EDIT: I forgot to post the links to my other stories. Twilit Road to Dawn is the first one, then there's Rebirthing Midnight.
Hey, I just thought that I'd give you guys the completed first chapter (which is subject to change) because it's been months since the last update. Sorry. And the first part is basically the same, there are just a few minor differences.
Anyway, since I wrote the first story before I knew anything about Unbirths or Unversed or Xion or anything like that, most of what I wrote isn't right. Oh well. So whenever I say Unbirth, I really mean Unverse(d). I'm just too lazy to go in and change it all. And I know that it's long, but I promise it's worth reading. Enough of my ranting. Enjoy!
Chapter 1: Awakening
A cold wind blows, I am shivering.
My body aches as my heart is breaking.
Why is life making me huddle?
Why is happiness casting me in the shadows?
In the shadows?
Hold on. Don’t turn and walk away. Stay with me.
And I cry these words, but nobody came.
I’m all alone, running scared, losing my way in the dark.
I’ve tried to get off. Still no prayer.
But I keep crashing down hard.
This is my side of the story, only my side of the story.
Nobody cares, nobody’s there.
No one will hear my side of the story.
Emptiness: it’s all around me.
I try to catch my breath. I’m barely surviving.
I can’t go on, I come undone, there’s nothing left in me.
Hold on. Don’t turn and walk away. Stay with me.
And I cry these words, but nobody came.
I’m all alone, running scared, losing my way in the dark.
I’ve tried to get off. Still no prayer.
But I keep crashing down hard.
This is my side of the story, only my burden to bear.
But nobody cares, nobody’s there.
Cause no one will…
~“My Side of the Story,” Hodges
I opened my eyes and cast my glance around the room, confused about where I was and how I got there, as usual. Everything was a blur of white and grey, and the only things occupying the room were me, a bed, a chair and a square on the far wall. I sat up and looked around the room more carefully, as if it could tell me where I was if I just stared at it long enough.
“Wh—where am I?” I asked aloud. Maybe actually voicing the question would do something. No one answered me. I don’t even know why I asked. There was no one in the room with me. I looked at the square on the wall and stood up, stopping right in front of it. Looking through it, I saw someone standing on the other side. It was a girl with short, navy blue hair, brilliant blue eyes, and a confused look on her face. “Do you know where I am?” I asked the girl, hoping to find some answers. But when I spoke, she spoke too; I couldn’t hear her, though. Her lips were moving, but I could only hear myself.
“I’m sorry,” I said, speaking up. “I can’t hear you.” I put my hand behind my ear to show her that I couldn’t hear her. She did the same thing, mimicking me.
“What are you doing?” asked someone from behind me. The door shut and there were footsteps. Two people appeared behind the girl; one of them was tall and had long, greasy blonde hair, and a hungry look in his eyes as he stared at the girl. The way he looked at her… A feeling of alarm for the girl rose inside of me, and I wanted to tell the girl to run. But she couldn’t hear me. The other person was a teenage boy with dark hair covering one eye, and a depressed look on his face. For some reason, seeing him put my alarm to rest. He didn’t stare at the girl; instead, his eyes appeared to be fixated on the floor. I looked at both of them and figured it must have been the tall one that had asked the question.
“Um, this girl. She’s trying to talk to me, but I can’t hear her,” I answered the man in the square. “Do you know where I am?” As I asked this, I had a sudden fear that the man wouldn’t be able to hear me.
“I’m behind you,” he said. He gestured at me to turn around. I did and found the exact same people as in the square. “You don’t understand the concept of a mirror, but you know how to walk and talk? Fascinating.” He took out a notepad and a pen and started scribbling fiercely. The boy shook his head and stepped up to me.
“I’m Zexion,” he said kindly, looking into my eyes. “The freak behind me is Vexen.” There was no smile on Zexion’s face, though I could tell he wanted to make me feel a bit comfortable. I smiled at him and turned away slightly to look at the square, which Vexen had called a mirror. The girl had her back to me and was sneaking a peek just as I was.
“I’m the freak?” Vexen asked harshly, putting his pen and pad away to glare at Zexion. His tone made me turn to face him again. “You’re the freak. All you ever do is sulk around the castle, not making contact with anyone. At least I get some work done.”
“I don’t sulk.” He turned around and matched Vexen’s glare. “I calculate. I actually think about things. Unlike you; all you do is collect data for experiments that you know are going to fail. Anyway—” he turned back to me “—what’s your name?”
