Follow TV Tropes


Fanfic / Kingdom Hearts Ψ: The Seeker of Darkness

Go To

"What started as a canon-compliant single fic that has since blossomed into a canon-divergent AU when I had a better idea."

Kingdom Hearts Ψ: The Seeker of Darkness is a lengthy Kingdom Hearts fanfiction series, written between November 2017 and October 2020, by HouseofSannae.

The story begins soon after the ending of Kingdom Hearts II, with Sora, Kairi and Riku returning to the Destiny Islands, with the events of Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance] occurring between the first two chapters. The author began with a few specific ideas: a fic where Sora's mother meets Roxas, Xion, and Ventus, a world-hopping road trip fic about Kairi and Lea learning to wield their Keyblades, and a fic about Kairi, Naminé, Xion, and Aqua sitting on a couch, eating ice cream, and watching movies, and the entire rest of the series was reportedly written to eventually justify that last one: Aqua had to be rescued from the Realm of Darkness, Naminé and Xion (and Roxas and Ventus) would need bodies back, and Xehanort would have to be stopped. As such, the series anticipates numerous events of Kingdom Hearts III, most of which happen quite differently.

In May 2021, the author posted a prequel fic set in the months between Kingdom Hearts II and More Affection Than You Know, reportedly with more to come. In addition, the series The Girl With No Name, focusing on Strelitzia, is also in the same continuity.

In March 2022, the author began a sequel series, Kingdom Hearts Ψ: The Mistress of Evil.

This series provides examples of:

    open/close all folders 
    More Affection Than You Know 
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Sora's Mother, as she's the main point of view in this story.
  • Good Parents: Sora's Mother not only loves and adores her son, but she's incredibly patient with him (waiting for Sora to be confrontable enough to tell her about his adventures), instantly knows when either Roxas or Xion are in control of Sora's body, is incredibly empathic and understanding of their unique situation and basically adopts them both as a part of the family without hesitation. It's also very strongly implied that she's something of a maternal figure to both Riku and Kairi, does not hesitate to assure Naminé that she's not alone and offers words of comfort towards Ventus. It's made quite clear where Sora gets his All-Loving Hero attitude from.
  • Happily Adopted: Once Sora's mother finds out the truth about Roxas and Xion, she's quick to start treating them as if they were her own children. Though Xion doesn't like to see it this way, since it means she'd be dating her own brother.
  • I'm Crying, but I Don't Know Why: Between KH1 and II, Sora's mother's seemed to forget about Sora while he was asleep, but would occasionally start tearing up when she saw Kairi alone.
  • Recap Episode: A large part of the first chapter consists of a letter from King Mickey to Sora's mother, to get her up to speed on what's happened to her son since he disappeared two years before.
  • Sharing a Body: Sora and Kairi, as in canon, but with the addition that Roxas, Xion and Naminé are able to take control and talk through their bodies (Ventus only appears when Sora is asleep). When this happens, Sora's mother can see flickers of Roxas and Xion, and later Naminé when she talks to Kairi. Sora can't directly communicate with Roxas or vice versa except by leaving notes for him.
  • Talking in Your Sleep: Sora has been doing this for as long as he's been sheltering Ventus's heart, having nightmares about the events of Birth By Sleep and muttering about Aqua, Terra, Mickey, Xehanort, etc.
  • You Are Not Alone: Sora's mother tells this to Naminé, and Kairi leaves a note for her to the same effect.

    Ground Rules 
  • Ambiguous Syntax: When Riku finds one of the notes Roxas and Xion have been leaving for each other and questions Sora about it.
    Sora: I didn't write that!
    Riku: Looks like your handwriting to me.
    Sora: It's Roxas's! He and Xion keep writing these and I can't tell if they're flirting or just messing with me!
    Riku: Flirting with you, or messing with you?
    Sora: (blushing) No, flirting with each other! But they keep leaving these notes where I can find them and it's So. Awkward.
  • The Gadfly: Yes, both Roxas and Xion (but mostly Roxas, as he admits) are indeed intentionally leaving their rather....intimate love letters for Sora to find and react to.
  • Polyamory: Sora, Kairi and Riku are confirmed as such for the first time (aside from the tags in the first story).
  • The Resenter: A Lighter and Softer version of this trope as both Roxas and Xion are deeply appreciative of everything Sora is doing for them, but both wryly note that they cannot help but feel a little bitter when they see Sora, Kairi and Riku's relationship via Sora's eyes but cannot freely express their love for each other like they can. Sora, being Sora, is incredibly understanding and with the help of Naminé actually find a way for Xion and Roxas to openly communicate.
  • Too Much Information: Both Sora and his mom utterly love Roxas and Xion like family. They don't, however, love finding Roxas and Xion's rather steamy love notes to each other. Riku and Kairi find it hilarious, on the other hand.

    Not Whole, Not Broken 
  • The Atoner: Lea is well aware that he was nowhere near the most moral guy as Axel and that he has to work quite a bit to earn forgiveness from those he wronged.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Like always, Lea. When Roxas makes Lea remember Xion and subtly implies that there is no way to rescue her, Lea goes into an absolutely furious tirade how he would do everything to rescue her and return her to them. Considering Xion seconds later manifests to speak to Lea, it's implied that Roxas's hypothetical was a Secret Test of Character which Lea passed with flying colors.
    Lea: "Bullshit. I said, that’s bullshit. She was her own person, with her own life, and her own memories. Those didn’t just vanish with her! She was a real person, who cares if she ‘came from Sora’s memories’ or whatever?! There was enough of her that was distinctly her, that was Xion, not ‘replica of Sora’, that taking away the bits that were Sora should have just left her as herself! What the hell?!"
    Roxas: "I watched her die, Axel"
    Lea: "The hell you did, Roxas! If you had a heart, if Axel had a heart, then Xion definitely had a heart, too! You didn’t disappear when you went back to Sora, so why should she have?! She has to still be out there, somewhere. And we’re going to find her"
    Roxas: "Find her? How? Her body’s gone, Axel"
    Lea: "I don’t care. What’s the point of a Keyblade if I can’t help my friends? ‘So long as you champion the ones you love,’ got it memorized? I made a promise, and I’m going to bring the both of you home"
  • Character Focus: While Sora, Roxas and Xion have important parts in this story, the main focus is Lea and how he reacts to what learns here.
  • Double Consciousness: How Lea describes to Sora how it feels to remember everything he did as Axel. Lea admits that he'd like to think that he couldn't be as callous as Axel, but wryly follows that up with noting that without his emotions Axel was everything Lea could be.
  • Flat "What": Lea's incredulous reaction to Sora telling him that he cannot wait for both Roxas and Xion to get their own bodies so they can flirt outside his own body is a "So they can what?"
  • Internal Reveal: It's in this story that Lea not only learns that both Roxas and Xion are literally living inside Sora, but that both Roxas and Xion can take over Sora and communicate with other people.
  • Something Only They Would Say: "I used to do something like that with a friend of mine, too. We’d watch the sun set and talk about anything at all.” There was this one time he started off on a tangent on why the sunset was red. Something about the wavelengths of light and red being the longest, and travelling the furthest". While at first Lea does not appreciate the idea that Sora is drawing said memories from a conversation he had with Roxas, these words as well Sora's abrupt Jerk with a Heart of Gold attitude is what truly convinces Lea that the one who is speaking to him at that moment is indeed Roxas.

  • Big Sister Instinct: One of the biggest factors that makes this short story so tragic is the fact that Kairi has this for Naminé, and Naminé is fully aware of this. Which is why she does not reveal to Kairi her own feels about their situation, because Naminé knows that Kairi would be horrified and feel utterly guilty about it.
  • Death Seeker: As the author notes states, Naminé's insistence on rejoining with Kairi could be interpreted as a desire to die.
  • Dramatic Irony: The main crux of this small story is the fact that while Kairi (understandably) firmly believes that Naminé's and her situation is not so different emotionally from Roxas and Sora and maybe even healthier for both parts, Naminé has utterly kept secret from Kairi how much her self-worth is in utter tatters and feels like's she in a Gilded Cage.
  • Gilded Cage: As Naminé mournfully musses, being inside Kairi is essentially being trapped in another jail. Granted, a much nicer jail where it's metaphorical jailer would be absolutely horrified by the comparison and would do everything in her power to set her free the moment she knew Naminé felt like this in the first place, but a jail nevertheless.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: It's not an exaggeration to state that Naminé's sense of worth is at its lowest point here. She bitterly musses that she does not know that she's not in hell for her actions against Roxas and Xion, the poor girl. And unfavorably compares herself to Kairi, to the point that she almost painfully adamant in the fact that she deserves to fade away while Kairi exists.
  • Not a Morning Person: Kairi admits to this in her mussing, being unlike Naminé who apparently is a morning person.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: As Kairi notes, despite their current situation both Sora and Roxas are actually quite different in temperament. It's outright stated that Kairi openly stating this instead of treating Roxas as an extension of Sora is what earned her a quick friendship with Roxas.

