Yeah, an update. Amazing, right? It took me long enough.
This is the second to last chapter for this story; as after this particular 'arc', I can't think of anything further to write for it. I'll likely go through the whole story to edit it (for consistency), since the earlier chapters more than likely need it. I may make another story like it at some point, if I get the urge. The Organization XIII characters are my favorites from the KH series after all.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything from the Kingdom Hearts series.
Xaldin patrolled about beneath the castle in the city that surrounded it, making sure that the Heartless were staying clear. After an hour, Xaldin was satisfied that the Heartless had vacated the area, even if for only a while. They'd be back. They always came back, the persistent bastards. Xaldin was about to use a portal to head back to the castle, when something grabbed him from behind. "What the…?" Xaldin cast a glance over his shoulder, and saw, to his annoyance, that one of the plants that had been taken from the castle had wrapped a vine about one of his legs. Xaldin tried to shake it off, but the movement only resulted in another vine gripping his other leg and the first vine tightening its grasp.
Xaldin grunted in surprise as he was abruptly pulled to the ground. He saw another plant out of the corner of his eye, poking at his sideburns tentatively with it fuzzy feelers. Other discarded plants seem to be coming from every side, apparently having hid from the Heartless, despite the fact that they had no hearts to attract the Heartless in the first place. Xaldin's only thought was why the plants were still around, and how a certain Nobody was going to be punished. Xaldin twitched when a plant brushed a leaf against his chest. Silence, then…
Said Nobody flinched in the castle in his room, wondering if he had heard someone yelling his name. Perhaps he had imagined it. He glanced over at Larxene, "Did you hear someone yell?" He was rather confused and at a loss for an explanation for why he felt as though a great deal of animosity was being directed at him by an unseen force.
Larxene was lounging on a nearby chair and shrugged, "I didn't hear anything." Larxene glanced at what Marluxia was kneeling in front of, "What was that thing called again?"
Marluxia was putting his newest plant, which seemed to have some for on it, along with leaves and vines. The plant seemed to be enjoying the petting, "It's a new species. I haven't yet come up with a name for it yet. " Marluxia hugged the plant suddenly, nuzzling it, "Yes, you're going to enjoy meeting Zexion, my beautiful precious plant.
Larxene was somewhat disturbed that the plant had begun to croon in response to the touch. Larxene shook her head, "I think you need to spend some time away from your plants. You might turn into one if you're not careful…" Larxene broke off, trying to imagine what Marluxia would look like as a plant. An image of a potted plant with pink leaves came to mind, and Larxene started to laugh.
Marluxia ignored Larxene and pet the plant a little longer, until Larxene calmed down, "Are you quite finished?"
Larxene struggled to make her face straight, "I think so…" Larxene bit her lip as she stuttered out with a laugh, "Just make sure that Vexen doesn't turn you into plant… Mr. leafman…" Larxene fled from the room, laughing uproariously as she passed by a startled Vexen.
Vexen stood at Marluxia's room entrance and surveyed the scene the Graceful Assassin was in in silence.
"What do you want?" Marluxia grumbled, not pleased at all with any distractions from his plants.
"Xemnas wants the whole organization to meet in the lounge. Now." And Vexen himself wanted to be out of Marluxia's presence as soon as was possible.
"… No way." Marluxia did not want to be in any enclosed space with his superior. It seemed like a very bad idea.
"What?" Vexen blinked, then frowned.
Marluxia shook his head, "He's going to make us do something crazy again. I'd rather not be a part of that."
"No, he won't."
Marluxia wore a puzzled expression.
Vexen shook his head, exasperated with the man before him, "He's back to normal."
"Oh, I still think I won't go." Especially if Xemnas remembered any of what happened.
"He's going to make it so that no one can get out of the lounge and…"
Marluxia interrupted Vexen and said bluntly, "I'm not going."
Vexen fixed a glare on Marluxia, "If I may finish?" Seeing a noncommittal shrug from Marluxia, Vexen continued, "As I was saying, Xemnas is doing that because he plans to punish some organization members…"
Marluxia looked mildly interested now, "Oh? Who?"