“My name?” I asked. I tried to think of what my name could be, but all I could come up with were their names. “I… I don’t know,” I confessed. Tears were forming in my eyes, and I had no idea why. That only made more tears come, and before I knew it they were spilling over and forming small puddles on the hard, white floor. My hands flew to my face and I started to sob; my shoulders heaved up and down and my breaths came in ragged bursts.
“Hey,” Zexion said soothingly. “It’s okay. It’s okay. We’ll talk with Superior and you’ll have a brand new name in no time.” He smiled at me and put his hand on my shoulder, stopping the shudders.
“Th-thanks,” I sniffed, wiping away the tears and snot with the back of my hand. “But what’s Superior?”
“You’ll see.” Zexion patted my shoulder, then turned to Vexen. “We should probably tell the others she’s awake.”
“But there’s still so much information I’d like to get from her!” Vexen whined. His notebook was out again, and I could imagine there being a few more pages filled with writing. Zexion glared at him.
“She needs her rest. Now let’s go.” Without waiting for an answer, Zexion grabbed Vexen by the arm and practically dragged him out of the room.
I stared after them, feeling a hollow sense of loss. For not knowing my name and because the only two people I knew just left me alone in this strange place I had no idea about. The mirror, as Vexen had called the square in the wall, hang there innocently; silently mocking me for not knowing its purpose. Now that I knew the word, I understood that the girl was just my reflection. It was strange, but I thought it was just the way things were; learn the name, know the thing.
I went over to the bed and sat down on it, trying to think of what my name was. Nothing came to mind. There was nothing that could’ve given me the slightest hint of who I was, where I came from, how I got to… wherever I was. I sat on the bed, near tears again for not knowing the smallest detail about myself. What seemed like hours later, the door opened.
Three men walked in, and I dropped my hands to give them a watery stare. One of them was Zexion, and I was glad for that. He made me feel safe whenever I was around him. The man in front was a tall guy with white and gray spiky hair, a major tan, and he had something draped across his arm. Behind him was a guy with blue hair and a bit X smack-dab in the middle of his face. They both had cold, appraising eyes that made me feel uncomfortable.. I looked to Zexion, silently asking him who these people were. He just gave me an encouraging look and stepped aside.
“Glad to see you awake,” the tan one said. “I’m Xemnas, leader of Organization XIII. And this is Saïx.” Xemnas held his hand out to me, a slick smile on his face, almost like looking at a snake. I just stared at his offered hand, not sure of what to do. I looked to Zexion for help, but he was staring at the floor.
“You really don’t remember not only your name, but how to act?” Xemnas asked me. When I didn’t answer, he withdrew his hand and shook his head.
“That’s odd,” the Saïx guy said. “Though it doesn’t seem surprising, considering she’s not your typical Nobody.”
Remember? Nobodies? My head was feeling a bit light from all these things I didn’t understand. I put my hands on my head to keep it from imploding.
Zexion saw my dizziness and rushed to my side. “You okay?” he asked me softly. I nodded and leaned against him, grateful for his concern. “Are we done here? Obviously she doesn’t have any memories. You can talk to her later; maybe when she’s settled down and comfortable?”
“No,” Xemnas said. He turned to the other man, Saïx. “Leave us.” He did as he was told, and Xemnas turned back to me. “Here.” He held the arm that had the thing draped across it out to me. I stared at it, then took the object and held it up.
“An Organization cloak?” Zexion asked. “But what about her extensive memory loss? How will she go on missions without hurting herself if she doesn’t know how to do anything?”
“It’s easier to write on a clean slate,” Xemnas said to him. Then he looked at me. “Do you want to know your true name?”
“My name?” I asked. “I— Yes… I do.”
“And would you like to become a member of Organization XIII?” I nodded. Xemnas smiled and held up his hand to me. A large “X” appeared and started circling me rapidly, making an odd rushing sound. I had no idea what was going on, so I shut my eyes tightly and clamped my hands over my ears. Zexion made a move to come next to me, but Xemnas put his other arm up to stop him. After a couple seconds, the rushing sound stopped and I opened my eyes while lowering my hands. In front of me were four letters.
“Welcome to the Organization… Xion,” Xemnas said.
♥ ♥ ♥
“… And do you so swear to remain loyal to the Organization and do all that is within your power to help achieve the goals set by the Superior?” Saïx cited. After Xemnas gave me my new name and accepted me into the Organization, they gave me a few hours’ rest before formally “receiving” me as a member. Saïx and Xemnas had called everyone together for a meeting, but they had to swear me in a different room. Saïx was holding some sort of book, on which my left hand rested with my right hand in the air, and Xemnas was standing off to the side looking all official. So boring.