    Kairi and Lea's Fantastic Voyage 
  • Actually, I Am Him: Yoda tries to pull this on Kairi and Lea the way he did with Luke. They see through it immediately.
  • Adaptational Badass: Which also crosses with Adaptational Villainy.
  • All-Loving Hero: Pacha, just like in his canon film, is very fervent in his belief that there's some good in everybody, including Kuzco. It's his conversation with Kairi that jumpstarts her realization that she might have been too harsh of Lea for his mistake at Old Jungle.
    Pacha: "Do you have any idea why I’m taking Kuzco back to his palace, Kairi?"
    Kairi: “Honestly, no. It looks like he treats you like garbage.”
    Pacha: “He does. He’s never experienced a moment of hardship in his life. But I believe he has the potential to be a good person. What I’m doing here is giving him the opportunity to learn and grow. He’s never had that before, either.”
    Kairi: “But what makes you so sure he’ll take that chance? He could just wind up staying like he is for the rest of his life.”
    Pacha: “Sure, there’s only a chance that he’ll change even given the opportunity to. But if he was never given that opportunity at all, then there’d be no chance he’d change. All I can do is give him that chance. The rest is up to him.”
    Kairi: (sighting) “You aren’t just talking about Kuzco, are you?”
    Pacha: (smiling) “You’re right, I’m not.”
  • Bash Sisters: On a metaphysical level, Kairi and Naminé's fight against Pirate Galleon works like this. They actually manage to pull something very similar to Sora's Drive Forms in order to defeat the gigantic heartless.
  • Been There, Shaped History: It's subtly implied that Naminé and Lea managing to escape from one of Ratigan's trap is what essentially made him realize that he would have to be a lot more creative and thorough in order to trap Basil once and for all and led to the trap he would create for Basil in The Great Mouse Detective.
  • Berserk Button: As in Canon, it's very ill adviced to call Ratigan a Rat even if you are doing it to speak about the virtues of Rats VS Mice, as Lea and indirectly Kairi find out.
  • Call-Forward: A dark one when both Kairi and Lea arrive at The Waterfront. Both Kairi and Lea note that there is a group practicing a song, said song being "The World's Greatest Criminal Mind" and Bartholomew almost rhymes "That" with Rat, but its stopped just in time during the practice and Bartholomew complains that he would be liable to forget the new rhyme they give him so he wouldn't press their boss's Berserk Button. As fans of The Great Mouse Detective know, Bartholomew will in the end make the mistake of saying rat in the final song and he will indeed pay the price for his mistake. He should have remembered the new rhyme, it seems.
  • Character Development: Lea, Kairi and Naminé get the lion share of it in this story:
    • Lea throughout the story learns to be a lot more responsible of his actions and that he cannot fall back to how he acted as Axel if he wants to be a changed and better man.
    • Kairi learns that while she does not need to instantly forgive Lea, the older man is trying to best to become a better person and he deserves said the chance, no matter how much their personalities might initially clash. This also makes her more accepting of people's personal weaknesses especially when said people are trying their best to overcome them.
    • Naminé gets her existential angst and her brutal Heroic Self-Deprecation explored and while both aspects are far from completely resolved the story makes clear that she does not have to tackle them alone and more important, she realizes that she's both wanted and absolutely loved just as she is and no matter what she 100% deserves to exist just as much as anyone else.
  • Commonality Connection: Between Vanille and Naminé, both being Broken Birds who hide their pain behind a particular façade and are terrified of revealing what they they truly think out of fear of hurting others. This connection allows each of them to give the other a very much needed You Are Better Than You Think You Are speeches to each other due to the empathy they feel for their respective situation and it's very strongly hinted that this is the start of both of them developing a crush on each other.
  • Crossover Ship: In-Universe, Naminé develops a crush on Oerba Dia Vanille.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: As Merlin initially notes, Lea is very, very good with Fire, but that will not help him if he faces against someone who can counter said abilities or an opponent Lea cannot flee from. It's why he states its much better to be a Jack of All Trades than just a Master of One Magic.
  • Embarrassing Nickname: "Merle" for Merlin, which he's adamant that only Linda can call him by. Kairi, Lea and Naminé are all amused by it.
  • Everyone Has Standards: Despite being new to his returned sense of morality and emotions, Lea is furious when, thanks to context clues from The Old Mansion in Twilight Town, he realizes that Diz treated Naminé with the same casual and brutal dehumanization that Marluxia and Larxene treated her with in Castle Oblivion.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Ratigan is nothing but superficially courteous to both Kairi and Lea when he makes sure neither of them connected to Basil and chides his Number Two for being impolite. The moment Lea ignorantly yet persistently pushes Ratigan's Berserk Button all his civility is thrown out of the window and leaves them to die in a particularly elaborate death trap, which they manage to escape just in time.
  • Fee Fi Faux Pas: Kairi asks to see Lightning's l'Cie brand, embarrassing them both when Fang cuts in, "Yeah, Light. Show us your cleavage!" .
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Kairi and Lea, in a rather literal sense given Lea's tendency toward fire magic.
  • Get a Hold of Yourself, Man!: Naminé does this to Kairi, with Kairi's own hand, when she starts to fall for the vision of Sora and Riku rejecting her.
  • Hero of Another Story:
    • Riku and Mickey's rescue mission of Aqua, which is only briefly hinted at the start of this story and at the end.
    • While Kairi and Lea are hanging out with Phineas and Ferb, Merlin goes on a mission with Perry to stop Doofenshmirtz from opening Danville's keyhole For Science!.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder:
    Doppler: Glad to have you with us. I don't know what I'd have done about this on my own. I'm an astrologer, not a doctor. Well, I have a doctorate, but…
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: Just like Sora did in KHI when in Wonderland and Ven did in Castle Of Dreams, both Lea and Kairi shrink down to mouse size when they arrive at The Waterfront.
  • Inexplicably Awesome: How both Phineas and Ferb come off to Lea and Kairi, which to be fair is not far off how they come of to most people in their own universe.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall:
    • When Lea asks what the name of the world is, the worlds "Old Jungle" appear in the sky, as they would in the games. Lea is confused but Kairi says they've "seen odder".
    • Both Doofenshmirtz and Candace outright compare Kairi and Lea to Square Enix characters.
  • Mama Bear: When Lea arrives at Destiny Island in search for Kairi and Naminé after her Freak Out, she stumbles into Sora's Mom, who is incredibly leery about him searching for Kairi and seems almost ready to directly stop him from his search until he utters his "Got it memorized?" line, which makes her realize she's talking to Lea, the same Lea from Roxas and Xion's stories.
  • Massive Multiplayer Crossover: borrowing the structure of most of the Kingdom Hearts games, Kairi and Lea travel through various worlds that had not appeared in the canon series and weren't expected to appear in Kingdom Hearts III: The Jungle Book (1967), The Emperor's New Groove, Final Fantasy XIII, Star Wars, The Great Mouse Detective, Phineas and Ferb, Robin Hood (1973) and Treasure Planet. Naminé also goes to Arendelle in Naminé's Bogus Journey, while Lea ends up revisiting Castle Oblivion, Twilight Town and Destiny Islands before being reunited with her.
  • Mentor Archetype: Merlin is this to both Lea and Kairi in this story and he proves to be a superb one to both of them, individually tackling their weaknesses and aiding them in gaining strength not only as combatants but persons as well.
  • Mike Nelson, Destroyer of Worlds: Almost, but he's stopped just in time by Perry and Merlin. Yes, Doofenshmirtz almost destroys The Tri-State Area when he tries to open the World's Heart For Science!. Yes, you heard that right, Doofenshmirtz (granted, very much non maliciously) almost commits the same crime Amsem's Apprentices committed in their own world.
  • Mirror Character: Both Kairi and Pacha. They are the more level headed and good-natured characters in a Road Trip Plot alongside their more complex and problematic partners who was done wrong by them in the past. Pacha is only Kairi's Foil in this situation in that he openly states that he knows Kuzko has the possibility to becoming a better person, which makes Kairi realize she might have been a bit too harsh on Lea in comparison after the fallout of The Old Jungle.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: In Old Jungle, Lea falling into his old habits and using fire to intimidate and scare King Louie earns him both the fear of every animal around him and Kairi's anger, which makes him fall into this mentality especially when Kairi calls him out on it. Its actually the main reason why he decides to hours later save Old Jungle from a wild fire by using water magic and jumpstarts his personal Character Development in this story.
  • Once Done, Never Forgotten: Axel's kidnaping of Kairi and how he treated Naminé. Everyone reminds Lea to not be a jerk to Kairi and Lea himself is absolutely aware that that what he did as Axel to both girls was utterly unacceptable. When Kairi initially settles for a tentative truce (before they become Fire-Forged Friends) by stating she does not hate him but Naminé might, Lea is completely on board with the sentiment and states that he fully deserves said hate.
  • Our Mages Are Different: In the KH Universe, anyone can learn magic as long as they have the drive, desire and potential and everyone has the potential in the first place. This contrasts with Gran Pulse, where it's only the l’Cie who can do magic.
  • Papa Wolf: Both Bagheera and Baloo for Mowgli, like always. When Mowgli is kidnaped by King Louie's subjects they team up with Kairi and Lea (although with hesitation on Bagheera's part) in order to rescue Mowgli and when Lea falls back to his old intimidation and threatening tricks with fire, he makes it quite clear that Kairi and Lea both need to leave the Old Jungle, which while it might seem harsh is perfectly understandable when one realizes that jungles and fire do NOT mix well.
  • Perception Filter: Much to Merlin's incredulous exasperation, knocking out Perry's hat has Doofenshmirtz act like Perry is a normal Platypus and not his Arch-Enemy he just captured and trapped.
  • Psychological Torment Zone: Both Kairi and Lea go into the Dark Side Cave at Dagobah during their training with Yoda in order to face their worst fears and grow stronger because of it. Lea's worst fear is having Master Xehanort take control off both Xion and Roxas while killing Isa, which he manages to defeat through sheer logic. Kairi's worst fear is being abandoned by Riku and Sora, which she manages to defeat with Naminé's help.
  • Road Trip Plot: Kairi and Lea's training takes the form of a trip through various Disney worlds, and one Square Enix world.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Naminé's existential angst comes to a head when Kairi is knocked unconscious and Naminé summons her own keyblade, and she runs away from Lea through a Dark Corridor.
  • Serious Business: Hilariously, Roxas seems legitimately insulted that Sora does not like Sea Salt Ice Cream and treats this as a serious character flaw, much to the amusement of everyone else
  • Shipper on Deck: Both Kairi and Lea for Naminé/Vanille.
  • Stern Teacher: Lighting does not mince words when talking how untrained both Kairi and Lea are on a technical sense and during their one week training with her she pushes them far beyond anything anyone has pushed them before but it's made clear that her priority is to make sure they don't die in the battlefield, was legitimately appalled that no one trained them before and despite her strict training regimen always makes sure to correct any flaws she might see in Kairi and Lea's fighting style with surprising patience.
  • Straight Gay: Lea openly comes out not being attracted to women and whimsically refers to a potential future relationship with Isa in Maybe Ever After terms.
  • Straight Man: Between working alongside with Perry and dealing with Doofenshmirtz for a day, Merlin comes off as this even with his own eccentricities.
  • Talking Animal: Every animal in Old Jungle. When Kairi and Lea hear both Bagheera, Baloo and later King Louie talk like humans they are surprisingly bemused as the only animals they have ever heard talking are anthropomorphic such as Mickey, Donald and Goofy. Considering that both Bagheera and Baloo are surprised that Kairi and Lea can understand them, it's implied that the magic of the Keyblade is responsible for both parties being able to talk to and understand each other.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: During their stay at Nottinghamshire Kairi raises an interesting moral dilemma on their situation: Destroying Heartless is part of the job they are here to do, but joining an insurrection against the rightful ruler, even if he’s a horrible person? Is that really allowed? Justified? It's Naminé who states that With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility and that as Keybladers restoring the hope of people loosing hope should be one of their most important priorities and if they do anything less then they really are not fulfilling their role. Both Lea and Kairi are not only deeply proud of Naminé for coming into that conclusion, but fully agree with her. So when the dilemma of To Be Lawful or Good is raised, Good always wins out.
  • Transparent Closet: Kairi's attraction to Captain Amelia Smollet is obvious to everyone except her, setting up a Running Gag involving her being in denial about her bisexuality.
  • Was Too Hard on Him: What Kairi comes to realize about her attitude towards Lea. Once she admits this and Lea himself admits his own shortcomings, their relationship becomes considerably healthier for both parts and they start evolving into the Fire-Forged Friends they end up becoming.
  • Wham Shot: Naminé managing to manifest a Keyblade of her own. Not only does it utterly surprise Lea but in works as the last straw for Naminé and essentially pushes her into her existential angst Freak Out and her Screw This, I'm Outta Here moment.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: How Merlin claims that time in Gran Pulse works compared to other worlds. They have twenty-six hour days, for one. Overall, the week you spend there will be roughly equivalent to a day spent in Twilight Town, for example.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Lea gives Naminé this kind to speech when they are trying to escape from Felicia
    Lea: “Naminé, listen to me. You are so much stronger than you allow yourself to be. You went through hell with Marluxia and the rest of us, with Diz, and I’m sure you don’t exactly enjoy being stuck in Kairi. But the thing is, you went through all of that, and made it out the other side. You’re still here. You survived. All of that couldn’t stop you, so are you really going to let a stupid door get in your way? Please, for all three of us, please, try.”
  • You Are Not Alone: Naminé again gets this from Anna and Elsa, who after listening to her story assure her that she doesn't have to shut herself away from Kairi the way she has been and doesn't deserve to keep punishing herself.
  • You Remind Me of X: Kairi admits that Pacha, with his wisdom of human nature and his Good Parents attitude, reminds her of her own adopted father. Pacha takes the compliment as it is intended with a small good-natured laugh.
  • You Watch Too Much X: When Merlin tries to warn Doofenshmirtz about the keyhole:
    Doofenshmirtz: I'm telling you, you got that out of a video game. That's not hyperbole. That's a plot element from Square Enix's award winning video game franchise, Principality Souls. My daughter Vanessa used to love those games. I hear the third one is coming out soon.
    Perry: (chitters)
    Doonfenshmirtz: What do you mean, 'it's actually the ninth'?

    Hello, My Old Friend  
  • All-Loving Hero: Mickey is almost as good at this as Sora, as he constantly tells and shows Riku that he's much better than the mistakes he has made and firmly believes all of Amsem's Apprentices are truly trying to make up up for their actions as members of Organization XIII.
  • The Atoner: While they are very understandably uncomfortable with each other (considering that Riku killed Lexaeus), Aeleus makes it clear that, with the exception of Braig and "Xehanort", all the remaining members among Amsem's Apprentices are willing to work themselves to the bone in order to make up for their actions as members of Organization XIII.
  • Didn't Think This Through: As Mickey whimsically and cheerfully tells Riku, not only he didn't quite have a solid plan to escape the Realm Of Darkness the first time, he's basically winging it when it comes to their rescue of Aqua.
  • Happily Married: As Mickey reveals to Riku, he and Minnie have been married for almost ninety years. This is a major case of Leaning on the Fourth Wall as both Mickey and Minnie first made their debut on 1928, exactly ninety years by the time this fic came out.
  • Interspecies Friendship: Crossing over with Intergenerational Friendship considering both the difference in species and considerable age difference between the two, the friendship between Riku and Mickey is on full display on this story.
  • It's All My Fault: Aqua, once freed from The Realm Of Darkness, is absolutely distraught about the state of Radiant Garden and quietly state that because of her choices and her desire to save Terra, Xehanort, after defeating her, was free to do what he wanted with impunity and with nothing stopping him. Riku and Mickey are quick to point that that she does not share the blame of Xehanort's action just because she wanted to save a friend, Riku even pointing out that because of her actions Xehanort lost his memory completely. Because of her, it took ten years for even a shadow of his darkness to threaten the worlds again. And that was long enough for the Kingdom Key to find its way to Sora, who stopped him.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: The Master Yen Sid—-> King Mickey—-> Riku line is reinforced when, once Way To The Dawn gets snapped in two, Riku begins to use Master Yen Sid's old Keyblade in a symbolical Passing the Torch between him and Mickey.
  • My Significance Sense Is Tingling: As Aqua is being freed from the Realm Of Darkness, several people and things connected to her begin to react to her escape: Ven's comatose body begins to half smile, Terra's heart inside Xehanort is filled with elation (while Xehanort himself is filled with fear), Ven's heart inside Sora celebrates and her own old armor in Radiant Garden begins to glow.
  • Older Than They Look: Leaning on the Fourth Wall is firmly in play here, but Mickey reveals that he's around 90 years old, much to Riku's utter surprise. This is essentially harkening back to Mickey's debut (Steamboat Willie) which came out in 1928, 90 years ago exactly from this fic.
  • Rescue Arc: This story is all about the rescue of Aqua from The Realm Of Darkness by Riku and King Mickey, which they succeed at.
  • Ruling Couple: While lost in The Realm Of Darkness Riku playfully states that he does not know how Mickey has been a king for so long and Mickey cheerfully admits that while both him and Minnie balance each other to be the best rulers possible by covering each other's weakness (Just as Kairi, Sora and Riku perfectly balance each other), Minnie is the one who does the most governing and proudly states that she's very good at it while he's more the Warrior King.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: This story happens around the same time as "Kairi and Lea's Fantastic Voyage" and "A Work of Heart".
  • Shout-Out: The songs Aqua sings in The Realm Of Darkness in order to keep her sanity are Fear Not This Night, The Stars Will Shine Tonight and Somewhere Over The Rainbow, specifically the version sung by Israel Kamakawiwo'ole.
  • Song of Courage: What Aqua has been doing The Realm Of Darkness for a implied considerably long time. As Mickey notes, it’s probably to keep her spirits up. It also helps both Riku and Mickey find her when they track her by the sound of her singing.
  • Wrecked Weapon: Way To The Dawn gets snapped in two by a Orcus.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Mickey is nothing but absolutely delighted and pleased for Riku's relationship with Sora and Kairi and when Riku's old insecurities comes out and tries to state he's not worthy of them he stops Riku in his tracks by stating that whether he "deserves" to be with them doesn’t enter into it. They want him there, with them. That’s what’s most important. They chose him.