"Axel, and anyone who helped him humiliate our superior."
Marluxia began to smile evilly, "On second thought, I'll go. I will be down shortly."
Vexen rolled his eyes and left the area to locate the rest of the organization members. Vexen didn't hear Marluxia's crazed laugh, heralding a disaster in the lounge in the near future.
MP MP MP
Axel, Roxas, and Demyx headed for the lounge at a slow pace. All of them were nervous about the prospect of a meeting with the recovered and likely pissed off Xemnas. Even though they were supposed to have no hearts, and therefore no emotions, sometimes the Nobodies wondered how anger would occasionally flare up in some organization members.
Roxas was wondering if Xemnas knew what had happened, and was worried if he would be in trouble.
Demyx was nervous about the mission in the underworld, and wasn't thinking that the meeting would be that disastrous.
Axel, on the other hand, seemed fairly cheerful, which Roxas was quick to try to dampen. He wasn't the only one going to worry.
"Hmm?" Axel titled his head to look down at Roxas.
"Aren't you worried?" Roxas sure was as he wasn't sure what to expect.
Axel couldn't be that oblivious, "This meeting. Xemnas is back to normal after all."
"So…?" Axel still didn't appear to be all that concerned.
"So what if he remembers what happened? You and I will be in trouble!"
Axel appeared to become uncomfortable, but shrugged in response.
Demyx spoke up, "We would get in trouble if we didn't show up though."
"And you'll be in trouble if you're late," Vexen commented, walking along behind them.
"Everybody coming?" Axel asked in a bored voice.
"Yes, and here, I have the antidotes." Vexen replied, sidestepping to avoid receiving a hug from Demyx, who was excited with the prospect that the tail he had would be gone soon.
Vexen waited patiently for Demyx to get back to his feet, before handing him one of the antidotes that he was holding.
Demyx uncorked it and downed it it, closing his eyes as he waited a minute or so, before asking, "Is it gone?"
"Take a look," Roxas responded.
Demyx opened his eyes and glanced backwards, and saw no tail. Demyx grinned and jumped up and down, "Yes! It's gone! No one can grab my butt now!"
Demyx stop celebrating the dance, and looked at the three other Nobodies. Demyx blushed faintly. "Not like that. It's just that when someone pulled me tail, it hurt my…"
"Demyx. Drop the subject, please." Vexen stated.
Demyx fell silent, looking hurt.
"Be nice Vexen." Axel said in an amused tone of voice.
Vexen turned to respond, and Demyx quickly reached out and clapped Vexen on the shoulder, said, "Thanks," before shooting off to the lounge. Vexen grumbled something about neophytes, shot a sharp glance at Axel and Roxas, before he walked off to the lounge.
"Everyone's acting strange," Roxas commented.
"'Cause Xemnas is back to normal," Axel supplied helpfully.
"The end of the worlds," Roxas deadpanned, which caused Axel to grin. Roxas shook his head and started to walk more quickly, toward the lounge, "Come on, we better not be late."
Axel trailed after Roxas, wondering why he was starting to feel just the tiniest bit of unease.
Zexion settled down on a chair in his room and opened his Lexicon, one hand straying to his head to make sure that the animal ears were gone. He could tell perfectly well that the tail was gone, otherwise it would have been uncomfortable to be sitting on the chair without adjusting to accommodate the tail. Zexion idly flipped through the pages, not looking for anything in particular. He was actually thinking about whether or not to do something about Marluxia's dangerous plant that he could potentially sic on some of the organization members, himself included. Zexion shook his head disgustedly, but sighed. What to do…
Zexion let his Lexicon vanish and stood quickly from where he had been seated. What had made that sound? Xaldin's dragoon Nobodies hadn't gotten into a fight with Axel's samurai Nobodies again, had they? That had been a lot of damage to fix…
Zexion eyed his bedroom door apprehensively. Along with the crashing sound, there were voices, and two familiar scents.
Axel and Saix…
Zexion backed away from the door abruptly, guessing from the two scents and the sound that Saix was chasing after Axel. It was something he had no desire to get involved in. By now, he could hear the shouts ringing down the hallway outside his room.
