisation's plans," Axel offered as they watched events unfolding.

"I trust that you know what you need to do," Marluxia looked up at him, and Axel shrugged.

"Haven't a clue, really. Maybe you could spell it out for me," he pushed.

"Vexen has clearly committed a treasonous act against the Organisation. You must eliminate the traitor."

"No taking that back later," he warned, waiting a second, but then vanished when Marluxia remained silent. He had nothing against Vexen personally, but Saïx wanted them all eliminated so that he could move higher in the hierarchy of the Organisation.

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"Gawrsh... Where are we, Kairi?"

"Hmm... I dunno... I've never been here," she looked around at the bright cobbled streets, the fountains, and buildings…and above it all was a castle. She didn't know it…did she?

"Me neither," Donald shook his head even as Jiminy jumped down.

"That can't be right! Up 'til now, the only places we've been are from Kairi's memory," the cricket pointed out.

"Maybe so, but I…I definitely don't remember this."

"You might have forgotten this town just like the other stuff," Donald suggested, and she grimaced at the idea.

"This is terrible. Our memories are practically gone," Jiminy moaned.

Donald and Goofy looked down in despair. Kairi reached into her pocket and pulled out the still incomplete charm she'd been working on back home. She'd been planning to make…three, right? One for each of them…but who was the other boy? It hurt to try and remember him, grief, but why?

"We'll be okay," she whispered, they had to be.

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Kirux and Xion sat together on the clock tower, eating their ice cream. It was better than returning to the Castle, here they could just sit in peace.

"Kirux?" She called, and he looked at her. "Why do you think we have no memories?"

"I don't know," he answered.

"Do you think…there's something wrong with us?"

"We're Nobodies," didn't that automatically mean there was something very wrong with them?

"I guess…"

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"Nice work. I say good riddance to that blabbermouth," Larxene praised as Axel joined them.

"Marluxia... You used Vexen to test Kairi's strength, didn't you?"

She laughed when Marluxia stayed quiet. "Not just hers, it was yours, too. We weren't sure if you actually had it in your bones to take out a fellow member." She walked over to him. "Well, I guess that you did. It's time to join up. Taking over the Organisation will be like child's play with the three of us."

"So that's where Kairi comes in," he stated, and she smirked.

"Got it."

It was much easier getting things done with Axel informed and on their side. Once they had Kairi and her Keyblade they could really get moving. It was going to be great!

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"Why can't you take a hint!" Sora snarled at her as Kairi skidded to a stop in the next hall. "I want nothing to do with you! Then again your memory is a train wreck, so maybe you've already forgotten. Do you even remember Riku anymore?"

Riku…was that the other boy, the one it hurt to try and think about. "Where is he…no…he's…he'd dead, isn't he?" she whispered.

"And it's all your fault!"

Was it? That didn't feel right to her. How could either of them trust their memories in this place? She leapt back as Sora summoned his Keyblade and lunged, calling her own, blocking his next attack. They fought up and down the hall, Kairi struggling against his greater strength and the Darkness curling around him. Fighting him was so hard but she had no choice, he was fighting to hurt…to kill? She just wanted to disarm him and thankfully, Sora hit the ground, hissing in pain, Keyblade vanishing.

"Sora!" She moved towards him, hand outstretched.

"Want some more?" Sora fired a blast at Kairi, knocking her to the ground.

"Aah!" she cried out in pain, laying there, panting, even as Sora got to his feet.

He had a smile on his face as he walks towards her.

"Sora…"

"Looks like I win."

"Sora, stop!" she yelled, scrambling to get up only to gasp as pain shot up her leg from her ankle.

"You're through!" he summoned his Keyblade again, preparing to strike, and she panicked.

"I said STOP!" she yelled, throwing a hand up between them, white light blasting from around her. She fell back at the sudden power drain, blinking dazedly.

Kairi looked towards Sora to see him lying on the ground, his eyes open but he wasn't moving. "Sora…? Sora!?" she crawled over to him. No, she hadn't meant to hurt him! She heard someone laughing and quickly cast Cure on both of them.

"Awww, you broke his heart. I'd say more like she smashed it, really," Larxene taunted as Kairi got to her feet, making sure she was between them.