    A Work of Heart 
  • Badass Teacher: Phil might be a Cynical Mentor at first glance, but he's not the premier trainer of heroes in the setting for nothing. Not only is his training optimized to help Sora learn all his skills he might have forgotten, but he also knows that it's important to pace yourself when training so you will not hurt yourself while pushing yourself to the max. He's also surprisingly adaptable, rolling with the punches when he learns about Xion, Roxas and Sora's situation and having little trouble implementing what Xion tells him about Limit Break into Sora's training regimen
  • Continuity Nod: Like it happened when when he first trained Hercules in canon, Phil's Cynical Mentor deal that makes him reject a potential student (in this case Sora) is interrupted by Zeus directly intervening to make sure Sora does get trained. The similarities are so striking that Phil even dryly asks if Sora is also a child of Zeus.
  • Hidden Depths:
    • Xion proves to be surprisingly adept at explaining the mechanics of how to preform a Limit Break and the story goes on to show that she has a knack as a combat teacher, at least in this area.
    • Both Donald and Goofy show themselves to be very good emotional sounding boards for both Roxas and Xion, gently assuring both Roxas and Xion and helping with their emotional turmoil's in a very fatherly way. Considering that Goofy is one of the best examples of a good dad in the Disney Canon and Donald almost comes off as a Parental Substitute for his nephews more often that not, not to mention their friendship with Sora, it would make total sense that they are very good at this kind of thing.
  • Sibling Yin-Yang: As both Donald and Goofy make obvious, for all that Sora is considerably Smarter Than They Look, he's not the kind of of person who takes notes of something that they have learned. Roxas, on the other hand, is.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: This story happens around the same time as "Kairi and Lea's Fantastic Voyage" and "Hello, My Old Friend."
  • Serious Business: As an inhabitant of a world based on Classical Mythology, Phil takes the concept of prophesies very seriously. He calls this Rule 2020: Never mess around with oracles and if you absolutely have to, for gods’ sakes listen to what they tell you.
  • Shout-Out: The title of this small story is actually based on part of the lyrics of "One Last Hope": "To be a true hero, kid, is a dying art. Like paintin' a masterpiece, it's a work of heart.''
  • Time to Unlock More True Potential: Essentially what Sora's training with Phil is meant to do, not only help him relearn the most powerful abilities and skills he might have forgotten how to use in their most powerful level but with Roxas and Xion's help he also manages to learn how to use Limit Break, making him exponentially more powerful.

    Land of Oblivion 
  • And I Must Scream: Turns out that ever since her "death" in Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories Larxene has been trapped in a Time Loop Trap inside of it, which has not done wonders for her sanity and her temperament.
  • Annoying Laugh: Larxene's loud cackle, according to Aqua.
  • Ax-Crazy: Larxene is just as charming as ever during her fight against Naminé, switching between being a Smug Snake Psychopathic Manchild to an arrogant Alpha Bitch with lightning speed. She actually might be worse as she does not bother to use her Faux Affably Evil façade. It's strongly implied that her fate at the hands of Castle Oblivion has basically shattered what little sanity she had left.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Naminé is utterly merciless against Larxene as the other woman is dying, being utterly gleeful at the chance to give her a brutal "The Reason You Suck" Speech and taking delight in her horror, even stating that she hopes her sociopathic actions as Larxene haunts her memories in her returned human life for the rest of her life. It's both awesome and surprisingly chilling, but considering how much an Asshole Victim Larxene is, being the victim of Naminé's action coud not have happened to a more deserving lady.
  • Big Sister Instinct: To say that Aqua, Kairi and Naminé grow to become incredibly fond and protective of each other throughout this story is a major understatement. Individual moments where these feelings crop up in particular are:
    • A case of Little Sister Instinct in this case, actually. Both Kairi and Naminé are furious at both Terra and Ventus when seeing Aqua's memory of their legendary Third-Act Misunderstanding in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. They don't hesitate for a single second to give her a You Are Better Than You Think You Are speech while pointing out that neither Terra nor Ventus were being anything close to fair towards her at that moment and make a point to fervently argue that what happened to them later on was not her fault. Kairi in particular is basically ranting a storm and not bothering to hide her foul language in her cursing during her protective rant.
    • Later, Naminé wastes no time in protecting an artificially de-aged Kairi from a phantom of Xehanort's Heartless. Ansem The Seeker Of Darkness, created by Castle Oblivion
    • Later yet, when both Aqua and Kairi realize than neither Diz nor Riku cared (in Diz's case) or knew (in Riku's case) how to take care of a growing young woman like Naminé both of them are not happy, with Aqua vowing that the conversation she was going to be with Ansem was going to be long and unpleasant and Kairi grumbling about Riku's lack of social graces.
  • Breather Episode: After multiple chapters of Naminé reliving her abuse and in between two very emotional chapters for Aqua, the Sixth Floor takes them back to Montressor Spaceport and Treasure Planet, which gives Naminé the chance to flirt with Amelia, much to Kairi's annoyance.
  • Broken Pedestal: Aqua is horrified and deeply pained when she witnesses Eraqus's actions during his final confrontation with both Ventus and Terra and outright admits that she fully understands Terra's action a lot more now.
  • Chronic Hero Syndrome: After Naminé comes clean about how she tampered with Sora's memory in hopes that he would save her, Kairi spells this trope out to her. "You thought that for Sora to want to save you, you had to be someone important to him. But you didn't know him well enough to realize… all you need to do for Sora to want to rescue you is to be in trouble somewhere where he can see. Playing the hero is one of his fundamental qualities as a person, after all."
  • Cuteness Proximity:
    • Granted it's implied that half of this is Naminé just teasing Kairi, but Naminé cannot stops squeeing at how adorable child Kairi was when she first meet Aqua.
    • In the Twelfth Floor, Kairi cannot help but coo at Pluto.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Naminé of all people reaches MST3K level of snark when commenting about and poking holes in Philip and Aurora's romance, unrelenting mocking and dryly pointing out the Deliberate Values Dissonance in their story.
  • Dehumanization: Aqua slips into this when she says that Vanitas "was not a person". Naminé reacts with Tranquil Fury, reminding her that she just saw what Ansem put her through for being a Nobody.
  • Dies Differently in Adaptation: Larxene dies her final death at Naminé's hand in Castle Oblivion, not as one of Master Xehanort's 13 Vessels.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Castle Oblivion gives Naminé several chances to do things differently while reliving her memories, and she takes the opportunity to stand up to her abusers such as Marluxia, Larxene and Ansem. The climax has her face the actual Larxene, trapped on the 13th floor since the events of Chain of Memories.
  • Dramatic Irony: When observing Naminé's memories of Marluxia openly praising the power of the Keyblade and wanting one for himself, Aqua dismissively states that not everyone is worthy of one and Kairi jokes that considering how many among them have a Keyblade, Marluxia might just get one. As revealed in both Kingdom Hearts χ (which came around the same this fic came out) and KHIII, Marluxia when he was human actually used to be a legendary Keyblader once upon a time.
  • The Dreaded: Even if she's just a memory, Maleficent's presence puts Aqua ill at ease, terrifies Naminé and enrages Kairi.
  • Enemy Without: Similar to how the Shadows of Persona 4 manifest in that series, Phantom Aqua represents Aqua's suppressed feelings, desires, and thoughts made manifest. As Aqua admits, she will never quite be rid of her because no one is fearless, or doubtless or guiltless. But, that’s okay as she's not trapped by her past anymore. She goes on to admit that while Phantom Aqua will always be a part of her, that’s not a bad thing. She can’t change that, but she doesn't need to, either. Nobody’s perfect; that’s just normal. She's accepted that she's never going to be completely rid of Phantom Aqua, but she can perfectly live with her. She then proceeds to have a Mirror Match very similar to how the characters in Persona 4 have fights with their own Shadows and win said battle.
  • Enmity with an Object: Naminé hates Castle Oblivion due to everything she went through there. Castle Oblivion takes her hatred in stride.
  • Fountain of Youth: In the Eighth Floor, Kairi is temporally De-Aged to match the age she was at the Fall of Radiant Garden, both physically and mentality. It's strongly implied that Castle Oblivion did this in order to not only help Kairi conquer her fear of that day but also return her memories.
  • From the Mouths of Babes: Much to the amusement of both Naminé and Aqua, De-Aged Kairi in her innocence is a lot more open about finding women beautiful, hinting at her very obvious bisexuality that teenage Kairi is somewhat in denial.
  • Genius Loci: Castle Oblivion has a mind and sentience of its own, as Kairi, Aqua and Naminé discover in this story.
  • Giving Up on Logic: After Kairi fills Aqua in on the details of Xehanort's plan with the Organization.
    Aqua: I miss when things made sense.
    Kairi: (laughing) I'm one of seven people in existence with a negligible amount of darkness in my heart, I fight shadow monsters with a magic key-shaped sword or possibly a sword-sized key, and I'm sharing a body with my own two-year-old identical twin. Things stopped making sense a loooong time ago; you learn to roll with it.
  • Good All Along: The sentience of Castle Oblivion not only fully understands and takes Naminé's hatred of it in stride but also gives her several chances to do things differently while reliving her memories, and she takes the opportunity to stand up to her abusers. The story makes it clear that Castle Oblivion is doing this in order to make amends to what Naminé suffered inside of it under the hands of her abusers. For a place that used to be one of the main bases of Organization XIII, it's actually incredibly aware of Naminé's trauma, deeply repentant of it and actually quite proud of Naminé's growth throughout the story.
  • Hereditary Hairstyle: As Naminé notes, Ventus and Roxas are so similar that they could pass as twins and the implication for the blond hair Roxas has despite being Sora's Nobody is that he took after Ventus, who also was inside Sora's heart when he was created. While Xion's black hair is not talked about outside some inner musing from Naminé, it's strongly hinted that the color of her hair comes from Vanitas.
  • Internal Reveal:
    • Outside Kairi and Lea who already knew this, all our heroes learn that Naminé gained the ability to use a Keyblade here.
    • During their travels in Castle Oblivion, both Kairi and Naminé are made privy of Aqua's memories while Kairi and Aqua are to Naminé's
  • It's All My Fault: Aqua is revealed to be harbouring a lot of guilt about her actions in Birth By Sleep especially as it becomes apparent that she helped set in motion the events of the original game.
    • Her decision to spare Maleficent after their battle in Enchanted Dominion, which allowed her to manipulate Riku years later. When she mentions this, Kairi and Naminé are quick to tell her that showing mercy is never a bad thing, and that she doesn't get to take responsibility for Riku's mistakes.
    • When she shows them the argument she had with Terra and Ventus in Radiant Garden, she's shocked when they're both far more critical of how the boys talked to her.
    Aqua: I made judgements that I shouldn't have, without all the information–
    Kairi: Oh fuck that, you knew he removed Aurora's heart, unwillingly or otherwise. You weren't even criticizing him as a Keyblade Master, you were speaking as a concerned friend. And he lashed out at you for no reason!
    Naminé: Maybe he felt guilty. He knew what he was doing wasn't completely right, but he was turning a blind eye to it. So when you pulled it out into the open, he directed his frustration with himself at you. Either way, you didn't deserve it.
    Aqua: No, no, if I had been better, if I had listened instead of accused, this wouldn't have happened. This is all my–
    Kairi/Naminé: NO.
    Kairi: This is NOT your fault.
    Naminé: None of this is your fault.
    Aqua: But–
    Naminé: Terra had Xehanort whispering lies in his ear, and you know it.
    Kairi: Ventus idolized Terra and was always going to side with him without thinking critically, and you know it. And honestly? Kid seems like a bit of an idiot.
    Naminé: Kairi, don't be rude.
    Kairi: The point is, none of what happened here was your fault. Could things have been different if you had stopped the conversation to explain things fully? Maybe! But would Terra and Ventus have actually listened to you? Maybe not! There's no way to know, and it's pointless to beat yourself up over the "could have happeneds". It's not helpful.
    • Soon afterwards, Aqua reveals that she fought with Xehanort in Radiant Garden after he stole Terra's body and that she chose to save him from the Realm of Darkness while getting trapped herself. Naminé's reaction goes into Don't Say Such Stupid Things! territory:
    Aqua: …I won the fight. The darkness started to swallow Terra. I dived in after him, caught up with him, but only had the strength to save one of us. I sent my armour out with him, and became trapped in the Realm of Darkness. And because of that… because of me
    Naminé: (slaps her. Aqua looks at her in confusion and mild pain) You are not responsible for Xehanort's actions.
    Aqua: But I–
    Naminé: You are not responsible for Xemnas's actions. You are not responsible for either Ansem's actions. You are not responsible for what happened after you were lost to darkness.
    Aqua: If I hadn't saved him from falling into darkness, we wouldn't be here right now!
    Naminé: Well, too bad! You did! You tried to save your friend! Wow, look at how horrible you are! Tell me this, Aqua. Is Terra gone forever?
    Aqua: What?
    Naminé: Is Terra gone forever? Was Xehanort right, in that memory? Was his heart extinguished by darkness?
    Aqua: (whispering) No
    Naminé: I can't hear you!
    Aqua: No! He's alive! He's fighting! He's still in there and he's been fighting for twelve years!
    Naminé (Beat) So it wasn't pointless. You did save Terra, at least partially.
    • It comes up again one last time in the Keyblade Graveyard when she said the worst thing possible to Terra when she might have been able to keep him from being possessed.
    Aqua: Are you still going to tell me I couldn't have been better?
    Naminé: I never said you couldn't have been better. I said you being better wouldn't have fixed things. You're only human, Aqua. You can't be perfect, and that's not something blameworthy, that's just how things are.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: After hearing about how Maleficent kidnapped her Aqua notes that Kairi has had an eventful two year to which Kairi responds that it felt more like a decade and a half, which was the amount of time between the release of the first Kingdom Hearts and the writing of this fic.
  • Mathematician's Answer: When Kairi tells Aqua about how she, Sora and Riku started their relationship:
    Kairi: The hard part was getting Riku to admit he liked both of us. We actually had to pin him down so he wouldn't leave.
    Aqua: Literally or figuratively?
    Kairi: Yes.
  • Not Afraid of You Anymore: Naminé's whole Character Arc in this story is to facing her fears and traumas done to her in Castle Oblivion and essentially telling Castle Oblivion that she will NEVER cower from it or her abusers ever again and that they shall never have power over her. There is no moment where this mentality is better seen that during Naminé's fight against the real Larxene. Castle Oblivion itself seems almost proud of her, at the end.
  • Out of Order: In-Universe, Aqua chooses to revisit Neverland before Radiant Garden to put off seeing her argument with Terra and Ventus. In addition, the Radiant Garden chapter includes her fight against Terra-Xehanort, which took place after her last meeting with Terra in the Keyblade Graveyard.
  • Pay Evil unto Evil: It's implied that Castle Oblivion actively delivered Larxene's And I Must Scream fate and facilitated her death at Naminé's hand half in order to give Naminé closure and half because it really personally hated Larxene. Brutal and ruthless? Without a doubt. Utterly deserving considering this was Larxene? Without contestation.
  • Precision F-Strike: When Aqua beats Vanitas-Ventus in the Keyblade Graveyard, much to Kairi's shock and delight:
    Aqua: I'm done. I'm not letting my failures define me anymore. Because I have something you don't. I… have another chance. And you… can go fuck yourself!
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Yen Sid not only is unwilling to let what he thinks are unarmed combatants be harmed and is hesitant to allow trauma to be reawaken, but also fully understands the need to rest and recuperate after dangerous missions, completely understands that it would be incredibly important for Lea to be part of the mission to give Xion and Roxas new bodies (which is why he sends him with Sora) and basically orders Mickey to return to his wife and spend time with her. As a former Keyblade Master, he seems to be lot more attuned to the emotions of those serving under him and treats them in a considerable more humane way that his forbidding attitude would suggest he does.
  • Separated by a Common Language: When they reach the thirteenth floor, Aqua belatedly realises that Kairi and Naminé had counted the ground floor as the first floor, the first as the second, and so on. (Though the chapter titles suggest that the author is more on Kairi's side.)
    Kairi: That's not how numbers work!
    Aqua: That's how we always counted the floors in the Land of Departure. This will be the thirteenth floor.
    Kairi: It's the fourteenth!
    Aqua: My castle, my rules.
  • Shout-Out: Larxene's backstory, from what little we see of it in Castle Oblivion, is based on Elena from Final Fantasy VII, or more specifically the version from Final Fantasy VII: Machinabridged
  • Simultaneous Arcs: This fic happens around the same time "To Bring You Back" does.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Kairi, which is called out by Aqua frequently. She justifies it by pointing out that she lives in a port town.
  • Taught by Experience: Naminé's previous experience with Castle Oblivion and it's utterly different combat style is easily one of the main reasons why Aqua, Kairi and herself have a much easier time traversing Castle Oblivion than anyone else might have had.
  • Trickster Mentor: Castle Oblivion acts like this towards Aqua, Kairi and Naminé: allowing them to confront the painful parts of their pasts each time they travel to another floor, but being absolutely cryptic in what exactly they are meant to do. Aqua wryly points out that it seems to be working In Mysterious Ways.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Naminé gives this kind of speech to memory Xion on the Fourth Floor of Castle Oblivion, in one of the most touching and poignant moments that show her own personal character growth.
    Xion: Then what do you think I should do?
    Naminé: What do you want to do?
    Xion: At first, I just wanted to be with Roxas and Axel forever. But then I started to realize that my memories… Well, these aren’t really even mine, are they?
    Naminé: Yours are. Sitting on the clocktower, eating ice cream, losing and finding your Keyblade… and the way you feel about Roxas… those are your memories, not Sora’s, not Roxas’s. You’re not Sora, and you’re not Roxas, but you aren’t Kairi as Sora remembers her, either. You’re Xion.
    Xion: But not all of the memories I have belong to me. And as I remember more of the past that isn’t mine, the more I feel the need to go back where I came from. What should I do… to go back?
    Naminé: The memories that are his need to go back to Sora, but you’re more than them. The memories of Kairi belong with Sora, but Xion belongs with Roxas and… Axel. But as you are now… if you return your memories to him, then you will disappear. Your ‘self’ is wrapped up in Sora’s memories, and without them, you can’t exist apart from him Your body was created using Sora’s memories. It can’t continue to exist if I remove them.
    Xion: So I’ll cease to exist. And if I only exist now with Sora’s memories making connections… no one will remember me when I’m gone.
    Naminé: NO! You are real, Xion! You have a heart, all your own; you made it yourself. You won’t be able to keep your body, but your heart will go on, alongside Sora’s. Yes, people will forget you, but not everyone. I won’t forget you, no matter what. And when something’s missing – when something’s missing, it’s easy to figure out what it is, from the hole that’s left behind.
    Xion: (cries)
    Naminé: If you wanted proof… A friend of mine once said, you have to have a heart, to cry. This isn’t the end. I can promise you that much, this time.
  • You Are Not Alone: Kairi and Naminé towards Aqua after seeing her fight at the Keyblade Graveyard.
  • You Have GOT to Be Kidding Me!: Our heroes reaction when they realize that Ven's body in in Castle Oblivion, especially Naminé's. Lea, of course, is more crude is stating his incredulity, to the say the least

