Disclaimer: don't own Kingdom Hearts
Set in Re: Chain of Memories.
"The Keyblade master is working his way through our numbers."
Riku turned at the voice to see someone maybe four or five years older then him with a crazy hairstyle. But he was dressed like the others which meant he was a threat. Wait, what did he say?
"Keyblade... You mean Sora! Sora is here?!" Riku demanded. Could Sora really be there too?
"Yes. Want to see him? But...can you face him?" the other male asked, he was younger than the others that had confronted Riku but no less cold or reeking of Darkness.
"What's that mean?" He asked warily. Why wouldn't he face him? He could still remember the tears in Sora's eyes as the door closed between them, the way he'd reached for him even as he'd promised to look after Kairi. Except somehow, he hadn't gone home when the Worlds separated, if what the man said could be believed.
"The World of Darkness, and Ansem's shadow, still nest within your heart. Do you plan to face Sora like that? Are you not ashamed?"
Riku looked away, was he? He was very aware of the Darkness inside of him and Sora…Sora was so bright.
"Sora's fate is to battle the darkness. He must oppose anyone who hosts the dark - in other words, it's you. If you don't believe the words I say..." he tossed a card, and Riku caught it automatically, thoughts whirling, "then you had best see the truth with your own eyes.
"This card! This is our…" he stared at the image of the Islands in shock.
"Yes, it is your home."
Riku looked up but he was alone. He hesitated but then moved towards the door, lifting the card.
The door lit up and Riku pushed it open, walking inside to find himself on the small island with the Paopu tree everyone used as a seat. He didn't usually but this time he sat on the bent trunk, staring out at the sea.
"I never thought I'd miss the island winds so much... Hmph. There was a time I couldn't wait to get off this rock. And now I'm acting all relieved," he whispered, not like there was anyone there to hear him. He shook his head and got up, turning only to freeze, seeing three figures on the beach.
"Is that...? Hey!" he yelled even as he took off running across the bridge, leaping down onto the sand, heart racing. "What's with you guys? I don't think I've ever seen the three of you so quiet," he called out as he approached, a tentative smile on his face, but it fell as they looked at him but didn't respond. "What, is there something on my face?" he asked shakily but all they did was stare and…he was scared. "Guys?!"
He staggered back as they vanished. No! he spun around, looking around wildly but he was alone again. Always alone…no, don't think like that. Unsure what to do, he headed back to the Paopu tree. Halfway across the bridge he felt someone behind him, turning to see Kairi, heart leaping into his throat.
"Kairi..." he whispered. "Hey, Kairi. Are you – " Kairi vanished. "Ah... No!" he screamed. Not Kairi, he wanted to see her so badly, to know she was really okay.
"Surely you knew this would happen.
Riku spun to see the guy with hair not too dissimilar in colour to his own.
"You've been to a number of worlds in your memory before this one. And in those worlds, you met only dark beings. That's all that's left in your heart: dark memories. Your memories of home are gone," he paused, staring at Riku, "each and every one."
"That's a lie!" Riku snapped at him. "I remember everyone from the islands! Tidus and Selphie and Wakka! Kairi and Sora, too! They're my...my..." he paused and looked down at the bridge, "my closest friends..." he whispered.
"And who threw away those friends? Maybe it's your own actions that you've forgotten. You destroyed your home!"
There was a flash of darkness, and the islands were reduced to a single landmass. Riku gasped and looked around in horror.
"This is...that night!" he felt sick, able to smell the darkness in the air.
"All of the islands you grew up on were sundered, scattered. Many hearts were forever lost to the darkness. Because of what YOU did!"
He pointed over to a projection of Riku at the edge of the island and Riku gasped at the image of himself.
"You hated being an islander, so you opened the door to darkness and destroyed the islands. It was YOU! You were pulled into the darkness then, and now you belong to the darkness."
Riku clutched his heart and looked ahead in horror. He felt sick, dizzy, trying to block out the words but he couldn't.
"You should look - look at what you truly are!"
The projection of Riku transformed into a Darkside Heartless.
"This...this can't be who I really am!" Riku shook his head in denial, stumbling back, but the Heartless turned towards him, launching an attack. Riku managed to dodge, scrambling to focus. He summoned Soul Eater, hesitating, but then he took a deep breath and launched himself at it. It wasn't him; it wasn't.
