A Simple Touch

A Memory

"A scattered dream that's like a far-off memory…a far-off memory that's like a scattered dream…."

Vanitas was still staring out the window bored out of his mind. He just kept thinking about his previous thoughts…trying to find out why Sora was acting so naïve. Everything around him was still silent as he kept staring out in space, though after a second, a faint knock on the door broke the silence and interrupted his thoughts.

Vanitas then heard the door open and slowly turned to see who it was. Without really showing an expression, he saw that it was Kairi.

"This girl again?! Why does she keep following me?!" Vanitas said in his mind a bit annoyed.

"Kairi?" Vanitas spoke, though still imitating Sora.

"What is it? Is there something wrong?" he asked worriedly.

Kairi then silently closed the door behind her, she wanted to say something, but for some reason, she was lost in words.

"I know you said that you're feeling okay, but… I guess I still need to convince myself that you are," she said slightly looking down at the floor. She still couldn't get the memory of Sora acting weird before leaving Destiny Islands out her head.

Without another word, Vanitas walked over to Kairi. He gently put his finger under her chin, picking her head up; the two were looking at each other.

"I'm fine…I promise," Vanitas said imitating Sora's gentle smile. He knew he was lying to her since obviously Sora wasn't even present.

It was still a bit quiet when the two kept looking at each other, though Vanitas continued to speak.

"What will it take to convince you?" he said giving a slight chuckle.

But Kairi didn't answer; she just kept staring into his ocean blue eyes.

"I think I remember from Sora's memory, that this is the girl that he cares deeply for, but, never truly told her his feelings for her, and if that's really the case, then maybe…." Vanitas said in his mind.

Without another word he then started to lean a little closer to Kairi. After a second, Kairi more likely did the same…in that moment, their lips finally touched; the two were sharing a kiss. To Kairi, it was hers and Sora's first kiss. Though to Vanitas, it was only an act to convince her that he was Sora. Since Sora cares for her, Vanitas thinks by giving her a kiss, it will blind her enough to believe he was telling the truth… even though he really isn't.

But then another knock on the door immediately broke the two up. As Sora and Kairi turned their attention to the door as it opened, they saw it was Riku.

"Oh, I'm sorry… am I interrupting something," Riku said looking at the two, though mostly to Sora.

"No, we were just talking," Kairi quickly said; though Riku wasn't really convinced since he saw that she was slightly blushing along with Sora.

"Right," Riku said sarcastically raising an eyebrow.

"Well, anyway, Donald told me to tell you two that we are close to landing….so better get ready," Riku continued.

"Okay, thanks for letting us know," Sora said to his friend.

"This is just too perfect; they don't suspect a thing, though I still need to keep an eye on Riku," Vanitas said in his mind.

After quite some time, the gang finally made it to their destination; Disney Castle. To Riku and Kairi, this was a new world to them, but of course to Donald and Goofy, it was their home.

As Donald drove into the world and parked the ship, everyone immediately got off.

"Well, we're here, let's go, the king is probably waiting for us," Donald said leading the way.

As Goofy, Riku, and Kairi followed, Sora stayed behind still looking at his surroundings.

"Okay, where are you you little thing," Vanitas said in his mind still eyeing the machinery around the place. Unfortunately for Vanitas, he didn't quite know how the castle was displayed since only Sora had been here before; Vanitas didn't even know that the room he was in, is the room where all the machinery and equipment is kept for the Gummi ship's launch.

Slowly he raised his hand and darkness emerged over his palm. He simply gave an evil smile and casted the small piece of darkness to the floor. As the darkness made contact to the ground, it began to take form. Nonetheless, the dark shadow took shape into a small Unversed.

The creature's demented red eyes were staring at Vanitas' new body.

Vanitas then kneeled down facing the creature, "Now it's time for you to be of use to me," he said coldly to the small thing.

The Unversed did nothing, but listen to his Master.