    To Bring You Back 
  • Clones Are People, Too: Mickey, Sora and Riku treat Data-Sora, Data-Riku and Data-Naminé like their own persons and legitimately refuse to act as if they expendable in their mission to create bodies for Roxas, Naminé and Xion.
  • Cuddle Bug: Sora insists on hugging Lea after hearing the story of how he became a Nobody, and tells him that it's coming from Roxas and Xion as well.
  • Deadpan Snarker: While Even switches between sneering and being utterly terrified depending who he interacts with, Ienzo cannot be bothered to react with anything more than droll sarcasm, detached interest and scathing comments.
  • Don't Call Me "Sir": Riku shows himself to be uncomfortable with the title of "Master", at least around his closest friends. It a pretty strong sign of his Character Development
  • Drives Like Crazy: Lea has been banned from flying the Gummi ship because of his unfortunate habit of waving his hands around when he talks. Sora has a different problem, which is that Roxas keeps taking control when he wants to add to the conversation and has no idea how to fly the ship.
  • Green Around the Gills: A space-ship version, but the effect is the same. Gummi Ships and Even do not mix well
  • The Heart: Although Lea gently mocks the whole idea, Riku points out that Lea is this for the effort in giving Roxas, Naminé and Xion their bodies back: He's the one with the drive. These are his best friends they are fighting for here. None of them (Ienzo, Riku, Even, Mickey) are as closely connected and he's the one who lit the fire under Even and Ienzo to get them to help.
  • Hero of Another Story: Jiminy Cricket's pivotal role in Kingdom Hearts coded actually is important in this story, as the data he helped gather plays an incredibly important role in creating new bodies for Roxas, Naminé and Xion.
  • I'm a Doctor, Not a Placeholder: Even might be a borderline Omnidisciplinary Scientist in everything that has to do with biology to the point that he's able to create repliclas, but he's completely out of his comfort field when dealing with Cyber-Technology.
  • Like a Son to Me: While Kairi jokes in "Land Of Oblivion" that Mickey has all but adopted Riku, this story implies that the king does see Riku as part of his family and his facilitating the meeting between Riku and Minnie has the air of a father making sure a son and a stepmother meet for the first time. While Minnie is not as blatant as her husband, she gently implies that she's more than willing to fill a maternal role for Riku.
  • Makes Us Even: When Lea meets Even again to ask for his help, he repeatedly makes jabs about Axel murdering Vexen in Chain of Memories until Lea grabs Even by the lapel of his labcoat and reminds him that he was complicit in him and Isa becoming Nobodies in the first place.
  • Noodle Incident: Lea tells Sora and Riku about how Kairi accidentally asked to see Lightning's cleavage. Riku sighs and replies, "You may or may not be surprised to hear that it wouldn't be the first time.
  • Older Than They Look: Just like it's revealed for Mickey in "Hello, My Old Friend", while Leaning on the Fourth Wall is firmly in place here the narration implies that Donald and Goofy are 84 and 86 years old, which fits with the fact that Donald first debuted on Disney Canon in 1934 and Goofy in 1932. This essentially makes them both 84 and 86 by the time this story came out.
  • Pet the Dog:
    • Even is not the easiest guy around to get along with by any means due to his incredibly prideful, smug and abrasive attitude, but his treatment towards Xion shows a suprising softer side to him. He openly admits that science without ethics and morality not only is not worth it but does not bear thinking about it (and admits that said mentality runs contrary to how he would be as Vexen, showing that he's deeply ashamed of his actions as Vexen), rather readily (for him) allows Xion to watch him work while he creates the new bodies and, in a way that heavily implies that he admires her interest in his work, takes the time to explain step by step the process of his work.
    • Considering how much of a semi-malicious Troll he's been (thought for completely understdanble reasons) towards Even, Lea's heartfelt thanks towards the the other man for his work in creating the new bodies is both rather touching and completely surprises Even.
  • Polyamory: While other stories have strongly hinted it, this is the story that all but reveals that Riku's Honorary Uncle was in a romantic relationship with both of Riku's biological parents, which is why he was so utterly broken up by their deaths and why his relationship with Riku, although not unloving in anyway, is somewhat strained compared to Sora's with his mom or Kairi with her own dad. Riku notably greatly sympathizes with his Honorary Uncle when talking about him with Queen Minnie.
  • Sick and Wrong: Roxas and Lea's reaction to Data-Roxas and Data-Naminé's Big Damn Kiss.
  • Simultaneous Arcs: This fic happens around the same time "Land Of Oblivion" does.
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Even's emotional baggage, pride as a scientist and dysfunction means that he is very openly hesitant in working with Data-Ansem, but he both knows that he has not choice in the matter and prides himself on his work so he's willing to put his bad feelings aside to help Roxas, Naminé and Xion get new bodies.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: A notably extreme case in comparison to the other examples in the verse. According to Tron, the around year and a half Sora last saw him equal around 50 years in Space Paranoids.
  • You Can't Go Home Again: Roxas catches Lea in a lie about not having been back to Radiant Garden since the fall (it was where he recompleted) and gives a pretty astute summary as to why.
    Roxas: Let me make some guesses. You didn't think much of it growing up, but after you became a Nobody, thinking of Radiant Garden brought back your happiest memories. But, the longer things went on, and the further away from you Saïx got, the more painful those memories became. Plus, the very last memories you had of it involved becoming a Nobody, and that can't have been pleasant. And even now, after the Fall, it's very much not the place you remember. You don't even really think of it as "home" anymore, not after everything that happened. You're not really thrilled that you have to go back, are you?

