"Lexaeus," Zexion's voice was shrill and snap, "stop this nonsense."

"But I worry," The Silent Hero continued to massage the stubbled base of his chin, lost in strangled thought. "He's so frail." Lexaeus' muddy eyes glowered at the white-granite flooring, "He doesn't need any extra bruises."

"The boy's a fool." Small feet continued their pacing. "It's pathetic; the way that child emulates his emotions to make himself more attractive to the Superior." Zexion gave the air an arrogant sniff. "You know he can't resist anything to do with—" His words trailed away; the Cloaked Schemer inhaled deeply. "He's killed another."

"What if he isn't faking?"

"I beg your pardon?"

"What if he isn't acting? What if he's really—truly—?"

"We do not feel, Lexaeus; you, of all members, should understand this concept." Zexion scowled between steps, avoiding Lexaeus' gaze. "Honestly, you have been reading too many novels." His tiny hands coiled around the dead and rotting leaves of a fern Vexen had injected too many chemicals into. The stalks fell to ash in his fingers. "Nobodies do not have the ability to fall hopelessly in love with over-esteemed strangers." The foliage-dust was swept from his palms. "The boy cannot have a crush."

Lexaeus shook his head. "But his Somebody still exists. Who says that factor doesn't contribute to a Nobody's ability to feel?"

"Plenty. It—" Zexion stopped, cold in his tracks. "Vexen is dead."

The platinum beads dangling from their hoods tinkled on an unseen wind. "Then I suppose it is time we act."

Beyond the tight-latched door, Axel turned and fled.

so it has begun to unfold.

apologies for possible timeline flubs. i never did finish Chain of Memories, but the beauty of fanfiction is that everything and anything is right.

don't be sad, grey. no more tears.