Monsters of the Mind

Yet another bloody Kingdom Hearts fic

By Jaelle

Disclaimer: Square Enix and Disney own all, but in this case so does Tim Burton.
Spoilers: Some for Halloweentown. Nothing you couldn't have guessed from the Nightmare Before Christmas movie.
Pairings: None.
Rating: G, Angst.

Sora lay on the bed in his room in Halloweentown and contemplated sleep. It had been a long, hard day, culminating in a large scale battle against Oogie Boogie, and he ached everywhere.

(That was the strange thing about cure spells, he was finding out. They might cure your injuries and bring you back to full strength... but it still hurt. Even afterwards. There were no marks, no scars, no breaks or bruises... but the body seemed to remember that they had been there, even if only briefly.)

He was afraid to go to sleep.

(He was afraid of the dark.)

He was the Keyblade Wielder, the chosen champion, and he was desperately afraid that he was running out of time. With every new world he visited the nagging sense of urgency increased.

"I have to find Riku and Kairi. I have to stop the Heartless. I have to save Jasmine and Alice. I have to stop Maleficent!"

(Why me? What can I do?)

It was all getting to be a bit too much for him to handle. He tried to stay cheerful, but the effort was taking it's toll, and his last few meetings with Riku...

(Don't think about Riku.)

He moved on the bed again, trying to get comfortable. It had been nice of Jack to offer them a place for the night. He couldn't remember the last time he'd gotten some sleep that hadn't come about as a result of being knocked unconcious.

"Hey kid, you mind not shifting around up there so much? The springs squeak."

Sora startled, having forgotten that he was not alone.

"Sorry," he said apologetically, rolling onto his side and leaning over the edge of the bed. "Did I wake you?"

The monster under the bed had nearly scared the life out of him the first time he'd spoken, but apparently that was the whole point.

"Just call me Bedsnake. Everyone does," he'd told Sora. "You're a good jumper, you know that? I've known lotsa kids try to clear the jump into bed before I can get 'em, but I reckon you could actually make it."

"Thanks," Sora had said, finally convincing his fingers to release their grip on the ceiling joists. "Nice to meet you."

"Nah," a snake flickered out and stared at him, then retracted. "I was only just starting to get dozy. Whatsamatter kid, can't sleep?"

"Um, yeah," Sora admitted. "I'm... worried about my friends."

"What, the weird duo down the hall?"

Sora briefly wondered what kind of world he'd fallen into where monsters under the bed with red eyes, gleaming, pointed teeth and SNAKES for fingers felt they could get away with calling other things 'weird'.

(I'm definitely in another world...

But I've been in lots of other worlds, haven't I?)

"Not them, some other friends," Sora said vaguely. "I haven't seen them for a while. I'm worried."

He could hear movement under the bed. "That's too bad," the rough voice said sympathetically. "Were they okay last time you saw them?"

"One of them was, sorta," Sora rolled back onto his back. "The other one... I don't know. I just don't know."

He stared into the darkness and felt hot tears gathering in his eyes. He didn't know why this world had been so difficult for him to get used to. He'd had no problems with the others. Wonderland had been strange, yes, but the flowers and things were pretty, like the ones Kairi was always gathering and giving everyone. The Colisseum had been just plain fun, the tournaments there had been just like the ones he and the others had held on the Island on a regular basis (and which Riku always won). The Jungle had been a little strange, but it was just like climbing the trees back on the Island. Same with Hundred Acre Woods. Agrabah's dessert and heat had reminded him of the beach as well, and Monstruo and Atlantica had reminded him of the wash of the shores and the water on the Island...

(Back home... on the Island...)

The tears trickled down his face and he knew he'd been lying to himself. Telling himself that it was all a great adventure and that the only thing he had to worry about was finding his friends. He'd enjoyed seeing the other worlds, he really had. And everyone had been so nice and fun, and all of them had invited him back for a longer visit. But that nagging and increasingly louder voice in his head had pointed out that he might not get to go back, might never meet these people again.

(Especially if the darkness got them first.)

He felt so alone. Oh, Donald and Goofy were nice enough guys, but he knew they thought of him as a kid (well, to be fair, so did Riku and Kairi, but at least THEY were kids too). And he'd only known them for a short while. But they'd just taken everything in stride, and maybe they were used to this, but HE wasn't, and it was hard, so hard, but he'd dealt with it.

It hadn't really hit him how incredible and unbelievable this whole experience was until he wound up here, in a world so utterly alien from anything he'd ever seen or experienced before. And the people here had STILL been nice to him (the vampires had treated him like a kid brother, and the witches had cooed over him and taken him for a ride on their broomsticks and tried to get him to eat their treats "to fatten you up, dearie"), but in the end... it was just too much.

He wanted Riku and Kairi. And Wakka, Tidus and Selphie. And his parents. And the Island. He wanted HOME back.

Sora curled up into a ball of misery on the bed and sobbed into the linen sheets. Yuffie and Leon's words echoed in his head.

"The Keyblade chooses it's master, and it chose you."

"So tough luck."

And just for this one night, Sora let himself wish that someone else was doing this job. That he'd never dreamed of leaving their home, that he and Riku and Kairi had wanted nothing more than to stay together on the island forever. That he wasn't now sleeping in a bed surrounded by monsters and witches and demons and darkness and other things that were utterly incomprehensible to him.

And Sora cried and cried, surrounded by the alien and unknown...

(And found comfort.)

Snakes slithered up onto the bed, tweaking and tugging the blankets tight around him.

"Ssshh... kid, it's okay. It's all gonna be okay," Bedsnake's voice rasped in the darkness. "You'll find your friends. Everything's gonna be alright. Don't cry. Ssshh... ssshhh..."

"Sssss... ssss..." the snakes hissed as they twined around him. "Sssss..."

Sora sniffled and tried to contain his tears. "M'sorry," he whimpered.

Red lights flashed under the bed. "Don't be, you're tired. Happens."

"Wanna go home," the words choked their way out of his throat involuntarily. "Wan' my friends."

"You'll get there. You'll find them. Sleep now."

"Can't stop," Sora insisted, "Gotta find them."

"You need to get your strength back first. Sssshhh..."

The hissing of the snakes became quieter, more rhythmic.

Sora swallowed hard and looked around.

(Everything was so dark here...)

"Don't be afraid," the monster under the bed said gently. "I won't let anything get you."

And Sora slept.


A/N: Well, THAT wound up being a weirdshit piece. I hadn't actually finished Halloweentown, when I started it, but I got to thinking about things and this was the result. Bedsnake is an amalgamation of two characters from the Nightmare Before Christmas movie. One appears in the opening song: "I am the monster living under your bed/Teeth so sharp and eyes gleaming red!", the other appears several times in the movie and is very snakelike. I don't know what either of them are called, so...

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