"Axel! Where do you think you're going? The Superior wants to see everyone in the lounge. Now!"
"No way! He wants to do something to me, doesn't he? He was laughing! I heard him!"
Zexion frowned a bit, before a satisfied look crossed his face. Good, Axel was going to be punished for slipping the Superior that vial. Now, Zexion could go back to plotting…
"Zexion!" Axel exclaimed dramatically, bursting through Zexion's door and into the Cloaked Schemer's bedroom. Axel made it a few feet into the room before being knocked back a step or two by a well-aimed pillow to his head, "Hey! What was that for?"
"Out! Don't you dare drag me into your messes!" Zexion hissed irritably.
Axel was about to reply when Saix entered the room, fuming and unamused. Axel gave the berserker a glance, "Uh-oh." Fidgeting and trying to avoid a beating, Axel suddenly began to smile. "He knew about it!" Axel exclaimed, pointing a finger at Zexion before vanishing via portal.
"Axel!" Zexion twitched as Saix spoke one word menacingly.
Zexion turned to the Luna Diviner, silently cursing Axel for causing him more trouble, "Yes, number VII?"
"Is what number VIII said true?" Saix questioned in a flat tone.
"I…had my suspicions," Zexion managed to say, wincing when Saix seized him by the arm and dragged him through a portal to the Superior's office.
Zexion twisted out of Saix's grasp, rubbing his arm, before he nodded to Xemnas, who was seated on a chair and looking displeased.
Xemnas was silent for a time, before speaking in a pleasant tone, "Zexion, where is Axel?"
Startled, Zexion was silent as he sorted through the different scents of the castle and surrounding area, before zeroing in on Axel, "He's…outside in the city…beneath the castle, speaking to Xaldin."
Xemnas and Saix exchanged glances with one another. Saix left through another portal, as Xemnas turned to put his full attention on Zexion, "Why did Saix bring you here?"
Zexion carefully avoided full eye contact, as he noticed the change in Xemnas' voice, "I became aware…of Axel slipping you the vial that caused you to act oddly."
Xemnas was silent.
Zexion definitely didn't want to make eye contact now. He could all but feel Xemnas' eyes boring in to him, "As Vexen was the one to make what was contained in the vial, he had to come up with the remedy. I went on a mission, as Saix had instructed, and learned of the vial soon after returning."
Xemnas appeared to be thinking, and then spoke again, "Did you help me do whatever I did before I had the remedy?"
"A few things, but not as much as Axel…he seemed to rather enjoy it." Zexion, of course, would attempt to shoulder the blame on the red head if he could manage it.
Xemnas wore a thoughtful look, knowing full well that Zexion was more than likely lying and keeping some things to himself. However, he would agree that Axel would amuse himself with pretty much anything he could possibly latch onto. In any case, Saix would bring Axel back shortly. Xemnas tapped his fingers against the chair, and allowed himself a smile.
Then the fun could begin.
Zexion held perfectly still, hoping to be ignored, as he did not like the look on Xemnas' face.
"Heya Xaldin. Looking for anything in particular in our wonderful city of nothingness?"
Xaldin pointedly ignored the sarcasm and cast an eye over Axel, and saw the other's ruffled appearance. Xaldin then knew that the other was running from something. "Avoiding someone, Axel? Didn't the Superior want everyone in the lounge?"
Axel evaded the question, "Any lingering Heartless…or plants?" He grinned evilly at Xadlin's twitch, and the clenching of a hand around a lance. Axel spotted a few still forms on the ground, impaled by the other lances Xaldin had, with a few dragoon nobodies poking at the remains of the other plants. "You're doing a good job, man. Destroying possessed botany. I bet Marluxia won't be too happy with you 'killing' them." Axel's face turned a peculiar color as a hand dropped down on his shoulder and held it in a crushing grip.
Saix ignored Axel wriggling and trying to free himself, and nodded to Xaldin, "When you're finished, come to the lounge. We'll be starting soon once everyone is there."
Xaldin hid a smile at Axel's discomfort, "I'll be there shortly." He watched Saix and a glum Axel vanish, before giving a vine creeping up his leg a final stab.