“I so swear,” I said, trying not to yawn. Xemnas stepped up and Saïx took the book away.
“You are now officially part of the Organization,” Xemnas said. “Welcome, Organization member number fourteen. Xion.” Saïx started clapping, but immediately stopped after one look from Xemnas. “Shouldn’t you be somewhere else?” Saïx frowned but bowed anyway, disappearing into black smoke. Xemnas turned back to me. “Time to meet the rest of the Organization.” He turned and walked out the door. I hurried to catch up as he walked rather quickly through the halls of the castle.
“Put your hood up,” Xemnas told me when we reached our destination.
“What for?” I asked, then I immediately regretted it. His amber eyes turned to me and seemed to bore into my soul. I looked away quickly.
“I’m a sucker for the theatrics,” he said. There was a hint of a smile in his voice, but I didn’t look up to see if I was right. I just did as I was told and shut up. “Wait here.” Then he too disappeared into black smoke. I stood there nervously, waiting for my cue.
“Today is a day we shall celebrate,” I heard Xemnas’ voice boom. I took it as my cue, so I walked off into the middle of the room and stopped in the center of the emblem on the floor. “We have a new ally. Number fourteen.”
“Xion,” I announced. “My name’s Xion.” Xemnas glared down at me, and as I looked around I saw that some of the other members were surprised by what I had said. I had no idea why, though. My eyes found Zexion, and he didn’t look surprised at all. He was smiling down at me, and for some reason that made me blush. I smiled back up at him.
“Anyway,” Xemnas said, trying to regain everyone’s attention. “Since we have a new member, I think it best she have a mentor. That is, until she gets the hang of it.” Everyone started murmuring at once. Nobody volunteered right away, but I could pretty much see who liked me and who didn’t. One blond woman in particular looked down at me with a sneer on her face.
“Zexion! I think that you should take Xion as your protégée,” Xemnas said. “Since you’re already acquainted. It also seems as if you’re going to be great friends. Teach her the basics and about our missions.” Zexion looked at Xemnas with confusion.
“It would be my pleasure, Superior,” he said.
“Good. Dismissed.” Everyone in the room disappeared except for Zexion disappeared. He sat in his seat staring at Xemnas’ chair long after everyone was gone, then he finally came down to where I was.
“Seems as if I get to show you the ropes,” he said, sounding tired. He might not have cared either way whether or not he taught me, but I was so excited. There was no one else in the meeting that I really thought I would feel comfortable with. Zexion being my mentor was the greatest thing that could have happened to me at that moment.
“Which ropes?” I asked. Zexion just smiled and started leading the way to wherever we were going.
“Okay, so here in the Organization, there are a number of rules that you have to follow. Rule number one: Your loyalty lies with the Organization and only the Organization. Rule number two: Listen to the Superior and follow his every instruction. He is the one that founded this Organization, and he dictates who is in it and who is not worthy of becoming one of its members. There are other rules, but they’re very technical and come to be understood with time. And I guess that as it is your first time here, for how short you’ve been here, no one’s actually told you of the name of this castle, have they?” I shook my head, looking around at all the white and grey. “This is the Castle That Never Was. An odd name, don’t you think?” His eyes caught my attention and I could see him smiling brightly. The corners of my mouth turned upward as my heartbeat quickened.
We walked through the halls of the Castle That Never Was, Zexion telling me about the history behind it and about all the different members of the Organization. It was all fascinating, but I honestly had no freaking idea why this information would help me. I didn’t want Zexion to feel like his talking was for nothing, so I kept quiet and tried to pay attention. Zexion led me through the castle, telling me about the various rooms and hallways, until we finally made it to the lower levels where everyone’s rooms were. Well, almost everyone’s. Xemnas slept somewhere else, though according to Zexion he was never really around anyway.
“Here’s your room,” Zexion told me as we came to a stop at the very end of one of the longer hallways. “I’ll let you get some rest. Tomorrow we’ll be going on a trial mission, to see if you can handle it. Get some rest, and I’ll come and pick you up in the morning.” He gave me another smile and walked down the hallway, leaving me feeling lonely.
I went inside the room and looked around. This room seemed to be a bit roomier than the room I had woken up in. It had a dresser and another door leading off somewhere, anyway. Me, being too tired to show any curiosity, strode across the room and flopped down on the bed, feeling exhaustion come over me. Before I knew it, I was asleep.
