A Simple Touch

Sky, Wind, and Emptiness

"The sky is slowly turning gray….

Hazy memories call out like faint whispers to the wind…

And emptiness, meant to show no signs of good, may it finally become whole, or filled? "

Everything felt like a beautiful dream, the sun was setting, the wind was giving a fresh cool breeze, and along with this, calm waves were forming steadily over the ocean, accompanied by the presence of seagulls, flying freely in the sky.

"Seriously Ven, where are you dragging me to? Vanitas asked; not feeling comfortable one bit.

Despite Van's negativity, Ven still had the same innocent smile on his face. He had one of his hands grip tightly around Van's hand; even if Van didn't like where this was going, and at times tried to pull away, Ven would nonetheless tug, and tell him to keep following, leaving Van no other choice but to give in.

Ven quickly turned, facing his other half, "Don't worry, you'll see," he said walking; still having his unique smile.

The two boys continued to walk on the bridge and eventually found their way to the bent palm tree. Once when they were there, Ven loosened his grip on Van's hand and walk over; finding himself sitting on the bent tree.

"Hmph, this area again, what's so special about it?" Vanitas wondered in the back of his mind.

As Vanitas continued to look at Ven, Ven gave a slight confused face, "Well, aren't you going to sit down with me?" he said patting on empty spot next to him.

Again, Van wasn't too comfortable; even if he had better control over his actions, being too close to Ven…made him feel nostalgic about the past; wanting to hurt Ven again.

After all, it was that same feeling which caused the two to be raised separately. Though, in a way, it makes you wonder if you really think about it, if this case between Vanitas hurting Ventus was handle better, what could have their relationship been if they were still raised together?

The two walking side-by-side instead of walking opposite directions. What would have happened? But...to Vanitas, it was probably only one-sided. The two could never have been raised together since the feeling would always be there inside him.

In the end, just seeing Ven again for so long, he vividly remembered thinking about wanting to stab Ven with his Key-blade, and even remembered grabbing Ven's hair when Van showed a hint of anger earlier; And that was only a hint, imagine if Van was even angrier, Ven would have probably been dead.

So because of the feeling, Van wasn't going to sit down, but he knew if he didn't, Ven will continue to "bug" him until he does. So Vanitas gave a small sigh, walked over and sat down close to Ven; both of them now sitting on the bent tree.

"Well…what was it that you wanted to show me?" Vanitas asked again; getting extremely impatient.

Ven let out a small chuckle and pointed at the sunset, "I wanted to show you that," he said still giving a smile.

"Really…a sunset?" Vanitas said, hinting a bit of boredom in his tone.

He even rested his head on one of his hands, continuing to stare at the sight uninterested.

Ven then made a sour face, "You're missing the point Vanitas, don't just say, really…a sunset," he said looking at him.

"What, what do you want me to say?!" Vanitas turned to him annoyed.

"Just…give it another look," Ven responded back.

Van then rolled his eyes and turned away, looking at the sunset again. He didn't really get what Ven's point was, to him, he already saw the sunset, what's so great about it?

"Just…let loose and clear your mind…maybe that will help," Van heard Ven's voice again.

So, Vanitas surprisingly did what he was told; he took a deep breath, inhaling and exhaling…slowly clearing his mind. It seemed at this point, Vanitas was reverting back to the person he use to be before; before the beatings, before the Unversed, before the pain…everything was briefly tossed aside, making Van surprisingly calmer and more at ease.

He then closed his eyes, and let the environment around him sink in; he could feel the cool breeze blowing against his hair, and hear the beautiful soothing sound of the ocean waves. One word for all this that came to mind…was peaceful. After hearing the presence of the seagulls once more, Vanitas then slowly opened his eyes, and took another look at the sunset in from of him.

The sunset before him was absolutely beautiful; probably even breath taking to say the least. The colors yellow, orange and red, were so rich and soothing. The sunset was so beautiful, that you could probably gaze at it for a long time until it turns to night. After everything Vanitas heard, the sunset was like the icing on the cake to complete this wonderful world…no… this wonderful dream that he was in.

