Notes: Alright, I know that I said I was going to try to wrap up "The Heart of Darkness", but I'm having some major writer's block for it. I can't even settle on how to start off the next chapter! If this keeps up, I might even have to put it on hold…I just hope that I don't get THAT desperate. Anyway, I've been having some really awesome story ideas, so I now have some motivation to finish my current stories so that I can write the new ones…yes, I know that sounds a little strange.

Disclaimer: I'm not in the mood to blackmail someone else into doing it this time, so it's just me…yay. I don't own anything except my own people and places.

"So…how long is it going to take to reach Disney Castle again?" Sora sighed from the seat that he'd dragged up into the cockpit of Dingo and Maria's ship. A quick slap in the back of the head from Kairi was his reply.

"Sora, don't be rude!" the brunette winced and clutched at where Kairi had his him, she was standing right behind him while Riku had taken up the co-pilot seat on the grounds that he got there first.

"I'm sorry this ship isn't going fast enough. It has a warp engine, but that's only supposed to be used in emergencies since it puts a lot of strain on the ship, especially the engine." Maria took a moment to point towards a small keyhole that seemed a touch out of place when compared to all the other buttons on the control panel that Maria sat at.

"Don't apologize, it's Sora's fault for being whiny." Kairi said as she playfully flicked Sora in the back of his head, eliciting a groan of protest from the keyblade master. Maria giggled a bit in amusement while Riku rolled his eyes even though a grin formed on his face.

"Would you two grow up and stop acting like five year olds? I'm serious…you guys haven't changed a bit." Sora stuck his tongue out in reply.

"Well, Riku, I think you've been hanging around for too long! What happened to my fun-loving best friend and his sense of humor?" Both Sora and Kairi erupted into laughter at Riku's defeated "Hmph!". He may not have been as playful, laid back, or joking as Sora and Kairi, but his reactions to the duo's exchanges were always priceless. "So…how long is it going to take to get there?" Almost instantly, Kairi smacked Sora in the back of the head again.

"Lazy bum!" she said in a slightly affectionate tone, it was her nickname for him after all!

"Yeah, but I'm YOUR lazy bum…" Sora mumbled underneath his breathe.

"Hm? Did you say something, Sora?"

The brunette's eyes widened as he turned a light shade of pink. "N-no!" Kairi raised an eyebrow, but merely shrugged and looked out through the cockpit in wonder at the passing stars. This was her first time on a ship, even if it wasn't made of gummis.

"Wow…I never thought that I'd get to see the stars this close…they're beautiful!"

"Yeah, that was my reaction when I first saw how things looked in space." Everyone, except Maria, turned around to see Dingo leaning on the frame of the retraced, metallic door behind them. He had a small smirk on his face and he was wearing the exact same clothes that he was in when he first met Sora, Kairi, and Riku. "What? Am I so ruggedly handsome that you can't help but stare?" He gave a fairly cocky salute as the keyblade masters snapped out of their surprise at seeing him so suddenly.

"Wait, did you sleep in that outfit?" Riku asked in disbelief. Ding shrugged sheepishly in reply.

"Heh, yeah, whoops, I guess I did…" he chuckled to himself and walked up next to Maria to check something on the control panel of the ship, ignoring the looks he was receiving from the three keyblade masters. "Huh? Wait a second…" a screen showed several lines of data when Dingo pressed a button below it. "…Stop the ship, now." Dingo's tone abruptly became deathly serious as Maria shot him a questioning look and did as he asked.

His eyes seemed to narrow as he suddenly began to punk commands into the computer at a rate that seemed almost superhuman. "Brother, what-?!"

"Hold on to something!" Dingo yelled as he tightly grip the chair Maria was sitting in, as well as the control panel.

"Why, what's going on?" Sora asked, standing up in order to see what had gotten Dingo so worked up. That was the worst thing he could have possibly done. The whole ship lurched forward as it made a u-turn and then literally rocketed off at warp speed.

