Chapter 4


Roxas was concentrating intently on breathing. Inhale. Hold. Exhale. Repeat, and don't forget to blink. The blond nervously swept a tongue over his drying lips, trying to calm his jittery nerves down, but he already knew it was futile. It was all futile.

With a soft groan, he sank back into the worn cushions of the train seat, fingers still latched onto his laptop with a death grip that he couldn't shake off. The world outside, the city and its skyscrapers, only continued to rush by, blurred with speed, unknowingly moving past a man whose life had plummeted to the lower levels of hell with just a single page of a report. A report that had come in a deadly flash drive, given to him from the last person on earth who should have been handing out such dangerous information in the first place.

His phone rested on top of the thin computer, out of battery power. It had been enough of a shock for Roxas to receive that unexpected call from Riku (which had prompted him to drop the phone first), but as soon as the connection shut off and the man pulled his hand back to see a completely dead phone, it took all of his strength not to start… overreacting. Surprisingly enough, despite being rather on edge, Roxas was handling the situation well. Or, at least, he would have liked to think so. His hands were shaking and he was having a bit of trouble breathing, but otherwise, it could have been worse. He could have started screaming or tearing his hair out.

It wasn't everyday that he found out that he was in the middle of a conspiracy.

At least, that was what Roxas's mind kept returning to in its search for a plausible reason as to why Twilight Pharmaceuticals had its two brightest scientists as critical-state patients. The blond didn't exactly want to believe it, but he couldn't help himself; his thoughts kept straying back to the same thought. He didn't know what else it could possibly mean.

The blond stared out the window without actually seeing, eyes glazed over. He still had some theories. Axel and Sora could have been part of a freak accident that inflicted them with disease, and Twilight had wanted to hush it up, so they kept it quiet and simply made them patients, instead. But then, why go through the guise of researching them? Especially when Axel had, just a while ago, seemed to lose all his symptoms and then insisted that Roxas keep silent?

Roxas sighed to himself, thumb beginning an impatient tapping on the surface of the laptop. Another consideration was that perhaps the two scientists had willingly given themselves up for the sake of science. Then why the pleading for help during the hair-cut session yesterday and why the hush-up treatment? Regret, perhaps? And why the erasure of One and Two's history files in the official report?

And in general, after so many weeks of observation, why had all of this started coming together now? Surely, it was no coincidence.

In the end, the blond still really had absolutely no idea what was going on.

Roxas's head was buzzing with too many questions already; they were beginning to practically clog. The man sighed, letting his skull thud against the window and his eyes to close. It was too much, he needed more time to think. And possibly more coffee.

The blond sat out the rest of the train ride by putting in every effort on not thinking about Axel Minato and, once again, just breathing. He eventually managed to relax, but it left him slightly sleepy and dazed as he found himself making his way to his apartment. He didn't meet anyone's gaze nor greet a single person as he entered the building and hurried to catch the elevator.

One had-no, Axel- had told him to be careful. Roxas's paranoia shot up a notch as he glanced around at the young couple and the janitor who were in the elevator with him. Twilight Pharm. was a powerful corporation, they could easily have found out about Roxas's newly discovered information, and the blond had seen enough action videos to know that he was probably in danger if that was the case.

Then again, the protagonist usually had some sort of weapon in the movie, too, while all Roxas was armed with was a heavy messenger bag and laptop.

Were there assassins waiting around the corner? Roxas almost walked out of the elevator at the wrong floor, just managing to stop himself but barely even sparing his mistake a thought. Maybe there were ninjas his room? Angry Twilight employees? Was he going to die now that he had learned of the company's secret?

Bottom lip slipping between his teeth, proof of his anxiety, the scientist managed to stumble from the elevator as soon as it reached his floor, chewing away at the soft flesh. He was letting the fear get to him. Roxas was steadily becoming away of how dangerous it was, carrying information that he shouldn't have even known about. And Riku knew now, too. They were both in danger.

The first thing that Roxas planned to do once he made sure his home was safe was to snatch up his home phone and call the silver-haired man back. Their conversation had been cut short and continuing it to discuss their current situation held top priority. Then… Roxas didn't know what he would do.

Can I go back to work? Roxas thought grimly, trying to casually make it down the hall to his own living space without looking too spooked. Can I return to what I had before?

