A Simple Touch

The Others and the Vision

"I feel your happiness, while you feel my pain…"

Vanitas just stared aimlessly at the horizon, while all of a sudden…a calm warm smile appeared upon his face.

In the faint distance, Ventus was unknowingly looking at the same direction, while all of a sudden...a few silent tears appeared upon his face.

Vanitas' Point-of-view

I see his smiling face, and the first thing I want to do, is to slap it. I see him hanging out with those losers, and the next thing I feel, is sadness and rage; having a desire to choke them to death...only to be able to see him cry.

He caused me so much pain…that I wanted him to suffer the same feeling I had. Even though we went our separate ways, one thing's for sure, the two of us went through many obstacles, fighting for what we believed in. In a sense, I wanted chaos, while he wanted peace…this path alone is what made us enemies; we never really talked, or thought about each other's reasoning's.

We only acted; merely puppets being pulled by strings. All this nonsense was his doing. And…now that I look back at the past, maybe…maybe things could have been different between us, if it wasn't for that man's influence. But then again, what am I saying?

All this talk about, "what if," is simply pointless now since our actions can never be rewritten. All those thoughts of seeing him cry…seeing him suffer…or even seeing his blood on my hands…is mainly the center of my existence; being the darker reflection, wanting to get rid of him. And, no matter how much I may dislike the darkness within me…nothing in the world could ever change that. Because...that's who I am.

That's why at first, I didn't believe in Sora about me becoming good, or maybe…I just chose not to believe him; I was still stuck in the past, having the desire to consume the weak light that some-how defeated me; my lighter reflection….Ventus.

But now…after spending some time in this place, I don't really know what to believe anymore. Every-time in the past, I would always see him giving me that cold glare, while we basically had each other's weapons near our necks.

I have to say, within time; I got use to that stare, instead of the blank one I first remembered him by. In a weird way, it made me feel….happy… getting under Ven's skin, and seeing him squirming like a helpless idiot; this was merely the reason why I always had a smirk on my face; though, the expression was safely hided away underneath my mask.

That was probably the only fun thing I ever did. But now, going back to the present, it drastically changed, all because of Sora. Ven started out by giving me that same cold glare, stuck in the past, like I am, but because of Sora's good nature, he followed upon that and reached out to take a chance; oh, how naïve of him.

Good of him…but simply naïve. And, if that wasn't enough, then strangely, all of a sudden, Ven started saying that he remembered the memories that were no longer with him. I don't know whether to be relieved, or to be disgusted now that I think about it. I mean, even though we're brothers, I know for a fact, that I could never replace those pathetic friends of his.

So…having Ven to remember, I think it will only make it hard for himself, because, there will probably come a time, where he's going to have to pick who he rather wants to be with, since I know his friends and I won't get along at all; them still being stuck in the past.

Having this thought in my head, just makes me want to punch something, since I know what his answer will be. Though, I can't help but to think…maybe the path for Ven to remember…will probably help me change in some way.

Within time, he'll be able to feel my pain, and be more willing to help; slowly bringing out the good in me that Sora says is there. I kind of still shudder at the thought, but if it's possible, then I can finally let go of the past, and hopefully start anew. So…because of this thought, I couldn't bear to tell Ven the truth about Sora being in the darkness.

I didn't want more trouble, and for Ven to worry. So in the end, lying to Ven about seeing his dear friends soon… was the best realistic lie I could come up with; forcefully pushing out a smile.

As I finally did this, Ven came and started hugging me so tightly. It…it felt weird, the image of him I remembered, had changed, he was now smiling at me, with no anger or fear, he was now being caring, with no heavy blade wanting to pierce my skin. I didn't know how to respond, so what I said, mainly came out naturally.

"Rrrgh…still can't get use to this," muttering under my breath.

A couple of seconds have passed, and I already felt uneasy; I guess feeling all the positive emotions from Ven, are kind of hard to take in, since I'm not quite use to it. But…nonetheless, because of this positive feeling, I more likely acted upon it this time; giving the same action back in return.