The brunette keyblade master was literally tossed into the air, crashing backwards into Kairi. Both the keyblade master and the princess of heart were sent flying backwards, slamming into the closest wall as the ship continued its course. Thankfully, warp travel took only mere seconds and the pressure pinning them there was soon lifted. Sora landed onto the ground with an "oof" and then felt something, or rather someone, fall on top of him.

"Ow…huh? S-sora?!" Kairi practically jumped off of her brunette friend, visibly embarrassed. "S-sorry!" Sora wasn't fairing much better, he wasn't even able to make a sound in reply as he got up off the ground.

"Wait here…this isn't your business…" Dingo commanded as he entered several more commands into the ship's computer before he spun around and drew his pistol from his jackets, taking care to keep it pointed into the air at all times.

"Brother, what's-?" Maria stopped in midsentence as she saw the lines of data on the screen; she appeared to be in shock.

"Maria, let's go…" Dingo said simply as the ship landed with a light "thump".

"Hold it!" all eyes turned to see Riku jumping out of his seat with a glare in his eyes. He clearly meant business and wasn't going to back down easily…not that he ever did. "We're supposed to be headed for Disney Castle, if you're going to drag us along on a side trip, then we at last deserve to have an explanation!" Dingo turned and regarded Riku in an uncharacteristically cold manner as Maria stood between them, visibly indecisive.

"…The scanner picked up something important which may lead us to someone who's important…happy now?" Without giving Riku a chance to respond, Dingo spun around again and opened the ship's entry and exit door, motioning for Maria to follow.

As the pair left the ship, Sora could see Riku glare at the door for several seconds before he began to walk toward it. "Riku, what are you doing?" The silver haired keyblade master stopped for a moment to answer his friend.

"I'm going to find out where we are and what's wrong."

"Well…they said that it wasn't any of our business…" Kairi seemed to be the most conflicted out of the group. She had always been the voice of reason for Sora and Riku when they grew up, always reminding them to get this project done, or not stay up too late, or, in some extreme cases, not to eat someone's entire birthday cake in the first five minutes of the party…it took Sora two weeks to get Kairi to forgive him for that one.

"Maybe it isn't, but we do have a right to know, don't we?" Riku stubbornly crossed his arms in a subconscious gesture to let her know that he was going to find out what was going on, even if it killed him. "…Sora, what do you think? We're not going to get anywhere like this."

"Huh?" Sora's head jerked up in near-disbelief. He had been too busy contemplating Roxas's words when the nobody had dragged him inside his own mind so that they could talk. He had warned Sora to stay alert when around Dingo and Maria, and now was a perfect example of what his nobody was trying to warn him about. Still, Sora wasn't able to immediately respond, Riku admitting that he couldn't do something, even if it was just convincing Kairi to go along with him, alone was unheard of.

"Well…I think that Riku's right…" Sora said slowly, trying not to insult Kairi even in the slightest manner. "They're trying to hide something, so I think we should go after them…" Kairi was about to open her mouth, but she stopped and thought for several seconds.

"…Alright…let's go…"

"What?! You're actually coming with us?!" Riku asked in disbelief, his arms dropping to his sides almost instantly.

"Of course…unlike you, I know when I'm wrong…and I can actually use my brain!" Riku rolled his eyes as Sora and Kairi broke into a round of chuckles and giggles respectively.

"Could we just go already?"

The three keyblade masters stood in front of beast's castle's gate, apparently Maria and Dingo had dragged them all the way to the world to find whatever or whoever they were looking for. The huge castle was as hauntingly beautiful as ever, shrouded in the evening that seemed to forever dominate the entire area. The three keyblade masters walked forward through surprisingly opened gate, Riku relatively far in the front while Sora and Kairi walked side by side.

"Wow…hey, Sora, what's this place like?" Kairi asked in wonder as she eagerly looked around, as if to try and absorb the sight of the entire castle in a few seconds. Sora placed his hands behind his head as he walked.

"Well, it's kind of hard to explain, but there's a guy who calls himself "Beast" in there who was cursed so that he looks like a monster, and there's also Belle, she's one of the princesses of heart, and then there's Lumie're, Mrs. Potts, Cogsworth, Chip, and Armoire the Wardrobe who all got cursed along with beast so that they all got turned into things that you'd find around the house.

