Riku could feel it coming.
He had been safe, for two years now, and he knew the end was in plain sight.
He had been blindly roaming through the world of Darkness ever since the Keyhole had been sealed; him behind the door. He had been selfless in helping this to happen.
But Fate is cruel.
He had been trying to blend in, to hide from it all, fighting it in secret. All the while the force gnawed and chewed at his heart. He fought hordes of Heartless in the constantly dim cities, defying gravity since he was almost nothing more than a shadow. Escaping by running up walls.
Water pelted the hood of his trench coat and it shimmered in the glow of Heartless' eyes. He concentrated, using his hearts feeble, fading powers and strength. He needed a weapon-Keyblade, Keyblade.
In his left hand, a Dark Keyblade appeared. Looking at the all-familiar hilt he grasped it tighter. Then he swung at the dark figures fighting him. One disappeared in a flash of black and purple smoke. He jumped up in the air, as did several of the Heartless. It was futile; Riku's skills had been far improved from when he was considered unbeatable.
He flipped the Keyblade over once and they were all decapitated.
Then he finished his jump; which had gone over the ground far more than it would have in reality. His jump was completed with a graceful back flip.
A green light flashed, Riku's pupils shrunk, responding to the light…
He was back in another World…this was Traverse Town, a small fledging city with few shops and buildings. The time was night, hasn't he seen enough darkness? Wait, this wasn't anything new. It was some sort of flashback, or deja-vu.
He was standing with a tall witch, who wore a black robe with purple stitching and had an odd color of skin. Her eyes were yellow, with no iris and a black, foreboding pupil. She wore little makeup, and carried her mystical staff. She seemed coldhearted at most times, but wore a small smile upon her face. But Riku took no notice in the odd occurrence.
He was beside her, much shorter, younger and jealous as a cat, breathing deeply, trying to cope with newfound understanding.
Sora was inside a building nearby, looking calm and relaxed as he had on Destiny Islands before the cataclysm. Sora rested his hands on the back of his head, listening to his new friends talk.
Who were those people?
Riku and Kairi were his friends, not these weirdoes.
He had been replaced by a talking duck and a weird dog-like creature with long ears and big feet. They look like they had teamed up to fight, fight the invading Heartless.
I could do a much better job than they could, Riku thought. A duck with a wizard's war-hammer that is also used a magical staff and a weird thing with a knight's shield. Riku had a weapon much better, that the witch, Maleficent, had given him.
He had a long, curved blade, with a cats-eye gem near the handle, which had a twisted design all the way down. Sora and he made a much better fighting team than THEY did.
"You see? It's just as I told you. While you toiled away
Trying to find your dear friend, he quite simply replaced you with some new companions. Deserted you. Evidently, now he values them for more than he does you. You're better off without that wretched boy. Now, think no more of him, and come with me. I'll help you find what you're searching for..." Maleficent said comfortingly, even though her words felt like cold acid going down Riku's throat and caking his fair skin.
Riku couldn't say anything. She was right; Sora didn't want anything to do with him. He frowned and just glared at what was his friend.
Jealousy struck him like lightning and spread throughout his body like cancer.
Riku felt himself suspended in mid-air, then landing perfectly on his two feet. He whipped the Dark Keyblade around, finishing the attack.
He was wearing his trench coat again, not his baggy jeans that tied near the ankles. Or his yellow shirt with a black straps going across his chest, the black also outlining everything else and covering his back. He was not wearing his arm bands he wore when he was fifteen, either. He was back to reality.
He swung the Keyblade around, it looking polished in the pale lights and raindrops.
The other Heartless scattered, afraid.
Riku smirked as he always did, still confident even though he knew he was growing thin. His strength was failing and pain washed over him like a wave.
He collapsed to his knees, and the Dark Keyblade clattered to the ground, splashing small puddles of water.
The hood fell off of Riku's head and his shiny, silver hair was exposed. He breathed deeply, trying to keep a grip on the life he felt burning inside him.
