Not That I Care

1

The New Kid

We are the nobodies

Wanna be somebodies

We're dead, we know just who we are.

--Marilyn Manson

"You'll never guess what's happened."

Axel opens one green eye to peer up at Larxene. She's standing over him like some kind of sentry. Not that Larxene is particularly tall. She's always had that kind of presence, though, like a gargoyle—scary and always watching you.

Axel utters a low groan. It was such a nice nap, too, and this is his favorite couch. Green and plush, the kind that's good to collapse on after a difficult mission. Can't a guy get a little rest after dodging Heartless for hours and hours? Axel's work is so unappreciated.

He keeps his complaints to himself, however. When Larxene speaks, and when she speaks without peppering her sentences with curses and choice insults, something interesting is happening. The fact that she's out of the library for once—that's interesting too.

Axel takes a guess. "Hm. Xaldin and Xiggy are getting married."

"Close, but not quite." It's funny—at least Axel thinks so—but Larxene isn't smiling. Larxene doesn't smile. She only smiles when she's hurting something.

"The higher-ups dragged home a Thirteenth."

That gets him. Axel sits up, swinging bare feet onto the cold floor. The floors are always cold here; the Superior has a disdain for carpets. Not a single carpet in the whole damn castle. Axel looks up at Number Twelve, already wearing his wicked grin.

"New fish, huh?" Axel gives a sadistic little chuckle and rubs his hands together in true mad scientist fashion. Vexen would be proud. "I love new fish. Meeting room, right?"

Larxene turns away with a snort. "You have five minutes. And get your damn cloak on, you look like some college bum."

Ah, Larxene. She's like poison ivy—rash and all. Axel looks himself over. Alright, she has a point, he's got the deadbeat teen look down pat. Wrinkled gray shirt, standard-issue Organization black pants that are bunched from sleeping in them. His boxers are showing. He runs a hand through spiky red hair to get rid of the bed-head. Yeah, not gonna win any fashion contests.

Axel thinks the look suits him. Everyone else always goes around in their black cloaks all the time. It's so monotonous. Nothing wrong with going casual once in a while. Though the Superior would say that Axel is casual a lot more often than once in a while.

"Sure thing, Mom," he answers.

Number Twelve ignores the comment, raises her hand and opens a shadow portal. As she's about to step in, she turns back to Axel with a curious look on her face.

"You don't call him Xiggy to his face, do you?"

"Xiggy? The Pirate Scarface? Well, I'm still alive, aren't I?" Axel pats his chest, where his heart would be, if he had one. "Oh, wait, no I'm not. No heart."

Larxene just gives him a cold stare. One day he's going to get a smile out of her. Just to spite her.

"Scarface," Larxene muses, stepping into the shadows. "Creative." And with that, she disappears.

"No one uses doors around here anymore," Axel mutters to himself as he leans over the back of the couch to retrieve his cloak. The thing is damned inconvenient. Who the hell wanders around in heavy black cloaks—in summer? "What did the doors ever do wrong? Poor, unappreciated doors. I'd feel bad for them if I could feel."

Axel likes to hear himself talk. No one else is worth listening to.

-------

The Thirteenth isn't what Axel expected. For one thing, he's young. He can't be more than sixteen or seventeen. Not much younger than Axel—he thinks—but still, a hell of an age to become a Heartless. Whole future wasted and all that. Tough break. Not that Axel cares.

He's not scared, either. Demyx was scared. Larxene was scared. Hell, even Axel was scared—a little. Something about that white room with those dark, hooded shapes seated high above you; anyone would be scared. But the only sign that the kid is uncomfortable is the way his gaze flicks around the clandestine white room. It's more alertness and curiosity than fear in his eyes.

And speaking of which—wow, eyes. Axel usually avoids looking people in the eye, but it's hard with this kid. His eyes are very, very blue. Ocean blue. Sky blue. Every other blue fades in comparison. It's like the kid's eyes are the original blue, and every other blue was born of them.

How poetic.

Other than that—well, his hair is blond and sticks up in the front in an interesting way, and he's surprisingly short, and his white and black shirt speaks of a liking for checkers. There's some kind of pendant on a chain around his neck.

Axel buries a smirk. He hopes this kid turns out to be more interesting than Larxene. Or Marluxia. Or any of them. None of them are particularly interesting. Demyx can be interesting if he tries, but too often the higher-ups are there to scare him back into that whipped-dog state that is decidedly un-interesting.

Axel likes things to be interesting.

"We are all assembled," the Superior says. Well, shit, he can count, Axel thinks. The Superior turns his hooded face down on the kid below. The Superior always keeps his hood up. Axel thinks he's paranoid. "State your name for the Order."

