Zexion sighed as he slid his finger delicately behind the next page of the paperback book

Zexion sighed as he slid his finger delicately behind the next page of the paperback book. His analysis of all the classic novels was not going well, at best. So far he'd gone through A Tale of Two Cities, (that had been painfully dull, even by his standards), Wuthering Heights, (mildly intriguing), and To Kill a Mockingbird, (probably the best so far). He had just started The Scarlet Letter and was already disappointed. Contrary to what the back of the book said, ("An excellent display of human emotions at there best and worst!"), all it had turned out to be was a long-winded description of the environment in question, (the author had obviously made an effort to make it sound poetic in reminisce of other great authors of his time, but it rang as merely words in Zexion's ear), and then about two lines of dialogue. All much too over-the-top for him, honestly.

He sighed again and placed the offending book in question on the mahogany table next to his chair, looking around his bland living area with disinterest. Maybe he would go get a cup of tea; that might keep him awake, because God knows the book wasn't.

But before he could even fully finish that thought it was interrupted by an all-too-familiar noise.


Bang, bang bang!


Pausing for a brief moment in front of the white double doors that led to the long leading hallway, Zexion briefly contemplated leaving the blonde sitarist to his fate.


As Demyx's whimper rang throughout the castle, Zexion disregarded that last thought and opened the door.

A mass of black and dirty blonde threw itself at him the moment it could squeeze its narrow body through.

"Zexion…Thank you so much! I thought I was gonna DIE!"

"Did you now?" Zexion said stiffly as he attempted to pry the taller man off him. "I hadn't noticed."

When Demyx realized that Zexion's small hands were trying to wrench him off, he released the shorter one from his grateful bear-hug with regret. "Oh…Sorry."

"Right," Zexion said, brushing off his own shoulder and taking a step away from the overzealous man. Why was it that everyone always treated him like a teddy bear, always leaning their arms on him, attempting to squeeze his cheek, or trying to hug him? His body was nineteen, for God's sake! No matter how short he happened to be, he was not something to hug! "So, Number Nine, may I inquire about what you did this time?"

At that, Demyx's light bronze cheeks blushed slightly. "Ehh...heh…Uhm…about that…Well, you see…Axel was being mean and teasing me about…well," (he blushed even redder this time), "something. So I decided to get back at him. So when he was coming out of the bathroom, I took a bucket of water and poured it all over him. Then he got mad. So…one thing led to another, and I don't know how it happened, but Saix ended up finding the mess, and you know how much Saix scares me. He told me to clean up the mess while he went and dealt with Axel, (whatever that means). So I looked in the bathroom and we didn't have any towels or anything in there that could be used to clean up the water! So I kept looking, and behind all the soap and stuff, I found a pack of…well…" (His cheeks turned even redder and he started to stutter in his haste to explain), "well, they were Larxene's apparently, but I didn't know that and there was nothing else to use! And they were REALLY absorbent. And how was I supposed to know that girl Nobodies still PMS?!"

The room was silent for a moment as Zexion comprehended Demyx's words. When he did, his reaction was surprising, to say the least.

It took a full thirty seconds before Demyx realized that Zexion was laughing. When he did, though, he couldn't help but join him.

Ienzo lurched in his sleep, the fading images of a life so much drearier than his still fuzzy on the edges of his vision. He brought his hand to his forehead, feeling lightheaded.

"Zexion?" he murmured, closing his eyes to the semi-darkness of his hospital room. He could feel him in the flanks of his mind, still, and he could tell that something was wrong.

After awhile of waiting and still not receiving an answer, Ienzo sighed and slowly relaxed onto his bed. Zexion was clearly distressed, but he obviously wanted to be alone right now. Ienzo would give it to him.

He then smiled bitterly at the thought of 'leaving a person in his head alone'. How strange his life had become.

And even stranger that he was already so well-adjusted to it. It was even spooky; one might call it, the gracefulness in which Ienzo had accepted the facts. Or perhaps that had been Zexion, too, playing with his mind even in those early stages.

Well, whether or not he's messing with my mind, Ienzo thought dully, it's not like I can actually blame him. I would have done the same thing. And all he's done so far is help me.

And with those thoughts, Ienzo drifted off to sleep, not even realizing the faint trail of a single salty tear sliding slowly across his, (or was it Zexion's?), cheek.

Lea spent the night in a hotel. It's not like it's anything he hadn't done before. Besides, it's not like Reno actually cared. He was always out on a job or drinking with the guys or doing…other things. Not like Lea was bitter. He'd be doing the same thing in Reno's position. Besides, it's not like Lea couldn't look after himself.

He skipped school the next day, too, (again, nothing he hadn't done before). What? He was a senior. He hardly had any classes as it was. Besides, he'd already learned everything he needed to from school in the fourth grade.

Reading. Writing. Basic Algebra and Geometry. What else was there? Nothing, that's what. They just prolonged children's school lives because they wanted to keep them out of trouble.

And it's not like Lea ever got in trouble, anyway. So, basically, finishing high school was already giving more than he needed to.

What…? Oh, well, yeah, his sixth grade teacher hadn't really bought that one, either.

