Chapter Two

In less than seconds, Roxas and Alice were covered by a greedy sort of spreading darkness. You couldn’t have known there had been other Wonderland creatures around them, because all traces of the things were gone; in fact, Roxas was having trouble locating Alice herself.

“Alice!” he called, but the nature of the darkness was such that it was impossible to say whether she could hear him, or if she could see him for some reason while his vision was obscured. All that Roxas could still see were his hands and feet in front of him, a grace so that he wouldn’t trip over himself, at least.

Roxas listened for any reply from the girl he’d lost, but the environment must have soaked up his words as soon as they left his mouth. He couldn’t Imagine the laws governing sound could work in this place at all. Tensing, the boy brought Oathkeeper and Oblivion up in his hands to try and carve out a physical exit, but a few experimental swipes at the darkness with the Keyblades produced nothing. “These are no Heartless, at least,” Roxas muttered to himself, looking for another – rather, any – way out.

“No, there are no Heartless, can you tell me something else?” A disembodied voice reached Roxas’ ears, and he turned ready to face an enemy, only to find no one and no thing.

“What was that?” Roxas proceeded to speak warily, conscious that if his partner in conversation was an enemy, then he or she would be able to pinpoint his position from his voice.

“What do I speak of when I say ‘If you’ve got it you can’t share it, and if you’ve shared it you haven’t got it’? I wager that’s not so easy to answer, not like regurgitating a well-known fact. Of course there are no Heartless in Wonderland! There haven’t been any since Sora last purged them from this world.”

Roxas’ relative heart fairly jumped into his throat at the deliberately strange phrasing. “You don’t think I’m Sora?” His voice was half-filled with hope, and then something else, to his ears. He didn’t have anything against Sora – “You make a good other,” he’d said after their fight, the highest compliment he could pay the brunette – but he definitely had a desire to remain himself, too.

“I don’t know. What arguments are there for you to be Sora? Also, why aren’t you Sora? Otherwise, you could be him.” Unfortunately for Roxas, the mysterious voice seemed intent on evasion.

“I-I don’t have half his light,” the blonde Nobody said quietly. “And Sora’s never steeped himself in darkness...or destroyed worlds...all while enjoying every single minute of the destruction.”

“All valid assertions,” the voice agreed. “Well, then, as far as I know you aren’t Sora. If you don’t long to be the Keyblade hero, who will you be?”

What kind of a question was that, Roxas thought, suddenly angry. He had a name of his own and precious little else! Why should anyone have to choose a new name and personality to please an inconsequential stranger?

“Who are you, hm?” The voice repeated itself without a reply, but this time it seemed to Roxas that its volume was fading, just as the blackness around him abruptly appeared at only half-strength. It was the latter that caused the youth excitement; the former merely provoked a little distant relief.

Roxas straightened up and Believed that if he sounded out once more, the object of his search would come to him. “Alice!” he shouted into the surrounding space. Roxas hefted Oblivion and gave the background one, two, three more ineffectual strikes. “Alice!”

A section of light-black-to-dark-grey bulged on his left, and then broke away. The Princess of Heart looked like she was standing against a doorway of brilliance. ‘Sora!” she called, as the last of the shadow shattered along with some of Roxas’ conviction.

Alice smoothed her hands down her white pinafore, and then hurried over to where Roxas stood, once more under a shockingly vibrant mushroom with a bright, wide cap. “Oh, I think I was just with the Chesire Cat. All his stripes were there, but he wouldn’t show me his face, or speak. Quite rude!”

Roxas drew her closer in front of him as she spoke, in a protective gesture that belied his annoyance at the label “Sora” being applied to him for the second time. “Does the Chesire Cat always ensure privacy for his conversations this way?” Roxas paid half a mind to Alice’s answer, but his sensibilities told him the answer would be a resounding “No”.

“Well,” Alice sounded surprisingly doubtful. “Wonderland is a place with no logic or rules. There is no equivalent to ‘always’ or ‘usually’ that can be utilized in a Wonderlander’s vocabulary. Have you ever met the Queen - the Queen of Hearts – for example?”

“’Wonderland is a place with no logic or rules’. How apt an observation, Princess,” yet another someone said.

The End

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