Things were different now. His patient wasn't a nameless being carrying a disease. It was suddenly a living, breathing being and the very idea scared him and disturbed him. Once again, Roxas was shying away from the fact that he had lost some of his regard for humanity a long time ago. Science and medicine had done this to him. Patients were no longer people but means to achieve an end, an obstacle to overcome. Suddenly, it was more important to break down a virus or infection and find a solution than to actually save lives.

It was disgusting.

Though at least his inner turmoil had been distracting enough that Roxas had managed to make it to his apartment and even get through the door, purely by routine. He stalled in the doorway, though, fingers still resting on the handle.

Roxas froze, mind reeling. The door to his apartment had been unlocked and he always locked it. He specifically even remembered turning the key that morning. There was no mistaking it; someone had beaten him to his place. Staring ahead without blinking, the blond raced through options, like his mind usually did. 'Think before you leap' and all that.

Then Roxas realized that he had absolutely no idea how to think the situation through and pick a rational course of action. It was undeniable now. He was getting in over his head. His nerves were all over the place, paranoia levels were at an all-time high, and he couldn't even piece together thoughts anymore. He was a scientist, damnit, not an action hero!

But the scientist's house was broken in and he definitely had to make a decision on what to do about that.

With a deep breath, Roxas silently toed off his shoes and gingerly shut the door behind him, effectively trapping himself with whoever had broken into his home. His heart was pumping at what he knew must have been an much higher rate than usual and his hands were shaking, but Roxas's mind had actually cleared with his choice to enter his apartment. Now that he at least had a set goal in mind of getting through his living area while hoping in earnest that the intruder wouldn't be too violent.

The blond grabbed an umbrella from the stand by the door to arm himself, just in case, leaving his laptop case nearby so that he at least had a fighting chance.

The roomy apartment had never been so absolutely dead silent. Roxas found himself holding his breath as he crept down the hall, clutching at his make-shift weapon. The corridor opened up and melded into his kitchen in the right and that was where the blond heard faint sounds of movement.

Roxas froze right at the wall, pressing against it as he attempted to peer around the corner. It seemed the burglar hadn't realized his presence yet. Forcing himself to take even breaths now, the scientist steeled himself for a struggle. By the looks of it, it wasn't going to end well. Roxas wasn't much of an athlete; he had never been going with physical things, he was an office man through and through, but the blond would still attempt to put up a fight. He had no choice.

"Hmm…" A sound came from the kitchen. A thoughtful hum. As if whoever was there had already made themselves at home. The blond snapped.

Brain going into overload, Roxas released a yell and dove around the corner into the kitchen, wielding his umbrella like a sword as he prepared himself to hit everything and anything that came at him, eyes scanning the area wildly as he did so.

A shriek of horror came from the refrigerator at the far end of the room. Fueled on by fear, the blond spun on his heel to face the intruder, umbrella at the ready… then stopped, arms still frozen in an offensive position and jaw falling open in shock.


"Please don't kill me." Roxas's long-time friend and former coworker from Oblivion Inc. whimpered from where he had slid to the floor, hands raised defensively, one of which was still clutching the bottle of water the man had probably just retrieved from the fridge before the blond had attacked.

Roxas set the umbrella down, ignoring the way that his body had begun shaking. "Wh-what are you doing here? You scared the life out of me!"

"You said I could come by whenever I wanted, and since I have your spare key, I just let myself in." Demyx muttered, daring a peek up at Roxas. When he saw that the other man looked just as startled as he was, he relaxed. "What was with the umbrella attack, man? Geez."

"S-Sorry." Roxas stuttered, sitting down and pressing a hand to his chest in an effort to calm his breathing and pounding heart. He felt… relief that he wasn't dead, mixed with annoyance at his friend for being a complete idiot. Demyx, meanwhile, stood and brushed himself off, even taking a moment to make sure his bizarre hair-do was still in order before turning back to his friend.

"Are you alright, Roxas? You look really pale. Want me to make you some coffee or something?"

Coffee. The elixir of life. It was exactly what he needed. Roxas nodded, becoming a bit too numb to speak, and peeled off his jacket instead, watching as his friend hurried to prepare the brew, using the blond's kitchen like it was his own.

Demyx Schultz had been a psychiatrist at Oblivion before the company had fallen apart. The man had been one of the few that had decided not to shift to the opposing company. Instead, he went out to make a living for himself elsewhere. As far as Roxas knew, Demyx had taken up guitar-playing again and had even gotten himself a few gigs.

Needless to say, that particular pursuit of interest wasn't going too well since the man had wandered into his apartment for food.

Moments later, the two settled down in the living room, Demyx with the food and water he had looted and Roxas with his relaxing coffee.