Then unexpectedly, Vanitas started to feel his heart being bathed in warmth again; honestly, he hasn't felt this wonderful feeling in years. Years that made him literally forget that he could feel positive emotions. Vanitas then put his hand over his chest, and gave a small smile…though, he kind of made sure Ven didn't catch him doing it, or else if Ven did, then Van probably would have punch him in the face or something.

Vanitas then turned to Ven, "Now I get what you wanted me to see…it's the beauty of it, isn't it?"

Though after saying the word, "beauty," Vanitas felt like he threw up a little in his mouth; being the dark half does have its disadvantages of appreciating the beautiful things in life.

Ven then turned to Vanitas, "Yeah, it is when you're sitting in this spot," he said cheery, "I thought it would have been nice to share this with you, I mean, you been in the dark for so long, that I figured seeing something good might help you feel positive," he continued.

"So…this feeling was a gift from him? Well…I guess he succeeded on that part, since I haven't felt this way in a long time," Vanitas said in his mind.

"Hmph, but I doubt he could keep it this way for long," he continued with his thoughts, giving a slight smirk.

And yet, after a while of looking at the sunset, to Vanitas, it almost felt like déjà vu again. A faint memory of him showing Ven the stars in the night sky came back to Van. He knew at that time, Ven was broken and thought showing something calming and beautiful would make him happy and more at ease. Vanitas was helping Ven, and well now, it seemed like the tables finally turned, since Ven was doing a similar thing; though instead, it was showing the sunset, not the stars.

But then Vanitas wondered; Ven always loved admiring the stars, so why did he suddenly change into admiring the sunset instead? So to keep up with a conversation, Vanitas was going to ask this very question, but before he could, Ven spoke.

"Yeah, the sunset really is beautiful, I probably would have never paid attention to it if the others didn't show me," Ven said.

"Others?" Vanitas asked feeling surprised, raising an eyebrow.

"Yeah, besides me and you Vanitas, there are two others who exist here as well," Ven said looking at Van.

"Really…" Vanitas said.

"Man, what's up with this Sora kid, I swear, he's like a walking hotel," Vanitas said in his mind.

"Who are they?" he continued out loud.

"I don't really see them as much, but, I do believe that their names are Roxas and Xion," Ven said putting his hands together.

"To tell you the truth Vanitas, when I first came here, there wasn't really much of anything, I had a home, but I felt like my existence still lingered in the dark, portraying myself to be unheard of.

Then…then Roxas and Xion came in and well…everything started to change after that. We all wanted a place of Sanctuary until the time was right for us to be free…so because of our desire, this world was created…created from Sora's memories." Ven continued.

"I see," Vanitas said; his eyes trailing off to the sandy ground.

"No wonder I feel like this place is a dream...it's because this place is created from memory.

I guess I shouldn't really be surprised, after all, memories and dreams have a certain link to one another, since they both exist in the mind…or…in this case…the heart," Vanitas said in his mind.

"So, they were the ones who showed you the sunset then…" Vanitas said making sure.

Ven did nothing, but nod his head yes.

"So then where are they?" Vanitas asked.

"Don't worry they're here, though not sure where exactly. If I had to guess, they're probably at that cave Sora and his friends hang out in," Ven said turning, pointing back at the island.

As Vanitas was seeing Ven, he could tell right off the bat that Ven was showing signs of sadness. Van's first instinct was probably to ask what was wrong, but he nonetheless let it fly over his head; showing no signs of caring, even though way…way deep down, he did.

Ven let out a small sigh, and turned back, facing the ocean, "Yeah, the two are very close…friends actually. Kind of reminds me of my own friends," he then let out another sigh, "I really miss them…makes me wonder what they are doing right now."

As the wind was still blowing, Ven then turned his attention towards his pocket and pulled out what was inside. What Ven had, was nothing other than a green star-shaped charm; or what his friends called them, Wayfinders. Ven had the charm gripped tightly in his hands; gazing at it. Eventually, he then closed his eyes.

"Terra…

Aqua…." he whispered.

Just thinking about all the precious moments the three shared together, made Ven's heart ache in more sadness; he deeply missed them. Without really knowing it, Ven had the charm close to his chest, and a single tear started to escape from one of his eyes. The tear silently rolled down his cheek, while his head was slightly down; his blonde hair covering part of his face. Within time, it was seen in Vanitas' eyes that his other half was crying; more tears were unraveling, falling freely downward.