I slowly raised my hands and eventually wrapped themselves around Ven; giving a hug back in return. It was weird, since this time, no evil thought was coming to mind; more likely wanting to hurt Ven. But no, for the first time, I was doing this out of my own will…not feeling repulsed or anything else negative.

Instead, it felt like I was being protective, like….looking out for him; looking out for my brother….Ventus.

And…since I could feel what Ven's feels; this is more likely the reason why I'm probably acting this way. Within time, I then started to feel my heart being bathed in warmth again. It was…nice, but the moment didn't really last; leaving my heart bitter and cold once more.

"Okay, okay, that's enough…" I said sourly; breaking the hug.

"Sorry, I was just so excited," Ven's voice sounding so happy.

"Yeah Yeah, just because I told you about your friend, doesn't mean you can go completely soft on me," I said to him.

It might have sounded a little harsh, but…even I can't really control in what I say at times.

Then, as things seemed quieter now, I turned my attention to the island, and out of nowhere, I suddenly saw two vague figures walking along the shore. So out of curiosity, I nudged Ven's shoulder.

"Hey, look there," I said; bringing it towards his attention.

I didn't really take my eyes off the figures, but, I could tell that Ven was looking at them also.

"Oh, it's them," Ven said; his tone still cheerful as ever.

"Them…them who?" I turned asking.

Ven then smiled and gave a slight giggle, though knowing me, I wasn't the least amused.

"You forgot so soon…" Ven said back.

I then turned my attention back to the figures, and after another second, it finally hit me. Could…could those two be the people that Ven mentioned earlier. What…what did he say they're names were again? R-Roxas….and…and Xion?

I wanted to know, so I ran down the bridge; basically letting my actions get the better of me. I swear as I was running, I could hear Ven's voice calling out to me, but I simply ignored him. Once when I made it mid-way, I slowly kneeled down, getting a better view at them. In a strange way, it seemed like they didn't notice me at all; they were just minding their own business.

As I was observing them, the two were just talking among themselves. So…this is probably how they spend their time here. I have to say, the two were very young, more like teenagers like me and Ven.

Though it was very odd, one had a black coat, just like the one I'm wearing, but the other person didn't. And…to make it even weirder, the person with the black coat kept his or her hood on the whole time; I can't even see if the person is even a boy or a girl. But the other….his face was crystal clear; he looked like….HE LOOKED JUST LIKE VEN! WHAT! Was…was there something that I missed here?

And then all of sudden, I felt a hand touch my shoulder, making me interrupt my thoughts. Without really looking, I knew that it was Ven.

"That…that boy over there, why does he look like you?" I burst out facing Ven.

I saw that Ven ended up scratching the back of his head, and gave a weak laugh. Something tells me he knew I was probably going to act this way, once when I saw them.

"Well, spill it," I said.

"Okay okay, but if it counts for anything, I was just as freaked out as you are, when I found out myself," Ven said.

He then took a breath, and started to talk.

"You know how you and I are basically the same person right, but…since we're now split apart, it changed to us being like brothers."

"Yeah I already know that…what's the point of this?"

"Well…the situation is similar to Roxas over there, he's Sora's other half….or brother per say."

It was a blur at first, but then I remembered what Xehanort told me about what happened to Sora. He said something about Sora giving away his heart…in order for his Heartless to be created. Hmph, whatever that creature is. But, I guess when he did that, while separating Ven and me temporarily, Sora unknowingly created some-one else in the process…that boy over there…Roxas.

But…that still doesn't clear the reason in why Roxas has the exact look of my lighter half.

"And?" I said out loud; wanting Ven to continue.

"And, like you told me earlier about why you looked like Sora; I'm assuming with the connection we had…that connection affected Roxas too, making him have my face," Ven finished.

"I see, I guess that makes sense" I said; having my eyes trailing off; staring at the couple.

"So…then if that's Roxas, then I'm guessing the other person with the hood on is named Xion?" I asked pointing.