In the lounge, most of the organization was waiting in a bored silence, a few of them starting to plot ideas of their own to relieve their boredom.
Roxas was lying on a couch, dozing, as Demyx, in a nearby chair, played his sitar softly. Luxord and Xigbar were in a corner, discussing throwing a poker party somewhere in the city out of Xemnas' sight. Or doing some other activity that Xemnas would disapprove of, as that would make it worthwhile to do. Lexaeus was staring out the window at Kingdom Hearts, wondering what Xemnas was planning on doing. Nothing quiet, that was for sure. Lexaeus could have sworn he saw a glint in Xemnas' eyes that didn't bode well for whomever the ire was directed at. Vexen was eying everyone in the room with disdain, and anyone looking at him could tell he wanted nothing more than to vacate their presence as soon as was possible.
Xigbar, having cemented his plans with Luxord, wandered over to Roxas and Demyx, giving a wide berth to Marluxia and Larxene. Xigbar poked Roxas' knees until the teenager woke up. The sniper grinned at the look thrown his way, "Morning tiger. Where's Axel? I thought for sure he'd try and use you as a barrier between himself and Xemnas."
Roxas shrugged and turned over to avoid looking at a grinning Xigbar, "Dunno. We were heading here with Demyx, when Saix showed up and started to chase Axel."
Xigbar enjoyed the mental image for a moment, and was about to ask something else when Xemnas, Saix and a bored-looking Axel suddenly appeared in the room. The low-key atmosphere abruptly turned to tense, as Xemnas stared to speak. Or, rather, scold.
Zexion, as well as several other members of the organization, thoroughly enjoyed watching Xemnas yell himself hoarse at Axel. Zexion was being careful not to smile, as he knew that sooner or later Xemnas would catch his lie, as well as realize that some of the other things that had happened to other organization members had been his doing, and not Axel's. All in all, Xemnas wearing out his voice had a positive side-effect. He'd have to keep his monotone speeches short for several days, if not a week, as he recovered the use of his voice.
Marluxia was pleased with the sight of Axel being chewed out by Xemnas. Marluxia cast a careful glance in Zexion's direction, checking to see whether or not the Cloaked Schemer was looking at him. He wasn't. Marluxia allowed himself an evil smirk. When Xemnas was done scolding and punishing Axel, as well as a few others, perhaps, he would be free to unleash his darling new plant on Zexion and Axel.
Across the room, Lexaeus was a bit concerned at the look on the Graceful Assassin's face. It looked as if the man were planning something. Lexaeus' concerns were interrupted when a disheveled and furious Xaldin entered the lounge and took a seat next to him, glowering darkly at Marluxia.
"Are you…all right, Xaldin?" Lexaeus queried, surprised that such a hateful look was being thrown number XI's way.
Xaldin grit his teeth, before taking a deep breath in an attempt to calm himself. Then, in a forced voice, replied, "Remember the plants Xemnas had us take out of the castle?"
"Yes…" Lexaeus responded, hoping Xaldin would remain semi-calm.
"I ran into them while running a patrol in the city below the castle. I was checking up on the Heartless situation there, when I was distracted…" Xaldin had a look of disgust on his face now, "A few of those plants seemed intent on keeping me there and…" Xaldin broke off, shuddering at the memory, "I dispatched them, with the assistance of a few of my dragoons."
"It isn't Marluxia's fault that the plants…converged on you, is it?" Lexaeus asked as delicately as he could.
Xaldin seemed to have not heard him, as he was currently glaring daggers at Marluxia and had the Graceful Assassin seen the expression, he would have been gone from the lounge, more than likely being pursued by six lances.
Xemnas didn't notice any of this, as he was finishing yelling at Axel, who didn't appear all that concerned. In fact, only the level of Xemnas' voice appeared to have actually bothered Axel at all.
Marluxia cast a glance at the lounge doors, and smiled in anticipation.
I apologize if there are any typos. The next chapter will be up as soon as I'm satisfied with how it is written, which could be anywhere from two weeks to two months. Thanks for not asking too much about updates. As I hate waiting for a new chapter to a story, I feel bad about how long it takes me to update my own stories.