  • Beach Episode: What the second half of this story becomes, which makes sense not only because being in Destiny Islands this would only be natural, but it's strongly implied that Riku, Kairi and Sora are actively invoking this so Naminé, Xion and Roxas have a good time now that they have new bodies of their own.
  • Going Commando: Downplayed, but its revealed that the Organization uniform doesn't come with a shirt, meaning Xion and Larxene didn't have anything covering the upper halves of their bodies under their cloaks.
  • Good Parents: Kairi's adopted dad is not only an extremely loving father towards Kairi but also welcomes Naminé with both open arms and utter delight and basically also adopts her without hesitation.
  • Guilt Complex: Even with all the Character Development she has had, Naminé still carries the guilt of what she was complicit in doing to Roxas and Xion, which is why she volunteers to be the first one who inhabit the created bodies, as if there is something wrong with the process only she would have to suffer from it. Everyone else is very quick to reassure Naminé that not only she does not need to pull such a sacrifice, but that they long have forgiven her.
  • Guy on Guy Is Hot: To say that Kairi is particularly interested and exited as seeing both her boyfriends kiss in front of her is quite the understatement.
  • Happily Adopted: Like Sora's mother, Kairi's father is quick to accept Naminé as if she were his (to be expected, given how he adopted Kairi).
  • I Resemble That Remark!: When Riku dryly quips to Roxas that he could wait until the other boy has his own body to flirt with Xion, Kairi cheekily points out that they (Riku, Kairi and Sora) are hardly the correct people to grumble about the timing of flirting considering how much they do it whenever they can.
  • Journey to the Center of the Mind: How Riku and Aqua rouse Ventus into consciousness after his heart in returned to his body.
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Ven, when getting the chance of speak again with Aqua in 12 years, makes it quite clear that he's absolutely guilty for his part in the legendary Third-Act Misunderstanding in Kingdom Hearts: Birth by Sleep. Aqua, being Aqua, admits that she herself had a part in the problem and than overall it was more of a case of Poor Communication Kills more than anything and that she has long forgiven him.
  • Nice Girl: Selphie shows why she's Kairi best friend by being charming, bubbly and a absolute delight to be around while at the same time helping Xion and Naminé in their shopping trip and being utter delighted that Kairi not only managed to find her hometown but learned that she has "sisters". She's a ball of positive energy, just like Sora.
  • Revealing Injury: When Kairi introduces Xion and Naminé as her sisters, Selphie quickly figures out something is up because they both have a scar on their left arm that Kairi got from a fall when she was nine.
  • Secret Secret-Keeper: Unbeknown to Kairi, Turns out that her adopted father is not only fully aware that there are other worlds outside Destiny Island, as The rulers of worlds used to communicate with each other, but the fact that said contact network broke around the same time Kairi arrived at the Isles, during the Fall of Radiant Garden, made him realize that Kairi was from Radiant Garden in the first place.
  • Shopping Montage: Between Kairi, Naminé and Xion in order to get them clothes better suited for the Destiny Island climate. The fact that this is Naminé and Xion's first shopping trip is not lost in Kairi, who makes sure thay they not only have fun while in it, but also buy whatever they want.
  • Skewed Priorities: Selphie's reaction when Kairi fills her in on everything she can.
    Selphie: So all this time, my best friend has been an alien princess?
    Naminé: Is that what you got out of that? Not me being Kairi's animated, heartless body, not Xion being a literal clone of not Kairi but Sora, not the impending war that could kill us all, but that Kairi's a princess from another world?
    Selphie (shrugs) I like to look for the positives.
  • Smarter Than They Look: For all of Selphie's bubbly personality, she instantly pokes holes on Kairi's story about Naminé and Xion being her biological sisters just by pointing out the logical fallacies in the story.
  • Stepford Smiler: In this story in particular we see that Sora's a lot more complex that most suspect and that he tends to hide his most painful insecurities behind his normal attitude. He's not a full-blown Stepford Smiler and most of the time attitude is 100% genuine, but he's no stranger to hiding behind his smile. His mother was able to easily deduce that Sora was worried about the potential repercussions having Roxas, Xion and Ventus leaving his body could have and Kairi and Riku learn that Sora was worried that without Ventus inside of him he would not be able to use the Keyblade.
  • Third Wheel: What Lea briefly fear he will become in his dynamic with Roxas and Xion, coupled with the fact that he feels Alone Among the Couples. Naminé reassures him when she notes this, wryly but playfully stating that are members of the "Lonely Gay" club.
  • Team Mom: Sora's mom to all the main heroes, which is actually cemented during her final conversation with them in the story.
    Sora's Mom (To Sora after he tells her she can count on him) I always can
    Sora's Mom (To Kairi and Riku) Take care of him while he’s taking care of everyone else, okay? I am glad he has you
    Sora's Mom (To Naminé) I’m so proud of you
    Sora's Mom (To Aqua) You’re not alone, and it’s not all on you. Do you believe me?
    Sora's Mom (To Ven) You’ll find a way and if you need a safe place again, my door will always be open
    Sora's Mom (To Lea) One more friend to rescue? (smiles) I believe the phrase was, ‘smile on the way down’?
    Sora's Mom (To Xion) Xion, don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t important, or that you’re not worth it. And tell him (Roxas) what you’re afraid of. Having the worst happen is so much worse if you’re dreading it beforehand; but the worst won’t happen, I promise.
    Sora's Mom (To Roxas) You made it to the beach after all. Take care of yourself, and everyone else, too. I’m glad to have you as my son
    Sora's Mom (To both Aqua and Kairi) Well, I’m not entirely sure how the bodies of Nobodies and Replicas work, but I do know how a Somebody works, and I think the two of you ought to keep an eye on Naminé and Xion for at least the next month. You’re probably going to need these. Hopefully, I’ll see both of you back here soon.
  • Tears of Joy:
    • Naminé when she wakes up in her own body and said tears become a case of Inelegant Blubbering Of Joy when surrounded in the Group Hug consisting of Riku, Kari, Sora, Sora's Mother and Lea.
    • Later, Lea, Roxas and Xion all shed this when both Xion and Roxas get their own bodies, this also also surrounded in a Group Hug done by Sora, Naminé, Riku, Kairi and Sora's Mom.
  • You Are Not Alone: Riku and Kairi when they finally learn about the worries Sora has hidden behind his Stepford Smiler façade
    Make My Wish Come True 
  • Arbitrary Skepticism: Interestingly analyzed by Snow himself in order to shake himself from his cynical world view. Considering everything he has seen and done in his lifetime that used to make the word "impossible" laughable to him before, why would Lighting surviving her ordeal had to be impossible in a world with magic and wonders? He notes that if Lighting was alive and not with Sarah considering her overall attitude that meant she was in trouble and he could more than go to her aid, because that was what heroes did.
  • Bearer of Bad News: Both Snow and Sarah have the unenviable task of telling Naminé and Kairi what happened to Vanille. Snow being Snow tries to be as gentle as possible when delivering the news
  • Big Sister Instinct: Kairi does not hesitate for one single second in rallying to Naminé's side when she sees how much the other girl is hurting.
  • Converse with the Unconscious: Played With? Zigzagged?. Naminé, with the aid of Snow, goes to Vanille's "resting place" in order to talk to her about what has happened to her and while Vanille might not be able to physically answer Naminé thier connection is strong enough that both Vanille and Naminé are to speak inside of Naminé's mind.
  • Gentle Giant: Snow might have become more world-weary but he's still an absolute sweetheart. He's incredibly gentle and loving with Sarah and nothing but utterly understanding and filled with the utmost compassion towards both Kairi and especially Naminé in all his interaction with them.
  • Heroes of Another Story: Ligthning and her companion's adventure all happened off-screen from the main story, including the Bittersweet Ending Foregone Conclusion.
  • He's Back!: Near the ending of the story, Snow's idealistic and old heroic attitude is reignited after witnessing Naminé do the seemingly impossible and realizing that in his grief and pain he become trapped in Arbitrary Skepticism. He internally vows to do all he can to find and bring back Lighting to Sarah and returns to his old Ideal Hero mentality. For a secondary character in the great scheme of things, he was quite an impressive character progression in this story.
  • I Gave My Word: At the end of this story, Snow swears to Sarah that he will find Lighting and bring her back.
  • Internal Reveal: Fang outright confirms to Naminé that Lighting very much survived her ordeal, something that while most reader of this story are fully aware In-Series only Sarah seemed to believe.
  • I Will Wait for You: Defied. When Naminé suggests that she and Vanille take advantage of the time differences between their worlds in order to see each other again when she finally escapes from her crystal, Vanille shoots the idea down saying that it wouldn't be fair for either of them.
  • Lost Lenore: Naminé discovers that in the time she was away, Vanille has been reimprisoned in crystal which previously took centuries for her to escape from, effectively killing any relationship they could've had.
  • Mysterious Waif: Yuel during her Kairi's encounter with her. Not only does she knows Kairi name right of the bat, for her advise to her, "It’s never too late, Kairi. Make sure Sora knows. There’s always time to make a choice again, especially for the first time. No matter how it looks, few things are truly set in stone, for you who aren’t of this world. Make sure Sora knows. It’s never too late. Make sure he believes", will in the end turn out to be extremely important in the long run. Considering her role in the Fabula Nova Crystallis Franchise, it's made very clear that her advice to Kairi would shape the future.
  • Oblivious to Love: Fangs wryly points this out about Lightning, noting that the other woman was incapable to noticing that Fang really was romantically interested in her. Naminé openly muses that due to Fang's normal attitude Lighting could have misinterpreted Fang's flirtation.
  • Starcrossed Lovers: Naminé and Vanille might have not been outright lovers yet, but the spirit is there, as Naminé bitterly notes. She inwardly rages at the sheer unfairness of it all, at the fact that both Vanille and her deserve much better considering all both of them had suffered and overcome/ It's actually a visceral , painful and utterly understandable showing of grief from a young woman who just wanted a little more time.
  • The Tease: Not even being sealed inside crystal and being inside Naminé's mind stops Fang from playfully flirting with Naminé. Naminé realizes that Fang's flirty nature might have been one of the main reasons why Lighting was unaware that Fang flirtation were genuine instead of playful and she truly had feelings for her.
  • Took a Level in Cynic: Downplayed with Snow, but it's there. Far from the Hot-Blooded Boisterous Bruiser both Kairi and Naminé remember, the Snow they meet in this story is considerably and understandably more somber due to the experiences he has gone through. He's still a Gentle Giant absolutely in love with Sarah and nothing but nice to both Kairi and Naminé, but its shown in the narrative that he's a lot less willing to belief than Sarah. Not in any way maliciously, but in a world-weary kind of way. After seeing Naminé do apparently the impossible and communicate with Vanille and Fang, he realizes that he was stuck in his own guilt and grief and decides to fully devote himself to finding Lighting.
  • Year Inside, Hour Outside: Played for Drama here, as due to how time is different in Gran Pulse in comparison, two years have passed sense Vanille and Naminé first met and therefore Final Fantasy XIII's Bittersweet Ending and Vanille's Heroic Sacrifice in it has already happened.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Granted, there is about 0.000.0% chance that Even meant it in a joking manner, but Lea has a short sympathetic chuckle when realizing that Even's "Perfectly functional" comment about the new bodies created for Naminé and Xion meant biological functional in every way, hence periods.
  • Animated Armor: The Lingering Will, who hosts part of Terra's heart while the rest of inside Xehanort. Despite this, it instantly recognizes both Aqua and Ventus and has an incredible touching reunion with them, outright stating that he's incredible proud of them and reinforcing the mentality that in the end they will never truly be apart.
  • The Big Damn Kiss: Downplayed in the narration after Roxas and Xion have their first kiss:
    Since the invention of the kiss, there have been five kisses that were rated the most passionate, the most pure. This one wouldn't have turned any heads. It was slightly awkward, neither having done this before, and it was small.
    But that didn't matter to either of them. Because the first time it happened, she was with him, and he was with her, and that wasn't just enough, it was everything.
  • Big Brother Mentor: Lea to both Roxas and Xion. No matter how uncomfortable the question they might have are for him, Lea always make sure to answer to the best of his abilities.
  • Birds of a Feather: A purely platonic case with Kairi and Hayner, with both of them being fiery sardonic snarkers and having a very similar sense of humor while being a member of a trio with a blatant Nice Guy who is very good at emotional wisdom (Sora/Pance) and a more mature soft-spoken member (Riku/Olette).
  • Cooldown Hug: Sora does not hesitate for a single second in giving both Ventus and Aqua one which lasts as long as they need it to last after thier emotional reunion with The Lingering Will.
  • Combat Pragmatist:
    • During his spar with Aqua, Sora uses his superior agility and Flowmotion to take her by surprise several times and even the playing field.
    • Xion fights dirty, wasting no time in making Riku feel uncomfortable in order to get an advantage in thier spar. She points out that Lea basically taught her that there are no such things as clean fights, only winning and loosing. And while Riku wryly points out such lessons is not quite what he was trying to teach Xion, he cannot disagree.
  • Covert Pervert: In one conversation with Roxas, Kairi vents to Roxas about the lack of progress in her relationship with Sora, saying that she's starting to wonder if he may be asexual ("Not That There's Anything Wrong with That"). Roxas, who had spent the last year in Sora's head, tells her this isn't likely, asking her if she's ever noticed him staring at her ass.
    Roxas: I have seen your ass. I have seen Riku's ass. I have seen Selphie's ass. I have seen Tidus's ass. I have seen Wakka's ass. I have seen Tidus's dad's ass, not sure what that was all about. Sora has stared at the ass of just about everyone human he's come across since I got put in his heart. Thankfully, not Axel's, though I'm pretty sure that was out of consideration for me. You do not understand what I have witnessed. I can say for sure, your boyfriend likes asses. Whether it's just aesthetic appreciation or sexual, I have no idea, but it is what it is.
  • Crossover Cameo: Lenna Tycoon lives in Twilight Town and it the girl that Hayner has romantic feelings for. She very much returns said feelings. Hayner also states that Faris also lives in Twilight Town.
  • Dreadful Musician: Both Sora and Ventus, for different reasons. Sora has the energy for it but not the rhythm and sense of beat and it's implied that Ventus is ever worse than that. Neither boy is particularly amused when this is pointed out.
  • Everyone Can See It: According to Hayner, the romantic feelings Olette and Pence have for each other. It's the reason why he acts as a sardonic Shipper on Deck.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: Shortly following the exchange under Covert Pervert:
    Kairi: But… if he is interested, then is he just shy? He never seems to instigate anything, except by accident.
    Roxas: I have a theory about that, Kairi, but you're not going to like it.
    Kairi: (frowning) Go on.
    Roxas: Sora doesn't like to disappoint people, right?
    Kairi: Right?
    Roxas: So he tends to do what he thinks people are expecting of him, right?
    Kairi: …Sometimes.
    Roxas: Mmm. And you and Riku go to extenuating lengths to ensure that he never hears swearwords. Even though he's sixteen and lives in a port town, and you, at least, swear like a sailor.
    Kairi: The fuck are you talking about?
    Roxas: Exactly. So, why don't you let him hear swearwords again?
    Kairi: Because he's an adorable, innocent little angel, and Riku and I agreed a long time ago that we'd do our best to preserve that innocence for as long… as… possible… oh. Fuck me, we've been making him feel like he can't express that sort of interest in front of us, haven't we.
    Roxas: I don't know for sure, but that'd be my guess. Have you guys even talked about what your interests are yet? Things you want to try, that sort of thing?
    Kairi: No, because…
    Roxas: Because?
    Kairi: Because… we didn't want to make Sora uncomfortable.
    Roxas: Did he say that sort of thing made him uncomfortable, or did you guys just assume it would without asking him?
    Kairi: Fuck.
    Roxas: Thought so.
    Kairi: Well, I guess if I'm frustrated, I've got no one to blame but myself.
  • "Eureka!" Moment: When Sora mentions to Aqua that her ability to transform her Keyblade reminds him of a "statue" he fought before and describes the armor as being very similar to Ven's but with some notable yet very distinctive elements to Aqua she realizes that Sora knows where Terra's armor is located.
  • First Period Panic: Not quite panic, but neither Naminé or Xion are pleased in any way when they get thier first period, with Naminé even whining that she would prefer to be inside of Kairi again that having to the pain from the cramps and Xion being horrified that periods were things that happened to women once a month.
  • Forgiven, but Not Forgotten: The reason why Roxas is actively a Jerk with a Heart of Gold towards Riku. As Roxas notes, Riku did convince his girlfriend to give up her existence for his boyfriend’s sake and interrupted Roxas hot-headed revenge rampage, which admittingly in retrospect was a bad decision, and shoved him into a digital world in preparation for effectively killing him so, again, his boyfriend could wake up. As a person Roxas has nothing against Riku, but he reserves the right to be as much a shit as possible to Riku with almost gleeful abandon.
  • The Friends Who Never Hang: Roxas and Ventus, particularly due to the awkwardness created by the fact that they are Identical Strangers. After a heart to heart between them, they agree that they should hang out together much more often considering that they actually quite like each other despite thier initial awkwardness.
  • Heavy Sleeper: Sora, particularly when especially tired. Naminé entering the room he shares with Kairi and Riku and the other three speaking for hours does nothing more that briefly rouse him, have him sleepily state that Naminé is a "good noodle" and return back to sleep seconds later.
  • Hereditary Homosexuality: Discussed but averted with Xion and Roxas both, much to Naminé own surprised mussing. As she notes, Sora is openly Pansexual and Kairi is Bisexual (if slightly in denial during this moment), but outside having a brief Even the Girls Want Her moment with Aqua, Xion is strictly heterosexual to the point that she's innocently confused at the idea of liking your own gender (something that Roxas also shows in his conversation with Lea). Naminé musses that thier innocence could be inherited from Sora, but then notes that Sora is a lot more astute in everything that has to do with the heart and emotions and despite Kairi's denial she's pretty much on the ball about a lot of things. She then releases that nobody has given Xion The Talk and after playfully flirting with her she.... gleefully sends her to have take The Talk with Lea.
  • Hidden Depths: Due to this story in particular having a very strong Slice of Life format, we actually get to see a lot of little aspects from each character than makes them a lot more human to the reader:
    • Despite the fact Lea tends to be a Manchild Troll most of the time, when Kairi, Aqua, Xion and Naminé get all thier periods sync he's ready with hot chocolate and treats them with utmost consideration. He painfully admits that its the way his father used to help his mother before... everything happened. Later on, during a conversation with Roxas, he also shows that he's quite firm in avoiding the concept of Poor Communication Kills in romantic relationships and and advocate of healthy communication between partners.
    • In a Played for Laughs example, Aqua has a hidden ladette and tomboy side beneath her that Naminé, Xion and Kairi all find strangly attractive.
    • Ven's Identity Amnesia actually really bothers him and he resents being treated as Just a Kid due to it.
    • Hayner argues that he has a reputation to maintain of a tough guy, but he not only has quite an artistic eye similar to Naminé but is a romantic at heart, refuses to misgender a trans character out of basic human decency and is surprisingly shy in confessing his romantic feelings for a girl that very much returns them.
    • As always, Sora has an incredibly keen and developed emotional wisdom and understands the complexity of emotions a lot better than most people in the series do. His ability to emotionally connect with others on a fundamental level makes him very good at finding the best to put others at ease, helps them process them and helps them relax.
    • Xion's is somewhat of an Insecure Love Interest for Roxas and is/was slightly haunted by the idea that Roxas is just "settling" for her and that he was really in love with Naminé. Roxas not only absolutely reassures her and utterly tears the whole idea apart by stating that he loved her and her alone in a very touching You Are Better Than You Think You Are Speech but Naminé makes it very clear that she has absolutely no interest in Roxas romantically.
    • Goofy ended up being the who give both Xion and Roxas The Talk and considered both of them called Goofy "the only qualified adult in the tower" its implied that he was both informative in it. Makes sense when you realize that Goofy is a father himself and good natured enough that its all but certain the might already gave such talk to Max.
  • Identity Breakdown:
    • Xion suffers a brief one while training with Riku as she banters with Riku and to her horror releases her words and fighting style are very similar to Sora's. It's made very clear that the idea that she's nothing but Sora's shadow terrifies like nothing else. Fortunately, Riku is more than capable of talking to her in order to vehemently assure her she's a lot more than someone made from Sora's memories and fully deserves to be her own person.
    • While Roxas does not suffer it in the story, during a conversation with Ventus he explains to the other boy the one he suffered from being Sora's Nobody in Kingdom Hearts II and why being a Identical Stranger to Ventus paradoxically does not induce this in him: while the fact that most people were actively comparing to Sora and he was treated as a part of Sora (with the Ironic exception of Sora himself, whom always treated Roxas as his own person) understandably pissed him off, the fact that nobody really expect Roxas and Ventus to be similar in ay way makes the adjusting period for Roxas much smoother.
  • Incompatible Orientation: After Xion found out that the Data versions of Roxas and Naminé are in love, she starts feeling a bit insecure about her relationship. Naminé tries to assure her otherwise by explaining she's only attracted to girls, a concept that Xion is completely baffled by since everyone else around her in relationships are either bisexual (Riku, Kairi, probably herself and Roxas) or pansexual (Sora). Unsure how to explain this, Naminé passes the buck onto Lea.
    • Comes up in the middle of a drunken conversation between Lea and Aqua:
    Lea: If you were a guy… or I was straight… or I was a girl… and we were sober right now… I'd probably agree to sleep with you. You're cool.
    Aqua: Aw, Lea! That's one of the nicest things anyone's ever said to me!
    Lea: (jaw drop) Whuh… really? Aqua, that's, like, really sad. Like, really sad. 'I'd fuck you if we had compatible orientations'? Really? That's one of the…?
    Aqua: Shshshsshhshhshhhh. Hyperbowl… Hypar… Hype… Bolly… Making big deal for comic effect. Lots of people have been really nice to me. A lot. Buuuuuuut… No one's said they'd sleep with me before. Not that I've asked, though, right?
  • The Insomniac: Due to Riku's mastery of his darkness he has found it difficult having a good night sleep at night and has become semi-nocturnal.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing: Brought up in reference to Saix's treatment of Xion and the main reason for Roxas's grudge against him.
  • Jerkass Realization:
    • Ven points out to Aqua than she has continued to treat him like a kid since they were reunited despite him wanting to contribute to the search for Terra.
    Aqua: …Back when we were trying to find you, in Castle Oblivion, I felt like I had to push aside how I was feeling, and put Kairi and Naminé's wellbeing in front of my own. Until we went through my memories of Radiant Garden.
    Ven: I'm sorry for what I said.
    Aqua: I know you are. You weren't entirely wrong, though. But that's not what this is about. After that set of memories, Naminé took me aside, and said… She said… I'm not their mother, her and Kairi. Or, yours and Terra's.
    Ven: What did she mean by that?
    Aqua: Both that I can't shoulder sole blame for things… and that I don't have to be… the adult, I guess, for want of a better term.
    Ven: …So, meaning that you also shouldn't take sole responsibility for things?
    Aqua: (nods) I'm sorry, Ven. I guess I didn't listen as well as I should have.
    Ven: (pulling her into a hug) It's okay, Aqua. Like I said, habits are hard to–
    Aqua: No, it's not okay, Ven. It's only going to be okay when I stop doing it. Habit or not, I don't have an excuse.
    • Kairi realising that she and Riku have been making Sora feel like he can't express his attraction to them and assuming that he's more uncomfortable than he actually is.
    • Lea learning just how often he's interrupted Roxas and Xion's attempts to kiss.
    Lea: Huh. Well. Now I feel like a bit of a jerk.
    Kairi: (nodding sagely) That's okay, Lea, you are a bit of a jerk.
    Lea: (sticks his tongue out) No need to be rude, Princess.
    Kairi: (does the same) Just calling it like I see it, kidnapper.
  • Meaningful Name: Discussed at length in one chapter, along with the Theme Naming of Land, Sea, Sky that both the Destiny trio and the Wayfinder trio share.
  • Moment Killer: Lea has an unfortunate habit of doing this to Roxas and Xion, sometimes on purpose. In fact, he manages to interrupt when Roxas and Xion are in the middle of complaining about it to the others.
  • Nice Guy: Hayner, Pence and Olette all have waste no time in agreeing to create "new, real memories" with the real Roxas, show nothing but genuine desire to be Roxas's friends in the real world like thier data copies were and Pence is particular notes that Naminé seems to emotionally be on a much better place than the last time he saw her and he's glad for it.
  • The Nose Knows: Riku is able to figure out that Ventus is possessed by Vanitas because of this, described as "a darkness thing". It's also briefly mentioned that he doesn't smell the same as Roxas, which becomes a Running Gag later because this is the only way Riku can tell the two apart.
  • Only Sane Man: Hayner tends to fall into this role whenever he interacts with the main characters, drily point out how strange and peculiar our heroes are from an outsider's perspective and lampshades the more confusing aspect of thier stories.
  • Pass the Popcorn: When Sora, Riku, Hayner and Kairi watch Roxas and Xion's first kiss, Kairi brings along a tub of popcorn.
  • Puppy-Dog Eyes: According to Kairi, Ventus is the master of them, to the point that he's even better at it than Sora.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: Lea takes great pride is being very good at braiding hair.
  • Reasonable Authority Figure: Continuing the trend of being a lot more conscious, understanding and respectful of human nature than his ominous attitude and looks would have you at first believe, Yen-Sid has several moments acting like this in this story: Despite the fact that he initially tried to make sure everyone, especially those that were a couple, were Sleeping Single, Riku muses that after it became clear that Sora, Kairi and himself were rather touched starved for each other he silently gave his approval by changing thier rooms so the could sleep together more easily, did the same for Xion and Roxas and made sure Naminé's room was one she could decorate as she wanted, whenever she wanted.
  • Right for the Wrong Reasons: As Xion notes, Lea does indeed act uncomfortable whenever she and Roxas are having romantic moments. However, Xion believes it's mostly due to Lea being their older brother figure and while there is some element of that, Lea's inner musing makes it clear most of the comes from the fact that seeing Roxas and Xion so on love makes him remember his own rather broken relationship with Isa
  • Serenade Your Lover: After getting singing lessons from Kairi, Roxas does this with Xion using "It Is You (I Have Loved)", a song from one of Sora's favourite movies.
  • Serious Business: Played for Laughs. Naminé takes painting very seriously, to the point she, with a gentle smile, tells Lea (whom she's drawing in order to stall his legendary Moment Killer timing for Roxas and Xion) than if he continues to move and mess her drawing she will travel with him to Atlantica and gut him like a fish. You get the idea that Naminé is far more interested and angry about messing her drawing that stopping him from being a Moment Killer.
  • Shout-Out: When Kairi teases Roxas about how adorable both him and Xion are, all a sardonic Roxas can say is "Bitch, I'm adorable."
  • Sick and Wrong: Played for Laughs, to both Aqua and Ventus either of them being romantically interested in the other is this as well as Terra and Aqua having romantic feelings for each other. After a few seconds of sibling like disgust at the idea, they both burst into hysterical giggling.
  • Sleeping Single: Yen Sid tries to suggest this when he lets Kairi share a room with Sora and Riku, but they just push the three beds together. The same happens with Roxas and Xion. He doesn't push the issue afterwards.
  • Sneeze Cut: When Lea outright asks both Xion and Roxas who ended giving them The Talk, they tell him it was "the only qualified adult in the tower". When Lea muses about who that might be, the scene cuts to Goofy in the tower's kitchen sneezing.
  • Spirited Competitor: During Sora's spar with Aqua, he's very clearly having the time of his life and shows open amazement and interest in Aqua's more complex abilities as a Keyblade Master. When Ventus declares thier spar a tie, Sora is far more interested in learning from Aqua and genuinely amazed by her than anything else.
  • Sympathy for the Devil: Ventus notes that by all right he should hate Vanitas for what the other boy did to him and his friends, but he admits to Roxas that all he can do it pity him. As he tells the other boy, Vanitas spending all that time with Master Xehanort could not have been good in any way and he muses that maybe Vanitas obsession with the X-Blade was all fueled by the desire to free himself from the pain inside himself.
  • Tempting Fate: When Sora is a bit hesitant to believe Roxas and Xion about Lea being an almost cosmic Moment Killer, Lea then proceeds to interrupt said conversation which leaves both Xion and Roxas looking unamused at Sora and the other boy admitting that it really was that bad.
  • The Talk: Comes up a couple of times with Roxas and Xion.
    • Lea mentions in the first chapter that he doesn't want to have to give them The Talk, when Xion and Naminé are going through menstrual cramps for the first time. Roxas later tells Kairi that he and Xion were given the Talk by "the only qualified adult in the tower." In a later chapter, when Lea decides he'll have to after all, Roxas repeats that description. Cue a Sneeze Cut to Goofy, which is justified by the fact that he has raised a teenager before.
    • Xion later gets a different Talk when her confusion about the concept of sexual orientation comes up while talking with Naminé, and she passes the buck on to Lea to deal with it.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Kairi's blunt but prophetic words when she notices that the period for all the girls (Aqua, herslef, Naminé and Xion) are in sync.
  • True Companions: This story is the one that starts fully cementing the fact that The Keyblade Wielders are all incredibly close and absolutely "ride or die" for each other. It's not that they were not friends before, but living with each other has essentially transformed into a borderline family unit. The might snark, make fun of each and even have complexities that make each member very different from the other, but at the end of the day they trust each other above all things that there is no one they would rather have at thier side.
  • Underestimating Badassery: In Sora's duel with Aqua, neither Ventus nor Aqua are particularly sure Sora can keep up at first and both Roxas and Riku playfully state that they want to see Sora get his ass kicked. And while Aqua is more trained than Sora, Sora's considerably wider experience in combat and his utterly unpredictable and adaptable combat style does a lot to push Aqua far more than she initially believed Sora could. Notably, neither Riku nor Roxas (despite thier joking comments before) look surprised than Sora is keeping with Aqua while Aqua and Ventus both are.
  • Waxing Lyrical: Kairi, while giving relationship advice to Roxas about Xion, quotes the chorus of Jesse Mc Cartney's "Beautiful Soul", to him, much to his confusion.
    Roxas: I just… I didn't realize that you could just… say song lyrics. I thought it had to be timed right… and underwater… and with the right button presses.
  • Wham Episode: Chapter 14 reveals that several problems in the tower in previous chapters have been caused by a sleepwalking Ventus, or rather Vanitas possessing him.

