Their memories… well, all of them used a different term. Zexion had been fond of "fluctuated." Lexaeus would have said something like "ebbed and flowed." Xaldin probably would compare them to the air in most worlds—blowing in a torrent one moment, deathly still the next. Vexen would have said something aptly scientific.
Xemnas would say nothing.
As for Xigbar, he had nothing as poetic to say. To him, memories were just annoying little wisps of something that wasn't there anymore. Sometimes he remembered a boy named Braig who lived in a castle with all his friends, and sometimes he couldn't. That was all.
When he could remember, he tried not to.
She'd pulled his ponytail one time too many.
"Do you want me to let Xehanort babysit you instead?" Braig threatened, and she went from giggling to sober in an instant. She didn't like Xehanort, for whatever reason. Braig swallowed back guilt.
"Good," he grumbled. "So stop pulling my hair, you little terror."
A beam split her face and he couldn't help but smile. She had that way with people, a way to make everyone smile.
"Mouse!" she said, pointing over his shoulder. Braig turned to see a tiny figure walking by the windows.
"Yes," he replied, for the fifteenth time. "That's right, he's a mouse. Want to play?"
"Want ice cream."
"You're gonna get fat. Look, there's Elaeus. You like Elaeus. Go climb him."
With a squeal of delight, she trotted off, her arms outstretched. Braig watched Elaeus pick her up as though she weighed no more than a feather and put her on his shoulders. She was obviously pleased with her new horsie and pointed back towards Braig.
"I believe you lost this," Elaeus said, coming over. Braig groaned.
"Why does she like me?" he moaned. "Why not you? You're good with kids. Why not Even? He's her freaking brother."
"Whatever, she doesn't know the difference. I don't even like kids."
But anyone would make an exception for her. She was just too adorable.
If only he could remember her name.
It was one of those days, Xigbar thought, irritably drumming his fingers on one of his guns. One of the days where things just slipped away. One of the days where he could hear the Falls in the back of his mind but couldn't remember where they had been, or know the name "Braig" but not remember for the life of him what Xaldin's name had been, or remember what Ansem had looked like because Xehanort kept replacing him, even in their memories.
It was also, evidently, one of those days when Demyx decided he wanted to play cook. Xigbar backtracked a few steps on the ceiling—where he walked when he didn't want to be disturbed—and grinned as he looked into the kitchen.
"I thought you were on guard duty, mister," he said. Demyx jumped so badly that he almost dropped the knife and peanut butter, and Xigbar chuckled.
"She's hungry," Demyx said, and that was funny too. Xigbar liked it when Demyx tried to stand up for himself. "I thought it might be better not to starve the hostage."
Xigbar's grin widened. The kid sounded like a bad gangster movie. Let him think he was in trouble, eh? It was fun to scare IX.
"Yeah, I get it," he drawled. "But send a Dusk next time. That chick's supposed to have crazy Light powers."
Demyx's lip stiffened and Xigbar was surprised. The Nocturne was sticking up for the Princess now?
"It's not 'chick,'" the musician said. "It's Kairi."
It was like a floodgate opening, as though the name had been the key to the rusty doors of his memory. He flipped right-side-up and grabbed Demyx by the shoulders.
"What'd you say?" he demanded hoarsely.
"Her name's Kairi," Demyx stammered. It was enough. Xigbar pushed away, teleporting to the Altar of Naught. The name was halfway out of his throat already as he appeared.
The Superior was right where he always was these days, staring up at the half-finished Kingdom Hearts above. Xigbar seized him by the front of his coat, pulling him close.
"You knew, didn't you?" he growled. He saw a bristle of blue out of the corner of his eye and glared at Saïx. "Shoo," he said. The Diviner hesitated, teeth half-bared, but a nod from his master made him reluctantly pull away.
"Knew what?" Xemnas asked, hands coming up to try to pry Xigbar's fingers off. When that failed, he let himself be held, remaining coolly aloof.
"About Kairi?" Xigbar prompted. He may have imagined it, but there was a flicker of something-or-other in Xemnas' face.
Xigbar made an annoyed noise in his throat.
"You know perfectly well. The Princess of Heart. Sora's little girlfriend. It's not a common name, Xemnas. Kairi. The Kairi. You know, the redhead we've got locked up right now? Ansem'sdaughter?"
Xemnas looked down, again trying to pry Xigbar off of him, but the Freeshooter would not be moved.
"I know her," he said, the picture of cool detachment. "You mean you didn't recognize her?"
"Why didn't you tell us that she was alive?" Xigbar demanded.
"I didn't think it mattered," Xemnas said. Xigbar snorted in disbelief, finally letting go, pushing him away.
"You never change, you know that?" he said, unable to keep up the charade of anger for long. Xemnas' smile was as empty as the rest of him. It felt like a black hole, and even Xigbar couldn't look at it for long. He stared up at the heart-shaped moon, letting out his breath in a long sigh before looking back.
"Did you ever think things would end up like this?" he asked.
Xemnas' face was eerily blank of any emotion. But then, it had always been that way.
"Yes," he said softly. "Perhaps I knew it all along."
He stared at her the next time he was on duty. The more he looked, the more familiar she became. That nose she had inherited from her mother, the stubborn mouth, the eyes, as blue as her father's had been before being tainted by darkness. She glared right back, mistrusting, but she had softened. Demyx had probably told her some crap about him being a big softie.
"What?" she asked at last. "Is there something on my face?"
"Nope," he answered. "Just thinking how much you look like your dad."
Surprise flashed across her face. She drew closer to the bars, looking curiously up at him.
"You know my father?" she asked uncertainly.
"Yeah, I knew him," II replied. He couldn't think of the proper emotion to put into his voice, so he settled for none. Kairi didn't seem to care.
"Where is he? Who is he?" she asked. Xigbar weighed his options, then grinned.
"Why should I tell you?" he countered.
"Because it's polite," she said. Xigbar laughed.
"Kairi, Kairi, Kairi," he drawled. "What gave you the impression that I was polite?"
She folded her arms and sat with her back to him. There was a long silence. Then Xigbar spoke again.
"For all I know, he's dead."
They said nothing more.
Xigbar went home for the first time in a few years at the first excuse he got: confirm Demyx's death. The Nocturne's plate in the Proof of Existence had suddenly gone red. The Dancers were in a state of shock. He found a group of them clumped where the city's main gate had once been, staring at the decorative mosaics on the ground. He dismissed them with a wave. Soon all of the Dancers would either perish or devolve into regular Dusks, whichever came first. The same thing had happened with the servants of those who had gone to Oblivion.
He kicked a loose rock around for a while. It seemed like the Organization was done for. There were five of them left now, not counting Axel. Five out of thirteen.
It didn't seem right, that Demyx was gone. He was one of those people who seems like a constant presence, like you can turn and they'll be there. Demyx hadn't been like the rest of them. He'd been something totally different. Sora didn't know what he'd done. No, the kid just tromped around in huge shoes, swinging a Keyblade left and right, and the Organization was paying the price.
"Hey," Xigbar said to Xaldin. "You know Kairi?"
"Excuse me… Um… is Demyx coming back soon?"
"No. He isn't coming back."
"Never. You can thank your buddy Sora for that."
Stupid Sora, never make a girl cry.
"Hey," he said. She looked up from her drawing of IX, red-eyed. He hesitated. "Don't cry, okay?"
"Why not?" she answered. "Saïx said I should like being able to feel."
"Don't cry," Xigbar repeated, feeling Braig in his voice. "'Cause…"
'Cause it makes me feel terrible.
A/N: You like? You review?� You cry?