"Smashed...his heart?! Then...what's gonna... What's gonna happen to Sora?" she demanded shakily. She hadn't meant to hurt him, she was a Princess of Heart, how could that power hurt him…unless it was because of the Darkness in him?

Larxene just laughed again. "Oh, you're so much fun to watch. If it's Sora you're worried about, then don't. Because Sora was never really here," she taunted, and Kairi frowned.

"What do you mean?" she asked warily, unable to help glancing back at Sora's unmoving form.

"Do you really think I'm just gonna say it? That's too easy! Oh, what to do?"

"Quit the games!" Kairi snapped, her Keyblade appearing, lunging for the older woman only to be kicked away.

"All right, have it your way, then," she sighed. "I know it'll kill you to hear this, but I think I can live with that. That thing lying there is just a puppet that Vexen made as an experiment. No more than a toy. It's laughable, really. It called you a mess and all those horrible names, but IT was a fabrication all along."

"Not Sora? A fake?!" was that why he'd treated her like that? But how could they make a fake of someone they'd never met. Did that mean Sora really was in the castle somewhere?

"Fake in every possible way. It was only finished recently. How could it remember anything?" She picked up Sora's limp body…was it really fake or was Larxene lying? "You get it? Its memories were just planted, not real." She threw Sora at the wall, and Kairi flinched when he hit it, falling to the floor. "Yup. That means, all this time, it's been picking fights with you over memories…that were counterfeit, trumped up, and completely bogus. Doesn't that just suck?" she smirked, and Kairi saw red.

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"Lexaeus is gone as well..." Zexion murmured as he sensed him fade away, looking up as Axel joined him in the basement meeting room…not that there was anyone left for him to meet with.

"Vexen, Larxene, Lexaeus... I wonder who will be next in line," Axel offered.

"I thought perhaps it might be you."

"Me? No way. I already took my pounding from Kairi. She thinks I'm done for good. Nope, I think it'll be Marluxia next. For defying the Organisation and targeting her. I hope she moves exactly as his heart commands her to. So, what about you? I thought you guys had plans for Sora."

"Yes, we were going to set him off against the traitors... But with almost everyone gone, there is no more need. He is nothing but a nuisance now."

"And he's dangerous, as well. After all, he took down Lexaeus," Axel added, and Zexion frowned at him, was he trying to…upset him? Of them all, he had remained closest to Lexaeus through the years.

"You know that is not how I do things," he pointed out coldly. "Tell me, did you obtain the data on Sora's home?"

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Kairi stared at the unmoving body, slowly kneeling down to gently close his eyes. He…it…she didn't know what to believe. If this wasn't Sora, then he was still out there somewhere. Could he be in the Castle too? How else could they have made such a believable fake? Had they…had they hurt him? She'd beat them, and then she'd find him and they'd go home…even if it'd never be the same because of…because of who? Who was missing?

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Sora leant against the wall tiredly, sipping at a potion. How long had it been since he'd actually eaten anything? Not that he wanted to, but he knew he had to eat to survive. Loss of appetite was not generally a good sign, grief…depression? Or just a sign of how badly Maleficent's curse and Ansem had messed his body up? He had to keep going, he had to make sure Kairi was okay, wherever she was. He didn't want to disappoint Mickey either.

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Xion put her diary away, not sure why Xemnas told them to keep them. Then again, maybe if she had kept one before, she would at least be able to read about her past. Fighting alongside Kirux, eating ice cream together, that was all that made existing worthwhile. What was the point otherwise? The endless missions left her feeling…tired, not physically…mentally maybe? They only ever went to Worlds because of work, maybe one day, after Kingdom Hearts was complete, they could go somewhere and be like the kids they sometimes watched, once they had Hearts.

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"You have some nerve to show your treasonous face around here...some nerve indeed," Marluxia snapped, and Axel just crossed his arms, smirking slightly.

"Treasonous? I don't know what you could possibly be talking about."

"You abandoned Larxene to die! We could have turned the Keyblade master to come and serve us."

"Ohh, right, your big plan. Let the castle wipe Kairi's memory piece by little piece. And she turns into your total puppet. Then, using Kairi, the Replica Sora, maybe even the original depending on how the Castle affects him, you and Larxene overthrow the Organisation. Am I right? I would say that YOU are the traitor, Marluxia," Axel stared him down.

