Useless/Useful Stuff to Know:
Don't own Kingdom Hearts. Never did, never will.
I figured it was about time I started to post this little... mini-series here. I've taken a lot of thought to it; it's a series about, primarily, Organization memebers VII-XII, a look into their backgrounds, and how they came into the Organization, and an attempt to comprehend their functions. It's also a pleasant project for me to explore possibilities, and characters I rarely write. Also, many other series are used as part of the continuity; hints are made, but never spoken explicitly. It's not required to understand these worlds, however, to get the effect of the story.
to see with eyes unclouded
appt. 1: unclouded eyes
When Namine arrived, suspicions were aroused. There were studies and there still are, and gradually even conclusions were met and determined. In the hallways while the first six members were evaluating, there'd been theories among the remaining members. Who was the girl? Why did she seem like such an odd Nobody?
"When you think of it," Luxord had said, while he lounged and waited much more patiently than the others, "we're all very strange, Nobodies or not."
It had inspired a bark of laughter from Axel.
In his silence as he stirred his tea, Saix had disagreed. None of them were particularly strange. Strange was considered exotic. If they were all strange, then they were all the same.
Yet, they were hardly that.
Saix still disagrees.
It was stated, later, by someone -- Saix can't quite think of who -- that Namine was a witch, and he heard Larxene laugh unkindly at the term and watched her shake his head.
Apparently, the girl inspired research in senior members of the Organization. A meeting was made and so were decisions. Memories were, they determined, links to the heart. Further research could prove useful in their attaining of Kingdom Hearts. And so it was, the Superior placed himself and the remaining "original" five in charge of learning about their other members.
If memories were so important, then lingering hearts might be called upon.
Xemnas took charge of researching Axel; VIII was more likely to listen to the Organization's leader than anyone else, really. Demyx was assigned under Xigbar, as the pair had already formed an odd comradeship some years ago when the musician first arrived. It'd be fairly easy for the gunner to pull out what he needed. For his patience and incapability of being pushed to any limits, Xaldin took Larxene. Similarly, Lexaeus decided he ought to take Marluxia. Used to games and complications with it, Zexion accepted his responsibilities with Luxord.
In the end, Saix found himself in Vexen's laboratory. He was positive that if he had a heart, he'd be severely furious with the turn of events. In reality, Saix mentally grumbled and let it go.
On the lab table, he sits, his patience being tried as he's poked and prodded and made to leave his jacket off. It's severely uncomfortable, though Saix expects nothing less. Vexen is analytical and though he treats this experiment like it's a terrible punishment and that Saix is nothing more than a burden, he doesn't stop making a mental map of the berserker.
The scars on Saix's face are more than a little difficult to ignore, and the rest of his body is much the same. Though VII feels some anxiety of being stared at, he doesn't show it, even when Vexen seems to make it necessary to trace over every little scar. Most of them are clean, straight, all by blades of some kind no doubt. No surgical scars, all of them suggesting swords and maybe arrowheads had marred the tissue once long ago.
There's silence, save for Vexen's scribbling into his notes, muttering some remarks that Saix doesn't care to listen to.
Suddenly, at his back, he's poked. Saix doesn't jump, but it takes his attention; he scowls.
"What's this?" Vexen demands, his voice sharp and impatient like his jabbing finger.
The berserker turns his head, tilting it just so to stare in the general direction of what Vexen is indicating. "What is what?"
"This." Another abrupt poke, and Saix is unamused. "This is the first scar I've seen on you made by a bullet."
Saix tells him nothing.
Rumors hound the halls of the castle as experiments go on. However much is shared to members I to VI from the remaining numbers, it's not said. Pry and interrogate as they do, the first six are wise enough to keep it confidential for the most part.
It doesn't mean that rumors still don't exist.
Some of the others are off on missions in between the research times, some of them remain to gossip. Saix is loathe to listen, but he stands by the doorway at any rate; breaking away from Vexen's laboratory is a relief, he supposes, and he will take what he can get.
Axel is reclined, feet on the table. "So I don't know about you guys, but I've heard some things."
"Of course you have, sweetie." The nickname Larxene uses is a harsh emphasis, a play; she smiles, suggesting she'd love to hear more as she turns pages in her book.
"Darling, don't tell me you haven't heard." Axel's tone is the mockey of surprise, the back of his hand pressing against his forehead.
