A Simple Touch

The New Trio

"This feels way too familiar..."

- Sora

This was it, this…was the end. After all that they had done to try and help their friend, Donald and Goofy felt it was pointless now. No matter how much faith they both had in Sora, an unsettling feeling still managed to emerge within them. Not liking the thought one bit, for a split second, Donald and Goofy had it in their minds that Sora might not come back. This state of mind had unraveled when the devilish shadow overpowered them, and most importantly, took their friend away; Sora, once a caring innocent boy, now turned to a selfish cold-hearted person.

After trying to desperately break free from the chains that were binding them, Donald and Goofy eventually gave up and stopped; now waiting…waiting to see what will become of them once when the shadow returns. As silence steadily continued, a sudden sound of a door slowly opening captured their attention. Donald and Goofy both jerk their heads up to see, and, at first when the door fully opened, Donald and Goofy couldn't see who it really was. Weirdly enough, a ray of light was temporarily blinding their vision. And, as much as they probably wanted to know who it could be, the only thing they saw was just a brief outline of the person.

At first, Donald and Goofy didn't think that much of who it could be, since after all the fighting that they have been through, they figured that it was the shadow that was possessing Sora.

"Coming to finish the job," they both thought.

But as the light began to vanish, the boy before them came into view more clearly.

"What?

You're not…Sora," Donald said surprised.

"Y—yeah," Goofy said; agreeing with his friend.

Either if both Donald and Goofy never met him, or…just simply don't remember meeting the boy, they were both shocked nonetheless in seeing the young Key-blade wielder. Though, Ventus himself wasn't too far into sharing the same reaction as well. He walked a few inches close to them and without much to say, noticed the chains binding Donald and Goofy. So, being a splitting image of Sora, Ven gave a warm smile.

"Seems to me that you two got yourselves into quite a pickle," Ven said referring to the chains.

"Don't worry, I'll set you guys free," Ven continued; raising his Master's Key-blade.

And, even though the blade wasn't rightfully his, Ven was still able to use some of its power. As the Key-blade started to glow, the chains around Donald and Goofy disintegrated.

"There," Ven said happily; while the Key-blade disappeared from sight.

"Uh, thanks," Donald said; still feeling confused.

Though for Goofy, it was a slightly different story.

"Yeah, thanks a bunch, you know, for a second there, I thought you and I were goners Donald," Goofy said happily.

"Yeah yeah," Donald said to Goofy as he turned back to Ven.

And once when he did, Donald was going to ask Ven to introduce himself, but then after seeing the small Heartless on his shoulder, it made Donald ask a different question instead.

"Uh, why is that Heartless on your shoulder?

You shouldn't be near one; don't you know that they are dangerous creatures?" Donald said to the boy, as if he was scolding him.

And just to be on the safe side, Donald raised his staff, already taking aim at the shadowy figure. But, knowing in what was coming; the Heartless squealed and instantly hid in Ven's jacket. It was a bit uncomfortable for Ven, but he managed to make a smile, and waved his hands at Donald to stop.

"No no, it's okay, he's a friend.

I assure you he's not dangerous, this Heartless is actually friendly, trust me," Ven said to Donald.

Though Donald still had his staff pointed at him.

Within seeing this, Ven couldn't help, but give a weak chuckle, "If you could just…lower your weapon and see for yourself, then you'll know that I'll be telling the truth."

Maybe you'll come to recognize him," he added in.

"You…you don't mean?" Goofy asked.

"Y-yes, yes I do," Ven said sadly; looking at Goofy.

Donald then lowered his staff, and looked at the Heartless as it slowly unraveled from the jacket. Its head popped up to the surface, and gazed at Donald and Goofy with a blank stare.

"Sora?!" Donald and Goofy said surprised.

"Y-yeah," Ven uttered; feeling guilty.