In reality, it was one of Van's dreams to see Ventus cry. But…only if it was Vanitas himself who causes it; Vanitas always pictured Ven suffering…hurting and begging on his knees for mercy towards Vanitas. Though seeing this…Vanitas admit it was refreshing to see Ven crying, since he hated Terra and Aqua with a burning passion, but… deep down he couldn't help but feel…bad? Well, that's the first for him.

Without another word, Vanitas then put a hand on Ven's shoulder. When he did, Ven picked up his head and looked at Van.

"Huh?"

Vanitas then raised his hand and wiped a tear away from Ven's face, "Don't do that, it doesn't suit your cheery personality," he said sounding monotone.

"I only like it when you cry if I cause it," Vanitas said his mind.

"S-sorry, I guess I couldn't help myself," Ven said wiping away the rest of the tears himself.

"I know you miss them, but if you ask me, there really isn't anything to worry about with Sora on the job, I'm pretty sure you'll see them soon," Vanitas said turning back at the sunset.

"Yeah," Ven said in agreement, "We'll always be together," he said looking back at the charm he had in his hand.

Flash Back

It was a long day of training, and the three youths decided it was time for relaxation; after all, tomorrow was the big day, so they thought it was best to share a night together looking at the stars before getting some good night's rest.

Pretty soon after a while, it was beginning to get even later. But, before resting up for the exam, Aqua had a little surprise gift she wanted to give before leaving.

"Oh yeah," Aqua said getting up walking, "Terra, you and I have our Mark of Mastery exams tomorrow."

So, because of the day, what was better than to have a little bit of good luck on your side? As Aqua straighten herself up, she pulled out three unusual charms out of her two pockets smiling.

"I made us good luck charms."

The three charms were shaped like stars, though each one was different colors. One was orange, the other blue, and last but not least…green. Without further warning, Aqua then threw the orange one to Terra, and he successfully caught it in his hands.

"Here," she said cheery to Ven; throwing the green one to him.

Ven excitedly caught the charm with his hand, and looked at it in amazement. He thought the charms were only made for her and Terra specifically, in order to have some luck when taking the exam. So obviously since Ven was still too young to take the exam, he thought having one was out of the question.

"I get one too?" Ven asked cheerfully.

"Of course," she said happily, showing her own charm to them, "One for each of us."

"Somewhere out there, there's this tree with star-shaped fruit, and the fruit represents an unbreakable connection.

So as long as you and your friends carry good luck charms shaped like this, nothing can ever drive you apart." Aqua then held the charm closer to her.

"You'll always find your way back to each other," she said turning, smiling at her friends.

End of Flash Back

After a second, a small smile appeared on Ven's face…remembering that day when he got his charm. Though, a thought popped in his head.

"She mentioned star-shaped fruit," Ven said in his mind.

He then turned his attention to the fruits that were hanging on the bent tree he and Van were sitting on.

"I guess she was talking about this place," he continued with his thoughts.

Ven then put the charm away and got a piece of fruit from the tree. Vanitas turned and saw that the fruit was in Ven's hands and wondered; Does he remember seeing that fruit? Or perhaps remember eating it?

After some thought, Vanitas figured maybe this was the key to trigger Ven's early forgotten memories…hoping to bring back the old Ven that liked him; if it was even possible, then maybe Ven would stop talking about Terra and Aqua constantly, and actually spend time with his other half without showing anger, fear or rejection in his eyes when looking at Vanitas. Van knew Ven was already giving him another chance, but still…the possibility floated around in his head.

"Do you remember that?" Vanitas asked, looking at Ven.

"Mmm…no not really, it's just that, I remember Aqua was talking about these fruits sometime back…" Ven said, still having the fruit in his hands.

"And due to being with Sora for a while now, I think these fruits are called…Paopu fruits…" he continued.

"So…that's what they're called…" Vanitas said in his mind; he remembered eating one and even questioning what they were called.

"Oh," Van said out loud.

"W-why are you asking me if I remember this though?" Ven asked.

