Authoress's Note: To begin, I will say that this is a series of oneshots, based off my first completed story "The Spirited Reverie". For those of you that haven't read it, I highly suggest you do, otherwise these oneshots might be a little confusing. But if you still read this and decide to try out the longer story, then I'm all for it. :) In a proverbially nutshell (pistachio, preferably; those are good!) the story was based around a fourteenth Organization membered called Rianxan, how she fell in love with Zexion, and how she came to be forgotten. No, it's not as cheesy as it sounds or anything like that. Anyway, for those of you who have been waiting for this, here it is! I said I would have it uploaded by Saturday (tomorrow, which is actually my birthday!), so...yeah.

Summary: Zexion and Ria take an impromptu trip to Twilight Town. Set halfway through "The Spirited Reverie", Zexion x OC, romance & cuteness.

Disclaimer: I own nothing but Rianxan, sadly...but if I ever see a KH/KHII character walking down the street, I will pounce on them. ;)


Sometimes

By

LadyDarkDreamer


They had found the puzzle on a walk through Twilight Town.

"I'm not quiet sure about this, Ria," he says, hesitantly. "I mean, we shouldn't—"

"Shouldn't what, Zex?" she asks, pushing her hair back from her face. She plays with her dragon necklace, running the charm along the silver chain. She tends to do that when she's feeling strongly about something. When he hesitates, she drops the necklace and laces her fingers through his. She squeezes his hand in reassurance, and starts walking backwards, leading him out of the woods and towards the sunlit—or rather, brightly twilit—town.

They had both been lacking their Organization uniforms, and Ria had convinced him to wear something other than black that day. So, he'd chosen blue jeans and sneakers, but had opted to wear a black shirt anyways. Ria hadn't seemed to mind. Zexion, though he wouldn't admit it, had felt nervous about walking through the town and interacting with the people there.

Having Ria with him had made it easier, though.

"We're Nobodies, Ria," he protests, "We're not supposed to exist, and we shouldn't be intermingling with—"

She stops, and stares hard at him. It's one of those faraway looks she gets sometimes. "Zexion, we may not have hearts, but we still have needs. And we need to be part of the world every once in a while, or we'll lose ourselves," she says. She then looks him up and down, and smiles playfully. "Besides, a little sunlight isn't going to kill you."

He smiles a bit, and slowly follows her.

So they had gone walking, holding hands as though they were an ordinary couple. They had wandered around, eventually finding a way to climb on top of one of the buildings so they could watch the people below. A few of those people had actually smiled and waved at them. Ria had waved back without hesitation.

"You miss having a heart, don't you?" he asks tentatively, a few hours later. The light is beginning to fade, and everyone is heading home for the evening.

Ria has been watching the sunset, a small smile on her face. She sits with her legs over the edge of the roof, her hands holding the building as she leans forward. But at hearing his question, her smile disappears, and she pushes away from the edge. She lays back on the roof, her knees up, and her eyes studying the sky.

"Sometimes," she answers quietly, "It wasn't that long ago that I was…human, so…sometimes. I remember living in the city, and going to school and talking with my friends. I remember my heart beating, and I forget sometimes. But then I remember what it was like, and I can put my hand over my heart and know it should be there. It should be beating, but it isn't."

Zexion regrets asking the question, and opens his mouth to apologize—something he never does.

But Ria speaks again before he can, "When I was bored, I used to press my fingertips together and just let them rest there. After a little while, I could feel my pulse, and I would just watch my hands, or look at the designs on the rings I was wearing. It was such a meaningless habit, but…I miss it. I can do it now, and I swear to myself that I can feel my heart beating, but it's never true."

He looks over at her, wanting to offer her comfort. He finds her with her eyes closed, and he suddenly knows he shouldn't do anything. She is speaking what has surely been on her mind since becoming a Nobody, and the best thing he can do now was let her speak, and to listen.

"I was walking home when I was attacked by Heartless," she continued. "To us, they were just myths, just part of dark stories we heard when we were little. The parents in my world would say 'Be good, sweetie, be good unless you want the Heartless to come. They'll steal your heart, and make you one of them.' I never liked those stories, Zexion, I never did at all."

She sits up suddenly, and scoots as close to him as she can get. As she rests her head on his shoulder, he slides an arm around her waist in comfort.

"It was raining that day, just a little bit. But it was daytime, and the Heartless attacked, right there. I turned a corner and found the street empty, except for the dark shadows. They watched me with yellow eyes, and didn't hesitate before they attacked me. I fought back, of course," she says, laughing a little. "But it didn't help, and I blacked out halfway through the attack. I lost my heart while I was out, I guess, but it still hurt. I woke up in an alleyway, here in Twilight Town, and Xemnas found me a few hours afterward."

Zexion had been unsure of what to say, then. So, he had pulled her close and placed a kiss on her forehead.

"I'm…sorry," he whispers, "My…I lost my heart some time ago, but not to the Heartless. Remember how I described working with Xemnas, Vexen, and the others? After Ansem forbid Xemnas to continue the experiments, he did so anyway. We did the experiments in secret, using ourselves as test subjects when we couldn't…use people from outside the castle. Eventually, everyone had gone through a change but me, had lost their hearts to our desire for knowledge. I, naturally, was the next and last on the list, so my turn came. The others put me under, but misjudged the amount of anesthesia, and gave me too little in their excitement to continue.

"I woke up during the last part of the experiment, right when they prodded into the darkness of my heart. I woke up screaming, and Lexaeus and Xigbar had to hold me down."