Kairi nearly stopped in her tracks as she contemplated Sora's rather absurd explanation. She just barely managed to stop herself from getting upset with him for playing some kind of cruel joke. Sora wouldn't have ever done anything of the sort, it wasn't in his nature, so what he said, as ridiculous and absurd as it was, must have been true…she had seen some pretty weird things during her brief stay in Traverse Town when Sora went off to defeat Xehanort's heartless.

"Wow…it…um…sounds like a…interesting place…" Sora nodded and seemed to smile to himself as he reminisced about some of the fond memories he had there, minus the incident with Xaldin. "Yeah…beast may look like a monster on the outside, and he has a short fuse, but he's really a nice guy…I think that's why Belle likes him so much…"

"Hm…he sounds like someone I know…" Kairi made a quick gesture towards Riku, causing Sora to barely suppress another round of laughter. After all those years of being friendly rivals with Riku, anything that insulted or teased the silver haired boy was funny to Sora, no matter how badly it was done.

"Hey, would you slow pokes hurry up? I don't want to spend the rest of my summer vacation waiting here for you to gossiping!" Riku wore a smug expression as he crosses his arms, almost daring either Sora or Kairi to try to make a comeback of some sort. Instead, the pair simply shrugged to each other and ran up to the massive entrance into the castle; it was pretty much the only place that Dingo and Maria could have gone.

"I wonder what Beast and Belle have been up to?" Sora wondered out loud as he pushed on the two massive doors, letting both himself and his two friends in.

The sight that awaited them inside the castle was anything but what Sora expected. Kairi gasped out loud while Riku tensed and froze in place. The entire entrance hall was utterly trashed. The pillars had long and deep scratches in them, the beautiful carpet had been shredded and practically torn apart, and the droplets of blood seemed to be everywhere in the room.

"Wh-what?!" Sora yelled to himself as he looked around in panic. Had something happened that caused Beat to go on a rampage? Even when he had been influenced by Xaldin, Beast hadn't been so blinded as to all but destroy his own castle.

"This isn't new…someone did this before we even landed on this world…" Riku commented as he dipped his finger in one of the countless droplets of blood and then held up his finger, showing it to be clean. The blood had been there long enough to dry, so Dingo and Maria couldn't possibly have been responsible for the carnage.

Kairi suddenly froze and her eyes widened as she stared up towards the ballroom.

"Kairi, what's wr-?" Sora froze too as he saw what had all but paralyzed Kairi in horror. Just above the door frame that lead into the ballroom a message that was obviously meant to cruelly taunt Beast was written in blood.

"Lucian's 12 course anger management class"

The blood seemed to be seeping and clawing it's way to the ground, it had only been added recently in contrast to the rest of the destruction. A crude and twisted imitation of a smiley face was drawn next to the taunt, drawn in blood as well.

Sora simply couldn't contain himself any longer. "Beast! Belle!" he yelled as he summoned the Kingdom Key and made a mad dash for the ballroom. Riku tried to grab the brunette by his shoulder, but Sora, in his panicked state, was simply too fast and too driven to let even Riku stop him.

"Sora, wait! It might be a trap!" Kairi yelled as she and Riku pursued their friend, too far behind to actually do anything. They were only halfway down the entrance hall while Sora was already dashing up the stairs just below the ballroom door. Footfalls came from the two halls that flanked the room as Dingo and Maria came sprinting into the room just as Sora entered the ballroom. "Sora!" Kairi's cry was all the brother and sister needed to understand what was going on.

Without a word, the pair joined Riku and Kairi as they too dashed into the ballroom, intent on stopping Sora fro diving head first into something that even he wouldn't be able to simply fight his way out of…

The first thing Sora noticed as he sprinted into the ballroom, keyblade drawn, was the fact that it seemed to be completely dark, somehow, every source of light within it had been extinguished, leaving him in total darkness as the door shut behind him.

