A Simple Touch

Caring?

"Light and darkness are basically two sides of the same coin...both are equal and can't really live without one another..."

Sora's Point-of-view

I couldn't move, I could even hardly breathe. The darkness…it was really holding a strong grip. The dark shadows that were binding my body…it really felt like if it was trying to crush me to death; kind of like how a snake would kill its prey. This could only mean one thing…the longer Vanitas has control, the bigger his darkness that I have now inside me will grow. I grow weaker, along with the darkness trying to consume me as well.

I knew I had given into him…but, I thought I could keep my distance and fight from this dreadful taste of darkness; though, I guess I was way over my head on this one, since it's starting to get the better of me. Maybe the darkness has gotten to me…which is why I was so quick to succumb to Vanitas… and not just because I wanted to see if he would change if he was with my friends.

Honestly, I don't really know what I'm saying anymore. It really does feel like the darkness is corrupting my mind, since it's saying to give in deeper…to give up and fade away into nothingness. But, I know for a fact I cannot do that. All those people who are hurting...and need my help, I can't abandon them…so I can't give up. This thought alone, is probably the only thing saving me from disappearing completely.

And…if I'm really going to save them, I think I'm going to have to start by trying to talk some sense into Vanitas first to get anywhere…or more less to even get out of this prison. Still…what he said to me out of anger, it really makes me want to know more about him…and help him, even if he probably doesn't want it.

After all, anything is possible, I remember Riku was driven into the dark depths of darkness and everyone was quick to give up on him, but…I didn't, I tried by best to help him…to bring him back once again to the light, and well…he may be struggling a bit now, but I succeeded in bringing him back. So, if I was able to do it for Riku, I'm positive I can surely do the same for Vanitas; the way he sounded…it seemed like if he was lost and walked the wrong path, and well…now I have to try and guide him to the right path. Though, just the way he is, I know it's not going to be easy; I'll probably be getting many and many lashes from him before reaching the reasoning part.

Still, even though I want to know what happened to him, which made him the way he is, I kind of want to see first in what he was like before that 'event' happened. What was he like? Since he was separated from Ven, how was their relationship like between the two? Did Vanitas hate Ven, or did he care about him? Does Vanitas even have the ability to even care for someone other than thinking about himself? I want to know….

End of Sora's POV

The dark shadows still had a strong hold on Sora's body, yet, even though the darkness was trying to devour him, he tried the best he could to stay strong. Surprisingly for him, out of the darkness that was surrounding him, a small glimmer of light broke out. As it came closer to Sora, the light started to grow, it was to the point where the light was so great…it diminished the shadows that were binding him; he was now free…though still incredibly weak.

Sora was still floating as the small light came closer, inches away from his face. His lifeless eyes reflected the beauty of the warm light as he gazed upon it. As Sora continued his gaze, the light represented itself more clearly; what Sora was really looking at….was a piece of glass crafted into a small diamond giving off its glow.

"Glass?" he softly said looking at it.

It took time, but then a vivid flashback came back into his head; he remembered….when his platform broke; more likely representing his heart. Then after that, another image came as well. Seeing himself looking over at Ven saying….I want to line the pieces up, yours and mine.

Without another word, Sora then grabbed the small diamond and held it close to his face. Within a second, the small diamond reflected Ven's face from the glass's surface and then to Vanitas, after that, the image quickly disappeared. Sora then held the diamond tighter in his palm, nearly crushing it.

"What…what is this?" Sora asked.

And to his surprise, the glow of the diamond immediately became brighter, nearly blinding Sora…though; he was now bathed in the light and couldn't see anything.

After a couple of seconds, the light descended, giving Sora back his vision. As Sora looked around, he realized he was transported into another place…or another memory in this case since he was in one before. Though as he heard the calm sound of the waves, felt the breeze of the wind moving across his hair, and hearing the presence of seagulls, his eyes widen in shock…he connected that he was in his home world…Destiny Islands.

"What…my Island? That-that can't be right?" he said walking over to the shore.

As Sora walked close to the ocean, he kneeled down and looked over at the water seeing his reflection. Apparently since he's witnessing another memory, his eyes had life in them again and weren't dull. But he figured once when he leaves, they would go back to how they were…empty.

"Still…" Sora said to himself making ripples in the water with his finger.

"I don't get it, how can this world be a part of Van and Ven's memory…?" Sora was puzzled, thinking of an explanation.

But soon enough, his eyes started to trail off, looking at a vague figure sitting on the Paopu fruit tree.

"Huh? Who is that?"

So due to Sora's curiosity, he walked towards the figure's direction; more than likely taking the bridge leading to the site.