Vanitas wanted to tell him the reason why, but…he figured he would be wasting his breath since Ven wouldn't remember anyway. Yes, he told Ven he was the one who took care of him before Terra and Aqua did, but when he did, Vanitas sensed a little bit of doubt when Ven was asking him again to make sure. Van could probably tell Ven everything that they did together in the past and it still wouldn't be enough; Ventus would continue to be in doubt, along with going back to his friends when and if they reunite with each other.

So because of this, Vanitas now wondered, if…perhaps Ven reunited with his friends…would Ven leave Vanitas? Then again, Van even wondered earlier if this was really the real Ven to begin with.

In the end, to not make things complicated, Vanitas decided to keep it locked away inside, and just wait. He lowered his head a little.

"Oh no reason, just forget I said anything," Vanitas said bluntly.

Ven continued to look at Van, it was clear in his face that Vanitas wasn't being truthful; he wondered why.

Ventus then gazed at the fruit again.

"Your early memories are probably tarnished, but at the time when you couldn't function, I was the one who took care of you before your….friends," Vanitas' voice echoed in Ven's head.

"Mmmm…"

Ven then held the fruit higher, and eventually took a big bite out of it. Once when he chewed it and swallowed…something…something struck inside his head. Because of this, Ven froze in an instant, leaving Vanitas baffled.

"Uh…Ven?" he said looking at him.

A very hazy memory went running back into Ven's mind. In the faint image, he saw himself standing, holding the Paopu fruit close to his chest. The blonde boy was smiling dearly towards another figure in the room, but since the image was growing staticky like watching a television screen, the figure wasn't to be seen. The only thing that Ven got from seeing the figure…was the outline of the person. He wondered…was that Vanitas?

Then that's when Ven remembered what he said to Vanitas earlier…

"After all, were like brothers…" his own voice echoed in his head.

He realized he said that statement so blindly, it wasn't true. It's because…they are brothers…having an unbreakable connection, or was suppose to have one.

After that, the memory faded, leaving Ven a little startled.

"Ven?" Vanitas asked again.

Though Ven continued to stay quiet, and as if more surprises couldn't happen, all of sudden, a sharp burning pain struck Vanitas' head. He was caught off guard; wasn't expecting it at all, so due to this, Vanitas got off the trunk and collapsed to his knees. Within every second, the deep burning pain was growing even more, causing Van to start screaming. He even put his hands over his head to try and stop it, though it wasn't doing any good; honestly to him, it felt like the whole world was spinning.

Ven broke out of his trance, and noticed Vanitas on the ground. With a worried look, he threw the half eaten fruit to the side and aid his brother; having one of his hands on Van's shoulders.

"Van! Van, are you okay?!" Ven cried out, trying to talk to him.

Though Vanitas ignored him, he was completely consumed with pain. And…due to this unexpected feeling, Vanitas was beyond angry.

Vanitas pushed Ven away, "Stay away from me!" he shouted.

But Ven continued to have a worried look on his face.

Then as if Vanitas was going to pass out, surprisingly, the pain suddenly stopped. After that, time really seemed like it slowed down. Vanitas couldn't hear anything, but the voice inside his head; he was just on the ground…frozen.

"Vanitas…" the voice called out to him.

"S-Sora?" he wondered in his mind.

"Can you hear me?" Sora's voice echoed.

After that, everything around Vanitas started to get hazy; the whole world around him was slowly disappearing. As this was happening, Vanitas just closed his eyes.

"Yes…I can hear you…" he responded back.

Vanitas slowly opened his eyes and noticed he was in another place. He was surrounded by darkness, which of course for him was no surprise. As Vanitas looked over his surroundings, he found himself standing on a blue circular platform. Without really being worried, he already concluded in where he was.

"Really Sora? Talk about perfect timing…" Vanitas muttered; feeling annoyed crossing his arms.

In an instant, like magic, Sora appeared; he was quite happy that the connection worked, though that happiness quickly faded.

"Vanitas!" he said running over to him.

"Thank goodness, I need to talk to you," Sora said, feeling worried.

"Yeah what is it, spit it out," Vanitas burst; wanting him to cut to the chase.

"By any chance, did you give me another nightmare?" Sora asked.

Though with the question, Vanitas was a bit confused.

"I honestly don't know what you are babbling about, but I haven't been doing anything reckless if that's what you're wondering," Van said waving his hand with a smirk.

"Oh," Sora said; his eyes trailing off to the ground.