"I wish this never happened," he said to himself. He was confused; he didn't understand what just happened.
What had that been?
The Darkness was filling his heart and had been for the last several years. There was little life or hope left in it. He was going to lose his heart to the enemies.
He looked at the red hilt of the Keyblade again. The mysterious large key resembled a sword in ways, but was able to unlock most anything and everything. The Dark Keyblade unlocking people's hearts instead. The weapon drew a sense of longing in his chest and he looked at it hungrily.
The Keyblade's could pick and choose their masters, showing faithfulness to the human until another, stronger, more potent hero would show up. Riku was the original Keyblade master until he made a dire mistake.
"I am the Keyblade master…. I am." He assured himself. He remembered losing the Keyblade to Sora the first time because he had submersed himself in Darkness, oblivious of its evil. The second time, because his heart was weaker than a young, simple-minded naïve boy.
Their friendship had always been more of a rivalry than anything else. They had always competed, but they were best friends. But Kairi had liked Sora better than Riku and for that and the Keyblade, Riku was jealous of Sora; Sora of Riku for his skills which far outshined his own. Not to mention Riku would often show off, even without meaning to at times, and it would rub into Sora's skin like sulfuric acid.
To be hated, for cherished as a memory…?
Riku was still was fascinated by Sora's Keyblade and his heart, powered by something other than his own might could bring one of the three Keyblades to him.
Now, whenever he was able to summon one, it was the Dark Keyblade.
"Darkness is my true element…I can never return."
Riku had tried to return to the World of Light, but it was hopeless. He was so filled with the Dark powers and continued to use them foolishly.
He had been tricked into using them, finding out about them. If he would've understood that the Heartless and the others, predominantly Maleficent, were double-sided he never would've used their advice, help and powers to save Kairi.
He had, but hadn't at the same time. He had finally found her, and knew he was going to get her heart back, but then he was stopped by a man named Ansem, who took over his body and used Riku's strength against Sora and to bring ruin to all worlds.
He used the powers so irrationally.
Riku could feel his heart feeling heavy in his chest…. several large Heartless appeared with huge talons and gleaming yellow eyes, boring into his skin, trying to get Riku to slip at last, they had been waiting so long for this.
Riku reached forward for the Keyblade but it disappeared right before he touched the cold metal. "What?"
Riku slumped forward, sideways on the ground, rain continually falling on him.
He felt himself moving; forward at an alarming rate…a bright light was shining in his eyes. He squinted, but it was too powerful for him, even with his blind.
He recognized this place as Destiny Islands…the beach, the sand, the tree's all around. He saw the dock, and the bridge out to the old island where he used to use his wooden sword to fight with the other teenagers. He saw Kairi, older now, with longer hair, still auburn as it had been.
"Kairi." He said, feeling his emotions skyrocket from nothingness and sorrow to aged love and compassion. He had been in love, and the love triangle between the three still flourished, although they were separated.
She looked over at him and appeared to be alarmed. She took several steps backwards. "Who are you?"
Riku didn't saw anything for a moment. Common sense would say she was afraid. But Riku's instinct was run by his emotions and concerns, making him seem self-centered. He jumped to conclusions.
They had forgotten about him, even though he made the largest sacrifices! It was HE who helped seal the door to Kingdom Hearts. HE who had joined the Dark side just to save Kairi and get her heart back.
His mind seemed to fast-forward and he forgot about Kairi momentarily and his stomach dropped down to his knees.
The door is shut.
He was behind it; never to see the light of day again….it was all dark for a split second, Heartless looming around. He placed his hands on the wood of the door and sighed. Would he even fight back? Hopeless feeling overwhelmed him… and then he could see the light again, back at Destiny Islands.
The clouds were full and fluffy, the sky bright and blue. Such shapes and colors you never see in the World of Darkness.
He was confused again, but kept on track. Kairi was right in front of him once more!
"It's me, Kairi. Your old friend Riku." He gave a small smile.
