A Simple Touch

Tears of Darkness

"No one will save me, I'm my own savior in this world…crying won't solve my problem…only…only power will."

-Vanitas

Vanitas walked down the hallway, still following the Unversed.

"This world…will finally be at its end…" he muttered under his breath.

As Vanitas continued to walk deeper and deeper into the hallway, there was nothing to be heard, but the soft sounds of his foot-steps. But soon enough, everything changed; after taking another step, a sharp burning pain instantly came across Vanitas' head, making him stop.

"What!..n-not again…" he muttered, putting his hands over his head.

The pain was so unbearable, that he collapsed to his knees and started breathing hard.

"This…this pain…this feeling…" he then slowly put his hand over his chest.

"It feels awfully familiar…" Vanitas then started to curve his fingers, gripping the shirt tightly.

After a second, in the very back of his mind, Vanitas started to see an image. The image displayed was him, along with showing his other half Ventus, to Vanitas, it was a memory. Ven was walking around exploring outside, while Vanitas was under a tree, some-what keeping an eye on him. Vanitas wasn't too bothered in seeing this memory, but…once when he saw Sora from a distance…the whole memory faded into darkness; bringing Van back into reality.

The burning pain finally stopped, but Vanitas was still frozen in the position he was in.

"You…you conniving little-" Vanitas eyes suddenly turned dark yellow, and his right hand tighten into a fist.

"That little brat is meddling in my memories," he then finally got up, but was still extremely mad.

" He has no right to be there and for that, he's going to pay!"

With that said, Vanitas fully recovered and continued to walk, in search for the cornerstone.

"Oh, this place again?" Sora said, looking around the familiar sight of the Key-blade Graveyard.

"Still, after Ven left, I get this feeling that Vanitas' missed him," Sora said to himself.

"And…those blue creatures…they suddenly appeared after that happened, it could be me, but it seems like those creatures are the source of Van's pain; I mean every time I saw him strike those beings down, it looked like he wanted to scream or even cry….but he holds it in…." Sora then silently walked towards the deserted place.

He then stopped, and turned his attention up to the sky, seeing the clouds in the gloomy atmosphere.

"He's caught in a never ending cycle of pain…." Sora whispered to the air.

After a while of hearing nothing but the wind, Sora started to hear foot-steps, as he turned, he saw that it was Van, but as Sora looked at him; he saw that he was holding his helmet, and was staring up at the sky.

For about a minute, there was nothing but silence, though after a while, Sora saw that Vanitas finally dropped his helmet to the ground. At this point, what Sora was seeing, it truly felt unbelievable to him; tears….tears were forming in Vanitas' eyes; he was starting to….cry.

"I can't take this anymore!" Sora heard Vanitas scream.

Tears were slowly dripping down the sides of his cheeks. Vanitas then finally collapsed to the ground and continued to sob.

"I can't take this anymore…." Vanitas said again, but this time with a faint whisper.

At this point, Sora really wanted to do something, it was just so sad in seeing Vanitas at this state; feeling….defeated.

"Vanitas…" Sora whispered, still seeing Van lying on the ground.

Tears still continued to fall silently; though after a while, a dark shadowy figure started to appear, walking forward behind Vanitas. As the figure came into view, it was no one other than Xehanort. Seeing his face again, made Sora mad. He really hated him for literally breaking Ven's heart into pieces, and for manipulating his other half to help him, only for the sake of the x-blade's creation.

"You again…" Sora said infuriated, tightening his hand into a fist.

Just like in the first memory, Sora wanted to interfere, to do something…but since it was only a memory, the only thing he could do, was sit back and watch; which is not really the type of thing Sora would ever do, not even in the slightest.

Xehanort walked over to Vanitas and kneeled down to his level. He figured at this point, it was the right time to strike, to get Vanitas when he's at his weakest point. Xehanort then slowly put his hand over Van's back, patting him.

"There, there….I know that you been hurting, so you don't have to hide it from me," Xehanort said to him.

But Vanitas didn't respond, he was still blind with his own tears, he didn't want to look at his Master, so he buried his face on the ground, not really giving eye-contact. Without saying it, it was Van's way of saying, "leave me alone, you're not helping." But Xehanort continued to speak.

"What if I told you…that there was a way to be free from this pain?" Xehanort said, hoping the question will catch Van's attention. And within a second, Vanitas picked up his head and sharply turned to his Master. In seeing this, Xehanort gave a small smile; he knew Vanitas would take the bait, just so he can see the sight of being free.