In reality, even though it wasn't Ven's fault for what had happened, he still couldn't help himself but to feel guilty nonetheless; as if he was the cause for all the chaos that had recently occurred.

Ven thought, that if he had never fought with Vanitas, and concentrated more on a way to help Sora when he was being overwhelmed by the darkness, then everything leading after would have been fine.

"W-What happened?" Goofy asked; interrupting Ven's train of thought.

Without another word, Ven then moved his eyes to the side; gazing at Sora's form. Unknowingly to Goofy, his question was like a dagger, piercing into Ven's skin; making him remember the crucial moment when Sora was dying in his arms. Tears wanted to escape, but knowing he had to be strong, for Sora's sake, Ven kept his emotions locked away. Almost mirroring what Vanitas would do when he doesn't want anybody to see him at his weakest point. But, even though Ven managed to hide the emotions, sadness was still displayed on his face.

"I-I honestly don't know what happened," Ven said in a low voice; having his head down.

Though after another second, he then picked up his head; making eye-contact.

"Everything happened so fast, I couldn't believe what I was seeing….

To tell you the truth, it felt like I was in a dream, but then…as I woke up, it all felt like a nightmare instead," Ven continued.

Within hearing this, Donald and Goofy looked at each other and exchanged sad looks. Honestly, the two could only imagine what could have happened to their friend Sora. They wondered, did the shadow had anything to do with their friend's demise, or, was it Sora himself who sacrificed his own life for theirs; either way, they knew the outcome wasn't good since Sora was now a Heartless.

"You see, I don't know if you guys remember me, but, after that fight we had with Xehanort long ago, a part of me had always been with Sora…ever since he was a child.

He gave me a home…a place to stay until the time was right for me to wake up.

And well, during those longs years, I always felt like the world that he had given me was a place of sanctuary.

Everything was calm and peaceful until the darkness came and swallowed up everything…including me.

And…at first I was scared, not knowing what was going to happen, but then…after a while, a light started to shine within the dark.

Seeing the light, it gave me hope; hoping that Sora would do what he can to save me…to save us.

Though before I knew it, when I opened my eyes, the first thing I saw…was him fading away."

Ven then looked at the Heartless, then back to Sora's friends.

"I just…couldn't believe it, nor did I want to believe it.

But, in the end, Sora sacrificed his life in order to save us.

And so now, he's a Heartless because of it." Ven finished.

"Oh Sora," Donald said sadly.

"Just like the time when he sacrificed himself in order to save Kairi," Goofy said sadly.

"Yeah, though, I never really knew that he had the guts to do such a thing with his own Key-blade," Donald said.

"And…I think I remember he said once that he didn't want to learn that ability since he thought it was evil and cruel. The idea of having the ability to take hearts didn't feel right to him," Donald continued.

"You know Donald, Sora probably got control of his body again, and used the key-blade that the shadow was using to free this boy, I mean think about it, if the shadow was able to use the blade, it's probably a very powerful weapon, similar to the dark Key-blade Sora used long ago in order to save Kairi," Goofy stated.

And, oddly enough, as the two were conversing about the subject, Ven just stood where he was; feeling as if Donald and Goofy had forgot that he was with them. But, as their conservation went further, Ven suddenly picked up something from them that was rather odd; mainly the discussion about his Master's Key-blade.

"That's strange…my Master's Key-blade is indeed powerful, but last time I checked, the blade's power was rightfully given to Aqua since she was titled Master. No one but her can use the Key-blades powers to its full potential.

The only way a person can lose their heart from the Key-blade's doing is either if another person strikes them, with the person already possessing the said ability, or if the person uses a Key-blade that is coated with darkness; in other words, a dark Key-blade.

So, if Sora doesn't know the ability, and my Master's Key-blade was basically useless to perform such a task, how did he lose his heart?" Ven wondered.

Then that's when he remembered Sora's smile before he faded away. Within this moment, everything started to make sense.

"Vanitas…it really was you all along…" Ven whispered to himself.