The Darkside faded away and Riku slumped down to one knee, panting, leaning on Soul Eater. The man was gone, the tiny island quiet except for the wind. He closed his eyes to calm down and then got slowly back to his feet, blade vanishing.
Riku looked around and then froze at the familiar figure standing on the edge of what was left of the island, staring out at the dark sea. He took a hesitant step and then froze, if he moved closer, would he vanish like the others? But it was Sora…wasn't it?
"Sora?! Sora!" he called over the wind, slowly moving towards him. "Sora, it's me – " he reached a hand towards him.
Sora spun around, blue eyes wide, Keyblade appearing in his hand even as he took a step back. He… he was scared…of Riku?
He held his hands up, unarmed, sick at the thought of Sora being scared of him. "Sora? Is…is it really you?"
Sora stared at him and Riku swallowed, he…he hadn't said anything, just like the others. Riku's heart sank, he wasn't real, just another – "Riku?"
Sora ran through the halls, heart pounding in his chest, drowning out everything. It was bad enough having to fight mostly alone but now they'd gotten separated and all because Sora had tripped into one of those transporting orbs. The white halls had all looked the same but there was something different here. Less…fancy maybe? He stumbled but kept on his feet, up, he had to go up. They'd been heading up so if he kept going then he'd find Donald and Goofy again, right? If one of those black coat people showed up or…or Riku, he'd be on his own and that scared him. He didn't want to fight Riku and those others were strong, really strong, he didn't think he could beat them without help. He hated the castle; it was creepy and wrong and he just wanted to find everyone and get out!
There was a door up ahead and he ran for it, skidding to a stop, realising he didn't have another card…there! The door was actually open a crack, not fully closed yet...had he caught up to Donald and Goofy?! He grabbed the edge and yanked, pulling it open enough to squeeze through, the door slamming shut behind him.
Sora blinked in the bright sunlight, frozen in shock. This was… "My Island," he whispered. Was he…home? He shook his head, no, that wasn't possible. He carefully made his way across the sand, seeing the small island where he used to spar with Riku and the three of them would sit on the tree. There was no one else there, no attacks from Heartless, nothing. That made him nervous, what was hiding in the room? Was it a trap?
He went to yell, to call their names, but something made him keep quiet as he made it to the shack and slipped inside. He collapsed on the floor, exhausted, had he slept at all since arriving at the castle? He couldn't remember and he was so tired. The shack was familiar, safe, and Sora's eyes slowly drifted shut, slumping over as he fell asleep.
He didn't know how long he'd slept but he felt a lot better when he woke up. He pulled out his water bottle, grimacing at how empty it was, drinking the warm water in it. He knew there was no point refilling it at the waterfall, the water there wasn't real and would be gone when he left the room. He pulled out the small ration pack and ate it, feeling even better once he was done. He headed up the stairs and cautiously opened the door, grimacing as he saw the purple sky and storm clouds, heart beginning to race as he remembered the fear of that night.
He ran out onto the sand and then turned to see the shack was gone. This…this was where he'd fought the Darkside before being sucked away to Traverse Town, but there was nothing… he moved to the edge, staring out at the roiling seas, he hadn't really paid a lot of attention that night, too scared and overwhelmed, but there was no sign of the main islands…of home…
"Sora?! Sora!" a faint voice called his name over the wind, and he froze. Not again, please. "Sora, it's me – " the voice was right behind him now, and Sora spun around, feeling the Keyblade materialise in his hand.
He took a half step back, there was nowhere to go though. He didn't want to fight Riku…please. But then Riku held his hands up, no Soul Eater, no magic. "Sora? Is…is it really you?"
What? He sounded, nervous? Sora stared at him, taking in the familiar clothing, not the weird dark suite he'd been in since they first met in the Castle. And…his eyes… "Riku?" he whispered. "Please," he bit his lip, fighting the urge to cry or scream. "Not again, I can't…" he shook his head, dropping the Keyblade, feeling it vanish before it hit the ground.
Riku was frowning now but then he took a step closer and Sora fought the urge to back up, not sure what would happen if he fell. "Sora," Riku whispered his name, eyes wide. He lowered his arms but then reached out with a hand…. just like that night.
Sora swallowed, looking from his outstretched hand to his face. His hand held out was the same but his face… there was pain, fear, but also…hope. "Riku?" Sora took a hesitant step towards him.
"Sora," Riku called his name again, voice gentle, and Sora didn't even register moving.