"In fact, I've been busy, catching up with Ven, but, because of your timing, it was interrupted," Vanitas continued.

"I-I'm sorry Van," Sora said apologizing, "It just that…I was really scared and needed to talk to you."

"About?" Van said looking uninterested.

"Well the reason I ask about the nightmare, is because I had one recently and it was truly horrifying to even describe."

"And why is it too horrifying to describe?"

"It's…it's because in the dream…I lost the people I love."

After hearing Sora's statement, everything was quiet. Vanitas never saw Sora looked so serious; at this rate, Van knew Sora was really frighten and troubled. Though something didn't quite click in his head, why was Sora coming to him?

"And…since being polite doesn't fit my description, what does this have to do with me exactly?" Van wondered.

"Well, you see, ever since the minute you stayed in this place, strange things have been happening to me. Master Yen Sid didn't think I was me, he thought I was a different person.

And then in the nightmare, I was being tortured to the point when I saw myself give into the darkness…because of that, my friends paid the price.

At first I thought the nightmare was some kind of guilt trip, since I didn't tell the truth about you to my friends, so I told my closest friend Riku that you were staying here…getting it off my chest.

But when I did, I sensed that he didn't trust you, and my judgment. Without a doubt, he probably thinks I'll end up falling in the dark as well; making me think that the nightmare is some kind of foreshadowing of the future."

Sora then walked up, closer to Van.

"I'm not blaming you for any of this but, all this happened and I don't know what to do….I don't want to lose my friends. I promised you that I would help you, but I think I need your help as well," Sora continued.

"Ven was right," Van said in his mind.

"For all I know, you being here could put Sora in some kind of danger," Ven's voice echoed in Vanitas' head.

"This is slowly becoming too much for the boy," Vanitas said in his mind; looking at Sora.

"Well, as far as I know, his light was so strong…it balanced out my darkness when I had control over his body. So…maybe I can do the opposite…to help him." Vanitas kept thinking it over.

After all, he never helps anyone but himself; though, because he kind of made a deal with Sora, he had to consider it.

"I can give him my darkness…my power, in order for him to have balance within his heart. But…the only way it would work without having it backfire, is that if Sora will accept it without fear. That way the darkness won't grow more than what is necessary."

"Sora, this is pretty rare in my cases, but…I'll help you. I have an idea," Vanitas finally spoke to him out loud.

"You gave into the darkness once…I want you to do it again," Vanitas said sounding determined.

He then grabbed Sora's hand and held it up close to his face.

Sora's eyes widen in horror, and shook his head.

"No, I don't want to. This is the very thing I'm trying to avoid," Sora cried out.

Then Vanitas gripped Sora's hand even tighter, "That's your problem right there, you shouldn't avoid it."

"If you don't even learn how to accept the darkness, then of course your nightmare will become a reality. The darkness inside you will grow vigorously and consume you.

And I know you don't want that. You need to have balance, you can't live in the light forever…sometimes you have to be in the dark as well," Van said; his face moving closer to Sora's.

"But…"Sora said, still sounding unsure.

"Come on, I know you can do it. After all, you survived a beating from me, all this will just be child's play," Vanitas said; still having his grip on Sora's hand.

Though whatever Vanitas said, never really put Sora at ease. He still had that same worried look on his face; thinking about his friend's sake. Sora wondered; what if he can't control the darkness and loses himself? It all sounded too risky.

"But," Sora continued; though he was cut off.

"Look if you are that worried about your friends, then separate from them temporally. You'll have some time for yourself and won't do anyone harm," Vanitas said; letting go of Sora's hand.

"I guess…" Sora said; his eyes looking down.

"But then what do I say? I don't want them to think something is up?" he continued.

"You're looking for Ven's body right? Well just tell them you would have better chances of finding him if everyone went on their own search; and so no one will get suspicious, you can have those goofy idiots tagging along with you," Van said.

"Hey! Those goofy idiots happened to be my friends too you know," Sora pouted.

"Donald, Goofy…whatever…" Van said rolling his eyes.

"Understand the plan?" he asked.

"Y-Yeah I guess so, but before I go, I have one last question to ask you," Sora said.

"What is it?" Van asked raising an eyebrow.