"Riku!" she exclaimed, looking like she didn't know whether to run forward and kiss him on the cheek or shrink away further.
Riku extended his arm. To his dismay, whenever he moved, darkness followed like flames. He wasn't freed from the darkness. He was glowing, as well. Encircling him was a green aura.
Kairi stepped forward. "You're safe." She smiled.
"Yeah, that surprises even me."
Kairi began walking forward and stopped, looking at Riku quizzically. "Where's Sora?" She asked. "Ever since the worlds' barriers reformed, I haven't seen him. I think he's lost…I think he's all alone. I can feel it in my heart." She put her hand softly over her heart. "Can't you, Riku? Can't you feel him?"
Riku didn't say anything.
It had been true, after being possessed by Ansem he had lost his heart, but he regained it, but he was behind the large doors to Kingdom Hearts. But now, his heart felt disconnected from everything else. It beat heavily, like it was struggling to keep going. Something wrenched at it, trying to make him return.
He gasped in pain, and hunched forward.
He pulled himself forward, breaking loose once more.
"I think I'm back, Kairi. I'm free!" he held his arms out dramatically, water dripping from the black sleeves. The feeling of supreme happiness passed over him like a pending storm once she broke it with a few redundant words.
"Riku, can you still feel him?"
"Kairi…" Riku broke off, saying her name only for the sake of the sound.
She looked at him, trying to make eye contact with his hidden eyes.
"I can't feel him. You've always been connected, and no matter where you are, your hearts will bring you together again. You just need to believe that."
"It's so simple then?"
"I know, but know I think it's true. You're back after all this time! We can be friends again!" she closed her eyes and smiled. "I remember when I was brought back by Sora, we got away from Hollow Bastion and you were missing, he didn't seem to know but he wanted to save you. I think he might've been sorry for treating you so indifferently before he saved me. I told him that you would be okay, and that you could take care of yourself."
Riku's mouth opened as if he was about to talk, but he took another step toward the petite, delicate girl. He remembered wanting to be bound to Kairi forever. Then he began wondering why she hadn't asked more about him. Wasn't she curious about what Riku had been doing and how he survived certain death?
Was Sora more important than he?
He heard Sora's voice in his mind. "Kairi…Riku…"
Kairi nodded, tears breaching her eyes.
"I think something's happening!"
There was a ripple in the air, and Sora appeared just as Riku had, his aura gray. He didn't look much different from when they had last seen each other, the same idiosyncratic outfit and brown hair, the same bright blue eyes and gloved hands and huge yellow shoes.
Sora breathed, "Are we all here? Is this real? I've had so many dreams about us reuniting, and this feels so-fake."
"Fake?" Riku asked.
"Fake…" a cold voice sounded through the air.
Riku jumped at the smooth, iron voice.
"It's okay, guys. We're together again!" Sora assured strongly, his Oathkeeper Keyblade at hand. Riku looked at it with revulsion. The Oathkeeper Keyblades keychain had been given by Kairi, and Sora almost always used it, because he believed that they were together always. Riku wondered if Sora thought the same about their friendship.
He doubted it.
Kairi looked at Riku and her hand reached up to his face and brushed up the side of it. Riku felt like she was about to kiss him in a moment of blazing wonder, truth and passion, but she lifted the blind from his face slowly.
Riku hadn't done that-ever.
Riku yelled without thinking, "KAIRI! NO!"
His eyes were revealed, a rich deep glow with no pupil. His hands tensed and drew into fists.
How could this be happening?
His eyes were green and blue, not this color!
Kairi gasped and Sora yelled, but Riku could only hear them faintly, as if he was far away. He saw Sora's mouth form the words, "Riku! No!" and Kairi began chasing after him. There was no way that she would let him be taken back to that shadowy place; or for them to be separated again.
He was being yanked backwards by his heart, reeled in. Riku was now moving back, and held out his arm to them, but this time it was different. He used to extend his arms to his friends to get them to come with him. This time he reached for them to pull him back, to rescue him. To save him from this damnation.