He slammed into Riku, clinging to him, feeling him stiffen but then Riku's arms were wrapped around him. "Riku, Riku," he sobbed. "It's you, it's really you."
"Gawrsh Donald, do you think Sora's okay?" Goofy asked as they moved down another hall. The orbs sent you back to previous rooms and not forward so they were making their way slowly back down the castle, searching for any sign of the teen.
"Of course, he is!" Donald snapped, but Goofy could tell he was worried.
What if one of those black coat people got him. Or…that boy…what was his name again?
"It's okay Sora, I'm here, I've got you," Riku whispered, holding Sora tight. Sora was shaking and crying, clinging to him, and that scared Riku. Sure, Sora was always emotional and never tried to hide it, but this? He shifted, slowly going down, holding Sora in his lap, rocking him.
What had happened since Riku had seen him at the door? Carefully, he moved one hand to gently stroke through wild hair, hoping to comfort him. He'd been wrong, the black coated man, Sora wasn't destined to fight him, he wasn't.
"It's going to be okay," he promised. He would look after Sora, he'd protect him.
Sora slowly lifted his head to look up at him, eyes red and wet, and it hurt to see. Disbelief and hope were warring in Sora's eyes and Riku felt sick. It was all his fault, of course Sora had no reason to believe him.
"I'm sorry, Sora, I'm so sorry. I should never have listened to Maleficent, but the more I did the more it made sense. I hurt you…I tried to…" he closed his eyes, resting his forehead against Sora's, shuddering as he fought back his own tears, only for a warm hand to gently brush his cheek.
"You're really back," Sora whispered.
"You and Kairi saved me," Riku told him, and Sora pulled back, staring at him in confusion. "Sora?"
Riku went to laugh at Sora trying to tease but then he blinked, Sora…wasn't joking? How could Sora ever forget Kairi? And then he paled as the words of the various figures came back to him…no…how long had Sora been in the castle? "Sora…you remember me?"
Sora shot him a look that had Riku relieved. "Of course, why wouldn't I? But who's Kairi? Did…did you make a friend?"
"Sora, try to remember. You know Kairi, you've known her since we were kids. Her Heart was in yours, she's the seventh Princess of Heart." His own heart was pounding as he tried to jog Sora's memory…but there was nothing but confusion.
Kairi? Who was Kairi? But Riku seemed very serious, insisting Sora knew her. But the only girls around had been Naminé and Selphie. Seventh Princess…the seven were Jasmine, Alice, Snow White, Belle, Aurora, Cinderella, and…and…the seventh…who was she? He clenched his eyes shut, leaning heavily against Riku as pain lanced through his head, not realising he was making noises of pain.
Riku felt Sora press against him, head on his shoulder, hoping he would remember and then he felt Sora flinch, pained noises coming from his throat. "Sora?" he asked in alarm; had he been hurt and Riku had missed it? He scrambled one handed in his pocket, relieved to find an elixir, coaxing Sora into taking it. His face was pinched with pain and Riku gently went back to stroking his hair, trying to sooth the pain.
"Please be okay," he begged. He couldn't lose Sora, not now when he'd just found him again, not ever. He knew if he did, if he didn't have someone who believed in him like Sora always had, then the darkness would take him again.
"M'head," Sora mumbled.
Was this his fault? For trying to coax him into remembering Kairi? "It's okay, I've got you. Just relax, don't try and push it."
Sora pressed their foreheads together again, pain filled blue staring into his own, and Riku wanted desperately to help him. He rocked them gently, keeping their eyes locked, giving Sora something to focus on.
"I'm right here, I won't leave you." He would fight to stay by Sora's side.
"Why?" Sora whispered. "You…you tried to kill me."
He remembered launching that attack, if Goofy hadn't…Sora had just frozen in place, staring at him with wide, betrayed, eyes. "I'm sorry Sora, for everything. It'd be so easy to blame on Maleficent, but I chose to listen at first. I was stupid and jealous and I hurt you. I let that jealousy drive me until I let Ansem in and then I couldn't stop him. You did the right thing when you beat me, I've never blamed you for it. I wouldn't have blamed you for aiming to kill from that first fight in the entrance once you reclaimed the Keyblade. I was stupid and made so many mistakes."