"Listen and listen good, there is something very important in this castle that I want you to find, it's called The Cornerstone of Light, once you sense its purity and its location, come back to me and let me know, understand," he said.

The Unversed nodded and without another word of instruction, the dark being flew and vanished into the deep cracks of the walls beginning its search.

"Good, better join the others before they wonder where I'd run off to," he said getting up.

As he started walking, what he didn't know was that a figure was watching him the whole time. The figure was no one other than Riku, since everyone was following Donald and Riku noticed Sora wasn't with them, he went back to go get him, and ended up seeing and hearing everything.

"So, I guess the scent I picked up earlier was right, something terrible did happen to Sora, and now a demon is posing as him, the castle…is in danger," Riku said in his mind eyeing at the imposter.

Sora's Point of view

Where….where am I? Rrrrgh…my head…it feels like it's burning. I slowly put my hand over my head... hoping for it to stop, eventually after a couple of seconds...it did.

Where am I? What is this place? These questions kept repeating in my head. As I shifted my body a little forward, it felt like I was lying on something very cold, and hard. So to see, I lowered my head, and saw that I was resting on a blue circular platform. Strangely, just seeing this place, it felt like déjà vu...like if I had been here before. Then that's when it hit me...I was only here briefly, it was the time when I first confronted Roxas...though, I was blind enough to not even make the connection that he was me when he said I was a good other.

As I examined the platform further; I saw that there was an image displayed upon it. Without really much thought, I then slowly got up, and saw the entire picture; the picture displayed was me, along with the four people that influenced me the most…my friends, Riku, Kairi, Donald and Goofy; I guess, now I had time to look at the image since last time, I was only thinking of defending myself in battle and wasn't really thinking of my surroundings completely.

I remember Vanitas took over my body….so I guess with that, I ended up being taken to this place, to the inside of my heart.

After a second, I began walking aimlessly around the platform…thinking. I remember…I wanted to know more about the people I was suppose to save, but the way things are now, I don't really think I'm going to get that chance. Mmmm…if only I knew when the hurting first began…maybe that alone could tell me something.

As I was already use to the silence surrounding me, something immediately snapped, breaking the quiet atmosphere. The snap I heard….it sounded like if something was breaking….but what?

Then it hit me, as I looked down to my feet, a large range of cracks were emerging, and the snaps I heard earlier, were pieces from the edge of the platform that already broke off.

From the sight of seeing the platform breaking apart, my body suddenly felt excruciating heavy and weak. What is going on? Within time, it felt like my heart was aching, I automatically put my hand over my chest clinging on to it…I started to feel pain I could hardly endure…I wanted it to stop.

Eventually, I started to feel my body grow cold, along with my legs trembling as well…I couldn't hold myself any longer, so I finally collapsed to my knees still clinging on to my chest. Oddly enough, it felt like my heart was being shattered…though; I didn't know how it resulted so quickly for it to end up like this.

In the end, I was helpless…my entire heart, felt like it was being shattered like glass. All the pieces broke right under my weak body. Without really much to say or do….I fell lifelessly….along with my pieces.

"If only I knew when the hurting first began…."

End of Sora's POV

Sora was lying lifelessly on the ground; not moving, but surprisingly… still breathing. He may look dead, but oddly enough, he wasn't. The sun was shining below him as he continued to sleep on the ground.

It took time, but eventually, he finally woke up…. even though he seemed fine, he wasn't the same as it displayed in his eyes. No, they were dull, empty, and lifeless as can be. What happened to him was a mystery, the only thing shown...was him being in a zombie-like state.

Sora slowly got up to his feet, and started looking around seeing where he ended up now. As he looked, there was nothing but an empty wasteland, nothing interesting to see really; it was like a graveyard. Unknowingly to him, he was in the world of the Key-blade Graveyard.

"Am….am I dreaming again, or is this a memory… since I think I've been here before," Sora said slowly to himself wondering; he just kept circling around, looking at the dead deserted sight.

It was awfully quiet as Sora continued to walk deeper into the world…though he immediately stopped when he started to hear faint foot-steps coming his way.