♥ ♥ ♥
“Xion?” I heard after a very loud, very insistent series of quick knocks coming from the door. “Xion, are you awake yet?” I moaned and rolled over in the bed. The door opened and Zexion walked over to me. He started shaking me, and I instinctively retreated under the covers to get away from the disturbance that wanted me awake. “Xion, it’s time to get up. We have to go on a mission today, remember?” Zexion started shaking harder and I sat up and started glaring at him. “Go get ready. I’ll be back in five minutes, so be ready.” He pointed at the extra door and left the room. Blurry eyed, I stumbled out of the warm bed and trudged to the other door. Inside I found a mirror, sink, toilet and shower. I went to the mirror and looked at myself in it for a minute before resting my head against it and closing my eyes for a second. Reluctantly opening my eyes, I started getting ready as best I could; this actually means staring at myself until I could stand upright for a full five seconds.
When I walked outside the door, I found Zexion leaning against the opposite wall. When he saw how I got ready, he immediately started laughing.
“I told you to get ready,” he chuckled.
“I did,” I complained tiredly, wiping my eyes. Zexion kept laughing as he led me back to the extra room and took out a brush and started fixing my bedridden hair.
“That ought to do it,” he said after ten minutes of silently combing through all the tangles. “Now we should get going.” Zexion walked through the door, and I expected to follow him all the way out into the hall. Instead, he stopped in the middle of the room. He held his hand up in front of him, and a dark doorway appeared. Zexion turned to me expectantly, but I stood there in terror and confusion.
“It’s alright. You’re fine,” he said soothingly. “Nothing’s going to hurt you.” Zexion offered his hand to me, and after putting my hood up, I walked over and took it. “You don’t have to have your hood up. Xemnas was just playing with you.”
“But having it up makes me feel…” I struggled to find the right word. “Safe.”
“Well, I guess it couldn’t hurt,” Zexion shrugged. Then he dragged me through the doorway. I instinctively cringed as we passed through, expecting some pain. But I was worrying for nothing. When we came out, we were standing in a large square overlooked by a tall skyscraper, in a dark city lit by the lights from the buildings and the lightning in the sky. “For your first mission, it’s best if we start out easy. This is The World That Never Was. You see that castle in the sky?” I looked up to see a floating structure, and nodded. “We were just there. Teleporting helps us get around quickly and efficiently, so it’s naturally our transportation. With time and training, you’ll be able to teleport at will. Now, for the actual mission. The goal of the missions is to collect the hearts that the Heartless are holding captive. To collect these hearts, you defeat the Heartless. Simple enough?” I nodded again. “Good. Now, you should probably watch before you try anything.”
He walked a bit away from me and I saw dark spots appear on the ground. I didn’t think too much of it until things started popping up out of those dark spots. I started panicking, but Zexion calmly took out a book and flipped through the pages. He seemed oblivious to the creatures coming towards him as he read the book. Just as I was about to tell him to watch out, he closed his book and attacked the creatures. They were all gone in about ten seconds.
I was so mesmerized with how quickly he took care of them that I didn’t notice the hearts that were floating up to the sky. Zexion looked at the hearts and held up his hand. All the hearts were suddenly engulfed in darkness and vanished.
“Easy,” he said with a slight smile on his face. Not knowing what else to do, I just nodded again. “Now, first we need to figure out what your weapon is. Then you need to start training. Then we can see how you’d do against the real enemies. Let’s head back to the castle.” Zexion opened another portal and ushered me through. I was somewhat expecting us to end up back in the room where we were before, but instead we ended up in a large white room with two doors on either side of us.
“So, before you start collecting hearts, you need to know how to fight,” he started. “Before you know how to fight, you’ll need to learn how to handle a weapon. In order to learn how to handle a weapon, you’ll need a weapon to practice with.” Zexion looked at me with a sort of tenderness. “You possess the power of a very special weapon. You hold the power of the Keyblade.”
My mind didn’t understand the meaning of the word, but something deep down inside of me knew what it was, almost as if it was engrained into my very existence. I closed my eyes and held out my hand instinctively, not really sure of what should be happening. I felt a tug at my hand and a large silver key with a yellow handle shimmered into existence, resting in my hand. My body knew the name of this Keyblade: Kingdom Key.
“So you really do have a connection to him…” Zexion muttered to himself. I had no idea what that was supposed to mean, so I ignored it.
“It’s heavy,” I complained, grabbing onto it with my other hand.