"You were the one that truly saved us…though at the cost of Sora's life…and possibly yours.

No wonder I still felt in-complete when I woke up, it's because you never came back to me…" he said in his mind.

"Normally I would be mad, since he's the reason why Sora is like this now, but, knowing Sora, I have a feeling that this was his choice to begin with.

The only thing I can do now to repay him…is to give Sora the life he once had by changing him back.

I just hope Vanitas is okay though, I still want to apologize to him," Ven continued.

After finally putting the pieces together, Ven then focused his attention back to Donald and Goofy. Considering the way Vanitas is portrayed, Ven didn't think it would have been a good idea to tell them that it was Vanitas who had done everything. At this point, they probably wouldn't understand and obviously would be blind by hatred to see the good in his other half's sacrifice. So in the end, Ven decided to keep this to himself, at least for now; in the meantime, he'll play along to what they think happened.

Though, as this settled in his mind, Ven then started to wonder about something else. What did Donald and Goofy mean when they said the word shadow? After all, the only thing Ven remembered was being drowned in the darkness when his, Roxas, and Xion's sanctuary was being diminished. So Ven wondered, what happened during that time when Sora's heart was sinking into the dark abyss?

"Uh well, I kinda hate to interrupt but, you guys mentioned something about a shadow, care to….enlighten me about that please…" Ven said out loud.

Donald and Goofy then turned away from each other and stared at Ven for a second.

"Oh sorry, we kinda got a little carried away…" Donald said; feeling embarrassed.

"Yeah sorry," Goofy said; chipping in.

"Well," Donald said; trying to find the right words, "we didn't know but, as far as the shadow told us, he was a creature that represented Sora's dark side; controlling Sora's body entirely."

"Hmm…I guess that was the result when Sora couldn't take the power Vanitas had given him.

So, because of what happened, Vanitas took control and merely ended it before the monster could do anymore harm," Ven said in his mind.

"We tried to stop him, but as you can see, we failed," Goofy said sadly.

"Yeah, if only if we came to Sora's aid sooner to help him fight off that mysterious man, then he wouldn't have used the darkness' power…" Donald continued.

"Mysterious man, what mysterious man?" Ven asked curiously.

"Well, according to the shadow, Sora was battling with this strange guy, and couldn't beat him alone, so, in the end, Sora used the darkness' power to beat him, but we don't know if he really did, since when we arrived, he was already being possessed," Donald said.

Within hearing this, Ven then suddenly formed his hand into a fist, and gritted his teeth. Other than Vanitas, there was one other person that Ven could think of that was responsible for Sora to force himself into using such power. And that person, was the one he first trained with.

"Xehanort…." he muttered; looking down.

"It was Xehanort, he was the one that pushed Sora into using the darkness.

He set him up," Ven said out loud; now having his eyes on Donald and Goofy.

"Xehanort?!" Donald and Goofy cried.

"What business did he have being here in the first place?" Donald questioned.

"Remember Donald, we're searching for the other three lights to help us fight off Xehanort," Goofy whispered to him.

"This boy is probably one of those lights and Xehanort probably wanted to get rid of him, in order to stop us in our tracks.

Sora probably knew this all along due to their special bond and so that's why he tried as best he could to fight off Xehanort from harming him," Goofy finished.

"Hmmm, ok, that makes sense, but the problem is, we don't know if Xehanort is still after him," Donald said.

"So then what should we do?" Goofy asked.

"Well for starters, make this boy come with us, that's what we originally came here for," Donald responded back.

"And Sora?" Goofy asked again.

"Hmm…well it could be a gamble, but if we go look for the King and find Kairi, she might be able to use her power to bring Sora back like before."

"Worth a shot."

"Yeah, definitely.

And…after everything that's been happening, I think we really need to go and report this to the King anyway," Donald finished.