Then everything went black and he was spinning. A green light flashed again, his eyes twitched.
"Fake…" The voice said.
He was wearing his old attire again, and feeling completely different. A curious spark with itching underneath his skin. With that feeling was rebellious spirit, triumph, revelation, freedom, determination and also bravery, apprehension and isolation.
His hair was shorter; he was fifteen again, at Destiny Islands but it was no where near as cheerful as it had been only moments ago. Great orbs of a glowing substance filled the sky. The air was whirling about, like a hurricane was coming. The sky was black and gray, no wispy clouds were out. The sky was choppy and Riku's heart beat like a drum in his chest.
He could escape these dull islands at last. He wished Sora and Kairi would hurry up and meet him here, before he would leave without them.
He gazed up at the orb, always changing like a supernova, astir, and flashed purple and blue.
We can get to other worlds this way, he thought.
Don't do it, don't do it, another voice said in his head.
Sora ran forward.
Finally, Riku could escape. He spoke the words like they were familiar. "The door-has opened."
"Huh? What are talking about? Where's Kairi? I thought Kairi was with you." Sora demanded, as usual. Why couldn't he settle down? Escape was at hand! Kairi would be here when the time came.
Riku spoke fiercely. "Kairi's coming with us! Come on Sora, there's no turning back now. Once we step through, we may never come back. We may never see our parents again…" Riku didn't care for that part, he only had a father who had abandoned him on this island years ago. "We can't let fear stop us! I'm not afraid of the Darkness!" Riku said the last words with much conviction. Sora only looked over his shoulder to see if Kairi was coming.
Riku knew she would never make it in time, and decided now was the time to leave, before the whole island was destroyed.
Riku held out his hand and smirked, ready for the journey. A puddle of the dark substance appeared under him, but he didn't care.
Sora looked hesitant and scared; he didn't know what to choose.
Little did they both know that this moment changed both of their lives.
Sora decided to go with his best friend, and reached for his outstretched hand. He stretched his arm out as long as he could and strained to grab the boys hand. Riku didn't move. He wouldn't do a thing, Sora would have to take his hand, and he wasn't going to help with Sora's efforts.
The brown-haired kid teetered on one leg, trying to reach his friend, and almost grabbed his half-gloved hand.
A dark mist began circling the silver-haired youth and Riku kept his hand out for Sora. Sora never caught hold.
Riku was pulled downwards, into the dark air.
Sora looked down. "Riku?" he asked aloud.
That was when Riku lost the Keyblade.
Riku could feel himself being thrust forward, at the feet of a woman wearing a cloak. She was standing by a table and looked down at him frigidly. Riku coughed and brushed himself off.
"Where am I?" he asked.
She smiled at him. "Come here child."
Riku slowly got off the floor and didn't take a step toward her.
"Why so cold?" she asked. "The journey here must've been a long one."
"Actually, I'm kind of confused. Is this another world?"
"It depends where you are from, but I can see that apparently, you must be from somewhere other than here."
"I-where is this place?"
"Where? I couldn't tell you if you have no knowledge of the World's around here."
Riku was confused, and the woman seemed too uninterested in his presence. That reminded him of something…but this had already happened, this was the past, and what he was comparing it to was something that he didn't know of yet…but he did.
He did very well. Instead of feeling alone once more, he could tell that someone else was very near. The reminiscent voice echoed through his mind and he shuddered.
"Tied to the darkness...soon to be completely eclipsed. There is so very much to learn. You understand so little. A meaningless effort. One who knows nothing can understand nothing." It was the words that were spoken by Ansem before he was sent back to the World of Darkness. "Take a look at this tiny place. To the heart seeking freedom this island is a prison surrounded by water. And so this boy sought to escape from his prison. He sought a way to cross over into other worlds. And he opened his heart to darkness." And those words, Riku thought, were very wise and very true. To make the memory worse, those words had been spoken through him.