"Alas, poor beast…I knew him for all of twenty seconds…a fellow of infinite jest!" A single light suddenly illuminated the middle of the ballroom, revealing a boy who looked a year or two older than Sora with blood red hair and a black trench coat standing with his bac turned to the keybearer, holding what looked like an old and dusty human skull. Sora found himself rooted to the spot, only able to stare in

shock and horror as the boy slowly turned to face him with a psychotic smile that sent chills down Sora's spine.

"It's my version of Hamlet…oh, I apologize, I was having so much fun that I forgot my manners!" the boy bowed in an almost mocking manner towards Sora. "People call me Lucian, but I prefer "the psychotic feak with the great hair!""

"Lucian what the hell are you do-!" The door behind Sora burst open as Kairi, Riku, Dingo, and Maria burst through it, only to run straight into a force field of some kind that separated the area around the door from the rest of the room, effectively cutting off Sora's escape route while separating him from his companions. "Lucian…explanation now…" Dingo furiously crossed his arms and glared at the red-head.

"Oh! Dingo! Maria!" Lucian actually seemed genuinely happy as he totally ignored Sora to wave at the brother and sister. "I'm just going to have to cut this guy's heart out because of a promise I made, just sit back, relax, and enjoy the show…" In reply, Dingo furiously punched the force field.

"Fool! You aren't supposed to physically cut out his heart; you're supposed to steal it with the power of darkness!" An all too familiar voice rang out.

"M-maleficent?!" Sora couldn't help but take a step back as the entire room was suddenly illuminated, revealing that the black witch was standing on top of the chandelier, too far away to do any real harm, or be attacked. A stream of dark energy flowed from her staff, eventually leading to a transparent globe of darkness that Belle and Beast were bing held in, the latter had several knives sticking out in various places of his body. Lucian simply shrugged sheepishly in reply as he drew a knife out of seemingly nowhere.

"Whoops…my mistake…well, old habits die hard after all…" The boy began to cackle to himself as Sora took a battle stance. "Come on…let's dance, shall we?" Lucian barely seemed able to contain himself as he charged toward Sora, drawing a second knife with a flick of his free hand.

"Dingo, is there any way past this thing?!" Kairi asked, practically panicking as Sora and Lucian ran towards each other.

"I'm working on it…" the silver haired boy replied as he slid his hand across the force field. "Aha! It's right…here!" A holographic terminal of some sort appeared when Dingo pressed a certain spot on the energy field. "I invented this thing, so I also made this emergency way out…but I have a feeling it's going to take until after this fight's over for me to get us through this thing…" Dingo typed with a nearly inhuman speed, not even glancing up at Sora and Lucian's duel.

"What?! Why?!" Riku asked, for once visibly disturbed and concerned about Sora's well-being.

"Because, Lucian may be insane, but he's just as intelligent as I am, so this code I'm going to have to break won't be an easy one…and he knows how fast I can type…we're friends after all…"

Meanwhile, Sora swung at Lucian's neck, trying to end the fight quickly before Lucian could have a chance to do any real damage; just being in the boy's presence was enough to set Sora on end! To the keyblade master's surprise, the red head easily evaded the strike by leaning backwards, grinning psychotically all the while. "Come on, hit me!"

The keyblade master barely managed to avoid a counter attack from Lucian as one of the boy's knives slightly cut into the skin on his neck. The keyblade master winced a bit but spun away as Lucian's momentum carried him forward, straight into Sora's keyblade.

"How'd you like that!" Sora challenged as he brandished his keyblade while Lucian flew through the air before crashing into one of the many pillars of the room. To his shock, Lucian jumped to his feet almost instantly, despite the fact that blood was dripping from his partially exposed stomach where the kingdom key had cut him, he was lucky to have not been eviscerated.

"That felt good…" Lucian simply stretched his arms, if anything; he seemed stimulated by his injury, not discouraged. "Hey, can I ask you something? Why are people afraid of dying?" He grinned as he suddenly began to fling knives towards Sora, laughing even as he did so.

The brunette hesitated for a moment in surprise before he raised his keyblade and began to block and deflect the knives even as Lucian threw them. The guy had nearly been eviscerated and he was having a good time?! While both he and Riku did enjoy a good sparing session, Lucian seemed to thrive off pain and death itself.