"Okay, oh, and by the way, I can't really remember the boy since it's been years but, doesn't he kinda remind you of Sora's nobody Roxas?" Goofy asked.

"Oh, what if this boy and Roxas are actually the same person?" he added.

Though Donald just smacked his head, thinking it was dumb.

"Don't be ridiculous, it's vague, but I remember we met him long before Roxas was created. They can be twins, but not the same person," Donald said.

"Sorry," Goofy responded.

"Anyways," Donald said walking up to Ven, "if what you said is true, then we better be going.

Xehanort is probably still out there, so…we would like for you to come with us."

Considering the thought of Xehanort being out there, planning who knows what. Ven intended to go alone; not wanting to put Sora's friends in danger, but then again, considering in what Xehanort could be capable of, going alone wouldn't be the smartest thing to do. At times like these, you would need all the help you can get. Though out of curiosity, Ven couldn't help but ask something very important.

"Will…will I be able to find my friends Terra and Aqua?"

"Of course," Donald stated.

Then Goofy walked up to Donald and said something to him.

"Are you sure we can?" he asked quietly.

"We're going to have to since him, and his friends are the remaining lights we need to fight; and above all else, he is one of the King's friends, so we owe it to him," Donald responded back.

"And what about Sora?

Do you think there's a way to change him back?" Ven continued; seeing that the Heartless was on his shoulder again.

"Of course there's a way, you just have to think positive and have your head held up high," Donald said.

"Yeah, at bad times like these, it's important to try and stay positive; and like what we keep reminding Sora, always smile," Goofy said happily.

"Yeah, especially since our ship runs on happy faces, so no frowning, no sad face okay? Donald said.

"Well…ok," Ven said; not truly convinced.

After all, he had so much on his mind, how could he possibly be happy?

"Come on," Donald said; waiting for him to give a big smile.

Honestly, Ven wasn't going to at first, but, after a second, Ven then noticed that the Heartless jumped on his head, and started to gaze at him. Seeing that he was upside-down, Ven couldn't help but smile at the adorable little thing.

"At bad times like these, it's important to try and stay positive," Ven repeated, "It's important to not lose hope.

And…giving a smile every now and then, it can go a long way in order to keep that hope alive…

I'm not giving up…not now."

Ven then raised his hands and picked up the Heartless; now having it in his arms.

"Why not, I'll go with you guys," Ven said out loud; giving his usual child-like smile.

"Donald Duck," Donald said putting his hand out; introducing himself.

"Names Goofy," Goofy introduced; putting his hand on Donald's.

Ven then gave a small chuckle, and eventually joined his new friends.

"And I'm Ventus, though you can call me Ven instead," he stated; resting one of hands on theirs.

And, as this whole scene was playing out, the Heartless in Ven's other arm was looking at them.

"This feels way too familiar…" the Heartless said in its mind.

And after when everyone finally introduced themselves, the gang then started to walk, trying to find a way out of the mysterious Castle Oblivion. But, little did they know that someone from a distance was watching them. The mysterious figure looked at the two goofs balls, then to the young boy, and then finally…to the little shadow. Oddly enough, when the hooded figure gazed at the small dark creature, the person bit his lower lip. Besides this, no other reading could be given to see what the mysterious person could be thinking.

After another second of looking at his targets, unexpectedly, the person then made a smirk and picked up his head a little. No doubt, an idea must have formed in the twisted person's mind.

"So…you want to find your friends do you?"

Nothing but amber eyes could be seen through the hood.

And just when things couldn't get any darker, a portal suddenly appeared behind the person.

"Don't worry, I'll find them…" he said in an assuring voice.

The person then started to summon his weapon; though as his weapon was forming in his grasp, it couldn't be seen since darkness was covering it as the figure entered the portal. Once when it vanished, everything was silent.

As of now, the only question remains; who was the person under the hood?

Was the person the young Xehanort Sora tried to fight off, or, was the person Ventus' other half Vanitas?

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