"So are you going to tell me why you almost tried to kill me?" Demyx asked cheerily, digging into the bag of chips he had scrounged up.

Roxas's tone was less than eager. "Are you going to tell me why you snuck into my house to eat my food?"

"I was hungry?"

"Well, then, I was under the assumption that you were a burglar." Roxas replied shortly, not impressed with the other man's answer. They were friends, yes, but that was only on good days. They hadn't talked all too often, even when they had still been working together. The blond wasn't in the mood for the happy-go-lucky Demyx, either, especially after the scare he just had. He wanted nothing more than to explore the flash drive some more and call Riku.

Demyx, however, didn't look like he was leaving anytime soon. He sat back contentedly in Roxas's couch and munched away, completely oblivious to the blond's deteriorating patience. "Innocent mistake, I suppose. I did try calling your cell phone, but it said it couldn't connect. ­Anyway, what have you been up to, Roxie?"

Roxas inwardly cringed but fought off the urge to throw the man out, taking an extra-large gulp of coffee to distract himself as he realized that he wasn't in the mood for chit-chat. How could one possibly sit down for a cup of coffee after nearly having a nervous breakdown?

He kept his answer simple. "Er. Work. You know. The usual."

"Obviously, seeing as you're still as serious and grouchy as usual." Demyx chortled, looking absolutely at ease and pleased with himself, as well.

"Yeah, well, some things never change, I suppose." Roxas muttered in response, taking another sip of his drink. "How about you?"

"Oh, you know, just this and that." Demyx cracked open his water bottle and took a thoughtful sip, shrugging and acting nonchalant.

"Still doing the band thing?"

That was obviously what Demyx had wanted to talk about most, since his eyes visibly lit up and he nearly spit out the water in his mouth. "Oh, you know it! The Nobodies are so going big, you have no idea! We've got gigs lined up all next week and I don't think I've ever seen Xiggy so excited! I might even get a solo part in our next single!"

"Huh, you don't say."

Demyx beamed, "How's Riku, by the way? I haven't seen him in ages."

"Er. Working. You know. The usual."

By the sudden pout on Demyx's lips, Roxas could tell that the other man, as well as the conversation, was losing steam. A tense silence followed. Demyx's merry attitude faded a fraction and his eyes began wandering, hoping to find something distracting. Eventually, he settled on the wall-clock over the entertainment center and proceeded to gasp out in horror, startling Roxas enough that he almost spilled his coffee.

"Oh, shoot, I'm late for rehearsal!"

"Goodness, we can't have that!" In an instant, Roxas set down his mug and stood, hurrying over to Demyx to pull him from his seat. The mullet-hawked man stuttered in protest, but Roxas wouldn't have any of it. He hurried the man to the door, eagerly bidding him a good evening and that he call him later if he really wanted to catch up on old times.

Demyx was left out in the hall, looking wounded and still clutching at his bottle of water and bag of chips.

As soon as the door was shut and tightly locked and disaster was neatly avoided, Roxas released a deep sigh. He had had enough shocks and surprises for one day. Truly, what else could life possibly throw at him? Anything worse than Demyx would possibly snap his sanity in two.

Grabbing his laptop case, the scientist made his way back to his coffee mug and armchair, sliding out the computer with practiced ease. Working and thinking; this was what he did best, even under pressure. Carefully pulling out the flash drive again, the blond wasted no time in inserting it into his laptop, clicking his way back through the folders. He had no time to wait or freshen up; this required his immediate attention, and later, once Roxas was sure that Riku was off work and home, he would call his partner back, too.

In seconds, his computer and the flash drive were up and running.

It took a little bit of clicking and exploring, but the blond figured out most of the contents soon enough. While the memory device held a huge collection of folders, not all of them held any importance to Roxas. It appeared that this had been Axel's personal jump drive. Many of the files were simple data lists. However, one folder did snatch up Roxas's attention. It was an entire gig of information under the title of "For the benefit of all." Curious, the blond opened it.

It was a digital journal, written by none other than Axel Minato himself. Snatching up his coffee again, Roxas sat back and began to read. It there was one good way to get down to the bottom of the whole situation, this was it.


August 2nd, 2123

Undoubtedly, I think Sora is being rather silly by telling me that I need to keep a journal, but regardless. Keeping memories on paper, my ass, he just wants me to have a damn hobby. I thought to possibly jot my findings on our research of the Epidermolysis Bullosa, but Sora insists that this strictly be a diary-thing. I'm not a girl, but I suppose I'll humor him just this once. I hope you're happy, Sora.