"Huh? Who's….there?" Sora asked; turning towards the direction he heard the noise coming from.

Though there was no response, he just kept hearing the foot-steps getting louder and louder. As they did, a couple a voices started to be heard from a far as well. Eventually, the two vague figures came into view, walking towards Sora; the figures revealed themselves to be Ventus and Master Xehanort walking along side him.

"R-Roxas?" Sora questioned again when he saw Ven. But again; there was no communication between them what's so ever. Then as Sora looked at him more closely…it finally clicked.

"No…it's…Ventus," he uttered softly to the air.

As Sora continued to see the two walk, surprisingly as they came close, Ven practically walked right through Sora and continued to walk pass him. At the sight of seeing what just happened…it startled Sora a little, but not completely since in a way, he wasn't all there at the moment for some reason.

"Mmm….looks like I'm just a ghost to them," Sora said turning back looking at Ven.

But after discovering this, it didn't really stop Sora from following them. He was curious since he saw Xehanort with Ven.

"Master, now can you tell me why you brought me here?" Ven asked his Master while looking around the unfamiliar world.

Xehanort then gave a small smile, and rested his hand over one of Ven's shoulders, "Well, you have been training really hard these past few days, and I just thought you would like a change of sight for practicing for a change."

Ven then thought about what he said for a moment, but eventually he closed his eyes and shook his head.

"No, I don't really believe that's the reason, just seeing this world….dead, it kind of gives me the creeps," Ven said taking another look at the dreadful sight.

"And what you just said right now is why we are here…its part of your training Ven, you see, I sense so much good and strong power in you, but you lack the ability of letting go and unleashing that power. That power will make you stronger.

What is stopping you from accomplishing this goal…is fear, you fear to let go, so today I'm taking you out of your comfort zone, hoping that alone will get me the result I'm looking for….instead of being afraid Ven….I want you to take that fear and sharpen it into rage instead," Xehanort concluded.

"Huh….I guess…I'll try," Ven said to him; though he scratched the back of his head feeling a bit uneasy and doubtful… he felt that he wouldn't be able to do it no matter how hard he would try.

"Good boy," Xehanort said rubbing the top of Ven's head.

"Ven…use to be trained by Xehanort? What is going on?" Sora wondered as he continued to see the entire scene play out.

"So what am I going to be doing exactly?" Ven questioned.

"Simple, since we are going out of your comfort zone, I'll be giving you targets you haven't seen before, your goal is to destroy them without showing a single drop of fear," Xehanort said to the boy.

"O-okay," Ven said still feeling a little nervous.

"Now just wait here, I'll send the targets once I'm up on that cliff over there, don't worry, I'll be watching you, so you're not alone," Xehanort said.

With that said, Ven did as instructed and his Master went off to the cliff taking his position.

"I….have a bad feeling about this," Sora said turning his attention to Xehanort.

" Ready?!" Xehanort asked down below to Ven.

As soon as Ven heard his Master speak, he immediately reached out his right hand and summoned his Key-blade in an instant. He was fully focused with a high range of determination and confidence reflecting in his pure blue eyes.

"Ready!" Ven said taking his fighting stance.

Xehanort did nothing, but give a slight smirk; he was hoping this little experiment of his would work since his goal is to get one thing, and one thing only…the x-blade.

In an instant, he then raised his hand and snapped his fingers, the creatures he planned to bring forward, were unleashed. Darkness immediately surrounded Ven, he was a little startled, but he tried to stay his ground attempting to not show fear as instructed. Soon after, each dark form, took shape into a monster…a monster that Ven never laid eyes on in his entire life. The thought of seeing them and slowly surrounding him was beginning to be overwhelming for Ven.

He then raised his weapon a little higher defensively, instead of attempting to strike, "W-what are these things?" he asked himself feeling extremely terrified inside. Within every moment, the dark creatures were coming closer and closer, staring at him with those dark glowing yellow eyes; if looking at the entire picture, Ven looked helpless, basically trapped like a rat.