Sora sniffled but shook his head. "It wasn't you then, didn't even sound like you. I just wanted you back and that hit…it shouldn't have hurt you like that. But…I meant here, before. You were yelling about Naminé not wanting me around, that you'd protect her. You…you tried to…"
Riku's eyes widened in horror. He had no clue who Naminé was and that was all he needed to hear to know what Sora was talking about. "Sora, this is the first time I've seen you since arriving here. I swear, I woke up in the basement, have been making my way up to find a way out. I only just found out you were even here before entering this room."
"But I fought myself too and he tried to kill me. They did something, made a fake version of me. It wasn't me Sora, it's just a puppet made by the people here."
It hadn't been Riku? He didn't know what to think but…Riku looked so serious and sure, he was holding on tight but gentle. It was like years ago, before Riku started being meaner. A fake Riku…he curled closer into Riku. Riku just hugged him close, stroking his hair again, and it felt so nice. The pain in his head had faded now that he wasn't trying to think about anything except the stuff that had happened in the castle…which probably wasn't a good thing.
Pressed so close, he could feel it, the Darkness in Riku but it also felt different to before. It wasn't a sickly, overwhelming oily presence. It was just a pulsing ball of power nestled in Riku's Heart, surrounded by Light…almost fully balanced. It wasn't scary at all anymore; this was part of Riku and not from an outside source. And it didn't feel like the Riku who had confronted him either.
"Riku," he whispered, resting his head over Riku's heart, listening as the beat slowly steadied out from where it'd been racing.
Naminé sat with her eyes closed, observing newly forming memories. It had worked! Sora had stumbled right into Riku's path in time to keep Zexion's attempted manipulations from working. She made sure not to draw anything, not wanting anyone to know until it was too late. The King's men were searching for Sora and she was tempted to meddle further there. Seeing Sora's memories of his journey with them, there'd been so much they'd done wrong, they'd used him even if Sora didn't see it. She could make them forget Sora, but then he'd forget them too and that could shift too many of his memories – he'd learnt and grown so much during that journey after all.
The Replica Riku sat beside her and she opened her eyes, she felt terrible for what she'd done to him but there was nothing she could do about it now. He reached out and took her hand and she let him, unable to hurt him more by pulling away.
"It's going to be alright Naminé," he promised, and she wished she could believe him.
Riku kept stroking Sora's hair, the smaller teen's head resting against his chest and…he felt more at peace than he ever had. He didn't understand how Sora could just forgive him for everything he'd done but he had. At least now he knew why Sora had been wary, the Replica had tried to kill him! He was worried about Sora's memory, if he'd forgotten Kairi completely then what else could have been done to him?
"We can't stay here," he finally said. "They know I'm in here…they thought you were an illusion, part of the room, we were meant to fight. He…he said you were destined to fight the darkness so would destroy me," he was almost rambling, but Sora should know in case they ran into that guy again.
Sora tightened his grip. "I'd never!" he denied. "No matter what, I could never do that to you. I'd do whatever it took to bring you back."
Hearing him say that, it helped, Sora hugging him once he realised Riku was real had helped too. He just hugged back tighter.
"Come on, we need to find the way out of here," Riku forced himself to get up, drawing Sora up with him. "Where'd you come in?"
"Over there," Sora pointed towards the dock.
"Then that's the way out, I came out on the Paopu island."
"And they're both gone," Sora pointed out nervously.
"But the doors have to still be there, this isn't real Sora."
"Right." Sora grabbed his hand, and Riku didn't try to pull away, instead he started walking, keeping a firm grip on Sora's hand, not willing to risk being separated again.
Then they were plunging into the storm.
Zexion frowned, something had gone wrong. He'd been about to confront Riku, to use the form of the Sora illusion to make him believe his friend would destroy him…then there'd been Light and he'd been outside the room. How was that possible? He wasn't sure what to do, everything had gone wrong since Sora and Riku arrived in the castle.
Vexen and Lexaeus were gone…he was all alone; he couldn't trust any of the others in the castle. Should he leave, report back to Xemnas? He knew Sora hadn't killed Vexen, so how had he died? He didn't know what to do, for all his intellect, he had trouble with situations out of his control, out of the normal. No Organisation members had been killed since they'd founded it a decade ago.
He had literally grown up within the Organisation, as much as a Nobody could grow. His body had been artificially aged as soon as a process had been discovered, to where he assumed he was physically around seventeen to twenty years of age. He just hadn't actually grown up like a real person would have. Vexen and Lexaeus had always been there, had looked out for him, been overprotective in some ways. And now they were gone.