Name, Axel Minato. Age, 25. Profession? Currently a research director at Twilight Pharmaceuticals. I lead the big, rich boring life of having people work under me. I get to make some of the semi-important decisions. But at least people say I'm brilliant. I'm more hands-on than most people here and I guess sticking my nose in places it doesn't belong to help out my little underlings is what makes me so brilliant. That flu shot didn't create itself, after all. And yeah, I guess Sora helped, too, but he's just the man working the medicine.

I'm losing interest in this already.

August 7th, 2123

Yuffie cornered me today to tell me how another moron tried to threaten Twilight by exposing our whole line-up of medicine we're working on.

I don't think I've ever seen the girl look so happy in describing how the man got beat up by security and then thrown out of the building after his body was searched and the three flash drives of information he had been hiding were trashed.

Twilight Pharmaceuticals is a pleasant place. I don't know how that idiot got hired in the first place.

August 10th, 2123

The database has been closed on Epidermolysis Bullosa. Now that we've gotten that gruesome skin disease out of the way, I can't wait to finally start helping with something less rare and unknown. If those two from Oblivion can get interesting projects to work on, why can't Sora and I?

(On a completely random note, I've been raring to meet Ventus and Suzume since they came out with Verlazil. I haven't met anyone interesting in ages.)

Word's going around that Ansem brought in some French guys to help work on the latest project that, surprise, I'm not assigned to. The disease itself intrigues me, though. Anterior Cingulate Cortex Disability Complex. As catchy as the name is, the symptoms themselves fascinate me. To be completely numbed down with no emotions or feelings… I've never tackled anything of the like before. Nor will I, if this keeps up. I can tell that Ansem's little lackey, Larxene, wants me to work on some silly allergy medicine.

Twilight is a good company, to be sure, but things are much too boring here. Most of the higher-ups are no fun and even though I've worked under Ansem ever since I started, he still gives me the creeps.

I hate being kept on a leash here.

August 11th, 2132

That damn pink-haired moron got the spot to work on ACCDC. Me? Hayfever. Coughing, sneezing, wheezing, sniffly subjects all over the place.

To put it in scientifically, life blows.

August 12th, 2123

I dislike hayfever intensely. That is all.

August 13th, 2123

Once again, I've stuck my nose where I didn't need to. By pure luck, I managed to spot the ACCDC subjects being brought in while I was meeting with the French newbies. That stiff, Vexen, said that they had already prepared a week's worth of test samples to try on their two patients. The process of going every day and trying out new strings of medicine to see what works will begin soon, too. I couldn't help but go and do a little bit of research, myself, to see what Marluxia was planning on doing, since to my surprise, Vexen and Oletta were being rather hush-hush about the details.

And I do love finding out secrets.

It started with a simple run through the database, a handy privilege of being a research director. Others can usually only access their own files. It was a method developed by Twilight to protect the more in-depth research projects; we've had trouble with a couple of people running to other companies in the past before after reading files they shouldn't have (See August 7th). It's no surprise that our company secrets sell big.

I found Ansem's section and began clicking through to the ACCDC section. Innocent file browsing, that was all it was. Except aside from all of the other medicines that I knew we've been working on, there was one folder called "Syns." I had never heard of anything of the sort, but it was right in the ACCDC folder, so I assumed they were related. It was intriguing.

It was also password-blocked, which I had never encountered before. Oh yes. Someone is keeping secrets.

I've read the whole thing, rather sneakily, busting through the password. I'm in trouble now. I truly don't know when to mind my own business.

Now the question is… should I keep this to myself?

August 13th, 2123, con't

Words gets out fast. I forgot about the very small details that manages to hold our whole company together; our camera system. Ansem knows. And I shouldn't. I'm on lunch break now, and I don't know whether or not to return to my office. This isn't going to end well.

I just found out the biggest company secret of all; so secret that only Ansem's division knows about it. The ACCDC research is a set-up, merely a tool to further his goals of creating his own disease to manipulate whoever he wishes. He's learning to control human emotions, bend them to his own will, while holding the antidote just out of arm's reach. And everything would have gone well, if not for … me. I don't know anything else about Syns, if there are any victims already or how far along his project is going, but the general outcome is obvious and if Ansem gets away with it, he'll make millions and set up Twilight as the reigning company in the whole world.