As he finally come close, he saw that the figure was Vanitas. Sora was a bit startled at first since he remembered when Vanitas came back to his world…he destroyed it. So Sora wondered why Van, of all people, was sitting there. As Sora continued his gaze at Van, he actually saw something a little different about him…though he couldn't really point out in what it was.

Van actually looked calm and (probably not showing it)… happy as well. He was just sitting there on the bent trunk of the tree, looking over at the ocean; though what he was holding in his two palms made Sora a little baffled; it was a Paopu fruit.

As Sora saw the fruit, a small smile spread across his face; just seeing the fruit, made him reminiscence a bit; remembering what the meaning of the Paopu fruit was.

"They say if two people share one, their destinies become intertwined. They'll remain a part of each other lives…no matter what.

Or in translation, if you share it with someone you care about, you'll be together forever…

That's usually the case if you're just thinking on the romantic side of it, but if you really think about it…just giving the fruit to the person, it may not be fully understandable, but it shows how much you really care for that person without having to share it.

The Paopu fruit is a symbol of caring …which I guess leans more to friendship rather than romance…but in the end, it could be either or…."

Sora was thinking about all this in his head until he saw Vanitas get up from the tree trunk, and put on his helmet. As Van created a portal, Sora saw that he still had the fruit in his hand.

"Mmmm...strange, where's he going?"

Without another word, Sora followed Van into the portal and was transported to another world.

As Sora came out, he saw that it was already night-time, but nonetheless, he continued to follow Van into an unfamiliar castle. It took a while, but pretty soon he followed Van up to Ven's room. He saw that Van opened the door and went in, but Sora didn't really following him in, he just kept his distance and basically saw everything just by standing in front of the doorway.

"So… at this point in time, Ven still hadn't recovered from Xehanort's selfish act, thus making Van being the one to take care of him…." Sora said looking at Ven sleeping comfortably in his bed.

"And Van?" then Sora turned to him and saw that he left the fruit near Ventus.

Sora then smiled and chuckled a little, "First time I actually see Vanitas acting so sweet…and…caring.

Then Sora put his hand over his mouth, catching in what he said; the word…caring. Eventually after, he put his hand down and saw that Van walked out passing right through him.

Sora then walked over to Ven and looked at him still sound asleep. After a while, he then gave a sigh.

As Sora continued his gaze, to his surprise, he saw that Ven had finally woken up, but due to the, "incident," he still had those empty eyes.

"Ven?" Sora asked; but it was pointless since Ven couldn't hear or see him.

Ven got up from the bed staring blankly. Sora couldn't help, but feel sorry for him after witnessing the brutal attack Xehanort did. Ven's head then moved to his side and found the Paopu fruit resting nearby him. And just like a cute innocent child, he moved closer and had a confused expression on his blank face; wondering what it was he was looking at.

"A star?" Ven faintly said to himself.

Without a second thought in his mind, Ven then grabbed the fruit and held it closer to him; still fixed on its appearance.

It was silent for a bit, but then after a while, a small gentle smile sprouted across Ven's face.

"V-Van…" he uttered softly.

Then unexpectedly for Sora, he saw Ven then jump off the bed and ran out the door. So without really much thought, Sora followed Ven all the way to Van's room and continued to watch the scene play out.

As Ven walked over to see Van; he saw that Van was still in his bed fast asleep. Ven was a little hesitant in waking Van up, but his curiosity of the fruit got the better of him; he held the fruit close to his chest in one hand, and used his other hand to wake up Van.

"Van? Van?" Ven whispered, trying to wake up his other half.

It was silent, but then Ven got what he wanted, Van had awaken, but he was extremely annoyed; he slowly opened one eye.

"What...can't you see I'm trying to sleep?" Van said to Ven angrily, yet tiredly.

"S-sorry...it's just..." Ven said slightly looking down at the floor.

He then showed the fruit to Van.

"Oh, that thing, I found it, so it's yours to eat, now leave me alone I had a very long day," Van said.

He then closed his eye and pulled the covers over his face trying to not make eye-contact towards Ven. But with that last remark from him, Ven didn't really go anywhere; he just stood there looking at the fruit once more. After a while, he then returned his gaze towards Vanitas.

"Would...would you like to share it with me?" Ven asked; it was probably the longest sentence he ever managed to say.

Then Vanitas pulled the covers over and got up from the bed looking at Ven.

"Hmph...seems like you're talking a little more, at least there's some progress going, but as for your question, no thanks, I already had one, that one's yours, keep it ," Vanitas said now sitting on his bed.

Since it had been a long day for him, Van didn't really feel like using the rest of his energy to kick Ven out of his room. So, I guess you could say he was giving Ven a break, which he rarely does.