“Don’t worry. You’ll get used to it.” I was frowning, but Zexion’s smile made me feel better. He snapped his fingers and a bunch of dummies appeared in clouds of black smoke.
“Okay. Try hitting one of the dummies.” He gestured to a dummy in front of us. I lifted the sword, closed my eyes… And completely missed. Zexion had to help me yank the Keyblade out of the ground. “Um… Not bad for your first try.”
“Liar,” I muttered.
“Try again. But this time, try keeping your eyes open.” He gave me an encouraging smile and backed away a couple of steps. Thus began my training.
♥ ♥ ♥
“Well, I think that’s good enough for today,” Zexion finally said after what seemed like forever. “You’re doing really well. Soon you’ll be able to go on missions with everyone else.”
“Will I be going on missions with you?” I asked hopefully. The Keyblade shimmered again and disappeared without me thinking about it.
“Sometimes. Not all the time.” He must’ve seen my face droop a little, because he smiled and said, “We’ll be able to do things together when we’re on breaks, though. C’mon. I want to show you around the other castle.”
Zexion opened up another portal, and I hesitated again before going in. “You can learn how to do this too. I’ll teach you myself,” he told me. “Then you won’t be so scared.” I nodded and went through. When I came out on the other side, I saw that we were back in the dark city where the only lights came from the buildings and the storm raging above.
“Zexion, can I ask you a question?”
If there’s a castle here, then what is that other castle for?” I asked. “Castle Oblivion?”
“It’s just a place for members to go if this castle feels a bit crowded.” I stared at the castle and doubted that something that huge could ever feel crowded. Zexion started walking through the city, telling me about it and a little about the other members of the Organization. Occasionally we would run into some Heartless. Zexion would take care of it for the most part, but he let me take on one or two. It was scary, but having Zexion there made me feel safe. When we got up to the castle, we saw a few of the other members. They looked at Zexion and me oddly, so whenever we passed someone I would pull my hood down even further.
“Zexion!” someone called from up ahead. Zexion and I slowed to a halt. I peeked out from under my hood and saw two people standing in front of us. One of them was tall, with spiky red hair and green eyes, and the other was shorter with blond hair and blue eyes.
“Xion, this is Number VIII, Axel,” he pointed at the tall one, “and this is Number XIII, Roxas.” They both looked at me with interested looks on their faces. Roxas’ eyes met mine, and suddenly there was a sharp pain in the back of my skull. It only lasted a second, but it left me with a dull throbbing pain.
“Nice to meet you, Xion,” Axel said cheerily. “You’re not the new kid anymore, Roxas.” Roxas just nodded vaguely at this, not taking his eyes off mine.
“I think it’s time for us to be going now,” Zexion said. Roxas tore his eyes away from mine to look at Zexion with dismay. “I’m giving Xion a tour of the castle.”
“Oh. See you later then.” Axel put his hand on Roxas’ shoulder and started leading him away. Zexion continued telling me about the castle, but I wasn’t listening. I was thinking about Roxas and the sharp pain in my head.
We made it to the highest tower of the castle and walked over to the edge of the circular rooftop. Zexion pointed to a small heart-shaped moon in the sky that more than likely couldn’t be seen from the city below.
“This is the reason we are collecting hearts,” he told me. “Kingdom Hearts.” He said this with such grandeur that I felt bad for not knowing what Kingdom Hearts was. Zexion was about to say more when I heard a portal opening behind us. We both turned around to see Xemnas and Saïx walk out of a dark portal.
“Kingdom Hearts is the heart of everything. Once Kingdom Hearts is finished, complete with all the hearts we’ve collected, then we in the Organization can be complete. Zexion, you’re needed elsewhere.”
“What about Xion?” Zexion asked.
“She’ll do well to spend time with other members. I think No. VIII and No. XIII might be wandering around somewhere. She can spend some time with them.”
Zexion gave me a quick glance before disappearing. I stared at the spot where he disappeared before looking at Xemnas and Saïx.
“Why couldn’t I go with him?” I asked.
“You can’t just hang around him all the time.” Saïx told me coldly. “He has responsibilities that he has to take care of, and you’d only be a liability.”
“Besides, don’t you want to get to know the other members?” Xemnas asked, his tone making it seem as if he were talking to a small child.
“I guess,” I sighed. Xemnas lead the way down the castle. Without Zexion with me I felt even more exposed and vulnerable. Part of me wanted to cling to Xemnas and hide behind him, but a larger part told me that Xemnas wasn’t as kind as he tried to make me think. In no time we found Axel and Roxas hanging out a few floors down from the tower. As soon as they spotted me, Axel broke out into a grin, while Roxas gave me an apprehensive look.