I can't do anything at this point, which frustrates me. I know that they'll find a way to shut me up somehow. It's obvious they won't kill me, but they'll find something. I'm contemplating death threats and constant surveillance and possibly the loss of my job. I'm not an easily fixed slip-up; how do you undo finding out about a company plot to exploit the human race?

However, I myself have made a mistake, and now I'm paying for it. I should have been more careful.

I'll leave this flash drive in the safest place I know. Sora, I can only hope that you find it and don't get involved in this. I don't even have time to write down the details now. I know you're my partner in crime around here in Twilight, but I won't drag you down with me and my stupid mistake. Even I don't know how to stop Ansem. By the time you read this, I think the Syns folder will be moved to a much safer place and I won't be talking.

This is my last journal entry, Sora. I'm sorry I couldn't write more. But… Thanks.


Roxas sat back with a sigh, fourth cup of coffee already half-empty in his right hand. To be sure, Axel had not diligently kept an update on his journal, but it had held enough information, at least, for Roxas to get some idea of what had happened three months before.

Axel had delved too deep, which resulted in him being silenced by becoming a test subject for Syns. It hadn't been a freak accident at all; they had forced the man to become a patient to perfect the ideal string of the Syns disease. In reality, he was being held there in Twilight against his will, a virtual prisoner, however that was. Roxas could only speculate on how they were keeping Axel in line. Was it a permanent disease, or was he completely healthy if left alone? How Sora had gotten involved was uncertain, too, but it just proved that with the answers that Roxas received came a ton of more questions.

For one, who else knew of the truth behind Syns, aside from Ansem? Who could Roxas trust? Riku was a given, as well as Naminè, but the blond knew he had to be on his toes from now on, especially with the camera surveillance. If Ansem suspected anything, they would be keeping an eye on him. Roxas had a feeling he wouldn't be able to freely discuss anything pertaining to Axel, but put on an act instead, just as Naminè had done earlier after the flash drive had been passed on.

Speaking of the flash drive… It had been intended originally for Sora, so how had the object made its way to him? And why? Axel had been kept silent for so long, so how had he managed to return to his old self and give Roxas the jump drive in the first place?

"Why did you give this to me?" Roxas murmured, frowning thoughtfully as he glanced back at his computer. What could he possibly do now? Would he save Axel and Sora? Or leave them there and just let time run its course?

And was Roxas even safe anymore? Now that he knew, was he going to meet the same end as Axel? Why had Twilight involved him in this in the first place?

A lot of why, how, what, but no answers.

The blond laughed weakly at himself, snapping out of his questions frenzy. "Goddamn, this is a conspiracy, after all. What the hell am I supposed to do now?"

However, among the plethora of problems, there were some things that even Roxas managed to decide in his daze. Of course he wouldn't leave Axel and Sora to the mercy of Twilight. Riku wouldn't allow it, anyway. The red-head had asked him to help, had expected the blond to figure it all out. Roxas couldn't possibly let him down now, let alone allow Ansem to get away with whatever he was trying to pull. He would have to watch his step from now on, yes, but he would figure out a way to help.

The scientist had a suspicion that his sudden determination had stemmed from the coffee he had downed, but he ignored it. First things first; calling Riku.

Unfortunately, both the silver-haired man's home and cell phone rang through to the answering machine with no answer.

"Hey, this is Riku Suzu-" Roxas set down his phone sharply before he listened through another recorded message. No Riku then. The blond tried not to dwell on what the other man's absence could mean. For now, he would have to deal with the situation on his own. Hopefully, Riku was doing something helpful on his end, as well.

Stretching until his bones popped, Roxas let out a content hum and propped his laptop up again. With over 600 mg of caffeine under his belt, it was time to pull a hefty all-nighter to do what Roxas truly did best.


Roxas's hands didn't even shake when he returned to Twilight the next day. Panic and nervousness had numbed him down completely, but he forced himself not to look like a jittery, nervous wreck as he walked through the halls and even managed a 'good morning' to Aeris as he passed her by. The cameras are watching, the cameras are watching… stay calm. No one seemed to suspect him and Roxas made it through the building safely. However, to make matters worse, Riku was absent from their shared office, so the blond was forced to down a cup of coffee alone and, without any relief from his friend, make his way over to One's room. Or was it cage?

Axel had told him the day before to stay away. But Roxas refused. He couldn't, not now, not when he had so many things to ask the man, or at least press Naminè for answers. He needed to see someone to at least make sure that this whole experience wasn't a horrible dream or concoction of his over-worked brain.