Lucian's mad cackling suddenly came from above as he leaped into the air, twin knives at the ready. Sora cried out as one of the knives cut into his skin when Lucian landed, crouched. He had backed away in time to avoid any serious damage, but his clothes were now partially ripped and he was bleeding a well. Lucian thrust his second knife up towards Sora's face, but the keyblade master jerked backwards in time and then lunged forward with the keyblade as Lucian spun around the attack and leapt backwards.

"I mean, I've had people literally beg me to let them die, there was this one trick I showed this person that involved a rusty cheese grater and a stapler, and he was begging me to kill him on the spot then and there when he'd been begging for something called "mercy" a few seconds earlier!"

Lucian said this as he and Sora traded blows, with the keyblade master blocking his knives and the Lucian by dodging Sora's strikes in twisted dance-like movements. Without warning, Lucian leaped backwards and crossed his arms, seemingly in thought.

"I don't get…I'm just trying to help people and they call me crazy…" As puzzled as he was by Lucian's behavior, Sora wasn't about to waste a chance like this. The brunette lunged forward with a yell, thrusting his keyblade forward, straight at Lucian. "Hm, what?"

Before, Sora had simply been apprehensive of Lucian because of his insanity, but now he was truly afraid. Lucian had just been impaled by an over-sized key and he barely seemed to notice. "Ooooh! So that's what you're acting all surprised about!" Lucian exclaimed as he finally seemed to notice the keyblade that was embedded through him.

"That's not going to work…you see, everyone has something that, when taken away, will just…make them go crazy!" Lucian cackled madly again as he leaned forward to a nearly terrified Sora and began to pull himself down the length of the keyblade. "You can't do it to me though…you can't remove my pain…" Lucian grinned wickedly as he reached inside his coat with his left hand while his right held the keyblade in place, preventing Sora from pulling it out. "You suffered so much without breaking…you deserve a better kind of tormentor…and I'm a man of my word…"

A wickedly serrated black dagger was what Lucian pulled out of his coat and wave in a taunting manner in front of Sora's face. "I'm going to help you now…" The brunette barely registered Lucian's movements as he stabbed the dagger straight through his back. Instead of simply slitting his throat or stabbing him in the neck, Lucian chose to impale Sora through the back, the keybearer could feel the black blade going all the way though.

His eyes rolled back into his head as he screamed in pain, there was something unnatural about the dagger, and whatever it was, it wasn't going to be pleasant. Lucian simply smiled in his usual manner the entire time as he released Sora's keyblade, allowing the brunette to land on his back, gasping for air and clutching his heart, after he practically tore the dagger from his back.

"And now…I need to take a nap…" Lucian fell backwards, opposite of Sora, as his wound finally seemed to catch up with him.

"SORA!" Kairi yelled, striking the force field Lucian took the liberty of setting in desperation.

"Dingo, get this thing down, NOW!" Riku growled even as Dingo seemed to type with a renewed sense of usegency.

"What do you think I've been trying to do for the past five minutes?!" Suddenly, the holographic terminal that Dingo was using flashed green and disappeared, followed by the rest of the field. "Got it!" The group wasted no time in surging towards Sora, who was violently spamming and gasping for breath from whatever Lucian had used to make the dagger.

"Fools, aren't you forgetting something?" Maleficent's voice caused the whole party of heroes to stop in their tracks and look up to see the captive Beast and Belle hovering above them, still unconscious and inside the globe of darkness. The black witch smirked as the heroes looked on in horror before the globe dissipated, letting Beast and Belle plummet to the ground below.

"I'll stop them, you get Sora!" Maria cried out as she seemed to concentrate on her spear-staff, a silver aura seemed resonate throughout it. Kairi and Riku nodded in reply while Dingo furiously glared at Maleficent as she floated down to the ground through the use of her magic.

