*Takes place between Kingdom Hearts and Chain of Memories.
Wherever You Will Go
There was nothing but endless Darkness around him. Actually, that wasn’t true. There were the Heartless too, waiting for him to give up, waiting for him to give in to the Darkness once again. He walked alone, having been separated from the King for what seemed like days ago. He couldn’t tell; it was impossible to tell the passage of time without a sun, without a moon, and without stars, the only light source being the glowing yellow eyes of the Shadows and Neoshadows.
During his time here, Riku had many opportunities to reflect on what he’d done. However, he mostly thought on the last light he’d seen before he shut himself away in the Darkness where he belonged – the light that shown from Sora in his determination to stop the Darkness from enveloping the other worlds.
The last thing Riku had said to him was, “Take care of Kairi.” He was supposed to have been her protector, but he’d failed her, along with his best friend. He was trapped here now, and he had to hope that they would get by without him. Wait – what was he thinking? – of course they would. After all, everything had happened because of him. Would someone take his place? They’d always been three, and Sora and Kairi needed someone to keep them smiling after all he’d done.
He wasn’t even sure if Sora had managed to restore the islands, but knowing Sora, he would, and he’d have Kairi by his side. Now he was alone, and he felt like he’d been ripped apart at the thought of being replaced, being forgotten. He needed them. He didn’t want to be replaced by someone else. Maybe he did belong here, but he didn’t want to remain here. There was a way out. There had to be. Otherwise, what was the point of even continue to journey through this darkness, to cut down the Heartless that attacked him time and time again until they grew weary of defeat? Riku was tainted now – he understood that – but if there was a small chance that they would forgive him, he’d give anything for that chance. He still wanted to be the protector, to be the best friend, and this time, he wouldn’t fail.
However, part of him still feared that he’d be stuck here forever. While he could accept that, he couldn’t accept never seeing Kairi and Sora again – even if they’d replaced him, even if they’d forgotten him, even if they hated him. Wearing a look of determination very similar to the one he’d seen on Sora’s face, he continued on, searching. One day, he’d find a way out. But until then, he’d be with them in spirit.