"Since when were you suspicious of us?"

"Do either one of us have the heart to believe anyone?" he rebutted.

"So you only eliminated Vexen to obtain proof of our plan?" Marluxia pressed, and Axel shrugged.

"That, I didn't want to do, but it was your order," he offered, summoning his chakrams.

"Oh..."

"Remember the order: "You must eliminate the traitor." I always follow orders, Marluxia. Larxene paid the price for disloyalty when she disappeared...You must do the same!" He slashed at Marluxia with his chakrams, but he dodged the attack. Axel then threw his chakrams at Marluxia, who blocked them with his scythe. They flew back and Axel caught them. "The Organisation's betrayed. In that name, I will annihilate you."

"That line's not you," Marluxia scoffed.

"Well, had to try it once, you know," he shrugged before running at Marluxia again, slashing at him.

Marluxia tried to slash Axel, but he jumped out of the way. He then slashed

an energy wave out of his scythe and fired it at Axel, who struggled to block it

with his chakrams. Marluxia laughed and Axel grimaced, he was not a head-to-head fighter! He waved his hand to materialise something, which made Axel snicker. The catatonic Sora Replica was held before him, not much of a shield.

"Is that your shield? Won't do you any good, I'm afraid," he taunted.

"I wonder. Are you listening, Kairi?"

Axel turned side on to see Kairi, Donald, and Goofy in the doorway. "Oh?" Wonderful.

"Axel says he's willing to harm Sora to get me. You won't let that happen, will you?

The trio readied their weapons in response. Seriously?

"Oh, come now. You're Marluxia's puppet already? That thing isn't Sora, the kid's in the basement levels still!"

"After I finish you, he's next!" Kairi answered.

"Hmph. Now, Kairi. We've got more in common than you might think. I'd really rather not fight you... But I can't dishonour the Organisation, now, can I?" he didn't want to fight her for real, not if Kirux had been who he suspected. Only one of her missing friends had appeared after all. If Kirux ever got his memories back, Heart or no Heart, he likely would not like knowing Axel had harmed her.

He swore under his breath as Marluxia retreated, calling up his flames as he faced the trio. They had a better shot at defeating Marluxia which meant he had to throw the fight but make it look good. That was going to hurt.

He was right, it did. He let his chakrams dissolve, dropping to a knee. "You're better than I thought you'd be. It was worth saving you after all."

"Saving me? What do you mean?" she asked in confusion, lowering her Keyblade, and Axel smirked.

He let himself begin to fade to make it realistic. "Sorry, I would hate to kill the suspense."

"Axel!" she yelled at him as he vanished, not that he went far, if she failed after all he'd need to be close by to finish the job.

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

"What? One of the scents has died…a pretty strong one. There's not many left now," he whispered to himself, that was good. "Huh?" he blinked as another of the black coated figures appeared.

"The keeper of this castle, Marluxia, is fighting the Keyblade master."

"Keyblade... You mean Kairi! Kairi is here?!" Yes! He would find her and keep her safe, even if he could never face her again.

"Yes. Want to see her? But...can you face her?" the man asked. His hair was kind of like…but more blue than his silver.

"What's that mean?" Sora demanded.

"The world of Darkness, and Ansem's shadow, still nest within your Heart. Do you plan to face Kairi like that? Are you not ashamed?"

His words got to Sora and he looked away, yes, he was ashamed. No matter how many times Mickey said it wasn't his fault. He'd been in a cursed sleep, unable to fight back at all.

"Kairi's fate is to battle the Darkness. She must oppose anyone who hosts the dark…in other words, it's you. If you don't believe the words I say..." he tossed Sora another of those stupid cards, "then you had best see the truth with your own eyes."

Sora looked at the image and his eyes widened. "This card! It's…"

"Yes, it is your home." And with that the man vanished.

Sora stared at the card blankly. Could he do it? Could he face his home again? But…it would just be his memory of it, right? That wouldn't be too bad, unless it was that night? What else could he do though? To find Kairi he had to keep moving and the only way was forward through the memory rooms. He walked up to the door and lifted the card.