"You…you know a way?" Vanitas asked, hinting a tone of desperation in his voice. At this state, he would do anything…anything to be free from the tormenting pain.

"The key to your salvation…is the x-blade. Once you have the x-blade in your hand, you'll have enough power to break yourself free from the pain," Xehanort said, half-smiling.

"The x-blade…" Vanitas whispered; his eyes trailing off to the ground.

"No…he's tricking him…" Sora said.

Then Vanitas picked his head up again, still sitting on his knees.

"How do I get this…x-blade?" Vanitas asked.

"Simple, reunite with Ventus, then it will be created…" Xehanort said.

Then Vanitas raised an eyebrow, " That's it?"

"No, not exactly, you two have to gain a maximum amount of strength first, before you two clash together…only then will the x-blade be created," Xehanort said; he got up, now standing.

"Though, I'm only telling you this to help you, if you want to go through with the idea, it's your choice," Xehanort said, holding his hand out towards Vanitas.

Just hearing this statement, Sora knew that Xehanort was lying; Xehanort doesn't really care about Vanitas like he didn't with Ven, the only thing he cares about is the x-blade. Sora knew Vanitas would say yes, due to his suffering, all this was part of Xehanort's plan, to ease Vanitas into it; so he could be a manipulative pawn, only without really knowing it.

Vanitas was hesitant at first, but after a few minutes of thinking, he turned his attention towards his Master again and slowly raised his hand. Vanitas eventually took Xehanort's hand, and as he did, Xehanort helped him on his feet.

"I'll do it," Vanitas said; his voice sounding cold.

Xehanort nonetheless smiled, knowing that everything so far was going as planned.

"Then we shall begin your training…to get stronger," Xehanort said.

"Stronger…" Vanitas repeated.

"Yes, and just imagine, once when we get the x-blade, it will not only bring you salvation, but the other worlds as well," Xehanort responded.

Though Vanitas made a sour face, he didn't really care about the other worlds, the only thing he cared about was escaping from the pain he had.

"Whatever," Vanitas responded blandly.

"No…" Sora whispered out to the air again.

"Riku, slow down!" Kairi yelled running, trying to catch up to her friend.

"I can't slow down, we have to move!" Riku yelled back running ahead.

As Riku, Kairi and Goofy were running down the hall, they finally made it back to the Library.

Riku was the first to kick the door open, ready to fight with the Key-blade in hand, though only to be disappointed since there was no one in the room.

"Dammit," he said in his mind, examining the empty room.

"Sora's not here," Goofy stated.

"I don't get it, he said he was going to stay here," Kairi said.

Then Riku turned to Kairi, "I know it's probably hard to believe, but it's like I said earlier Kairi, that person with us is not Sora, we have to find him before it's too late."

"Why, what is going on Riku?" Goofy asked.

Then Riku lowered his weapon, giving a small sigh, "Vanitas…that's the person's name, he's a twisted being who took over Sora's body, I don't know how, but he did, and I found out that he's after the cornerstone, if we don't find him before that time…this world…your home… is history; just like ours was."

"No….I should have seen this coming…" Kairi said looking down.

Then Riku turned to Kairi, "What do you mean?"

"It's just that, before we were separated, I saw Sora, but, he was acting strange, he wasn't himself, it looked like if he was drained, I asked him what was bothering him, but he didn't tell me because he didn't want me to worry…and now… this happens," Kairi really felt like beating herself up right now.

"You shouldn't really feel bad Kairi, everyone was fooled, the only thing we can do now, is to stop Vanitas and get Sora back," Riku said trying to comfort her.

"Yeah Kairi, whatever the odds, we'll get Sora back and everything will be set straight," Goofy said trying to stay positive.

"Okay," she said giving a small smile.

Then after a second, Riku heard Mickey's and Donald's voice. The rest of the gang was coming back from searching for him.

As Mickey, Minnie, Donald and Daisy, came in, they were all stunned to see Riku.

"Riku, you're alright," Mickey said smiling.

"Yeah, but where's Sora?" Donald asked looking around the library.

Then that's when Riku bent down and whispered to Donald and Mickey what was going on; he didn't really want Minnie and Daisy to get heavily involved in the situation. But on the look of Mickey's and Donald's face, the girls knew more less it couldn't be good.

After Riku was done, Mickey sharply turned to Minnie with a serious face.

"Minnie we have to go, please don't ask why, but I need you to stay here for a while," Mickey said.