Marluxia's plans were insane and treasonous, and he suspected that was why Axel was there, and yet he hadn't moved against the master of the castle. Or had he?
Zexion spun and saw Axel and Rik…no, the Replica. He glanced between them and knew; Axel planned his death as well. Why? He was no traitor. Had he faced Riku, he might be weakened by the fight since he did not usually fight physically, but he hadn't. He stepped back towards the wall and then slipped into the Dark Corridor, fleeing the castle.
Axel frowned as Zexion bolted, well, that hadn't gone to plan at all. He had thought he would be weakened from facing Riku but it seemed he hadn't been. Had he underestimated their youngest member, well, second youngest now? He glanced at the Replica; did he have any use for it now? He knew it would probably go after Sora again, and he needed the kid alive. He had his suspicions when it came to Sora…and Roxas.
He didn't know how it was possible but if Roxas was Sora's Nobody, maybe that explained his original zombie state and continued lack of memory. What would happen to Roxas if Sora was badly injured or worse?
Sora stumbled as they went from the raging sea to standing on white ground, feeling Riku's grip tighten. He'd been right about the door which was good. And yeah, this was where Sora had been. So, he'd been going down and not up? He was sure he'd been going up, but Riku had definitely been moving up floors and he'd entered the room from the other door. He hated the castle; it was so confusing! But at least they'd be going back through floors Sora had cleared earlier with Donald and Goofy…of course more Heartless would have arrived but they'd have a straight path and not need to open doors.
"Okay?" Riku asked, and Sora nodded.
"Yeah, just worried. Do you have any World cards in case the rooms have reset or something?"
"No," he admitted. "The islands' was my last one."
"Great. Well, when I run out someone usually shows up to fight and give me more."
"Which isn't at all suspicious," Riku was frowning. "The front door's somewhere near here?"
"I think so," Sora was so turned around and lost.
"Then we should find Donald and Goofy and get out of here."
"But we have to save Naminé."
"Sora, who's Naminé?"
He stopped, shocked by Riku's question. Had he forgotten her? And then Sora felt his breath hitch in fear. What…what if…this wasn't Riku. Riku should know who Naminé was, the Riku he had fought did…so that must be the real one and this was the fake…made to what, distract him with hope? He went to pull away but the grip on his hand tightened and Sora began to struggle, fear growing.
"Sora? Hey, Sora stop." It was Riku's voice…but it wasn't really him. Cyan eyes were dark with what seemed to be concerned and then Sora felt his back hit the wall, Riku (fake…fake…dangerous) pressing against him. Hands framed his face, forcing him to look at Riku's face. "Breath Sora, come on, breath with me. It's okay, you're safe. I swear, I'd never hurt you, it's me Sora." Thumbs gently stroked his cheeks, and Sora realised he was crying silently, even as he shook his head.
"You're not," he choked out, and Riku's eyes widened. "Riku knows Naminé, so…you can't be."
"No Sora, I'm here, I'm real," he…it?...not-Riku swore and Sora desperately wanted to believe but he couldn't. "Please Sora, you know me." One hand moved from his face to take his hand, pressing it to 'Riku's' chest over his heart. "You know me better than anyone else."
Sora was still crying silently, his hand against Riku's chest, the other limp at his side, not calling his Keyblade. He couldn't…he couldn't do it again, couldn't fight any version of Riku, even a fake one.
Donald ducked, brandishing his wand, hurling a fire spell. Goofy slammed into another Heartless. It was nice not being turned into cards…or having to fight with them like Sora'd been forced to. It was also very suspicious. They'd gotten down three floors with no sign of Sora and that was bad. They had to find him.
Seeing Sora crying hurt but hearing him say Riku was a fake…it broke his heart. He knew he wasn't the fake, he remembered facing it, and it had clearly been aware of being made just recently. He clutched Sora's hand to his chest, willing him to believe. Sora just stood, almost limp, between Riku and the wall, blue eyes wide and glassy with tears. Seeing him cry but with no sound was freaking him out even more, Sora was not a quiet crier normally. He supposed he was lucky Sora was fighting him but there was something…defeated about him and Riku hated it. Sora was meant to be happy and energetic.
