A/N - written for a contest: Why does Zexion hide the right side of his face? Of course, there's always the possibility that he's just sort of emo, or he was impatient with the hairdresser and left before it was done, but where's the fun in that? XD This is my take on it.

"Hey, Zexyyyy?"

Zexion sighed angrily, not turning around as he heard Demyx's unmistakable voice behind him. "What is it this time, number IX?" he muttered, exhibiting considerable restraint. This was at least the sixth time today, and with each Demyx incident came another long, pointless question. This particular inquiry, however, surprised the young man.

"Why do you wear your hair like that?" Demyx grinned. "You look kinda emo."

It was not the first time the question had been put to him. He frowned. "It's none of your business, IX."

"But I'm curious!"

"Go ask a more productive question, then!"

"I'm not curious about something more productive, I'm curious about this!"

"Don't you have something to do, Demyx?"

"The Superior didn't give me a mission today and I'm bored!" Demyx sighed and stood in front of the older Nobody, blocking his path. "So what's the big secret here? Weird birthmark? Bad complexion?" Ignoring the growing anger on Zexion's face, he reached out for the long sheet of dark hair that covered the right side of his face.

With lightning reflexes, Zexion reached out and caught Demyx's hand. The expression on his face was now one of pure rage. You want to know what happened?

Demyx gulped. Zexion hadn't spoken aloud. The Schemer's voice had been directly in his mind. He hadn't ever seen the man this angry before. "Erm... well... if it's really that..."

Do you? Zexion's visible eye burned, locked on Demyx's face. Slowly, deliberately, his free hand came up and brushed his hair back behind his ear, uncovering the side of his face which was always concealed. Demyx gasped in shock, turning pale.

While one half of his face was completely normal, the right side of Zexion's face was mutilated and disfigured, the flesh scarred horrifically. His right eye was a milky, sightless orb, fixed on Demyx's face. The sight made the Melodious Nocturne feel slightly sick.

As Zexion glared at him, Demyx thought he could hear someone talking. A man, yelling. Zexion's hand was tight around his wrist, cutting off the circulation. It was a moment before Demyx realized that the voices were also inside his own mind. He was hearing echos of Zexion's past.

"Pathetic boy! You're afraid, you're worthless. Why do I even bother with you?!"

A harsh slap. Demyx cringed instinctively, as if struck, and thought he could feel stinging on the side of his face. He could swear he could see the exchange taking place inside his, and Zexion's, mind. The room was dark, dimly lit by a flickering fire, and someone with his face in shadow was standing over a young man who couldn't have been past his teens. He was cowering in terror. Demyx let out a soft gasp. The boy was Zexion.

"Please, master... please don't..."

The man struck Zexion again, and he collapsed. With a small sound of impatience, the man crouched down next to the boy, pinning him to the ground with one hand locked around his throat. "I have no use for a servant so full of fear," he hissed. A knife was in his other hand, and he lashed out, carving a deep gash along the side of Zexion's face. The young man cringed, jerking and crying out with pain. His master shook him violently until he was silent. "You see? You can't stand pain, you're afraid of injury, and I have no use for such a man!"

The knife fell again and again, tearing through the tender skin of Zexion's face. His body stiffened under the other man's grasp, shuddering, and a wrenching moan of agony escaped his lips. The hand tightened around his throat; he gasped for breath. Muttering in disgust, his tormentor turned away for a moment. When he bent back over the young man, the knife in his hand was glowing red-hot from the flames. He pressed it to the side of Zexion's face.

Zexion shrieked in agony, jerking away from the heat. With a growl of anger, his master clamped a hand over his mouth, holding his head still. Zexion's eyes were wide with fear; a muffled scream of pain escaped him as the other man slowly dragged the glowing, heated steel across his cheek. His body jerked, twitched; his tormentor drove his knee into Zexion's chest, leaning all his weight down so that his apprentice couldn't move. A couple of ribs cracked, and Zexion gave a sharp moan. Blood bubbled up from the corner of his mouth, running down the uninjured side of his face and staining the palm of his tormentor's hand.

The heated knife slashed down again, tearing into the burned skin, and then the man set it aside. The right side of Zexion's face was covered in blood; the young man was gasping for breath, sobbing in pain; tears ran down his face. His merciless master's hand came down again, something small glinting between his fingers, and there was a sharp stabbing pain above his eye as the man drove a needle into Zexion's skin, pinning his eyelid open. Zexion's body gave a violent twitch, a whimper of agony growing and dying in his throat. Zexion's master grabbed his chin, holding the young man completely still as he lowered the knife to his face once more. Ignoring his apprentice's racking sobs and cries, he pressed the red-hot steel into Zexion's eye.

Zexion let out an unearthly scream, thrashing violently in his captor's grip. A thin line of blood trickled down as one edge of the knife broke the surface of his eye. His tormentor crouched down low, attempting to hold his victim's body motionless. Zexion was sobbing in pain, his body twitching spasmodically. He couldn't see out of his right eye anymore, his vision clouded by blood and damaged flesh. His back stiffened, then relaxed; his body jerked, sometimes rigid and sometimes limp. The man pressed down harder, a cruel smile crossing his face.

Then the door banged open, flooding light into the dim room.

Zexion's master withdrew the knife and stood up, leaving his apprentice sobbing and whimpering with pain on the ground, clutching his injured eye.

"I had heard rumors of your obscene experiments, and I had hoped they were false." From his prone position, Zexion could barely make out the figure of a tall man with long blonde hair, striding forward into the room. "Now I come to find you involved in an act of unspeakable cruelty against your own apprentice."

The other man backed away, stammering fearfully. "L-Lord Ansem...!" Realizing that no amount of explaining would save him from inevitable arrest, he suddenly ducked around the other man and ran. Ansem turned, starting to give chase, but thought better of it. The guards would take care of it. Right now, the injured apprentice worried him more.

Ansem crouched down beside Zexion, gently cradling the shivering body in his arms. In an attempt to discern the extent of his injuries, he carefully pried Zexion's hand away from the bloody right side of his face, and his jaw clenched at the sight. He rubbed Zexion's back in a soothing gesture. "It's all right now, lad. No one's going to hurt you anymore. You're safe."

Zexion let go of Demyx's hand, and the boy slumped to the ground, shaking. He realized that he was crouched over, one hand pressed to his eye. Slowly he lowered his hand, looking up at Zexion through tear-filled eyes. The pain had gone, and his face was still tingling with the memory of it. Zexion's memory. His vision blurring with tears, he tore his gaze from Zexion's mutilated face and crouched down, burying his face in his hands and sobbing.

Zexion brushed his hair back down over the scarred side of his face, looking impassively at Demyx. The pain he had just inflicted on the boy had been mental, nothing more. It was a mere shadow of what he had gone through at the hands of his old master. An involuntary shiver passed through his body, and then it was gone. Without another word, without even glancing at Demyx again, he turned and walked down the white hall.

Demyx shuddered violently and looked up, still shaking. "Z-Zexion!" His voice shook as he called out the other man's name. Zexion stopped, not turning. "I'm... I'm sorry..." Demyx gulped back a sob and shivered again, hugging himself tightly.

Zexion still didn't turn around. He continued walking alone down the hall, as Demyx shuddered and sobbed on the ground behind him.