But when I turned to face Ven again, he looked at me kind of strange.

"Yeah that's Xion, but, what are you talking about, she doesn't have her hood up," Ven said raising an eyebrow.

"She?" I said back; since obviously I couldn't tell if that person was even a boy or a girl.

"Yeah, I don't really know her story, but she seems nice, she's one of Roxas' best friends," Ven said.

"Really…" I said blandly.

This…this was really strange, I didn't know if Ven was just messing with me; or something weird was going on, making us both see something different when we were laying our eyes on this…this "girl."

At this moment, I was blocking out everything around me, only to have my full attention on this hooded being. It…it was strange, as I was gazing at the figure, I started to have this sense like I have already met this person before.

After a second, I then closed my eyes, taking a breath, but after I opened them again to see; I was immediately frozen. The "girl" I was looking at….she…she didn't have her hood on anymore. Ven was right, that person really was a girl, but…how come I couldn't see that before?

"Hey, let's go and meet them," Ven said; nudging my shoulder.

"Huh, oh yeah sure, whatever," I said to him; though I kept looking at the girl.

Her face...her features were oddly similar to the face of…Kairi; having those simple, yet beautiful blue eyes. Having that calm radiant smile upon her lips, and…instead of having dark red hair, she had short raven hair. Everything about this Xion character, made me think that she was just another sweet innocent version of Kairi; like a replica. Well…that's probably a scary thought, since the real Kairi was too nice and sweet for my liking. I don't think I can handle another.

After a couple of minutes of walking off the bridge; Ven and I went, meeting up with Roxas and Xion.

"Hi guys," Ven said happily to them.

"Oh hi Ven," Xion said turning to him smiling.

Yeah…and hears the weird thing, I don't know if my mind is playing tricks on me, but…she…she even sounds like Kairi too.

"Hey," I heard Roxas say in return.

Despite him having Ventus face, I couldn't help but get this vibe that Roxas wasn't like Ven at all. The tone of his voice wasn't so child-like; instead, it felt calm and slightly mature. But nonetheless, the two showed equal happiness towards Ven; giving him a warm greeting….that is until, their smiles faded once they saw me.

"Who…who is that Ven?" Xion asked looking at him.

But, as this question was up in the air, waiting for Ven to answer it, my eyes were locked on Roxas; Sora's other half. In return, due to my striking appearance, Roxas didn't really take his eyes off me either. It was weird…this scent I was getting from him, was quite…how do you say…different…from mine. He had no scent of light, nor darkness…it was like if he was stuck in the middle…being near the twilight. What…is Roxas exactly?

In a way, I find that we are similar, since we both have took the face of some-one else, instead of being like our originals; both being like shadows…but…what probably drifts us apart from each other…is our existence. I'm darkness, while he is twilight…or…perhaps he's nobody, since I don't know where his existence lies; being stuck in-between.

As I was going about my thoughts about Roxas, I heard that Ven was trying to pull out the right words in what to say about me.

"Um, well this is…this is my…um…" I heard him say.

It was clear that Ven didn't know how to introduce me, so might as well do it for him; save him the trouble.

"My name is Vanitas," I said; using my usual voice; not really showing an expression.

I then saw that Xion smiled, "Oh, well nice to meet you."

"Yeah whatever…" I said; slightly looking away.

Though I felt that Ven nudged my arm, "Be nice…" he muttered to me.

But those words, literally made me want to laugh.

"Easy for you to say," I muttered back to him.

After I returned my gaze at the small group, I saw that Roxas still had his eyes on me; not saying a word. And within time, he started to walk towards me, displaying his intense stare. It may be instincts, but I'm probably certain that Roxas doesn't like something about me, despite me already having Sora's face. Oh boy, so what else is new….

As soon as he and I were face to face, all of a sudden, to Ven's and Xion's surprise, Roxas summoned a Key-blade and pointed it at me; having it near my neck. I figured this was going to happen, so I didn't really budge or even showed any weak emotions; I just glared at Roxas in return.