"If I give into the darkness, and learn how to control it, could there be a possibility that I can make a portal that leads to the Realm of Darkness?" Sora asked determined.

"Mmmm…Well technically that can only be achieved if you are only walking the path of darkness. For your sake this isn't the case, like I said earlier, we're doing this so you could have balance," Vanitas said.

"Okay, I see…" Sora responded.

"Though, why do you want to go to the Realm of Darkness anyway? Van asked.

"Well, it's because there's this girl that is trapped there…and I feel like she needs my help. Her name is Aqua, it seems to me that there is more, but…I just can't seem to remember right now. Did you know her Van?" Sora asked.

"Damn that woman! First Ven was talking about her and now Sora…" Vanitas said in his mind annoyed.

"Yes…I knew her; she's one of Ven's friends. Though I'm afraid that's all I'm going to tell you. I don't really want to explain what relationship I had with her…so there," Van said crossing his arms.

"She was a real freaking pain that's for sure," he said in his mind.

"Okay, its fine, you don't have to tell me…I was just curious," Sora continued.

"I think I can figure it out on my own," he said in his mind.

"Well…I guess I'll be going now, thank you Vanitas," Sora said out loud.

Then Vanitas lowered his arms and looked at Sora with a smirk.

"You shouldn't really be thanking me, we're not done," Van said amused.

Vanitas then raised his hand and snapped his fingers. Without warning, a dark portal appeared beneath Sora's feet. He was so surprised, that he ended up losing his balance and fell on his back; within time, the darkness started to wrapped itself around Sora, he tried to break free but couldn't move a muscle.

As he then turned his attention to Vanitas who was just standing there, Sora thought for a split second that Vanitas betrayed him, but no…he figured this was all part of the plan. To give into the darkness and control it…though it was so dark and terrifying, that he thought he was going to lose himself completely. Little by little, Sora was drowning in the dark.

Vanitas did nothing; remaining motionless, looking down at Sora.

As the darkness continued to grow, Sora's vision began to get hazy; strangely, he was starting to grow very…very sleepy.

The last thing he heard before closing his eyes… was Van's voice.

"Don't be afraid…"

After that, everything went into a total blur.

At this point, the darkness that was wrapped around Sora was starting to crush his body; making it harder for him to breathe. Because of this, many things were racing in his mind; he was scared. The darkness was trying to take over his mind.

"D-don't be afraid…" he said to himself.

"Don't be afraid…"

"Don't be afraid…."

"Don't be afraid…"

It kept repeating over and over. In the end, surprisingly, the feeling of him suffocating finally stopped. This…can only mean one thing; Sora had given into the darkness again. The darkness stopped trying to devour him; instead…he was now harboring it inside his heart. Now the only thing he can do...is to try to control it in order to balance out his light…

Though, it is very risky, because what if he can't control it and the darkness continues to grow, his light will forever be lost and he'll surely lose himself; walking the path of darkness.

"Good luck…Sora…" Vanitas said, looking up at the dim light.

After a second, he then closed his eyes and pretty soon, could hear the soothing sound of the ocean waves again.

"Van? Van, wake up," Ven's voice rang in Van's ears.

It turned out after making a connection with Sora, Vanitas passed out on the sandy ground.

Vanitas was slowly regaining consciousness as Ven continued shaking him; having a worried look on his face.

"Van?" Ven continued.

Vanitas mumbled a few things, but after quite some time, he slowly picked himself up to his knees feeling a bit drowsy. As he had his hand on the side of his head, trying to stop the drowsiness, something unexpected completely caught him off guard. Ven threw himself towards Vanitas, giving him a big hug; it left Van extremely annoyed, yet at the time, confused.

"Van, you're okay!" Ven cried out happily, still hugging him.

The moment may looked sweet, though to Vanitas, he thought Ven was acting extremely weird, even though he's getting another chance, Ven wouldn't be this affectionate towards him at all. The last time Ven was ever like this…was when the two spent time together before separating.

"Hey, get off me, what is up with you," Van said, pulling Ven's arms away.

"R-remember when you said I would never remember my early memories?" Ven said.

"Yeah…"

"Well, at first, the only things I remembered, were my training sessions with our Master, the time when you were born, and the time when I met Sora. Everything else was a total blur…until now…"

"What are you saying?"