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Kirux stared up at the heart shaped moon and frowned, something…there was something… like someone needed him, but who? Xion was in her room next door, asleep. Maybe Axel? But he could definitely look after himself, besides he was safe at that research Castle, that couldn't be dangerous. He stood and moved to the bed, lying down with an arm under his head. Maybe if he remembered, he'd understand what he was 'feeling'.

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"You ignorant fool. Once your memory is gone, you'll be nothing but an empty shell. Your Heart will no longer be able to feel or to care. Just like-Vexen's pathetic imitation of your Sora," Marluxia taunted, and Kairi paled. Just two more floors and…

"Guess again!" A familiar voice yelled, and then Sora was there, appearing out of a pool of Darkness in the air to slash as Marluxia with his Keyblade.

"It can't be!" the pink haired man snarled as he dodged.

"Sora!" she called in relief, and he shook his head.

"No, just an imitation."

"You're a shell-a shell who has had everything taken! Everything!"

"What'd I ever have you creep?! My body and Heart are fake. But...there is one memory I'll keep...even if it's really his! Whether it was a phantom promise or not... I will protect Kairi!"

"Imbeciles..." Marluxia snapped, even as Kairi stared at Sora…the Replica. He… remembered?

A flower petal fell from the air, turning into Marluxia's scythe in his hand. "You would knowingly shackle your heart with a chain of memories born of lies?" he asked, and Sora just readied his Keyblade as Kairi called her own.

Their eyes met and she smiled at him, nodding. His eyes widened but then he nodded back, they would fight together.

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"Kairi?" he couldn't believe his eyes but it was her! Standing on the edge of the Island as if there was no storm raging above them. "Kairi," he called again, slowly approaching her. "It's me…"

Kairi turned around and attacked him with her Keyblade. Sora jumped back in shock, dodging the blow.

"What?!"

She jumped at him, slashing with her Keyblade, and Sora's materialised to block the blow, their Keyblades clashing.

"Stop it, Kairi!" He pleaded as he dodged to the side. "Don't you recognize me?" Had Zexion done something to her?

"Yeah, I recognize you," she stepped back, staring him right in the eye. "I can see exactly what you've become!" She leapt back, bringing her Keyblade up, and then a blast of Light slammed into Sora, knocking him down. "How can the light hurt you?" she asked quietly, even as Sora tried to get up. "Sora... Have you really become a creature of the Dark?" she sounded heartbroken and he wanted to deny it, to comfort her but…maybe she was right? "You're not Sora anymore... You're just a pawn of the Darkness. So be it. It's time for you to face the Light!" Her voice hardened even as she held her Keyblade aloft, creating a sphere of Light.

Sora would be in awe if he wasn't so busy trying to get up and defend himself. Then it hit and Sora collapsed. He became aware of floating in a white void, but everything felt so far away. "I'm...fading... Fading away...into the Light."

"You won't fade," a soft voice whispered, and Sora forced his eyes open.

A girl appeared in front of him, dressed like the others, her black hair short but there was…kindness in her blue eyes, not like the others. "You can't fade. There's no power that can defeat you - not the Light, not the Dark. So don't run from the Light and don't fear the Darkness. Because both will make you stronger," she told him.

"Make me stronger? Darkness too?" Sora asked in confusion. "Who…who are you?"

"Of course, that strength is yours now. The Darkness inside your heart, it's vast and it's deep...but if you can truly stare into it and never try to look away, you won't be afraid of anything again," she explained.

"All this time I've tried to push the Darkness away…"

She laughed and she sounded like Kairi. "You've gotta just remember to be brave. Know that the Darkness is there and don't give in. If you do that, you will gain strength, the kind that's

unlike any other. You'll be able to escape the deepest Darkness…"

"….and see through the brightest Light," he finished for her in awe.

"Follow the Darkness. It'll show you the way to your friends," she promised, reaching out to gently touch his cheek.

"Can I face them?" he asked in shame.

"You don't want to?" for a second her voice merged with Kairi's.

"Yeah…I do, of course. I do."

She nodded and began to fade.

"Who are you?"

"Nobody," was the whispered answer.

"I will, I will face them! With Light and Darkness," Sora called out and he felt it, the Darkness he had tried to push away rushing through him, flowing through his Heart but not overwhelming him or the Light inside him either.