"Roxas?!" I heard Xion say.

"Stop, what are you doing?!" Ven also called out.

Even without looking, due to Ven's tone, I sensed that he was surprised and scared; merely backing away from us a bit.

"T-that face….why…why do you look like him?" Roxas asked.

"Cute…I could have asked you the same thing about him over there, but, you don't see me pointing my blade out to anyone," I said to him giving a smirk.

Apparently, as far as I could see by this boy's stare, he is truly nothing like Ven. I guess it would be fun…messing with him for a bit. After all, he started this, and, I have no intention to be soft, if some-one thinks they could just put a blade near my neck, and get away with it. Hmph…seems like the situation with Riku all over again.

"That may be true…but you...something about you being here just makes me feel…makes me feel sick," Roxas said.

"Really…and why's that?" I said; still being calm.

"Because…I sense a great deal of darkness within you, that's just waiting to be unleashed."

I then chuckled for a bit, "Well, if it eases your troubling mind, I have no intention to do any harm to this sanctuary of yours. Figuratively speaking, I've been put under a leash."

I then moved my head a little closer to his, "And for your sake, I consider that lucky, because if I had no restraints, you'll be regretting the moment when you pointed this blade at me, and you wouldn't even last one minute with me in a fight."

"Oh yeah!" Roxas said infuriated; lowering the blade.

By the look in his eyes, I could see that I just made him angrier. Figures…I'm assuming this boy doesn't have a clear outlook of how to control his emotions. I mean come on…he pointed the Key-blade at me, showing aggression. Then I said one little insult…I guess…and he gets mad; he's pretty much short-tempered to sum it up.

I then saw that another Key-blade appeared in Roxas' hand; now holding two. What a surprise that was, but…I still think it wouldn't be enough to take me on.

"Roxas!" Xion said again; more likely wanting him to stop.

But, with the determination in his eyes; there was no stopping him. I know that look enough, to even relate to it. I have to say though, this situation, is very interesting for me, after all, he is Sora's other half, I wouldn't mind having a fight, just to see what he's capable of. Imagine, two great Key-blades wielders, their shadows fighting it out…seeing who is superior. Who would win?

So, due to the thought, I slowly raised my hand, and was about to summon my own Key-blade, but, surprisingly, I saw that Ven got in front of him, having his hands out, defending me; so because of this, I didn't summon my weapon, though I was a bit baffled and shocked, since Ven never defends me.

"Stop, enough is enough," Ven said to Roxas.

"But…" Roxas said.

"I know he's bad but…"

I then saw that Ven turned to face me, "He's my other half."

"Your…other…half…?" Roxas repeated slowly; lowering his Key-blades.

"Yes, Vanitas is my darker side," Ven said looking at Roxas; lowering his arms.

"The…the reason he's here is because of Sora, he wants to help him, just like the rest of us," Ven continued.

"Really…." Roxas said; his Key-blades disappearing.

" Yes, Sora… Sora has faith in Vanitas to become good, and…with my help, Van won't do anything bad here, I promise," Ven spoke again.

"And the reason for his face…is…well, let's just say it's because of a certain connection…" Ven added in.

"Okay, I guess that makes sense," Roxas said scratching the back of his head.

Then I saw that Roxas lowered his head and put his hands together.

"Sorry Vanitas...for my inappropriate behavior, I was just being cautious."

I then walked up to him, still giving him a glare, "Being cautious huh, yeah right, I guess I accept your apology, but...for the record, if we fought and Ven didn't interfere, I totally would have kicked your ass."

Roxas then formed his hand into a fist, "Fat chance man, I would have totally beaten you!"

"Guys please," Xion said; coming in; breaking us apart.

"Let's get along…" she continued.

"Yeah," Ven agreed.

You know, it could be me, but, I find that messing with Roxas seems to be much more fun than when I do it to Ven; I don't really know why. So without another word, I looked away and started to walk back to Ven.