"What I'm saying Van, is…I think I remember…"

Vanitas' eyes then widen, "You mean…"

Ven then shook his head yes, he couldn't help himself but hug Vanitas again.

As much as Vanitas probably wanted this more than anything; he couldn't help but feel a sense of doubt and uneasiness.

"I'm having a hard time believing this…I mean he said so himself he valued his friends more than anything. If his early memories did come back, how does he see me now?" Van wondered in his mind.

Then Ven let go of Vanitas and continued to talk.

"Well…then again, I wouldn't say all my memories are back, but they're coming back piece by piece," he said scratching the back of his head.

"Figures…" Van muttered in his mind.

"Yeah... I can see Sora's point more clearly now, you may have been bad, but the most important thing was…that you stood by me and took care of me, just like how my friends did," Ven then put a hand on Vanitas' shoulder.

"And I really appreciate that Van…thank you."

Then Ven raised his hand, and surprisingly hit Van on the head.

"Hey, what was that for!" Van shouted; putting his hands over his head.

"And even though I do appreciate it…that was for all the unnecessary things you did, putting me and my friends in danger," Ven said.

After being hit, Vanitas still had that look in his eye, like if he was going to tear Ven to shreds. But, surprisingly, Ven wasn't the least afraid; to him, it oddly felt normal, like if the moment was a common thing between two siblings.

"Well, you can blame the old man for splitting us in half, and then turning us against each other…" Vanitas said annoyed.

"Oh don't worry, we'll soon teach that guy a lesson…" Ven said determined.

"Careful though, it seems like you're starting to sound like me…" Van said extremely amused.

In response, Ven just did a small giggle, but after a couple of seconds, he then stopped.

"Oh, by the way, what happen to you earlier, you just suddenly passed out, you really had me worried for a minute there," he said.

Then Vanitas slowly got up to his feet, and Ven followed.

"It was Sora. The reason I passed out was because I was briefly talking to him," Van spoke.

Ven's eyes then widen, "Well…what did he say?"

At first, Vanitas was going to answer truthfully, but…then he figured that the truth would probably to do more harm than good. If Ven were to know that Vanitas helped Sora give into the darkness, Ven will probably jump the gun and won't let Van explain the reason for it and…well, let's just say things wouldn't be pretty.

Ven was in the process of remembering his early life…and Van didn't want to ruin that; he thought if this kept up, then…maybe…he will change; slowly becoming the big brother, looking out for his younger brother.

"He…he told me he's in the search for your friend Aqua," Van spoke.

"Really! He knows where she is?" Ven asked smiling.

Vanitas then turned to his brother and put a hand on his shoulder. It took a second since it was something he never does and even hates it, but, Vanitas played a warm fake smile.

"Yes, he knows where she is. I told you you had nothing to worry about. You'll see your friends soon."

And due to feeling excitement, Ven nonetheless hug his brother again.

"Rrrgh…still can't get use to this," Van said in his mind.

As everything seemed quiet, Vanitas then noticed two vague figures walking along the shore of the beach.

"Roxas and Xion?"

Sora immediately picked up his head; opening his eyes. He was quite startled at first for a few seconds, thinking about what just happened. In the very back of his mind, he was surprised that the connection worked. And now that he found out that it was still possible to communicate with Vanitas, he wondered, was this a good thing…or a bad thing?

Then, like after waking up from a bizarre dream, he realized what he just done. Sora slowly sank into a panic, gripping his shirt; he let darkness within him grow. There were no signs of chances yet, but…Sora could no doubt feel the dreadful aura flowing underneath his skin.

"This is terrible…how did I even let Vanitas talk me into this!" Sora said to himself.

"I know Vanitas wanted my darkness to grow, so it can balance the light I have, but…what if I can't control it and the darkness grows more than what is necessary…"

Sora then walked over to the door and quietly opened it a little; taking a peek outside. He saw that Donald was driving the ship, Goofy had fallen asleep on his chair, and Kairi was also in her chair, looking out the window with Riku and the King.

"I think I made the biggest mistake of my life…"

As Sora continued to look at his friends, all of a sudden, his deep sea blue eyes were diminishing; slowly changing into soulless golden eyes.

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