To his surprise, Naminè was already there by the doors, waiting with a disheartening, grim expression.

"Dr. Ventus, I'm afraid that One cannot be observed today." She said softly, thrusting forward the stats of One, as she usually did in the morning. Roxas didn't even glance at the clipboard, advancing on the nurse instead.

"What do you mean? What's the problem?" And why? Why is he worse? What are they doing to him?

Naminè's voice shook, but she kept her stance and gaze firm as her mouth tightened into a pained line. "I'm afraid, doctor, that his symptoms have become worse and he poses a much greater threat now to others. Ms. Gainsborough has strictly forbidden anyone from entering."

"But…I have to talk to-I mean, observe him." Roxas's grip on the clipboard tightened, disbelief clouding his features. He knew full well that Naminè was putting up an act for the surrounding security systems, but even now, it was apparent that something was wrong. "But didn't you give him his medicine this morning?"

"Yes." The girl's eyes dropped. "His status visibly worsened after that, about an hour ago."

"Has his dosage been changed in any way recently?" An idea of the whole situation slowly began to come together for him. Why didn't I realize it before?

"I-I, Doctor… I…"

Of course.

It was the medicine. The daily shots that Naminè administered to One every morning. Each hypodermic needle carried a new string of medicine that was injected into One's bloodstream in a day-by-day experiment of which solution was best for fighting against Syns. Or, at least, that's what everyone had been told. It was so simple to just disguise the disease as an actual dose of medicine. Which meant that without his shots, Axel would have been normal, as he had the day before.

Twilight Pharmaceuticals had found the perfect way to silence one of their best scientists.

He wanted to ask, just to make sure. Naminè, is the medicine itself the cause of the Syns? Have you been putting Axel through this yourself?

Roxas had assumed that the disease had already been present and Twilight had possibly been purposely not treating Axel and Sora properly. Apparently, this was no longer the case.

"Naminè." Roxas said slowly, giving the girl a meaningful look. He had to be careful, not knowing just who was listening in. He kept his words soft, hoping that the nurse would understand. "Naminè, did you remember to give him his shots yesterday? The new test samples?"

Naminè suddenly gave him a patronizing look, mixed with a warning glare. "Roxas, please, I know you may doubt my skills sometime, but trust me enough to do my job properly."

I can't tell you. Not here. Not now.

"Ah, yes… I'm sorry. Should I just observe from the regular room, then? And look over the stats?"

I understand. Are the answers here in the report?

"I think you'll find everything you want to know there, doctor." Naminè replied, mouth relaxing as she nodded and made a move to leave. "If you have any trouble, please feel free to call me."

"Would you maybe like to have lunch with me today?" Roxas abruptly asked, looking surprised himself at the suggestion.

Naminè blinked, then smiled, sensing the man's intentions. "I would love to. I'll see you later, then. Please keep an eye on One."

Be careful.

Somewhat wary now of the girl's warning, Roxas nodded goodbye and turned to head in to his usual observation room, immediately looking through the glass to see One's state, fearing the worst. But it was quiet and still. The red-head was sitting exactly in the middle of the room, facing the blond. There was a slight rocking motion shifting his body, but at first glance, there didn't appear to be anything wrong.

Puzzled, Roxas sat down at the table and began flipped through the charts and report that the nurse had handed him. And after a moment, he found what Naminè had been trying to tell him, hidden within the charts and data graphs. Words scattered in places, hidden. But Roxas picked up on it.

"They've increased the dosage of Syns. It's no longer a single condition, but he's all seven states at once. This will last about a week. I'll tell you everything I can later."

So that was that. Roxas's jaw tightened, snapping the report folder shut. A week. Axel would be unable to help for a week, and the blond wasn't certain how long he could hold out.

Glancing back at the patient again, One, as he used to be called, Roxas was startled to notice that the man seated in the room, still rocking helplessly, was crying. His cheeks were wet and his hair hung limply around his shoulders, a dull red. The man had been driven to a grim state, almost being treated like an animal, a simple test subject. What shocked Roxas to the core, however, wasn't Axel's physical state.

It was his eyes. The green eyes that had, even in Syns, been a window of emotions and turmoil for the man. They were blank and dull. Axel had the gaze of the defeated, dying, dead. The soul had dulled.

Roxas bit his lip. The man known was Axel Minato was, for the time being… dead.

LUL, I AM SO GLAD I UPDATED THIS KTHXBAI. -curls up in corner and dies-