"Fine, we'll get along, but first, I think Roxas could use a bit of alone time with his girlfriend to blow off some steam," I said turning; giving a smirk.

It was no surprise to see how Roxas reacted; I have to say, it was quite amusing. His face became blush-red, and…I think I even got him more irritated.

"Xion is not my girlfriend! We're just really good friends, nothing more," he pouted.

And…even though this boy has a face of another, just the way he looked at me like that…all embarrassed; I can honestly say, that he has some similarities to Sora….convincing me now that he is his other half. I guess it took time to really see the entire picture.

Xion then gave a slight giggle, and put a hand on one of Roxas' shoulders, "Roxas, don't let him get to you, after all, he's just playing."

"Yeah okay," he said; sounding calm.

"Good, and Vanitas…am I right?" she asked; turning to me.

"Yes…"

"Well…" she said walking towards me and Ven; brushing her hair back, "I was going to give this to Roxas, but, considering what Ven said about Sora allowing you to be here…I've decided it might be best to give it to you."

"That is…if Roxas is okay with it?" she said turning to him.

"No, I don't mind, go right ahead," a smiled appeared on his face.

"What is it?" I couldn't help but say.

"Hold out your hand."

It took a moment, but, I finally did what she wished; I held out my hand, waiting for whatever it was that she was going to give me.

"Consider this as a welcoming gift from me, and...I guess as an apology gift from Roxas" she said; pulling out the item in her pocket.

As she had the unknown item in her hand, she slowly walked closer to me, and rested her hand on mine for a second; giving me the gift. And…as soon as she pulled her hand away, I saw what she had given me, it…it was a small pink seashell. When seeing this small thing, the first thing I more likely wanted to do, was probably laugh, and throw this shell back into the water; you call this a gift, this pathetic little thing belongs in the ocean.

But, since Ven was with me, I forcefully kept every hurtful thought to myself. After all, he said to be nice, and no matter how much it hurts me, I have to try.

"It's a seashell; it's always been a hobby of mine to collect these. I would keep some, and others that were really beautiful, I would give to Roxas," Xion said with a smile on her face.

"I see, so this one is mine then…" I said looking at the shell;trying to understand its beauty.

"Yes, and I heard that, if you hold the shell close to your ear, you can hear the sounds of the ocean waves.

I guess, this is really the reason why I started collecting them, not only do the colors give the shell its beauty, but…it also brings calmness and relaxation.

This island made me feel calm and happy, so, having the seashells and hearing the waves, reminded me of this place, making me feel calm whenever I needed it.

You could probably do the same thing too Vanitas, just holds this up to your ear, and hear the waves to make you calm whenever you feel troubled or something," Xion said.

Huh….I never thought of it that way. I guess I hate to admit it, but, maybe this shell wasn't such a bad gift after all; in the terms that they use, this could be even labeled as….special. Though, as I kept staring at the shell, I still couldn't shake my thoughts away about Xion. I mean…everything about her, her face, her voice, and even her personality, reminds me a lot about Kairi; the person that I know Sora holds dear to his heart.

I wonder….what is Xion's story? Why is she here to begin with? But…I guess I'll save these questions for another time; it just…felt weird…to ask her right away.

I then put my fingers over the shell; gripping it tighter.

"What do you say?" I heard Ven say to me.

At first, I didn't know what Ven was talking about, but…then I realized; apparently, when someone gives you something, you have to say something back to them; merely showing appreciation. What were those two words again? Kind of hard to make out since no one ever showed me kindness, not even enough to give me anything; but…even if I did know the words, they wouldn't even fit in my dictionary; obviously showing appreciation isn't my thing.

Though, I eventually found the words, and said them to Xion.

"Thank you…"

I felt like I wanted to wash my mouth with a bar of soap….

"You're welcome…" she said with a smile.

"Well…it's been fun, but we better be going," Roxas said.

"Yeah…sorry…it was nice meeting you Vanitas," Xion said walking back to Roxas.

"Okay, see you guys later," Ven said; waving good-bye to them.