"Heartless…." Sora muttered, looking at the creatures surrounding Ven.

He then formed his right hand in a tight fist, "If…if only I could do something…but…I…can't. I'm just as helpless as he is right now," Even though he didn't want to look, Sora kept watching.

Then within a second, it look like Ven completely lost it, it was too much for him to handle, he immediately turned calling out to his Master….pleading for him to stop.

"I can't do this Master! Please don't do this to me…..I'm…I'm just not strong enough!" Ven shouted.

But Xehanort still remained where he was and kept looking upon Ven with his cold eyes, "No, it's like what I said before Ven, you are trying to hold it in.

Let the dark impulses waken in the pit of your heart. Release them here and now, again, sharpen your fear into rage! If you don't, you will forever be a weakling and wiped from existence very easily, make no mistake of that. So do it, embrace the darkness!"

"He wants me to what? Embrace the darkness, he didn't say that earlier," Ven said in his mind focusing on the dark shadows coming closer to him.

Ven was scared out his mind to do anything, he was clearly trembling in fear, giving into the darkness was probably the last thing that would ever come across his mind…he just couldn't bear the thought, he just wanted it to end, he didn't want his Master to do this to him…to abandon him.

"Do it now, produce the x-blade for me!" Ven heard his Master's call once again; and in that particular moment, it seemed like time slowed down in Ven's perspective…lost in thought.

"So…the truth comes out. No wonder he would always push me over my limitations during my training. It was really rough and torture-some for me, but I would always find a way to look at the bright side since I'd respected him, but…now I know he only did that to get this x-blade…he…never cared about me….never," Ven said in his mind; it really seemed like he wanted to break down and cry, but frozen in fear was prohibiting him to do anything.

And just when things couldn't get any worse for him, in an instant, one of the Heartless jumped, raising its claw, charging at a scared vulnerable Ventus.

At the sight of seeing this, it seemed like life was immediately brought back into Sora's blank eyes. His eyes widen in horror as he saw the Heartless rip the Key-blade out of Ven's hand leaving him defenseless; surprisingly due to the attack of the claw, Ven's hand ended up bleeding as well. Even though Sora couldn't be seen or heard, he couldn't help, but scream out Ven's name.

"VENTUS!" Sora cried out.

In an instant, the Key-blade landed on the ground and vanished. Even though Ven was in pain, he still couldn't really function properly since he was frozen in fear…he couldn't think clearly, he was basically all alone….abandon by his Master. Then in a second, another Heartless jumped and raised its claw…this time targeting Ven for sure. All that came to Ven was shielding himself with his arms and screaming bloody murder.

Sora was completely horrified when he saw the Heartless hit Ven; literally knocking him down to the ground unconscious.

"No…" Sora whispered out.

Ven looked lifeless on the ground as the remaining Heartless circled around him.

"They're…they're going to devour his heart," Sora said in his mind.

To the Heartless…Ven was no one other than a piece of food to consume.

Xehanort had a disgusted face in seeing what just happened, this wasn't what he had indented, he was confident that Ven was going to give in and bring what he wanted, but sadly, his experiment failed; crumbling down to the core, leaving a big hole in his plan.

"Enough of this," Xehanort said coldly.

He then raised his hand and snapped his fingers again; the Heartless then vanished in a blink of an eye leaving Ven alone.

It took time, but Xehanort eventually got off the cliff and walked down towards Ven's level. He stopped when he finally reached him, looking down at him disgusted; Ven reflected himself as a failed experiment than a human being in Xehanort's eyes. He just picked up one of his feet and rested it upon Ven's body.

"Really…you would rather die, than use that power?" he said pressing his foot hard against Ven's unconscious body. It seemed at this point he wanted to get rid of him, but after quite some thought, he found a more suitable punishment for the likes of him…it almost felt like if he was doing Ven a favor.