"Well...t-thank you," Ven said smiling again; it was probably the first real expression he had on his blank face in a few days.

Though Vanitas turned his head to the side, "Yeah, whatever," he said not really accepting the gratitude.

Then after when Vanitas thought Ven was going to leave, what Ven did caught him completely off guard; For Ven, since he represents the light, he showed his gratitude to his darker half by giving him a warm hug. Sora could tell straight away when he saw the look in Van's eyes; it looked like if he wanted to tear Ven to shreds for touching him, but… he didn't.

Vanitas then gave a sigh, and slowly raised one of his hands, patting Ven on the back.

"It's official…I can't be with this boy anymore," Vanitas muttered under his breath; Ventus didn't really hear Van's comment, but Sora did.

"It seems to me that he cares for Ven…yet…why does it seem like he wants him out of his sight?" Sora wondered.

Then to Sora's surprise, the memory he was seeing started to fade.

Eventually, it faded up until the point where another memory was coming into view.

The memory Sora was seeing now…was the day when Vanitas confronted Xehanort.

There was a table displayed showing Xehanort and Vanitas sitting at each end.

"What is it that you want to talk about Vanitas?" Xehanort asked the boy.

Vanitas had his helmet on his side of the table. He turned his head to the side glancing out the window, seeing Ven sitting under a tree looking blankly at the clouds. After a couple of seconds, Van returned his gaze back to Xehanort; he then took a deep breath and came clean in what was on his mind.

"Master…I know you instructed me to take care of Ven….to keep him alive…" Van said slightly looking down at the table.

"Yes, go on my boy," Xehanort said.

"But, I guess I'll call it a warning…if I keep nurturing him like this, I'll surely lose myself and consume the faint light…Ven will die if he stays here any longer…" Vanitas said to his Master.

"Mmmm….I think I see your point," Xehanort said looking at the window.

"If you want that pathetic weakling alive, he has to be raised somewhere else, far away from me….we just can't be together." Vanitas finished.

It was a bit silent since Xehanort was thinking it over, but after a while, he finally responded.

"I guess you're right… it's really for the best he goes, can't really risk it can we if he stays," he said getting up from his chair.

"I'll go and get him then, I have a pretty good place in mind where he can live for the time being," Xehanort said walking pass Vanitas to the door.

After Xehanort departed, Vanitas was left alone; though he returned his gaze to the window and saw his Master talking to Ven. Van didn't really know what Xehanort could be saying, but he had an idea that it wasn't good for Ven. Even though Ven was still in the process of healing, Van saw that he became sad and lowered his head.

"It's really for the best…so you can be safe," Vanitas said still looking at the window.

"I see now….Van may not know this about himself, but deep down…he truly cares for his other half Ven, in a way, Ven's probably the only family he has since obviously Xehanort is using them both for his own gain, and, like with me, Van chooses not to admit it and keeps it hidden by showing hatred and anger.

Light and darkness can't live without one another..." Sora said in his mind.

"Are you sure he could be here?" Kairi asked walking with Goofy.

"Well, it doesn't hurt to re-trace our steps," Goofy said.

Apparently everyone was on the search for Riku, but since the castle was so big, everyone divided up into little search parties to look for him. Kairi and Goofy were walking back to the room where the Gummi ship was being held. As soon as they opened the door and walked down the stairs, the two were in shock when they saw an unconscious Riku on the floor.

"Riku!" Kairi yelled running to his aid.

Goofy nonetheless followed.

Kairi kneeled down to Riku's side and gently shook him, trying to wake him up.

In an instant, Riku's eyes suddenly opened and he jumped, almost scaring Kairi and Goofy.

"Sora!" he yelled.

Riku was resting on his knees, trying to wake up after taking a blow to the head. Riku slowly put his hand to the side of his head, hoping the drowsiness would stop.

"Riku, what happened?" Kairi asked worriedly.

At first, it was a total blur to him, but after some time, it finally clicked. Riku turned to Kairi.

"Kairi, where is Sora?!" he asked her determined.

"Why, he's in the Library," she responded confused.

Then Riku got up to his feet, his expression still hadn't changed.

"Why do you ask, what's going on?" Goofy asked also confused.

Then Riku held out his hand, and his Key-blade appeared.

"I don't have time to explain everything, but your castle is in danger, and that person with us is not Sora," Riku said to Kairi and Goofy.

"What?!" Kairi said even more confused getting on her feet.

Kairi was really in denial, not really accepting what Riku said.

"Come on, we have to warn the others," with that said; Riku ran, determined to stop the imposter.

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