As Riku and Kairi dragged Sora to safety and Maria used one of her own spells to catch and slowly lower them to the ground, Dingo pointed his pistol towards Maleficent as she walked towards the apparently unconscious Lucian. "Don't even think about it…if you so much as look at him, I'll kill you here and now." Maleficent paused and then smirk triumphantly in reply.

"Oh? You think you can harm me with that?" Despite Dingo's unwavering glare, Maleficent knew that she had correctly called his bluff. Whatever the power that he had used during their last encounter was, Dingo was clearly only willing to use it to a certain extent. A dark energy blast form Maleficent's staff sent Dingo flying through the air into one of the nearby pillars, causing a spider web of cracks to appear where he had crashed as the silver haired boy sank to the ground, unmoving.

"Dingo!" Maria screamed as she dropped Belle and beast the last few inches. Kairi glanced up to see Maleficent opening a dark door behind her and then wrapping some kind of tendril made from her dark magic around Lucian's chest so that she could drag him into it without having to dirty her hands with physical labor. The princess of heart felt a hand on her shoulder and turned to see Riku nod at her before he stood up and ran towards the black witch with The Way to Dawn at the ready.

In that one silent exchange, Riku had pretty much said that he was entrusting Sora's safety to her. "Kai…ri…" The auburn haired princess looked down at Sora, whatever Lucian had done, it had put Sora in total agony, he was barely able to keep his eyes open.

"I'm here…" she said as she took his hand in hers, squeezing in an attempt to comfort him. "I'm not going to leave you…ever…"

Meanwhile, a furious Riku charged Maleficent, who was just about to step through the dark door with Lucian in tow. "Hold it!" he barked as he swung his keyblade, sending a dark aura attack sailing towards Maleficent. Riku was too far away to be able to attack at close range just yet. To his dismay, Maleficent dissipated the attack with a flick of her wrist.

"Foolish boy, did you really think you could harm me with the power of darkness?! Ha, you're even duller than I thought!" with that insult to Riku's pride and intelligence, Maleficent entered through the dark door and shut it before anyone could stop her.

"Riku, he's getting worse!" Instantly, Riku spun around to see that Sora had stopped moving, but he was perspiring and struggling to take breathes. The silver haired keyblade master ran up and knelt down next to his best friend and then placed his hand over his heart.

"…It's darkness…I can sense it. Whatever Lucian did, he injected Sora with darkness, and it's consuming him from the inside out…" Kairi looked up in surprise, but she thankfully didn't question how Riku was able to sense the darkness, it was a sensitive subject to him. "I can't do anything about it and healing magic won't save him, we've got to get him to Disney Castle before his heart gets consumed…either Mickey or the Cornerstone of Light should be able to save him."

"Then…what are we waiting for?" Riku tensed and slowly turned around to see Dingo and Maria, the former of which was somehow able to walk despite the blow Maleficent had delivered him. "We have to move to a safe place quickly…I've never seen anyone who was able to take Lucian down in a one on one melee duel, so he's not going to stop coming after Sora until he's dead or someone make him swear to stop. Believe me, Lucian won't give up, I know him."

Riku slowly and angrily got up and nodded, though he was glaring at Dingo the whole time. Now wasn't a good time for a story, but once Sora was saved, then he would get the answers he wanted from Dingo one way or another…

"We don't have much time, let's go!"

Xemnas winced a bit even as he performed the healing spell on the currently unconscious Lucian, who was naked from the waist up as he lay on the medical table in the infirmary on the Castle That Never Was. It was necessary to remove his coat and shirt in order to properly heal the massive wound that had been inflicted upon him. Behind the nobody-heartless hybrid, Maleficent too couldn't help but crunch her face up in disgust at Lucian's exposed chest. It was as muscular as was to be expected of someone with Lucian's incredible physical attributes, but literally every inch of his body was covered in scars and wounds…and this was actually a massive improvement over what it looked like BEFORE the extensive healing therapies that Xemnas had forced upon the boy when they agreed upon their "association".

To say that Lucian 's body made him look like he slept in a bed of unsheathe sword would have been a compliment, there were numerous bullet wounds and hints of bruises in addition to the numerous scars. The wounds, even now that many of them had been healed by Xemnas, transcended any kind of mere abuse or torture by far.