"So, after all this time the memory is fresh within your mind?" the cold voice said, and Riku felt himself submerged in Darkness once more, with no Light. There was laughter from the individual. "What is your name, I seem to forget. Let me recollect your thoughts, ah yes. Riku is it? Son of-?"
"Not important," Riku muttered.
"Fake…" the voice spoke once more.
"Ansem!" Riku growled, being turned over and over again, spiraling in all directions like a piece of lint in the air, nothing compared to what surrounded it.
"I can't believe that you still live. Has it been torture, boy? Not understanding anything that happened and being twisted like a rag, tricked like you were a playing chip? Seeing everything through a reflection, voices screaming and begging, feeling powerful as a star and then feeling weaker than a leaf dying on the ground? It is your heart that's your downfall. All your courage lives within your mind. Everything you know is false. You are a non-existent one, separated from their heart partially, but it is Dark enough to keep you bound here." Ansem's orange aura glowed dimly, showing the outlines of his body. The man was suspended in the air, arms crossed, his silver hair billowing in all directions and his tailcoat blowing, whipping violently in the air. Ansem's silhouette was hazy, but unmistakable. His face was ambiguous from shadows, as most everything else was in this dimension.
"I'm strong." Riku replied.
The aura's glow changed, so that Riku could see Ansem's face clearly. The man's intense orange gaze pierced Riku. "Your determination will not help you here. You have been heavily influenced by the Darkness' superior power. That's all you want it power. Your whole life. You are a selfish, power-hungry, foolish young man." The lines on Ansem's face grew deeper and shadowy.
"I'm not! I've been fighting for Kairi!" Riku yelled.
"She doesn't care for you. Have you been too blind, without the mask drawn over your eyes?"
"You're not going to manipulate me again, Ansem."
"Your ties are too strong to the Dark powers to turn back now, boy. If I wanted control of you, it would be all to easy, using all your energy and life left in you, draining you and your power, then leaving to be weak and helpless. Lying there to be consumed by the Heartless or Darkness itself. There's nothing you can do. The End is coming."
"No it's not!"
Riku couldn't deny it.
It was coming. His heart was being ripped out, ate up, with nothing happening physically to his body. Not a drop of blood was shed. He felt pain beyond imagining.
"You're being lost once more." Ansem said apathetically, not flinching. "Perhaps it would be best if your suffering ended now?"
"I'm…I feel strength again!"
Ansem sneered at Riku. "Don't get cocky. Death is more suiting than what you're trying to live through."
Riku felt his heart being torn through once more and screamed in anguish.
"As long as you fight, you will be drug through misery and pain. The illusions created by the Dark powers, your mind, reality and your emotions are what confuse you. Did you really see Kairi and Sora again; were you together, or was it-false?
Riku didn't say anything. "I'll never give up! I've fought too long, Ansem."
"Would you like it to end now?"
Riku continued to fight the invisible force.
He was slipping through blackness again. Ansem was gone, veiled in the darkness. A few words echoed in his mind.
"Don't bother. Your voice can no longer reach him where he is. His heart belongs again to Darkness. All worlds begin in Darkness, and all so end. The heart is no different. Darkness sprouts within it, grows, consumes it. Such is its nature. In the end, every heart returns to the Darkness whence it came. You see, Darkness is the heart's true essence."
Riku had come to believe this, beside from what Sora had said about the heart being weak, but there was a light deep within that never went out. How could he have possibly believed that Darkness would make his heart stronger?
Riku's had been smothered a long while ago.
But now, an odd feeling beset him, and he slowly floated downwards, no longer spiraling all over.
"I…I feel free." Riku said, as an unseen force gripped his heart and twisted.
Riku floated through the swirling, dark mist for eternities.
It was coming.
He would be judged one day at last.
He was the chosen one, by the Keyblade, by Darkness, by Ansem and fate. He couldn't escape it.
Darkness was his source of life and slowly killing him.
He was the non-existent one.
And it was coming.
Luthien Sirfalas' Fanfiction