“Hello,” Xemnas greeted them. “Zexion had to take care of some business in Castle Oblivion, and requested you watch after Xion until he gets back.” Geez, he made it sound like I was some tiny child that needed to be constantly babysat. I looked up and gave Xemnas a confused look. That wasn’t what Zexion said at all, so why was he telling them that?
“Um, sure,” Axel said. “Roxas and I were just about to go on a break. Xion can come too.”
“Great.” Xemnas looked down at me with a creepy, fake smile that sent shivers down my spine. “Have fun.” He stared at me for a moment longer before disappearing in dark smoke. I turned to Axel and Roxas awkwardly, having no idea what the hell to do.
“Do you like Sea-Salt Ice Cream?” Axel asked, breaking the silence. I gave him a blank look that plainly said “I have absolutely no idea what the hell you’re talking about.” Axel’s response was to open up a portal and usher me through it, Roxas trailing behind. We ended up on top of a huge clock tower above a peaceful town, the sun hovering near the horizon. I went over to the edge and looked down. Immediately I felt dizzy from seeing how far up we were. I quickly backed away and pressed my back against the wall, hoping that somehow I would be able to go through the wall. Axel started laughing, apparently amused by the fact I was terrified. Even Roxas had a small smile on his face.
“Don’t worry, you’ll get used to it,” Axel assured me. “Be right back.” He disappeared, leaving me alone with Roxas. Roxas casually walked over to the edge and sat down, letting his legs dangle over the side. I stayed where I was, not wanting to go anywhere near the side of the clock tower.
“It’s really not as scary as you think it is,” Roxas told me, turning around. “It’s actually pretty cool.”
Though I was sure he was wrong, that it was in fact just as scary as I thought it was, I walked over anyway and sat next to him. I didn’t look down at all. Instead, I stared straight ahead, as if that would make the distance from me to the ground shorter. Roxas saw what I was doing and started laughing uncontrollably.
“It’s not funny!” I scolded, turning to him so violently that I almost fell. I grabbed onto Roxas’ arm tightly to steady myself. This made him laugh even harder.
“Starting the party without me?” Roxas and I looked behind us and were met with Axel holding up a bag in one hand and a square blue thin on a stick in the other. He tossed the bag to Roxas and sat down on the other side of him.
Roxas fished two more blue things out of the bag and offered me one. I took it and just stared at it, again not knowing what to do.
“It’s ice cream,” Axel told me happily. “You eat it.” Axel demonstrated by taking a huge bite out of his and smiling. I looked at my ice cream and gave it a tentative lick. The salty taste made me unintentionally grind my teeth, but the salty taste suddenly turned into a delicious sweet taste. It was confusing, but good. I scarfed the rest of it down and was left with a sharp, painful headache.
“You ate too fast,” Roxas explained with a grin when he saw my face. “You gave yourself a brain-freeze.”
“I don’t like this part of ice cream,” I whined, holding my head. Axel and Roxas started laughing, and soon I was joining them.
♥ ♥ ♥
After that first time I had ice cream with them, I started hanging out with Roxas and Axel a lot more often. In fact, I was starting to open up more to some of the other members. There were a few members that still intimidated me, like Larxene and Marluxia, but some of the others were nice. Zexion introduced me to Luxord, who was really nice, but he tried to rip me off when he was teaching me some card games; Zexion wasn’t too happy about that. He also introduced me to his best friend, Lexaeus. On the outside, Lexaeus was really big and scary, but he was actually really deep and loyal. I also met Demyx in the castle. He’s very… special, but he’s care-free and lobes playing his sitar.
Zexion and I spent a lot of time together, too. Since my little training session with him, I went on a few missions. Most of my time not on missions was either hanging out with Roxas and Axel, or training even more with Zexion. Some random members would come around where we were and watch us spar or me running around whacking dummy Heartless. From time to time, some of the members watching would help out or cheer me on.
After one of my training sessions with Zexion, we had a break together. I suggested that we go to the clock tower. A few minutes later Zexion and I were alone, staring at the sunset.
“Zexion,” I began, “can I ask you something?”
“Sure. What is it?” He gave me his kind smile that I had come to know and love. That sent my heart beating a couple beats faster than it usually does.