"It's…" the kid has to think about it. They all did in the beginning. When you wake up it's hard to remember much of anything. Over time bits and pieces start coming back to you, but no one ever recalls their name. Your mind just casts around for something similar but not quite the same, and eventually it makes something up on its own.

The kid inclines his head, staring at the Superior. Axel wonders if he can shoot lasers out of those eyes.

"Roxas."

There's a cold silence. Axel rests his chin in his hand, watching the kid.

"Roxas," the Superior repeats. He sounds like he knows something. Then again, the Superior always sounds like he knows something. Axel wonders exactly how much the Superior is keeping from the rest of them. Not that he cares.

"You said that coming here would help me get my heart back," Roxas says in a hard voice, folding his arms. Axel's smile broadens. You don't talk like that to the Superior. Axel's the only one who gets away with it.

"That is precisely this Organization's aim," the Superior says.

"The question, of course, is whether you'll be of any use to us," Saїx adds, hands folded under his chin. Axel looks sidelong at a Nobody with long, ice-blue hair. Axel doesn't like Saїx. Well, he doesn't really like any of them—Demyx has his moments—but Saїx has always weirded Axel out. He's…well, he's sadistic. Xaldin will stab you, Xibar will shoot you and then shoot you again, and the Superior will simply obliterate you, but Saïx always seemed the type to kill your puppy or put broken glass in your salad or something.

Roxas looks his way and seems to come to the same conclusion as Axel. His blue eyes show a spark of wariness.

"I killed those black bug-things back in Twilight Town. Anyway, I don't care about this Organization. I just want a heart."

He's got stones, I'll give him that, Axel thinks.

"You will need us to help you achieve a heart," the Superior says in that superior voice of his. "The worlds are overrun with Heartless. A lone Nobody will not stand a chance, skilled or not."

"Nobody?" Roxas asks, confused.

"What you and us are, kid," Axel pipes up. "A nothing. Scraps left over by Heartless. N-O-Body, got it memorized?"

Roxas glares at him. Oh, so he can shoot lasers out of his eyes, Axel thinks, and chuckles a little.

"Ignore Number Eight," the Superior says, and Axel can feel his eyes on him. "Our goals are one and the same, Roxas. If you fight for us, we will help you get a heart."

"Yeah?" Roxas says. "How do I know I can trust you?"

"If you want us to throw you back to the Heartless, we will," Xaldin growls through his dreadlocks.

Roxas looks around the room again, craning his neck to see the higher chairs. To him it must look like he's in a courtroom. Axel remembers the feeling. Roxas must know that refusing the Organization at this point in the game means death. The higher-ups wouldn't have brought him back if they didn't believe in his fighting prowess. They also wouldn't have brought him back with the intention of ever letting him escape them with his life.

"Alright. I'll fight with you," Roxas decides.

Demyx claps his hands, grinning. "Excellent! That makes us Organization Thirteen!"

"I like it," Axel agrees. "It's got a nice ring to it. Better than Organization Twelve. Organization Twelve just doesn't strike fear into the hearts of mortals, does it? Thirteen's got the whole bad luck vibe."

Xaldin mutters something that sounds distinctly like teenagers.

"Welcome to the Organization," the Superior says. "From now on you will be known as Roxas, Number Thirteen. I am Xemnas, Number One, the Superior, and you will refer to me as such. The others you will meet personally in time. I expect obedience from you, Number Thirteen. Any disobedience will be harshly punished."

"He means, you screw up, you go bye-bye, kid," Axel says and Demyx laughs.

"Number Eight," the Superior says, turning his head toward Axel. "I'm assigning you to show Roxas around the castle and help him get to know The World That Never Was."

Axel nearly chokes on his amusement.

"Me? Why me? Do I have 'babysitter' tattooed on my forehead?"

"I am hoping that this kind of assignment will serve to alleviate some of your…unruliness," the Superior says, a touch of amusement in his voice. Despite the fact that, judging by his tone, he won't be above turning Axel into tiny particles of darkness if Axel protests further.

"Unruly? Me?" Axel says, grinning wickedly. He leans back in his chair, which is as white as the room, and folds his hands behind his head. "Alright, I'll play the mommy, but I ain't changing his diapers."

Roxas's hands have clenched into fists. "Come down here and say that again, asshole."

The Superior actually chuckles. Though you could really mistake it for a cough.

"I think you two will get on just fine."

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Well, this is my first fic in a long time, woot. Not all that great, but oh well. Stick around, the story gets better.

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