He leant in, hovering over Sora, feeling him tremble. "Please Sora, remember." And then soft, damp, lips were beneath his. He was kissing him! He was kissing Sora. It was so stupid, Sora was Kairi's, not his, but just the one time…and Sora wasn't pushing him away.
Warm, dry lips were pressing against his, gentle, not demanding or painful. Just there and warm…so warm. Sora's eyes fluttered shut, body going completely limp except for his fingers curling into Riku's shirt. It felt warm…safe…he could smell the salt air of home and the scent that just screamed Riku, tinged now with the bitter sting of Darkness but still Riku. His first kiss…
He felt Riku's arms wrap around him, holding him up. Kairi would laugh at him for being unable to hold himself up. Kairi…his eyes went wide as he gasped, body going rigid.
"Sora?!" Riku called in alarm, supporting him.
Sora gasped again, shaking, going limp, vision swimming.
"Sora? Can you hear me?" Riku…he was panicking.
He tried to answer and moaned, head pounding.
"It's okay, I've got you, you're going to be fine. I'm sorry, so sorry, just be okay," Riku was babbling, moving, and then Sora felt a cool bottle at his lips, forcing them open to let Riku tip it in, not caring what it was. Seconds later the cool wash of a hi-potion ran through him, the pain dulling.
Sora blinked slowly, finding his head cradled by a hand, resting against a solid shoulder. He was…in Riku's lap, on the floor. There was noise…Riku was talking.
"That's it, just keep breathing, you'll be okay," Riku was murmuring.
"Ri…ku," he croaked.
"Sora?" Riku gently used his hand to guide Sora's head back. "Hey," he whispered shakily, cyan eyes glossy with tears. He'd made Riku cry. A water bottle was held to his lips and Sora gulped it down, soothing his throat, before pushing it at Riku to get him to drink too.
Sora shifted to grip Riku's shoulders, staring up at him, and then he kissed him.
Riku was shocked when Sora kissed him but he quickly responded, wrapping his arms around him again. The heat of Sora's body soaking into his, pressed chest to chest with Sora in his lap. He had to stop, gasping for breath, running his hands up and down Sora's back under his jacket.
"Sora?" he asked hesitantly. Did…did this mean Sora believed he was the real Riku?
"Kairi would laugh at us," Sora answered, and Riku's eyes went wide.
Sora nodded; grip tight. "We have to get out of here," his tone was almost desperate, pleading.
"We will," Riku promised. "We'll get out of here and go home."
He'd been so scared when Sora collapsed, worried it'd happened when he kissed him, that he'd hurt him somehow. Instead, Sora's memory of Kairi at least was back, somehow.
"Can you walk?" Riku asked, even though he didn't want to, wanted to just stay and keep kissing him, but it wasn't safe. He'd never thought he'd be allowed to kiss and touch Sora but Sora seemed to like it. He even seemed to be fine with Kairi knowing, maybe…maybe Sora wasn't in love with Kairi, not the way he'd thought?
Sora nodded and reluctantly got to his feet, wavering, and Riku scrambled up to support him, relieved when Sora straightened.
"Okay, let's go." He offered his hand and Sora took it.
He paused, glancing around. That voice…
"Riku?" Sora called his name and Riku gasped, pressing a hand to his Heart, knees buckling. "No!"
"I know you can feel it... The grip that I have on your heart. You have let in the Darkness, Riku. That means very soon your heart shall become an all-consuming Darkness."
He knew that voice…not here…not now. "No…" he moaned, vision blurring.
"Riku!" he vaguely felt someone shaking his shoulders.
"C…an't m've," he slurred, body frozen, being held up.
"Fight it Riku! Stay with me, please."
"The deeper the Darkness runs inside you, the stronger I become. Controlling you is effortless," Ansem all but purred at him, and Riku could see him now, hovering in front of him. The hall was fading to Darkness, the feeling of someone holding him up slipping away.
And then light exploded around him, Ansem bellowing, lips pressing to his. Riku wheezed, slumping as his control snapped.
"Riku? Riku talk to me." Slowly, Sora came into focus, blue eyes narrowed in concentration, and Riku stared at him, the Light…it was Sora's.
"T…thanks," he rasped.
"What happened? There was…Darkness coming from your skin." And Sora wasn't recoiling from him.
"It was him…Ansem…he's still here, he…keeps trying to take control," he admitted, seeing Sora's eyes go wide.
