Riku promised himself that he'd never be like Ansem. But he couldn't ignore the voices in his head.
In the place between dark and light, Riku dreamed. He dreamed of voices that cast silent echoes in his memory, fading laughter and a red-violet streaked sky. He dreamed of eyes like the sky and a smile like adventure, but the face was swept away in a flurry of dark waves, and he was /falling/. He dreamed of a princess exiled from her throne, weaving sweet promises from discarded shells in her island haven. He dreamed he was a knight, with a sword that gleamed in the light of dawn, climbing the castle tower to rescue the princess and slay the dragon, but in the end the dragon had captured him in her green-poison eyes, and the princess had been saved by the peasant boy.
But then the dreams stopped, drifting away on endless currents, except he hadn't yet been waken by the sun. In the evanescent clear space behind his closed eyelids, Riku found himself looking into a pair of narrow golden eyes. He heard a voice calling his name, deep as the shadowy locked places of dungeon rooms, ever present and all too real. You can't hide from me forever, the voice said. /I'll be waiting for you/.
When Riku awoke, he hadn't forgotten the voice, and as he followed another mysterious disembodied voice to the moon-bright castle of forgotten memories, he could hear it echoing again and again. He couldn't understand why the fallen sage would continue to plague his thoughts, continue to poison his heart with a thirst for power. But with the help of the king of light Riku managed to bind the darkness seeker and focus again on the way to light.
It wasn't until the castle was left far behind, and his clothes became as black as his mood, that he could hear the voice again. The rain plastered his bangs to his face as he walked through the nonexistant city, searching for questions and chasing answers. He crouched, eyes squinted shut, as the voice wrapped around him, caressed him with its silken words.
This place is saturated in darkness, it said. /Imagine the power you would obtain if you sought me here/.
It had been so long since the voice had broken into his consciousness, that Riku wasn't sure how to handle it.
"Leave me alone!" he shouted, clutching at the empty air, as if to tear the voice away. Laughter left his ears ringing.
Who are you talking to, Riku? There's no one here but you.
"Shut up!" Riku drew his sword, eyes scanning the grayness for Heartless eyes.
You must accept me Riku, the voice persisted. Because you're just like me. Deep inside your heart you, too, crave the darkness.
"No!" Riku's voice echoed against the empty walls of the tall buildings, their hazy lights like watching eyes, reproachful and malign. "I'll never be like you!"
If that's what you think... the voice whispered, and Riku had the sensation of icy-cool wind against his neck. He shivered, but the voice was already gone.
When he was in DiZ's service, Riku kept his hood up at all times. He couldn't bear to look at his reflection in the shiny-complex mirror of the computer monitors. The man was easy to work for, as crazy as he was pompous, but he didn't ask questions.
The one time Riku did lower his hood, he spoke with the voice that had constantly haunted him, and he couldn't look away from the face silhouetted against the data readouts of the screen.
You were right, Ansem, he thought. I've become just like you.
That night, he dreamed of fallen castles and fingers on his skin and mad voices that sounded like his own. He awoke shivering and didn't sleep again until dawn.