Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts. Believe me, if I did, things would be a lot different.

Author's Notes: I beg forgiveness for this taking me so long to write and get up. Forgive me, Ria!

Warnings: This contains shounen-ai and hints of adult themes.

Dedicated To: ShadowAili. This is probably the latest birthday present ever, but I still hope that you like it. Happy ultra-late birthday!

You're alive.

No, that's not quite true. He was alive. You are simply nothing. A Nobody, one of those creatures he studied with all of his heart and mind. He was a fool for getting that close. They all were. Who were they to experiment with something as important to a human being as a heart? They deserved losing their own. He deserved losing his.

That doesn't stop you from wanting your heart back. No, don't fool yourself. It was never your heart. It was his. Ienzo's. You are not Ienzo. Despite carrying all of his memories carefully and coveting them within your non-existent self, you will never be him. You will never be truly alive. At times, however, you can't help but imagine. It's illogical. You know that. It doesn't matter. When you are alone, you can pretend that his memories are yours and that the ghosts of emotions that flutter through your non-being are real. Only when you're alone. When you're with the others, you know that all of their theories, and his, are true, and that you can't feel anything without a heart.

The other members don't speak of the past often. Xemnas doesn't speak much of anything, save for of Kingdom Hearts. The others follow his lead, for the most part. Xigbar still comes around now and again with idle chatter about whatever is on his mind, and Vexen still complains about whatever is frustrating him at the time. You muse that they could never guess that you care about anything but achieving Xemnas' goals. That is all that matters, you tell yourself. To gain a heart by making Kingdom Hearts from the hearts the Heartless collect. To follow Xemnas as blindly as Ienzo followed Xehanort. History will always repeat itself.

You follow Xemnas because his theories are sound. How else could a Nobody gain a heart, save for by the assistance of Kingdom Hearts itself? There is no other way. You dismiss the doubt that almost feels heavy against your chest. These so-called emotions that you're feeling are mere phantoms created by Ienzo's memories. They're not real, you assure yourself. They can't be. You don't have a heart. You can't feel anything.

There are times, when you're alone, that you allow yourself to remember through Ienzo, of course, what it was like. Certain memories bring with them fragments of would-be emotions, some more so than others. Shadows of true curiosity, anger, annoyance, happiness, and infatuation. The latter intrigues you the most. It is obvious that Ienzo lingered quite often on it, but never allowed himself to admit what he was feeling. What a waste. Now, he would never have a chance. Would you have done the same thing, you wonder. Would you have had the courage to confront the blond-haired, blue-eyed boy?

Probably not. Hindsight is 20/20, after all. When put in that type of situation, your first impulse would be to act as Ienzo had done. None of it really matters, you decide. You could never love, even if the boy poor Ienzo felt so much for walked through the door.

Then why is it that it feels as though you've lost your, no, his, heart all over again when Number IX is brought to The World That Never Was? Why does the shadow of remembered guilt plague your thoughts every time you see him? It's not as though you ever really knew Myde. You deny ever believing that you held some hope for the boy Ienzo pretended not to care for making it out of Hallow Bastion (Radiant Garden then) with his heart intact. That doesn't stop the memory that is Ienzo for grieving for his loss.

Despite all of this, you avoid Demyx. You can't allow these mixed almost-emotions to cloud your judgment, and seeing those bright eyes confuses you every time. You tell yourself that Demyx doesn't remember Ienzo through Myde, and that it isn't hurt that you see in his eyes every time that you turn away. He doesn't have a heart. Why can't he understand that?

It's not infatuation that you're feeling. You can't feel, remember? Demyx is simply a non-someone that allows you to process your own sense of self better. He's merely a point of interest in your otherwise dull non-life. His large, beautiful eyes, slender neck, and lithe form have no real fascination.

When you wake up drenched in sweat with the echoes of Demyx's voice crying out in ecstasy still ringing in your ears, you begin to hate yourself.

You're sick for wanting him. Demyx is perfect, even without the presence of a heart. You are nothing. You have nothing to offer. You must be as invisible to Demyx as Ienzo was to Myde. Time turns on its great wheel, and you hate history for repeating itself.

When Demyx sits down next to you in the library, you do your best to ignore him. When he continues to try to make conversation despite all of your dismissals, you realize that your attempts could only fail. You tell yourself that Demyx isn't actually happy in your presence. He has no heart, even in his perfection.

You can't remember how it started. You know that Demyx had come to you for help on some trivial matter or another. You can't remember much after that. What you do know is that you took things too far, because he's kissed you and he's happy and you're not good enough.

You try to explain this to him, but he won't listen. He claims that history doesn't have to repeat itself, and that you can find happiness without a heart until you get one. You don't want to hear his illogical reason, but you can't help it. You're selfish. You know that it doesn't matter. If you can make him happy, then it doesn't matter.

You have to leave for Castle Oblivion. You know that this mission is very important, but part of you doesn't want to go. You leave anyway. You promise Demyx that you'll be back soon, and that he won't have time to miss you. He laughs and says that you had better because he doesn't like his left hand that much. Through all of the jokes, you both leave something unsaid. You could never say it. Despite all that you think you feel, you don't have hearts. You can't change that.

When the last traces of your non-life are fluttering past your eyes, you feel nothing but guilt. You should never have lied to Demyx. You're not coming back. You should never have lied to Demyx.

You love him far too much.

For a birthday present, that was way too sad. It was all that I could write, though. My mind refused to produce anything else. I'm sorry that it's so short, Ria. I hope that you like it, even a little. Again, happy ultra-late birthday!

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