"He can't have you," he actually snarled. Wow. He didn't think he'd ever seen Sora really and truly angry but now he was. Then Sora was pulling him to his feet, slipping under his arm to steady him. "We've gotta get out of here. This place…maybe it'll be better away from here."
Riku nodded, exhausted from trying to resist Ansem again. They were both a mess, probably needed several days of sleep and good meals. Odd were, they wouldn't get it, but it was nice to dream.
Mickey turned to see Donald and Goofy running towards him, relieved to see his oldest friends unharmed. But where were Sora and Riku? He'd reached Riku several times to help him, had thought he would arrive near him. And then he was being swept up in a group hug, laughing in relief. "Are you alright?" he asked.
"We lost Sora!" Goofy admitted. "He got shoved into one of the teleporting orb things and vanished."
"They go back so we're retracing where we've been, but no sign yet," Donald added.
Mickey frowned, worried. Who knew what these people would do to Sora. "Then we've gotta find him. Riku's here too."
"We know, he attacked Sora."
Mickey stared at them. What? "No way," he shook his head. "He's been worried sick about Sora." Something odd was going on.
Naminé smiled to herself, good. Sora and Riku were together and now their King had arrived. She was keeping the other Riku occupied, glad that Axel hadn't destroyed him, he didn't deserve that. He hadn't been asked to be made or to have his mind messed with. And she'd started working on undoing it. Technically, none of his memories were real, but she couldn't just erase them all. But she could help him remember the Organisation wasn't good, not to them.
Sora was relieved Riku was walking on his own now, seeing Riku freeze, unable to move or respond, it had terrified him. He guessed the same way his own collapse had scared Riku. At least his had been for a good reason, shaking off the altered memories. But finding out Ansem was still haunting Riku…there had to be some way to get him fully out.
They headed up and out into a new hall and the door at the other end opened, the two of them summoning their weapons, ready for a fight.
"Donald? Goofy?" he called, relieved.
"Sora!" they cried at seeing him, only to stare at Riku warily.
"It's okay, this is the real Riku. The other one was a fake."
"Mickey," Riku murmured, and the King smiled.
"Okay, now we've got to leave."
"Sora?" The King looked at him.
"This place…it messes with memories. I forgot Kairi! We've got to leave." What if he forgot Riku next?
"Alright," the King agreed.
Hearing the near panic in Sora's voice, seeing the way Riku was holding his hand even as their weapons vanished, Mickey wasn't going to argue. The Keyblade tended to increase instincts for danger, if Sora felt that strong a need to leave then that's what they'd do. They could return later, if necessary, why had the three come here in the first place?
They went down some stairs to see massive doors, the way the group had entered. They headed for them but stopped as a figure appeared, a massive scythe in hand. Looked like they weren't leaving without a fight.
Riku dodged back, those petals were somehow razor sharp. Who'd have thought flowers could be so dangerous. Sora leapt over Marluxia, slashing at him with the Keyblade. Riku swallowed a potion and then launched back into the fight. With two Keyblades and his Soul Eater, the fight didn't last much longer, thankfully.
They didn't hesitate or hang around to see if anyone else came, they just bolted for the doors, which were locked. Sora aimed his Keyblade, a beam of powerful light hitting the doors, forcing them open. Outside they found a path to nowhere but they were out of the castle.
"Now what?" Sora asked hesitantly, and Riku took his hand.
"We go home."
Naminé sat on the floor, running her fingers through silver hair, watching as the group faded from view of the window. It hurt, she had wanted them to save her, but that would be selfish. She glanced down as cyan eyes opened slowly, smiling hesitantly at him.
"Why?" he asked in confusion.
"You didn't deserve that," she answered, letting him sit up.
"Naminé…" he reached out and took her hand. "Will you come with me?"
"I hurt you."
"You didn't have a choice. I…I want to kill them but I'm not strong enough. We can run though."
She nodded, letting him pull her to her feet and then he opened a Dark Corridor.
Axel looked around, seeing Larxene's shock at Marluxia loosing. He wouldn't get a better opportunity so he struck before she had the chance to react.
"You…" she stared at him, collapsing, body fading away.
"Nothing personal," he murmured.
He sighed and then left the castle. His report was going to be…interesting. And he was also risking his existence, depending on what Zexion had told Xemnas. Hopefully he could come up with a good enough story, and Saïx would back him, he'd done it to help him advance after all. And it would be good to see Roxas, see how the kid was doing.