“Well,” I said, unsure of how to continue, “It’s been a few weeks, but when I first met Roxas, something weird happened. I got this splitting headache and a high-pitched sound started ringing in my ears. The entire thing only lasted a second, but lately it’s been happening when I’m with Roxas. A few times I even saw images.”
“Images? What kind of images?”
“I don’t know.” I admitted. “Some of them are just blurs; others linger for a second and then are swept away by an onslaught of different sounds and feelings. The one image I seem to see the most is of a spiky-haired boy playing on an island somewhere.”
After a moment of silence Zexion sighed heavily. “Have you told anyone else about this?”
“Who would I tell?”
“I’ll talk to Superior about this. He might know something.” I could see that something was bothering him and tell that he wasn’t going to tell me about it. He must’ve seen the way I was looking at him because he added, “Don’t worry. It could be normal. You might even be getting memories of your original self.” He put his hand on my shoulder reassuringly and turned back to the sunset. What he said didn’t make me feel better. “It could be normal” was reason enough to worry. And if these were memories of my original self, why did they only happen when I was around Roxas? What significance did that have?
I wanted to ask Zexion everything, but I wanted to see what Xemnas had to say before I got too deep into it. I figured I could try to find the answers on my own.
“It’s late,” I said, getting up. “We should head back.” Zexion looked up at me and took my hand.
“We’ve got time,” he told me, pulling me back down to sit next to him. “It’s not like there’s an emergency.” I smiled and put my head on his shoulder. Though I felt really guilty; I hadn’t told him the entire truth about the memories. I didn’t just see a boy with spiky hair, sometimes I was the boy with spiky hair. So where did that leave me?
♥ ♥ ♥
Even though I didn’t act like it, my conversation with Zexion disturbed me. I knew that he cared about me and thought that I shouldn’t worry about it, but it did nothing to calm my fears. And there wasn’t anyone else in the Organization that I felt I could confide in. To be honest, everyone but Zexion scared me. So I had to find my own answers. Outside of the Organization. By myself…
Sure, the other members are great, but a lot of them were incredibly strict when it came to rules and regulations. There was no way they would just let me go do personal things that would take who knows how long when they had an agenda to keep. Only other option was to run away.
I say it again: Oh boy.
I went on a few missions before I came up with a semi-acceptable plan of getting away during a mission that wouldn’t involve me dying out in the universe all by my lonesome not knowing what the hell I was doing. I also got to know a few of the members’ personalities. I wouldn’t be able to leave on a mission with Xaldin, because he was a bit overprotective; or with Luxord, because he insisted on showing me how to do everything just right; or with Vexen, because he kept a disturbingly constant eye on me to see how I fought and such. My chance came when I got paired up with Demyx, who didn’t seem as professional as the others.
“So, I finally get to go on a mission with the new kid?” He said amusedly after we were given our assignment. “This should be fun.” I just smiled and nodded under the hood. He walked through the portal Saïx kept open for us after we get briefed, and I followed. We ended up in a beautiful place full of ankle-deep snow.
“Winter Wonderland,” Demyx said fondly. “My favorite place for a mission. Since we’re not pressed for time, we can take as long as we want.” He got out his sitar and started tuning it, playing some bars of an unfamiliar melody. I started wandering around, looking for anything that could pass as an answer to my questions. It was tough considering I had no idea what I was even looking for. I kept glancing back at Demyx as I moved further and further away and saw him happily playing with the snow or his sitar. Satisfied that he would more than likely not notice my absence for a while, I headed up the mountain of snow and found a tree with a pumpkin shaped door carved into it.
“That looks like it could lead somewhere,” I said to myself. I walked up to the door, and started wondering if this was really the right thing to do. Before I could think about anything else, my hand was already twisting the knob, pulling the door open. I peered inside and was greeted with a long tunnel extending down into the earth, covered with cobwebs and spiders scurrying about.
“Uh, I don’t think this is such a good idea after all,” I told myself after seeing a long, pink tail crawl into a hole. I took one last look over the edge when I suddenly lost my balance and fell in. Instead slamming into the ground, I was gently deposited into a dark forest almost exactly the opposite of the place I just left.
I got up and dusted myself off, looking around. I was in the middle of a circle of trees with odd doors not unlike the one I just went through. Thinking that it was weird, I found a path and followed it out of there. Outside the forest, I found myself in a gray, dead looking place with a bunch of tombstones jutting out of the ground. Something deep down inside of me knew what this place was; knew that beyond this place was a town filled with strange friends, and that I was supposed to be dressed up as a vampire with an odd pumpkin mask on the side of my head. This knowledge felt the same as when I first summoned the Keyblade: not known to my mind but known to my existence. It was a really weird feeling.