"What happened to give him such…features?" Maleficent asked cautiously as she looked in morbid curiosity. Xemnas simply shrugged in reply as he held his hand over the regenerating wound in Lucian's stomach, the one that had been given to him when Sora impaled him.

"He keeps changing the story every time I ask, I'm not sure if he even remembers, the human mind will erase memories that prove too traumatizing. It's possible that his mind keeps trying to come up with a past, an explanation for his existence, but even the watered down and fake memories that he himself creates are too intense so that he's unable to truly remember anything." Again Xemans shrugged." That's my hypothesis, he could just be playing another one of his games with me…there's file of some sort that he loaned me, it's on my desk in my old office…don't bother looking through my possessions, there's nothing of use there, so don't waste your time."

Maleficent nodded as she watched Lucian's scarred skin regenerate itself thanks to Xemnas's healing magic. "I wonder what he's dreaming about?" It was just idle musing on Maleficent's part, it was the first time she'd seen Lucian without that psychotic smile of his.

"With him, there's no telling. It could be anything from blood and gore to nothing but the blackness that is oblivion." Xemnas continued to work when he abruptly stopped. "Hm? Darkness? Maleficent, did was Lucian wounded by the dagger I effused with darkness so that he could have a fighting chance against Sora?" The black witch thought for several seconds as she recalled the duel between the keyblade master and "The Tormentor".

"It's possible, he impaled Sora with the blade, so it may have stabbed him as well, but if it did, he didn't react…come to think of it, Lucian didn't react to any pain at all!"

Xemnas remained silent as he contemplated the facts and their potential ramifications. "…I personally twisted that darkness so that it would cause agonizing pain to anyone infected by it and then cause the darkness in their hearts to consume them…Lucian is immune to pain for reasons that he has yet to elaborate on, but that doesn't explain why the darkness had had no effect on him or his heart…or at least, no effects that are harmful enough to be noticed…"

Realization dawned upon Maleficent as she recognized where Xemnas was going. "You think he can wield darkness?" Xemnas turned around with a wicked smile on his face.

"Nor simply wield it, master it! Have so complete a control over his inner darkness that he could compete with even the keybearers! The possibilities and potentials" Xemnas seemed lost in his own little world of possibilities and research until Maleficent coughed lightly to get his attention.

"Aren't you forgetting the most important thing for controlling darkness? The thing that Lucian lacks?" Maleficent couldn't help but take pleasure in Xemans's briefly puzzled expression. "Passion. He may enjoy tormenting others, but his emotions lack the passion needed to evoke the darkness within his heart." That simple answer was the explanation for why everyone had darkness within their hearts. Darkness wasn't inherently evil; it just represented the baser feelings in people, acting on instinct and emotion.

Even the purest of romances had passion, and thus darkness, in them. You couldn't be human without at least a miniscule of darkness within you.

"On the contrary, he has a great deal of passion about certain things…and certain individuals…his heart is far more fragile than you might think…"

Well, there you have it, the fourth chapter! So, Sora's struggling to keep his heart from succumbing to the darkness Lucian infected him with while everyone's favorite sociopath with a sense of humor is gaining the power of darkness…let's just say that if you though he was bad before, just wait until you see Lucian when he's actually upset and trying to kill Sora rather than just having "fun".

Anyway, I'd like to thank my reviewers for giving me the inspiration to continue being a writer, without you, I'd be hopeless! I just wanted to say that I'm sorry if this seemed rushed and if I did a bad job with Lucian's inanity, I'm new to writing people as crazy as he is, so he may not seem as intimidating or scary as I meant him to be…but then, you're only reading about him and not having the mental images, so…

Oh, one final thing, for my truly loyal and consistent reviewers and friends that have been helping me since the beginning of my career on here. I have been having some MAJOR writer's block for The Heart of Darkness, so would you mid n if I put it on hold and started that fantasy AU I mentioned earlier? Like I said, I can't even start the next chapter, so I think I need a break from it, and I may as well get started on the AU before I explode from anticipation, but I want your say on the matter.