He reappeared on the beach, shrouded in Darkness and when it faded he was in the strange suit Ansem had put him in back in Hollow Bastion. His Keyblade appeared and he moved, slashing through Kairi.

"Impossible!" the voice was male, and her image shifted into Zexion's as he fell to the ground. "How is it that you found me when you were there in the Light?"

"You stink of Darkness. Even the Light can't block that smell," Sora told him, wary of another attack. "I guess I followed the darkness right to you," he shrugged slightly. He wasn't sure about the smelling Darkness thing but it did have its uses.

"This is absurd... Then I shall make you see... That your hopes are nothing…nothing but a mere illusion!" Zexion yelled as he got to his feet.

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Xion blinked, staring at her ceiling. What…what was that? Who was that boy? He'd been so lost and she'd had to comfort him. she wasn't sure where her words had come from, but they had felt like the right thing to say to him. Hopefully, she'd helped enough that he would survive whatever he was going through.

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Zexion collapsed to the ground, staring up at the boy. "After all your protests, you're still like us, on the side of Darkness," he taunted, he was exhausted…no…he was dying.

"I know who I am," Sora whispered, the Darkness fading away from him.

"When did that happen?" he coughed, tasting blood. "You were always terrified of the Dark before…"

"Not anymore!" Sora shook his head, and maybe he was right…there was something different about him…some inner strength…a pity…he could have been a powerful ally…

Zexion coughed again, blood spattering into the sand. "Marluxia…he will wipe her memories...use her... Thirteenth floor..." his eyes fell shut, the last of his strength leaving him as he gave Sora what he needed to hopefully stop Marluxia, and he felt himself vanishing into the Darkness.

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"Are you alright Xion?" Kirux frowned when he saw her.

"I…had a strange dream," she admitted as they left for their mission.

"Was it bad?"

"No, I think…I helped someone, a boy. He was lost but I think I helped him find his way back."

"That's good, isn't it?" he glanced around as they emerged in the familiar maze of Wonderland, ready for anything the crazy place could throw at them.

"Yes, it is," she smiled and nodded. "Duck!"

He didn't even have to think, dropping into a roll even as she lunged, Keyblade extended. He was back on his feet in a second, blade swinging at another Heartless. Fighting was so easy, nothing else made sense to him. What did that say about his life as a Somebody?

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"You okay, Sora?" she asked as they left the room they had finally defeated Marluxia in.

"I'm not Sora, Kairi, I'm a fake. I can't remember why I was created or where or when... All that's inside of me…is time with you and Riku. His death…you being the reason we were targeted. But I know those memories aren't real now. they wanted me to fight you so the opposite has to be true," he told her. It made sense; they'd wanted a weapon to use against her. So if she wasn't to blame…was he? Or…the real Sora or whatever? Riku, who was Riku?

"There's gotta be a way to fix your memory!" Goofy told him, and he shook his head.

"It's fine," he turned to walk away, they didn't need him, and who knew what traps might be built into him.

"Sora, wait!" Kairi yelled, and he couldn't help stopping, but he knew if he turned to face her, he'd give in. "Who cares if someone created you? You're you and nobody else. You

have your own Heart inside you, I know, I can feel it. Those feelings and memories are yours and yours alone. They're special! I don't care about the Darkness in you, you're my friend."

Sora smiled slightly, why hadn't he listened to her from the start? They could have worked together. If he was made in the Castle, was the real him there too somewhere? They could have saved him and then he could have just faded away and left them to go. "Kairi…no wonder you're a Princess of Heart. I don't have to be real to see how real your feelings are. That's good enough," he whispered, before fleeing. If he stayed any longer, he wouldn't be able to leave at all.

"Sora! Sora!" She called after him but he vanished into the Darkness where he belonged.

TBC….

So some changes here, like Sora killing Zexion instead of Axel pushing the Replica to do it, things like that. Working out that scene with Sora and Xion was hard, since without Naminé and with Kairi awake several floors way I wasn't sure how to do it. So Xion was asleep in bed and Sora desperately needed help. Since she was made from Kairi's data with a little Riku thrown in from when they were at Hollow Bastion, she linked to Sora. It was the part of her that came from Kairi that gave her the words. Hope that makes sense. Not much of her and Kirux in this chapter, there isn't much in the game script for this period either.