    fal-tor-pan: Unversed/Rebirth 
  • Both Sides Have a Point: When the team debate at length what to do about Vanitas, between Sora wanting to give him a body and try to get him on their side against Xehanort, while Aqua feels they have no reason to trust that he won't go back to him, pointing out that Xehanort is still looking for a thirteenth vessel. The majority agree with Sora, with Goofy raising the point that Vanitas could have left the Tower at any time while possessing Ventus, but Yen Sid at least acknowledges that he doesn't have a lot of hope that Vanitas will join them.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    Vanitas: How exactly are you planning on getting dear Ventus's opinion? He's asleep, moron. As long as I'm here talking to you, he can't–
    Riku: Actually, that's the easy part.
    Aqua: What do you mean?
    Riku: (places his hand on Vanitas's head) Sleep.
    Vanitas: Oh, you motherfuuuuuuu… (falls asleep)
  • Dehumanization: Comes up again with Aqua when she calls Vanitas a monster. Kairi and Naminé are again unimpressed, but drop the issue when Aqua points out that he's actively tried to kill her and Ven in the past. The conversation then turns to how many of them had been on the wrong side at some point, and Aqua later tries to justify her feelings to Kairi:
    Aqua: What makes him different… Riku fought his way back to yours and Sora's sides tooth and nail. Naminé was forced to rewrite memories against her will. Roxas and Xion were duped, Lea had no moral compass… And all of them are still bothered by what they did. It's too early to predict this, like you said, but… Vanitas hasn't done anything to show he even wants to be different. Much less that he regrets what he did. If he doesn't show that…
  • Makes Us Even: Similar to his earlier conversation with Even, Lea makes peace with Ienzo over his involvement (such as it was) with what happened to Lea and Isa and Axel ordering the murder of Zexion.