Marluxia is, naturally, the third member of the table, sitting more elegantly than his companions, stirring his tea gently. "If you feel such need to discuss, I have heard that IX was a merman in a former life."
"I heard he was a siren." Larxene's grin somehow manages to be more malicious.
"I tell you one thing, he was anything that wasn't a rock star. What kind of rock star uses a sitar, anyway?" Axel smirks, shaking his head.
"I've heard X was a pirate."
"Xigbar is a pirate."
Marluxia sighs. "Eyepatches don't make a man a pirate, VIII."
"But you know what he pillages every night." Larxene's smile is positively wicked.
"Honey, how lewd." Axel grins.
"What about VII?" Larxene ponders.
Saix scowls; they speak as if he's not at the doorway, and they certainly know he's there.
"I heard," Axel motions his finger around his temple, a 'he's loco' motion, "he's a werewolf."
It only takes one. The diviner moves, hauling Axel up by his hood, turning him around to pin him against the wall. "Talk all you want, VIII," Saix hisses. "But that is the last thing you'll ever suggest."
Maybe he feels threatened. VII doubts it, the way Axel is grinning at him. "Oh no, you're not offended, are you?"
Saix is prepared to fight, verbally or physical, but it's the sound of note scratching some feet behind him that makes him freeze. He looks over his shoulder, glowering at Vexen.
The scientist does not look up.
Saix shoves Axel again before turning around to exit into a portal.
He knows he'd have stormed away if he was capable of feeling anger.
"This is just like when he had to leave." Her voice was mournful, shaking her head as they worked to bury the remains.
He sighed. So she hadn't given up hope. "Kaya, you don't truly expect that he's even still alive, do you?"
"Not even a demon could kill him. You know that."
"I am simply trying to be realistic. This is the second demon who has come to us, the second due to that strange iron ball. We were lucky no one was killed today."
"Ashitaka is alive."
He growled softly. "Even if he was, he will not come back to us. He cannot. He is dead to us, remember?"
He knew she mourned. But he knew to let go first.
"What did you look like before the Darkness swallowed your heart?"
The questions are definitely like an interrogation. Saix is tenser than he likes, but he keeps his appearance calm. The exterior is important. Always, always the key to the hunt is to be sure nothing can smell your intentions -- and that isn't limited to fears.
The person he remembers being is a little shorter, but just as firm, just as much as the hunter he is now, muscles used to wielding a blade better than a bow and arrow. Saix remembers a pair of dark eyes and pitch black hair in a tight bun, simple clothes, and a fairly simple life that had been cut in by demons and gods from time to time.
"Different than I do now; simple."
Vexen's lip curls, annoyed by the non-detailed response. Saix doesn't intend to give him anything more than that for the afternoon.
Saix listens to the pen scratching paper, but the scientist isn't stopping his questions.
"Why a claymore?"
"Why a shield?"
The frustration in Vexen's face is clear, but furious red hasn't blushed across his face yet in anger -- or whatever he pretends to feel out of habit. "These experiments are meant to further our cause. You would do well to behave yourself and properly answer, VII."
"I think you're wrong."
The smile that forms on the Chilly Academic's face is almost like a twisted hybrid of a sneer, nothing particularly nice about it. "Then you're also disagreeing with your Superior; I hope you know that."
The verbal jab strikes, and Saix rolls it off his shoulders. It's not something he wants to admit to. "I suppose I am," he agrees hesitantly.
Vexen sits up from being hunched over his notebook, raising his brow curiously. "Do tell me, why you think these experiments are unnecessary. Do you think they're too personal? It's not the life you have anymore, there's really no sense in it."
"I know that. Which is why it's necessary to disconnect ourselves from the people we remember." Saix lifts his brow. "Which I believe you tend to forget."
The sneer blooms over the smile, and Vexen keeps his eyes to his notes. "What was your original name?"
"The Superior did not tell you?" That, Saix finds, is interesting.
"Your name, VII." Vexen avoids the question vehemently.
The berserker places his elbow to the lab table, leaning to the side faintly as he looks elsewhere.
"Do you understand what has happened to you?"
His name was Xemnas, such a very unusual name -- but he thought very little of it. He stared up at him, eyes wide, observing the dark-skinned man best he could.
"Yes," he whispered, more than he could emphasize. "Yes, I do."
"I believe you."
He shut his eyes.
"What is your name?"