I eventually put the seashell in my pocket, and saw that Roxas and Xion left; probably to another part of the island I'm sure. I didn't really question it after all. Pretty soon, it was just us two again.

"You know, you didn't have to do that," I said to Ven.

"I could have defended myself and taken that boy down for messing with me," I continued.

"I know," Ven chuckled, "But…I felt like I needed to, and, I don't like it when people fight…"

"Hmph…still playing the role of a pacifist I see," I said with a smirk.

"Hey, I fought you before, so I'm not one…" he responded back.

But, I thought this conversation was a bit pointless, since as I could recall in the past, I made him fight, even when he kept refusing.

"Whatever," I said to him blandly; slowly walking closer to the shore.

I then kneeled down to the water, aimlessly staring at my reflection.

"Hey," I said without looking at Ven, "I'm feeling a little hungry, why don't you go and fetch me some of those fruits you were mentioning earlier."

"Um…sure, be right back."

After I heard his footsteps faintly, to the point of not hearing them anymore; I was now alone.

Due to hearing the ocean waves, I was trying to be more relaxed; so, I just slowly closed my eyes...sinking deep into my thoughts.

Flames…all I could see...was flames. This world…this place, was slowly being consumed by the fire surrounding me. What this world could have been before its destruction...was merely unknown. All I know…is that this world is truly crippling apart…meeting its end. More or less, if I wanted to be good, my reaction would probably be horror and sorrow, wanting this vision to stop…but no…due to my inner darkness, I couldn't help but feel pleased…seeing the suffering. Without really thinking about it, a couple of laughs even escaped through my lips.

As I was walking, seeing everything burn in my sight, something unusual caught my eye; so I ended up following it. After a second, I finally reached my destination and found…Sora?; he was incredibly weak, mainly unconscious on the ground before me. Poor boy, almost, and almost makes me have pity for him. After all, he's been through a lot. My first instinct was probably to leave and let him die, but…after some thought, I couldn't help but feel….the need to do something….wait, what?

So I ended up taking a chance, and went to his aid; slowly picking him up from the ground, having him in my arms. As I started walking forward, I saw that the flames descended, revealing a familiar face; Sora's pathetic best friend…Riku. I honestly didn't expect to see him here, so nonetheless, I gave him a cold glare. Here I am practically saving the boy, and yet, the way Riku is looking at me, he thinks that I brought this world to ruins and did this unfortunate thing to Sora.

But, as I was seeing Riku, I could already see his weakness right off the bat; he cares for Sora so much, that in the end, he wouldn't harm me if Sora was in my grasp. Kind of seems like a good idea, having Sora as my protective shield, but, I think I'll pass up on that idea, I mean, I'm more of a do it yourself, and hardly receive any kind of protection…or not really want it for that matter.

In the end, I still kept my cold glare at Riku; and since my eyes are, in sense, consumed with darkness, they could be easily misread. Kind of explains why when a person with these eyes seem to tell the truth at times, people won't be easily convinced since they'll think were lying; and half of the time it's true, but in this case, I wasn't lying. I was going to tell him the truth, but…my actions got the better of me, acting in a way that Riku probably sees me as; in the end, shaking up and twisting his emotions.

"As of now, this boy belongs to me," I said to him; having my devilish smile.

With that said, I was already departing; hearing Riku's cry in the distance as he attempted to follow, but sadly failed. I know I called Ven and the others idiots in the past…so, it just goes to show that Riku is no different.

Within time, I was blinded by the light of the flames...

After hearing the waves, I slowly opened my eyes again.

That...that vision I was just in...did...did that really happened just now; or, was it just a dream?

Why was Riku there?

What was that world that was falling apart?

But most importantly...why was Sora there, nearly dying?

The more I thought, the more questionable I was, but...after some thought, I figured, I must be worrying for nothing, it was only a dream after all, it couldn't mean anything right?

Though, due to seeing all that destruction...I wonder now...

"Can I really be good…or…am I just fooling myself…"

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