I started walking toward the town, Halloween Town, when I was suddenly surrounded by twenty or so Heartless. These were different from the Heartless I normally fought, the shadows. These were more powerful, and I think they were called soldier Heartless or something.
Oh yeah, I still have to deal with these things, I thought to myself. I sighed and got into my battle stance, having been used to fighting lower level Heartless. One behind me jumped into the air, preparing to attack. I turned and defeated it before it touched the ground, a newly freed heart floating up into the sky only to have me capture it again. Then I moved on to the rest of them, finishing the battle quickly. They’re not even good enough for it to be fun.
“There you are!” came Demyx’s relieved voice from behind me. “If you wanted to fight so badly you could’ve told me. I thought I lost you. Man, Saïx would’ve bitten my head off it I did.”
I turned around and shrugged in apology. Inside, though, I was silently cursing at myself because I hadn’t gone further into this world. Or, you know, left it completely.
“So you’re not much of a talker either?” he asked. “Roxas was the same way when he first came to the Organization. All he’d do was stare off into the distance at something. It was creepy.” He must’ve seen that I didn’t care because he said, “Anyway, the mission’s done, so we can start heading back now.” Again, I answered with a silence. Demyx opened a portal after an awkward pause and quickly ushered me through.
So much for the great escape, I thought glumly.
♥ ♥ ♥
After that first attempt, I started to revise my plan and came up with a few minor details. One: I realized that I had no idea whatsoever how the hell to teleport. No big deal. Two: I had no idea what I was looking for or where the hell I would find it. That’s not important at all. Three: I didn’t know what other worlds were out there except for the ones I’d already been to, and found that they held no answers for me.
So I decided to try and sleep on it after discovering these annoying obstacles. That was one of the worst decisions I’ve ever made.
I dreamt about a tiny island in the middle of nowhere that was home to three very close friends. They were sitting on an odd tree on an even smaller island attached to the first by a bridge. There was the spiky haired boy that invaded my mind so often, accompanied by a taller boy with longer, silver spiked hair and a girl with red hair. Then my dream changed to a time when boy with silver hair was throwing a log at the other boy who was lying in the sand, the girl laughing off to the side. It changed again, to when the two boys were racing, laughing and having fun. They seemed kike they didn’t have a care in the world.
Then the image turned into one darker, more sinister. The spiky haired boy and the silver haired boy were on the mini island. This seemed to be a flashback.
“Where’s Kairi!?” the spiky boy asked. “I thought she was with you!”
“The door has opened…” the other one said, ignoring the question.
“What?” the first one asked, confused.
“The door has opened…” There was static for a second before he continued. “Now we can go to the outside world!”
“What are you talking about? We’ve gotta find Kairi!”
“Kairi’s coming with us!” the second boy explained. “Once we step through, we might not be able to come back. We may never see our parents again. There’s no turning back. But this may be our only chance. We can’t let fear stop us. I’m not afraid of the darkness!”
“Riku…” the first boy whispered sadly. The scene went white and changed again, taking me to a small space with the first boy and the girl, Kairi, standing in front of an odd door.
“Kairi!” the boy shouted.
“So…ra…” Kairi said slowly, quietly. Suddenly the door behind her burst open, a dark gust of wind blowing into the small space.
My eyes shot open, and for some reason I felt sad when I remembered the last part of the dream. I also found myself wondering if the girl, Kairi, was alright. I shook my head and realized that I finally knew the name of the boy that had been interrupting my thoughts so frequently.
“Sora,” I quietly said to myself. Deep down inside of me I felt a sort of attachment to the name, though I couldn’t understand why. “And Riku.” This time I felt conflicting emotions. Happiness that surely came from being friends, along with hurt about something he’d done in the past and concern for his wellbeing that I didn’t understand either. I summoned Kingdom Key, as if just looking at it would answer all of my questions.
“What does all of this mean?” I asked it. Of course it didn’t answer, as part of me knew it wouldn’t, but part of me hoped that maybe it would unlock the secrets to these odd memories. “Because isn’t that what keys are supposed to do? Unlock things?” Again it was silent, familiarly heavy in my hand. I let it disappear, and tried to get back to sleep. I hoped that there wouldn’t be anymore dreams of Sora.
I’ve become so numb I can’t feel you there.
Become so tired, so much more aware.
I’m becoming this. All I want to do
Is be more like me and be less like you.
~”Numb,” Linkin Park