    The First Week 
  • Enemy Mine: After a week of attempts, Vanitas finally agrees to join the heroes when he learns that not only have they succeeded in killing parts of Xehanort before, but there's now a prospect of killing him thirteen times.
  • Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: Goofy being a genuinely nice and understanding person throws Vanitas entirely off his rhythm.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: When Naminé volunteers to try to get through to Vanitas.
    Naminé: Let me put it this way. Vanitas was brought into being against his will and immediately turned into a weapon to be used by an evil person, regardless of what he actually wanted, all the while being abused by that same person to the extent that now he wants nothing more than to run away from even the notice of said person. [...] Well, we have some things in common.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Vanitas, once he agrees to help fight Xehanort. The only reason he sticks around is to kill Xehanort, preferably more than once. He couldn't care less about the actual stakes that everyone else faces.

    How To Talk So Your Edgelord Will Listen, And How To Listen So Your Edgelord Will Talk 
  • Actually Pretty Funny: In the middle of a string of insults directed at the heroes, Vanitas calls Lea, "the flamer in every sense of the word". Lea grins, saying "Hey, I resemble that last remark."
  • Simultaneous Arcs: Roxas and Vanitas's conversation coincides with Ven and Aqua's in "Awful".
  • Snub by Omission: Inverted when Aqua is the only one Vanitas doesn't insult in the mediation scene, saying "Your ability in a fight I actually respect." He also doesn't immediately insult Xion, but when Sora points this out he calls her "the puppet", pressing Roxas's Berserk Button.

  • "Not So Different" Remark:
    • Xion and Vanitas:
    Xion: No one passes through something like what he did without… scars. We get changed by our experiences. We get used to certain things being 'normal'. So it's hard to change how we behave after a drastic change in circumstances. It's hard for someone who was created to be a weapon to adjust to just being… a person, who people want around just because, regardless of whether they're useful or not.
    Aqua: We don't all want Vanitas around, though. Or, I don't.
    Xion: I wasn't talking about Vanitas. I meant me.
    • Aqua and Eraqus:
    Ventus: Aqua, the way you talk to, and about, Vanitas… it scares me. It scares me because it's exactly how Master Eraqus was acting back when I found out about the χ–blade. It scares me because… because getting Terra back doesn't mean he'll stop having darkness in him. And if this is any indication, that isn't something you can accept. I… (starts to tear up again) I'm scared that you're going to become just like the Master was.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: When Ven tries to get through to Aqua about giving Vanitas even the chance to change, claiming that he never had a choice when he was working for Xehanort, Aqua smugly tells Ven about one thing he did do out of malice, baiting her into a fight in Neverland by destroying Terra's wooden keyblade, which Ven had left with the Lost Boys. Ven does not take this the way she expected.
    Ven: …And instead of telling me this, you waited. You waited, to use it as ammunition, in an argument?

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Quite a few of the pranks get this reaction. Mickey laughs upon finding out that Kairi short-sheeted the beds in his room and is quite enthusiastic about finding a way to get her back for it. Naminé laughs about Roxas rearranging her coloured pencils even while kicking him of her room and calling him a jerk. She also makes a point of saying that she doesn't dislike Aqua changing her hair colour. Similarly, Xion acts angry about Lea replacing her shampoo and making her hair curl despite admittedly preferring her hair that way.
  • A Birthday, Not a Break: When the team get together to throw a surprise party for Roxas and Naminé, Roxas's first reaction is to question the wisdom of this given that they're celebrating the day Sora almost died and his friendship with Riku was at an all-time low. However, he's quickly won over by the fact that Sora and Kairi care more about gaining a brother and sister respectively.
  • Blunt Metaphors Trauma:
    Donald: If there's one thing we know for sure, it's that Vanitas is very stubborn!
    Riku: (snorts) I think he'd prefer the term 'determined'.
    Donald: Six of one, baker's dozen of the other.
    Riku: That's… that's not the same amount–
  • Brick Joke: In Adjustments, Naminé got stuck in an awkward conversation with Xion about sexual orientation and told her to go talk to Lea about it. Here, Lea ends up in a similar conversation with Vanitas after he compliments his new outfit, saying, "I'm sure you're the envy of butch lesbians everywhere," and then tells him to ask Naminé about it.
  • Can't Catch Up: Xion is frequently shown struggling to feel useful because she still can't summon her keyblade yet.
  • Disapproving Look: When Vanitas ends the prank war by outing everyone's embarassing secrets, Yen Sid gives several of these, as do a few others involved. But when Vanitas finishes by revealing that Yen Sid had been finishing off the coffee without making more, he gets Disapproving Looks from everyone else.
  • Faux Horrific: When Kairi initiates a prank war after getting annoyed with whoever keeps finsihing off the coffee pot without making more for the next person, Sora and Riku start desperately begging her not to, before imploring whoever did it to fess up before its too late. The thing is, not only are all the pranks completely harmless, Kairi and her allies immmediately agree they have no have no interest in injuring or emotionally hurting anyone (though they do have no qualms about pranking people they've already eliminated from suspicion such as Sora and Roxas, due to Rule of Fun).
  • He Cleans Up Nicely: Stated by Donald about Vanitas after he gets a new outfit in Twilight Town.
  • Hypocritical Humour:
    • As much as Kairi hates it when people finish off the coffee without making more for the next person, Vanitas points out that she's no better when it comes to the cookie dough ice cream in the freezer. She's also openly angry about Sora picking up bad language from someone, despite being well aware it could have been herself.
    • In the same scene, Vanitas reveals that Ven has been stealing Aqua's sweaters and wrapping himself in them when he wakes up from a nightmare. When Roxas stifles a laugh at this, Vanitas calls him out on doing the exact same thing with Xion's sweaters and with Lea's scarves.
  • Innocent Innuendo: When Sora watches Aqua fighting Ventus and Roxas:
    Sora: Wow, that's impressive that she can take the both of them like that! I've only fought Roxas before, I wonder what both of them at once would be like?
    Lea bit his tongue. He absolutely would not, could not say what had just popped into his head, for two very good reasons.
    First, Xion would kill him.
    Second, Kairi and Riku would resurrect him just to kill him again.
    Naminé: Wow, Sora, that's something I'd expect to hear from Xion, not from you.
    Lea turned in horror to see Naminé standing behind them, an angelically innocent smile on her face that he knew meant she knew exactly what she'd just implied. Xion had also understood the subtext, and was rapidly turning bright red.
    Sora, in what Lea assumed must have been an intervention from Kingdom Hearts itself, had missed the implication entirely.
  • Making Use of the Twin: In-Universe, Roxas and Ventus try to come up with a strategy involving their resemblance. Sora starts to suggest the same with Vanitas, who replies, "Our hair isn't the same colour. How the fuck would that even work? Also, no."
  • Must Have Caffeine: Kairi initiates a prank war alongside Lea and Naminé against the rest of the tower because someone keeps finishing off the coffee without making more for the next person.
  • Never Learned to Read: Vanitas, as Xehanort kept him from learning this and other skills (such as Cure spells) to keep him dependent on him. When she finds out, Aqua volunteers to teach him, deciding that her desire to spite Xehanort outweighs her hatred of Vanitas.
  • Tempting Fate: After Aqua starts to escalate the prank war:
    Roxas: Did it just get worse?
    Sora: Like I said, it has to before it gets better. But I'm sure nothing bad will happen.
    Vanitas: Do you idiots have any idea what 'jinxing it' even means

  • Dramatic Irony: When Sora tells Vanitas about fighting off a thousand heartless in one battle, Vanitas is sure he must be exaggerating.
  • In the Style of: Chapter 2, in which Sora takes Vanitas into the Hundred Acre Wood, is written like an A. A. Milne story.
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: Vanitas finds out he can't swear in the Hundred Acre Wood, due to what's described as the Majorly Interfering Location Negating Expletives.
    Vanitas: This must be what it's like for everyone else around Sora.
  • Oblivious Mockery: When Sora is telling Vanitas about fighting different kinds of Heartless:
    Sora: Okay, so, we call those Large Bodies, and they're a pain. They move around really fast, so even if you get behind them, it's hard to stay there. Some of them even breathe fire, which is real annoying.
    Vanitas: (confused and slightly disgusted) …You call them 'Large Bodies'?
    Sora: Yeah, what? It's what they are.
    Vanitas; What fucking idiot came up with that simple a… (trails off)
    Sora: Look, I was fourteen, okay? I'd like to see you do better. What were your Unversed called?
    Vanitas thought about Red Hot Chilies, Hareraisers, Jellyshades, and Spiderchests.
    Vanitas: All their names were awesome. Look, just… tell me more about the Heartless, okay?

    Secret Weapon 
  • Fake Defector: When the first plan to capture Saix fails, Sora and Vanitas quickly improvise a plan where Vanitas goes to him claiming to have captured Sora for him.
  • Ironic Echo: When Vanitas hands Sora over to Saix, he tells him "You get to carry him," pointing out that he has seniority. A minute later, Sora tells Vanitas he gets to carry the now unconscious Saix.
  • Tap on the Head: When Vanitas knocks Saix out with his keyblade.
    Vanitas: (waving his hand over the body) 'Sleepza'.
    Sora: Vanitas! That wasn't nice!
    Vanitas: If you want actual sleep magic, go to Naminé or Aqua. It worked, didn't it?
     Finding A Way 
  • Batman Gambit: Xehanort knew that the heroes would try to get Terra back, which is what he was counting on. He realized that Terra was one of seven lights needed for his plan, bur couldn't just leave Terra's body and let him go to the heroes as that would be suspicious, so he deliberately let himself get captured and pretended to fight them in order to make it believable. It did almost blow up in his face though.
  • Didn't See That Coming: Xehanort didn't expect the guardians to capture Saix or for Eraqus' heart to have persisted inside Terra for so long. The latter almost derailed his plans completely, as Eraqus tried to pull his heart into the afterlife.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Sora manages to stop the rain of keyblades from Terra-Xehanort, by telling the discarded keyblades that they don't need to fight any more and that it's okay for them to rest, which causes every keyblade in the graveyard to disappear into light. Terra-Xehanort is left dumbfounded by this.
    Terra-Xehanort: "Untold millennia in this lifeless regolith, and mere words are all it takes to destroy them? Preposterous!"
    Princess of Destiny 
  • Clown-Car Base: Sora's hood apparently functions like this when Jiminy is in it, with Ven discovering he has a pool table.
  • Good News, Bad News: Jasmine's recap of the story of Aladdin and the King of Thieves:
    Sora: What do you mean we missed your wedding!?
    Jasmine: Oh, don't be upset, Sora. We had no way of getting a message to you, but we would have if we could.
    Kairi: Still, congratulations! Was it a nice ceremony?
    Jasmine: It was… once it finally got underway.
    Kairi: Did something happen?
    Jasmine: Aladdin's father turned up.
    Sora: Well, that's nice!
    Jasmine: He turned out to be the leader of a ring of thieves that used the ceremony as a distraction to try to steal an ancient treasure.
    Sora: Oh…
    Jasmine: But, Aladdin was able to reconnect with him for the first time in his life.
    Sora: Ah, that's nice!
    Jasmine: But the thieves tossed him out when he realized he actually cared more about Aladdin than about the treasure they were trying to find.
    Sora: Oh…
    Kairi: Wait, I thought they stole the treasure from you?
    Jasmine: No, what they stole from us was an oracle that could tell them where a city on the back of a giant turtle was, and the treasure they wanted was in that city. Anyway, his father gave up the treasure to save Aladdin's life.
    Sora: That's nice!
    Jasmine: But he and Iago decided to leave to travel the world, since he's still technically a wanted criminal.
    Sora: Oh… Well… at least he wasn't evil?
    Jasmine: There is that, yes.
  • Master-Apprentice Chain: Just as Riku taught Vanitas to channel his personal darkness without being consumed by the Darkness, Vanitas steps up to teach Terra when Riku is unavailable.
  • Troll: Terra, having learned about Aqua teaching Vanitas to read and write, praises his spelling on the sign he put on the door, before adding, "Although, I think you wrote the 'W' backwards." It takes Vanitas a moment to figure that one out, and he responds with a Death Glare.
  • True Love's Kiss: Lea wakes up Isa with this, though it takes some convincing from Aqua before he tries it.
  • Wham Episode: The climax of Beauty and the Beast occurs in Chapter 6, with Xemnas interfering in an attempt to recruit the Beast, but instead ends up recruiting Gaston.
  • Year Outside, Hour Inside: When Alice mentions that she's been trying to get home from Wonderland for at least the past day, Kairi almost points out that it had been three years from their perspective.