What he meant to roll off his tongue was not what came out, the pronounciation off. "Ais."
"So you lied."
Vexen is eating this up; Saix is unamused.
"I didn't lie to him," the berserker mutters, sinking in his seat a little. "It wasn't... exactly right. The way I started to pronounce things since I abandoned the world I remember became different after I spent time in other places."
He looked up sharply, frowning. "Kaya."
"Aizu, what're you doing out here again?"
It was the grave they dug days ago for the demon they had slain. Aizu was sitting before it, eyes narrowed, fingers curled tightly as he stared at the mound.
"What do you think... the kind of pain Prince Ashitaka went through? What do you think it was like?" Aizu mumbled.
"I can't imagine..." Kaya's expression softened immediately, as it always did whenever someone mentioned their lost prince. "It must have been horrible. I remember when I saw the markings -- I could smell it, rotting. It was so... so dark. Evil, I guess."
"I see. Perhaps, he suffers like these two gods, unless he has found his answer," Aizu said quietly. "Kaya, you still miss him terribly. Why don't you go after him?"
"Idiot." She smiled at him. "The village needs all of us. You know that, especially after this last demon."
"Yes. I suppose the village needs us."
Aizu rubbed his arm, as if it was sore.
"What was your world like?"
They aren't in the lab anymore.
It's the fourth day -- as if time ever truly passes in the World That Never Was -- and Saix in his own room. Unfortunately, Vexen takes it upon himself to drag on the experiment. VII expects nothing less by now.
Saix sighs, as if exhausted. He continues to sharpen a blade that is not his claymore. It's old, likely to break, better off as a visual, and as much as he claims they should disconnect themselves from memories he can never quite let go.
"Chaotic. Primitive, mostly." Which is why he always fairs better as the warrior, knowledge of things not so technical. Electronics and theories and experiments are unfamiliar territory.
Notes are being scribbled, of course.
Saix wipes down the blade.
"How did you lose your heart to Darkness?"
His hand slips, his thumb cut at the edge of the blade. Immediately, he sticks it in his mouth, frowning.
"Kaya, what happened to him?!"
"I... I don't know-- gods, I didn't, he didn't say anything!"
"Those marks are just like--"
"Get him inside! Just don't touch his skin!"
"Anger and hate devoured him, and he died," Saix says quietly, not letting himself wince while Vexen sanitizes his cut. It's an excuse to stay, VII expects, so the experiment can carry on.
"Usually," Vexen mutters as he dabs the thumb, "a heart is lost due to a Heartless. You lost to yourself, and yet you have the will to maintain the body you do now?"
"The Heartless in the world I remember were a bit different."
The Chilly Academic peers at him, not quite letting go of his hand, as if just touching his fellow Nobody will give him knowledge through osmosis. "So a Heartless claimed your heart?"
Saix scowls a little, more expression than he typically prefers to show. "Yes."
"But anger and hate also devoured you."
He woke, gasping, his chest aching, like it was on fire. Quickly, he pressed his hand over his heart--
His heart. Beating too quickly. Yet he felt like something... something was missing.
Slowly, he sat up, staring all around him. This... all this, this was the fields outside his village. Gradually, he forced himself to his feet, wobbling, unsteady. Smells burned in his nose, his eyes watering from the bright sun, and he heard the crackling of fire.
He turned around. Half the village was decimated.
Aizu turned, frowning. Stranger? "...Jiisan?"
The old man was startled. "It can't be-- Aizu?! But you're..."
"I can't remember... what happened?" Aizu tried to approach him, but the old man backed away, raising his bow and arrow.
"You're not human now, are you? If you could only look at yourself!"
His feet froze. He was sure, he'd feel fear. Anger. Annoyance. At best, he felt confused, and only dully so. Aizu frowned slowly, touching the hair that hung by the sides of his head.
A startling blue, no longer black.
A claymore is far less elegant than what his other self was used to. Still, it's an effective weapon; Saix knows, he's always preferred blades to arrows and bullets, but he still takes steps away from the memories that haunt his very alive, very attentive mind.
So he's always, always practiced the claymore since he's chosen it.
He's not shocked to see that Vexen is, of course, watching him.
"Why a claymore?"
Saix gradually stops, letting the weapon disappear from his hand in a soft moonglow. "Because it's still a sword, at least, if more chaotic."
Vexen only nods.
And snaps his notebook shut.