He feels Ria let out a breath in surprise, and tense as she pulls away slightly to look at him fully. "Oh my…that's…" she breaks off, unsure of what to say, "I…"

"It's okay," he reassures, pulling her close. "It's been so long since then. Yet…" He looks away, towards the sunset.

"You still remember?" Ria offers.

He nods.

There was more to the story, but…Zexion hadn't wanted to tell her the rest then.

So, they had sat comfortably with each other until it was nearly dark. On the way back to the woods, though, Ria had stopped at a small corner shop that was still open. She had seen him looking over the more complicated puzzles, ones that were kept in white boxes. The words 'Puzzle, 2000 Pieces' were stamped on the side of the boxes. There was no picture of what the puzzle would be on the top, since it was supposed to be part of the surprise, a challenge of sorts.

Unexpectedly, Ria had bought one of the puzzles for him; where she had gotten the munny, he didn't know. Now, they sat on the floor of his living room, the puzzle three-fourths of the way complete.

It was getting near midnight, and Ria stood up, stretched, and went searching through the small kitchenette across the room. She liked, he noticed, to snack during the day. Her appetite, however much she was a Nobody, was healthy. He enjoyed using his cooking skills to make her food she hadn't tried before. It was one of the little things he loved about her.

Love? There was that word again, one he never would have seen himself using. He was a man of science, not of fate or feelings. Still, Ria seemed to have changed at least a small part of him, and he was grateful for the change.

Glancing down at the puzzle, he placed two more pieces with ease. Zexion then looked up to watch Ria again.

She smiled as she caught his gaze, and came to sit next to him. She brought with her a toasted bagel covered in cream cheese, and Zexion slid his arm around her waist.

Ria was a strange young woman, or rather, Nobody. Mostly, everyone—except Vexen, Lexaeus, and Xemnas—found his experiments dull and boring. They also found his enjoyment of completing puzzles strange.

But not Rianxan; these past few weeks, he had learned a lot about her. She watched him quietly when he worked in his lab, but she would often ask questions about what he was doing, or how something worked. She was intelligent, and he found some of her theories intriguing. At least once daily, she would say something that would make him stop and think. Ria was the first new member of the Organization to ever be interested in his work.

She had even joined him in completing this puzzle. Though she would get frustrated after a long time of not placing any pieces, she pressed on. He had put together most of the thing, but it didn't bother him. Ria helped when she could, was making an effort to try, and he enjoyed having her nearby.

Thirty minutes passed and he got most of the puzzle together. Just a few more pieces and they would be able to see the entire picture. For him, the puzzle wasn't so much challenging as time-consuming, but it was something he liked doing.

He was distracted then, as Ria stood up and walked across the room again. She returned with two water bottles, and offered him one as she sat back down.

She can be so innocent, sometimes, he thought suddenly, catching her green-gold gaze.

But Zexion knew she wasn't innocent, no more that he was. Ria had seen the darkness, and had fought against it and lost her heart in the process. She knew, like very few others, how cruel the universe could be.

Now, abruptly, of all times, Zexion felt compelled to finish the story he had begun to tell in Twilight Town all those hours ago.

"Ria?"

"Yeah?" she replied, looking at him. She wasn't so much sitting nearby as leaning against him. It was getting a little cold, and Zexion thought briefly that maybe one of them should get a blanket.

"After…" he began, "Once I woke up, Xaldin couldn't find the rest of the anesthetic; he said something about misplacing it later on. Beyond the pain, I vaguely remember Vexen shouting that they needed to hurry, or I would die. They had all been through the change and survived, but Vexen seemed convinced they would lose me if the situation wasn't taken under control soon. I wouldn't become a Nobody, he said, I would just…die."

Ria froze beside him, but listened.

"I remember Xemnas yelling something, and Lexaeus saying they couldn't lose me. I shuddered violently and screamed again, because the pain was becoming too much. Vexen couldn't stop the experiment or go back at that point. All I remember after that is hearing glass break, and someone holding a cloth over my mouth and nose. I drifted off, but I still remember the pain sometimes. I woke up hours later, and felt different."

He stopped, his story complete, and looked to see Ria's reaction. Her eyes were a mix of…emotions, it seemed. So many that Zexion could barely catch and identify then before they disappeared. But at last understanding filled her eyes, and she hugged him.

Zexion returned the embrace, and recalled that before meeting Rianxan, he had been one to avoid all physical contact with others.

As they pulled away, they settled into a more comfortable position and turned back to the puzzle. Ria placed a piece near the far corner, and Zexion smiled as he realized how the last half-dozen pieces fitted together. He quickly placed them exactly where they needed to go, and they leaned forward to study the picture.

It was beautiful. Half of the rectangular picture was bright blue sky, while the other half was dark and starry. The colors of the sky were expertly shaded together along the center line, with the sun and moon blended perfectly in a mix of pale yellow and silver-white.

When neither of them spoke for a little while, Zexion began to wonder what they would do now. Perhaps, in a week or two, he would let Ria take him to Twilight Town again.

"I remember the pain," he tells her, "what it was like, how hopeless everything seemed then. And I wonder, at moments, if it was worth it sometimes. Giving up my heart."

"Was it?" Ria asks quietly, near his ear.

Zexion looks at her for a moment. "Yes," he whispers, and kisses her.


End Note: Yes, I know it's a little short, but hopefully it was a good start. If you have any oneshot suggestions, let me know and I'd be happy to stick them in. Of course, I will definitely credit the ideas to the people who offered them at the beginning of the story. :) Right now, I've got about five more oneshots planned. Reviews? They would be greatly appreciated, but I won't be annoying or plead for them; it does only take like, 10 seconds to review, though.

-LadyDarkDreamer (AKA Silver)-