Minnie understood, and trusted Mickey with all her heart to not question him.

"Okay," she responded.

"You too Daisy," Donald said facing her.

"Don't worry," she said.

And then Riku turned to Kairi, but she cut him off.

"Oh no, don't tell me to stay here too, I'm going with you guys," she said pointing to the entrance of the door.

Riku would disagree and would want her to stay, but he knew when it comes to Sora or even him, she will be there to help her friends, so he didn't really stop her.

"Okay, but just be careful," he said to her.

With that said, Riku, Kairi, Mickey, Donald, and Goofy headed out the library, and started to run as fast as they could to the room where the cornerstone was being held.

"Come on, give me all you got!" Xehanort said to Vanitas, holding his Key-blade defensively.

"This must be when they started training…" Sora said still fixed on the memory.

Not really to his surprise, Sora was still in the empty world of the Key-blade Graveyard.

Vanitas was in a fighting stance, facing his Master with his Key-blade at hand. It was clear to say, that Van's eyes were filled with seriousness and determination; it was oddly similar to the look Ven would give when he would train with Xehanort. Without a second of hesitation, Vanitas held his Key-blade up high and started to charge at his Master, both weapons kept clashing with each other every time Vanitas attempted to hit Xehanort.

After swinging a few hits, surprisingly, Vanitas started to get tired. After another hit, Vanitas finally put down his weapon, and stopped, taking a breather. This simple act of what Vanitas just did, made Xehanort hate him, he thought Vanitas wasn't serious enough to achieve his goal and was still showing many signs of weaknesses…weaknesses that still needed to be ripped clean from his being. In the end, Xehanort thought Vanitas was still soft…just like his brother Ventus.

Since Vanitas was catching his breath, it made him a bit vulnerable, vulnerable enough for Xehanort to strike him. Catching Van completely off guard, Xehanort literally knocked Vanitas' Key-blade out of his hand, as his grip lessened, the blade vanished. Xehanort then hit Vanitas on the side of his head with full force, resulting for him to fall to the ground. Pain really struck Van hard because of this, but sadly, Xehanort was far from over.

Since Vanitas was already on the ground, Xehanort pick up his leg and kick him. Vanitas first instinct was to probably moan, or cry from the pain that was being inflicted upon him, but in a way, it felt like he couldn't. No one would really hear his cry for help, even if he asked for it; he was sadly all alone.

Sora who was watching, just shook his head in disbelief, to him, it honestly felt like if Xehanort was going to beat Vanitas to death.

"First Ven…now Van…Xehanort really is a monster…" Sora said.

Vanitas' whole body was engulfed with pain, after all the crucial beatings he took, if looking at the entire picture, it looked like Vanitas was officially broken…just lying on the cold ground…dead, similar to Ven.

Vanitas mouth was covered in blood, as well as having a bit of dirt on his face. The dreadful taste of dirt, mixed with blood, was truly awful in his mouth. Without another word, Xehanort then leaned close and forcefully grabbed Vanitas by the hair, pulling his head up closer to his.

"Let this be a lesson to you boy," Xehanort said; his voice sounding so cold and sinister.

"You're still soft…if you don't change soon, well…you can just forget about forging the x-blade..." Xehanort then forcefully pushed Vanitas' head down to the ground; with him un-doubtfully feeling the dreadful taste of the dirt in his bloody mouth again.

"I swear, at times, you're just like Ven…worthless…" Xehanort continued; though he finally let go of Van's head, and stood up walking away.

"Worthless?" Vanitas repeated in his mind, still lying on the ground.

Hearing that word, it honestly felt like if Xehanort just stabbed him with his Key-blade.

With that, Xehanort opened a portal and left, abandoning Vanitas.

"So…this is why he became so cruel and cold-hearted…it was because he was mistreated by Xehanort; he pushed him to change, in order to gain more strength for the x-blade creation…" Sora said looking at Vanitas.

As Sora walked over to him and kneeled down close, it really looked like if Vanitas wanted to cry again…just lying there…broken.

"Vanitas…" Sora whispered sadly.

After a second, Vanitas finally managed to get up, but only to his knees.

"I want to cry….that's the only thing I feel like doing right now….

I'm all alone in this empty wasteland, and it will forever stay that way,

No one will save me, I'm my own savior in this world…crying won't solve my problem…only…only power will."

Vanitas then looked up, staring at the sky, and without really noticing, a single tear rolled down the side of his face.