    Adjustments: Final Mix 
  • If You Ever Do Anything To Hurt Him: Exchanged between Roxas and Isa. Xion follows this with a somewhat gentler version, asking Isa not to push Lea away.
  • Mythology Gag: Kairi mentions that she sometimes has nightmares of something happening to her and Sora going too far to save her, which leads to her returning but Sora not coming back… which is exactly what happened at the end of Kingdom Hearts III.
  • Pass the Popcorn: Isa brings popcorn along to watch Lea learning flowmotion, knowing that he's probably going to fall flat on his face at some point.
  • Precocious Crush: Riku admits that he used to have a crush on Terra as a result of their brief meeting when he Bequeathed the keyblade to him.
  • Shout-Out: When Terra is teaching everyone how to do form-changes, Xion's keyblade ends up transforming into the Dragonslayer.
  • Some Call Me "Tim":
    Yen Sid: This being is, in a sense, the anthropomorphization of the concept of time itself.
    The being: Not strictly true, but close enough. Call me Tim.
    Vanitas: 'Tim'?
    Tim: (shrugs) Technically my name is 'Time's Champion'. Or. Well. That's not actually my name, but that's the title. Got cut off while saying it once and people started calling me 'Tim'.
    Vanitas: But that doesn't match the–
    Tim: My real name, of course, is a secret.
    Sora: It's unpronounceable, right?
    Tim: Huh? No, no, it's just a secret.
  • Team Mom and Team Dad: Discussed between Aqua and Lea, neither of whom like being thought of this way.

    Seven and Thirteen 
  • Actor Allusion:
  • Affably Evil: Sephiroth seems to be legitimately yet creepily fond of Sora and acts like a twisted and unnerving Friendly Enemy, even acting almost honored that both Riku and Kairi have heard of him from Sora and respectfully calling them Sora's "paramours". This despite the fact that Sephiroth might just be the only enemy in the setting that actually openly scares Sora to the point the younger boy shows some serious PTSD elements when dealing with the Omnicidal Maniac at first.
  • Annoying Laugh: Kefka's laugh quickly starts to get on Aqua's nerves.
  • Bait-and-Switch: Chapter 7: "Unlucky Number Thirteen", sets up the reader to assume something is going to happen to Roxas (Number XIII when he was in the Organization). Instead, it refers to the Thirteenth Seeker of Darkness, Oswald the Lucky Rabbit.
  • Cain and Abel: Mickey is forced to fight his brother Oswald, though Kairi's intervention manages to help them end things peacefully.
  • The Cavalry: Yen Sid, Minnie, Daisy, and Hecatoncheir show up in the middle of the battle with Sephiroth.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Lea uses the Spark of Rebellion Keychain that he received in his visit to Dagobah when he fights Count Dooku. When she turns up, Kairi pulls out Awakened Force.
  • Cliffhanger: The last chapter ends on Sora's mother answering the door to find Xigbar wanting to talk about Sora.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Vanitas is the one who deals the killing blow to Master Xehanort and in a majorly heartwarming case of Irony he does so in order to protect his friends. The boy who was treated with nothing but cruelty managed to finally to defeat his main abuser to protect the people he has grown to care for.
  • Dungeon Bypass: Lea burns a hole through the maze to catch up with Roxas and Xion. Xemnas tells him it's poor sportsmanship to break the rules, but Lea call himself an innovator.
  • Evil Is Not a Toy: Xehanort made Sephiroth one of his vessels. He comes to regret that decision when he summons meteors over the battlefield and tries to kill all the heroes before the χ–blade can be forged.
  • Full-Name Ultimatum: Daisy Duck shows up to interrupt Donald casting Zettaflare against Sephiroth. "Donald Fauntleroy Duck! Just what exactly do you think you were about to do?!"
  • Fusion Dance: In the climax, Sora creates the Ultima Drive Form with nineteen of his friends, adding up to thirteen Lights and Seven Darknesses.
  • Heroic BSoD: Naminé's reaction to seeing the Riku Replica again, described as a "bluescreen" in the narration.
  • I Fell for Hours: Donald claims he and Goofy were falling for thirty minutes. Goofy doesn't think it was that long.
  • In Spite of a Nail: Despite all the divergences up to this point, the final clash does resemble that from Kingdom Hearts III and the Re:Mind DLC to an extent, either intentionally or coincidentally.
  • It Only Works Once: Outright stated by Aqua after Kefka resurrects himself with Reraise following their first fight.
  • Jobber: Gaston is described this way when he's the first of the Darknesses to fall.
  • Mirror Match: Vanitas's battle with a remnant of himself is described as such in the chapter title. Terra later has to fight Terra-Xehanort, both with the same keyblade.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Goofy, whose real name is stated to be George Goof.
  • Screw Destiny: Sora encourages Young Xehanort to do this and not make the choices that his older self made, though he acknowledges that this probably won't change the future they're currently in or they wouldn't still be having the conversation. Young Xehanort eventually agrees, making a Heel–Face Turn and derailing the plan to create the χ–blade.
  • Sequel Hook: Similar to the game, there's an Interlude chapter involving Maleficent and Pete looking for a black box in Scala ad Caelum, setting things up for a later story arc.
  • Shout-Out: During Sora's Near-Death Experience he sees glimpses of the events of other fanfics:Affecting Eternity, A Small Problem, Remember the Tides, Cast A Shadow, Those Lacking Spines, Heart Is Where The Home Is, How to Train Your Heartless, and (i don't need you to) Worry for Me.
  • So Proud of You: Terra and Ven both say this to Vanitas, who's openly shocked by it. Aqua just follows up with, "I... tolerate you."
  • The Starscream: Count Dooku admits to Lea that he has every intention of betrayaing Xehanort once the χ–blade is completed.
  • Stock Scream: Goofy lets out his usual scream when Xigbar opens up a hole in the ground to separate him and Donald from Ven.
  • These Hands Have Killed: Kairi doesn't take it well when she's forced to kill Count Dooku. Aqua and Donald are both quick to tell her that it doesn't make her a bad person, and that her reaction proves she isn't.
  • The Unchosen One: Everyone is shocked when Sora is not one of the designated Seven Guardians of Light, except Sora himself, who reminds them that he wasn't supposed to receive his keyblade in the first place.
  • Wham Shot: A textual version, when the Guardians of Light realise that Xehanort is gathering the hearts of worlds, not to use them in his scheme, but instead:
    The missing stars had not been taken at random. Taken together, and viewed from the Mysterious Tower's location adjacent to Twilight Town, the negative space carved letters across the sky.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Xehanort kills Sephiroth once his role in forging the χ–blade is fulfilled.
    Xehanort: He had proved himself a danger to everyone around him. We had no more use for him, and leaving him alive ran the risk of further destruction. The only logical thing to do was to eliminate him.
  • You Wanna Get Sued?: When Count Dooku states that Xemnas's weapon of choice may be similar to a lightsaber but "is distinct", Lea remarks, "Bet that helps with the copyright."

    But Count The Cost 
  • Broken Masquerade: The World Order is broken on the Destiny Islands after Sora and others are seen summoning their Keyblade in public, as well as several characters arriving through Light Corridors.
  • Hostage For Macguffin: Xigbar holds Sora's mother hostage to force him to get Vanitas to hand over the Gazing Eye Keyblade, but he's foiled by Roxas, Xion, and Naminé.

    Loose Ends 
  • But Now I Must Go: Vanitas decides to leave because he's not sure he has what it takes to be an actual hero, as his main reason for fighting alongside the heroes was simply to kill Xehanort. He has also needs to to properly figure his feelings for Aqua.
  • Dramatic Drop: After Aqua mentions Zack's name to the Radiant Garden Restoration Committee, Aerith drops a teapot in the next room.
  • Everyone Knew Already: When Vanitas admits that he has a crush on Aqua:
    Roxas: No shit.
    Riku: And in other news, water is wet.
    Isa: This is… news to you?
    Xion: Did you not know?
    Terra: Wait, was that not clear? I thought that was something we all knew but didn't talk about, like Aqua's ice cream habit, or Riku not being able to tell Ven and Roxas apart, or Kairi being bisexual.
    Kairi: Wait, like me being what?
  • I Never Said It Was Poison: When Aqua consults Hades about Zack, in case he had died and ended up in the underworld, Hades checks through his rolodex and says "Sorry, sweetheart, but Mr. Fair ain't here." Since Aqua didn't know his last name before, this gives her another lead, namely Radiant Garden.
  • The One That Got Away: Aqua takes a trip to Olympus in hopes of finding Zack, well aware that after thirteen years she probably can't expect much. She's still pretty crushed when she finds out that he died years ago.
  • Running Gagged: Kairi finally accepts the fact that she's attracted to girls after Terra brings it up.
    Kairi: Well… I guess if nothing else, I finally understand why I think boobs are so awesome.
  • Wham Line: Leon tells Aqua and Vanitas about the first of Ansem's apprentices who experimented with the Heartless, before Xehanort showed up.
    Leon: The guy dumped the kid before Ansem the Wise caught on to what he was doing, but there was enough evidence from that and previous experiments that… well… There's a reason Hojo's not around anymore. And good fucking riddance.
    Aqua: That's where Sephiroth came from? He was the resulting Nobody?
    Leon: No. He was the resulting Heartless. The Nobody was Cloud.

    Child Of Oblivion 
  • "Could Have Avoided This!" Plot: When Naminé explains Castle Oblivion's warp system, Terra points out that if they had brought Sora or Riku along in Land of Oblivion, they could have skipped over nearly every floor. Though it was probably for the best they didn't, given everything Aqua and Naminé got out of the experience.

    Whatever Lies Beyond This Morning 
  • Oblivious to Love: Lea can't figure out that Isa returns his feelings, partly because he thinks he was in love with Girl X, the test subject he wanted to save.
  • There Are No Therapists: Subverted when Naminé starts seeing one, namely Zidane Tribal.
  • Trauma Button: Naminé has a panic attack on seeing the room Kairi's father is preparing for her, still solid white — like her rooms in Castle Oblvion and the Twilight Town mansion — because he was planning to leave the colour up to her.

    Girls' Night 
  • Brick Joke: Back in Adjustments, Roxas serenaded Xion with a song from one of Sora's favourite movies. Two years later (in real time at least), Xion finds out what that movie was.
  • It Will Never Catch On:
    Kairi: Didn't Ienzo say those new computer things could store and play music?
    Naminé Yeah, but that's a little inconvenient. It's not going to replace portable CD players.

  • Call-Forward:
    • When asking for advice about Sora and Riku, Kairi tells her father that she doesn't like girls like that and misses his incredulous reaction.
    • Kairi also comments on Selphie's relationship issues, having figured out before she did (which was described in Whatever Lies Beyond This Morning) that she's not interested in romance at all.
    • Sora's list of things he loves about Riku and Kairi ends with, "And, he sometimes thought to himself in the part of his mind that wanted to be rebellious, they both had nice butts. This was just an objective truth."
  • Honorary Uncle: Riku's uncle was described in previous stories as a close friend of his late parents who shut down after they died and did a poor job raising Riku, though it's revealed here he was in a polyamorous relationship with them, and Riku comes to call him "Dad" after their relationship improves.
  • I Have This Friend: Kairi, Sora and Riku all try to ask their respective guardians for advice. Kairi tries to frame it as a hypothetical, but her father sees through it immediately, asking her if she's hypothetically talking about two boys whose names rhyme with Yozora and Miku, and she gives up at that point. Sora goes to much greater effort, claiming that Tidus had asked him for romantic advice (which he did, albeit only after Sora asked Tidus to ask him so that he wouldn't be lying to his mother) and then spins a completely illogical story about Tidus having met a girl called Yuna ("Several worlds away, a fairy sneezed.") on another island Sora had also visited. Meanwhile, Riku is much more direct with his uncle, though he also doesn't immediately admit that he's talking about Sora and Kairi.
  • Not Hyperbole: The story reveals that Kairi wasn't kidding about literally pinning Riku down to make sure he didn't leave.
  • Relationship Upgrade: Tells the story of how Sora, Kairi and Riku finally got together.

    Turnstile Hopping 
  • Narrative Profanity Filter: In the main series, a Running Gag involving Sora was the partially self-imposed DISNEY (Definitely Innocent, So No Expletives, Y'all) field that kept people (even Kairi) from swearing around him. While Vanitas was never shown to be affected by it (see Chiaroscuro above), it turns out he was affected by a presumably related filter in Disney Town itself, and it took a lot of effort to immunize himself to it.