"Feckless neophyte….if you kept refusing to give in, might as well extract the darkness from within your heart then," he said turning Ven over with his foot.

Then without hesitation, Xehanort summoned his Key-blade and pointed it down over Ven's chest.

After seeing so much, it seemed like Sora forgotten he was invisible, so out of anger he charged at Xehanort...wanting him to stop.

"You monster!" Sora said to him as he ran towards Xehanort.

But…with a failed attempt, Sora just went right through him, and ended up losing his balance in the process; He fell to the ground close to Ven.

Sora recovered, but only got up to his knees, he turned and saw that the tip of the blade started to glow and eventually…a beam shot out… just like a gun firing out a bullet…hitting Ven's chest.

Ven's eyes immediately opened wide once the beam made contact, Sora just looked at him…feeling extremely helpless, shock and pain were heavily displayed in Ven's innocent blue eyes; it was like the life was being brutally sucked out of his body. He was so tired and weak; he couldn't even choke out a scream no matter how much pain was running through his veins.

As soon as the beam disappeared, his pure heart unraveled…hovering elegantly above his chest.

"His….heart," Sora said staring at the orb.

Pretty soon, the heart flew higher and darkness magically started to appear…swallowing up the heart…leaving no light to breathe underneath its cold dark blanket. Sora's eyes widen when he saw that the darkness then started to take shape. The dark figure soon took shape into a person; a new human being. In an instant, by the way the figure was dressed, and due to seeing him before, Sora connected that the dark being he was seeing…was Vanitas.

"Vanitas…no," Sora then turned his attention back to Ven. Seeing Ven not showing any movements what so ever…it looked like if he was dead; like if Xehanort murdered him. Sora instantly saw the life fade away from within Ven's eyes; they were now empty and lifeless…like how Sora's was a minute ago.

With all this Sora had to take in, he started to feel choked up inside; like if he had a huge lump in his throat, the pain, the feeling, it was extremely horrifying for him to endure. Eventually, tears some-how managed to find their way out, falling freely down Sora's cheeks.

"Ven…" he whispered out.

Even though the tears were still falling, Sora turned his attention back to Xehanort and Vanitas. Vanitas floated down unknowingly next to Sora…his face covered by the dark helmet.

"Empty creature from Ventus' riven, the name Vanitas shall be given," Xehanort said to him. Hardly showing any emotion in his voice, Van responded.

"Yes…Master," he said sounding monotone.

"So…this is when the hurting first began…" Sora said to himself looking over at Ven again.

"One thing I learned from watching all this…is that Xehanort wanted the x-blade back then, and judging by what is going on now, he is still trying to obtain it…to reset the war.

I think, I remember him saying the word, " x-blade," in a way to persuade Vanitas into working alongside him; it was before Vanitas took over my body when I heard him say it.

It just tells me… that Xehanort will do the unthinkable in order to reach his goal, he will do whatever it takes, no matter what the cost…even if it means ruining innocent lives… like Ven for example…and possibly Vanitas..since now I know for sure he's apart of Ven."

Even though Sora couldn't make contact, and was well aware of the fact, he still raised his hand and rested it along the surface of Ven's wounded palm. It looked like if Sora wanted to hold his hand, but not surprisingly, Sora's fingers slowly went through…still not able to make his presence known.

"A scattered dream that's like a far-off memory…a far-off memory that's like a scattered dream…."

And in an instant, the image of Sora's platform breaking apart played back in his mind. He realized, in order to find this memory he just witnessed, he unknowingly shattered his heart into pieces… in order to look for the far-off ones that were hidden deep inside. But to him deep down, everything felt like a dream, but in a way, also a memory.

So Sora wasn't too sure if this was the case, if he really did break his own heart…was there a way to pick up the pieces again, or was he finally lost…an empty vessel that will be trapped under Vanitas' control forever.

Sora eyes then suddenly became empty and lifeless again…still looking over at Ven.

"I want to line the pieces up….yours….and mine…" he faintly whispered.

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