"This will be the last tear I shed, no more messing around; I will get stronger, so that I can have my salvation…"

"So…this must be the king's royal room," Vanitas said examining Mickey's throne.

The Unversed that he followed earlier, was now on his shoulder.

"And you said that there's a switch?" he asked his creation, while looking over at the throne.

The Unversed nodded, but was telling him that the switch was under the arm of the throne. So Vanitas listened to the Unversed, and eventually found the switch. Once he activated it, the floor started to move, revealing stairs leading down another room. After the floor finished moving, Vanitas made an evil smile.

"Good work," he said to the Unversed.

So without another moment to spare, Vanitas walked over and took the stairs down, finding his way to another room. His eyes widen once he saw the cornerstone; it looked so beautiful…so pure…so…full of light, making Vanitas already wanting to puke.

As Vanitas finally walked closer to the cornerstone, he slowly raised his hand and touched the warmth it was giving off. After a second, he then summoned his Key-blade.

"You're finished."

But before Vanitas could act, he heard voices coming from a distance; no doubt he knew that it was Sora's friends, at this stage, it was pointless to portray being Sora now, since he figured they already knew.

"Stop!" Riku yelled running in; after a couple of seconds, the rest of the gang appeared, armed and ready to fight.

"The game is over, we know what you're after and we're not going to let you destroy this world," Mickey said.

Vanitas made a slight chuckle and turned, "Really, you think you can stop me, oh, this is going to be good."

Dark aura was now surrounding Sora's body and within a second, he was now wearing an Organization XIII coat; his eyes also changed to dark yellow again.

The Unversed that was accompanying Vanitas, jumped off, readying to fight. Vanitas just looked at them and made a smirk, and with a snap of his fingers, more Unversed appeared, surrounding the gang.

"You're not going to get away with this!" Riku yelled.

But Vanitas still had that smirk on his face, "Really, are you sure about that statement, because…it seems to me I already did, after all, without Sora's help, you all are just child's play for me."

Vanitas then teleported and appeared behind Riku. Catching him by surprise, Vanitas hit Riku on the back with his foot, sending him out of the swarm of Unversed, landing on the ground. Van then jumped and landed in front of Riku and slowly raised his Key-blade at him.

"The others will handle the Unversed, and as for you, time to settle the score," he snarled.

After the memory was over, Sora went back into the darkness. Though what he didn't know, was that when he went back, some-one was already there, waiting for him. As Sora arrived, he still felt incredibly weak, and possibly broken, the darkness was still drawing near, trying to drag him down. As he finally noticed the figure in front of him, it came towards his attention.

The figure stepped forward, revealing itself to be Vanitas.

"So, did you have fun seeing the memories, or should I say my memories.." Vanitas said crossing his arms looking extremely annoyed.

It was silent, but Sora finally answered, "Y-yeah I saw the memories, I'm so sorry that happened to you Vanitas, and because of that, I want to help you..."

"Save it! I don't need your sympathy! You're just too good for your own good and it's sickening. Like I said before, what you remember doesn't matter, all those memories that you seen, are worthless, darkness is what I am and there is no changing that."

After that, Vanitas took notice in how weak and empty Sora looked.

"And look at you, you're weak, you always throw yourself on the front line for the sake of others, without ever caring what happenes to you, and because of that, it will surely lead to your downfall; you're such an idiot, trying to see the good in me that's not even there!"

Even after hearing Van's little speech, Sora still believed there was at least some good in Vanitas' dark heart; he just didn't really know how to bring it out.

"I still think there is good somewhere inside you, you just don't know it," Sora said looking at him.

But after hearing that statement, Vanitas finally lost it, "That's it! I had enough, there is nothing good about me and I'll prove it to you..." he said coldly.

And within a split second, catching Sora off guard, Vanitas teleported right in front of him and grabbed him by the neck. He held Sora up high, showing that his legs were dangling.

"I'm not going to make the same mistake I did with Ven to you…I will diminish the light," Vanitas snarled; his grip tighten harder around Sora's throat, choking him.

Even though Sora was trying to break free, he couldn't... he was incredibly weak, the only thing he could do, was watch Vanitas.

A tear started to roll down the side of his cheek. He didn't want to give up on Vanitas just after seeing what he had been through, there just has to be way to reason with him…to save him; but I guess right now, it seems like Sora is the one who needs to be saved at the moment.

"Please….don't…." Sora choked out, trying to gain oxygen.

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