Well, either way, Lea was free for the day. He strode through the park leisurely, enjoying the feeling of power he got when he didn't follow rules every once in awhile. …Okay, so he did that a lot, but that doesn't mean he didn't appreciate every power-rush he got.

It was at that moment that he located his bench.

Sighing with pleasure, he sprawled across its rickety iron frame. "How I've missed you!" he crowed dramatically, rolling over to his stomach and hugging the armrest his head was now resting on.

…Hey, don't look at him like that. He's lonely and bored, okay? His friends are all somewhere doing who knows what because of whatever and he didn't really care. The only thing that bothered him about them being busy was because they obviously knew more than he did and were unwilling to share their information. Myde was right to call and warn him, Lea agreed, but why wouldn't he explain? He'd, (after swallowing his pride and flushing it down the toilet), tried calling him zillions of times already and had gotten nothing but the recording. And to top all THAT off, everyone else was in school, so there wasn't even anyone to prank call or something as mildly amusing as that.

Lea sighed, his good mood already down the drain.

"Oh, lighten up, loser."

Oh. Right. He'd almost forgotten about it. He DID have another person to talk to, after all.

"Leave me alone, Axel," Lea grumbled into his arms. "I'm having an epic teenage angst moment. You're ruining the mood."

"Will you quit being such a girl and pay attention?"

Lea glared. Not at Axel, of course, because that would be somewhat of a form of self-hate and Lea was NOT one to fall so far. "I prefer talking to my bench," he said snootily, then hung his head and shut his eyes. "Now leave me alone."

"…Don't say I didn't warn you."

Lea sat up and looked around. "What? I don't see anything!"

"He's over there."

Instinctively, Lea looked down the path. There, a figure was walking towards him with apparent ease.

The man was older than him, that much he was sure. Probably in his late twenties. His hair was blonde and cut in shaggy layers on his head. He had a small patch of well-groomed facial hair growing under his chin. As he got closer, Lea realized that he had two earrings in each ear and a small stud on his eyebrow. Obviously not your typical business man, though he was wearing a suit and carrying a briefcase.

"Hello," Lea said brightly from his seat. The man looked up and stared at him. Suddenly, he smiled.

"Hello, sir, it's a pleasure to meet your acquaintance. My name is Durlo-"

"Lea," Lea offered, holding out his hand. Durlo shook it after a brief pause. "Sit down, will you?"

Durlo obliged gratefully. "Ah…that feels better. My feet are killing me. Damn these standardized formal shoes! How I long for my normal trainers right now!"

Lea laughed. "I know what you mean."

Durlo looked at him after a pause. "So…May I inquire as to why you called me over? I don't believe I know you…Or do I?"

"Nah…I just needed to tell you something. It's kinda important. And, unfortunately it's my…err, job, I guess you could call it."

"Well," Durlo said, "if that's the case, why don't we exchange advice? I'll go first."

"Hm…Alright. Seems like a fair deal."

"Splendid! My advice to you, young Lea: go to college. It may seem like a waste of time, but it pays, in the end. Believe me, I would know."

It took a moment for Lea to register that Durlo was serious. He blinked, at loss of words.

"Now," Durlo said slyly, obviously aware that he'd caught the teenager off guard, "I believe you owe me a piece of advice?"

"Oh…right," Lea said hesitantly. "Well, it's like this…Luxord, buddy, avoid places that are secluded, especially at night and if they're covered in shadows. And especially if those shadows have eyes…"

Perhaps Lea's life wasn't so unfulfilling after all.

The next day, Ienzo was officially released from the hospital.

Myde was the one who enthusiastically pushed the wheelchair to the front entrance.

"Aw…cheer up, 'Zoey. Aren't you excited? You finally get to go home!" Myde said as he narrowly avoided smashing into a brown haired lady pushing a cleaning cart.

Ienzo grip on the armrest tightened as Myde continued to wheel him towards the doors.

While Myde somewhat disappointedly halted as they reached his mom's car, Ienzo stood up gratefully.

"I'll go return this, okay? Here are the keys to unlock the car," Myde said as he tossed him the keys. Ienzo caught them easily and turned to unlock the passenger side door. "I'll be right back."

Ienzo watched Myde's tall, long-limbed form scurry off back towards the hospital, pushing the blue wheelchair in front of him.

It seemed only a minute later that Myde was back. Ienzo handed over the keys wordlessly.

Myde paused before he inserted the keys into the ignition. A strange look crossed over his boyish features. "Do you wanna drive?"

The question took Ienzo off guard. Myde had never let anyone drive his rusty old car before. Despite its bad shape, it was one of Myde's pride and joys. By the way he handled it, one might have thought that he was behind the wheel of a Ferrari.

So when Myde had asked that in an attempt to make his friend feel better…Ienzo had simply stared at him for a moment before saying politely, "No, that's alright. But thank you, anyway."

And Myde had smiled softly and started up the feeble, sputtering engine.

The car ride to Ienzo's house was anything but silent, but he found himself not really listening to Myde's enthusiastic words. He was still contemplating silently.

If Ienzo had said 'yes' and somehow hurt the car, he knew that Myde would have been sad, but forgiving. Myde was like that.

He could have said yes. But why didn't he? It wasn't a long drive, and he could have used the experience…

But still he found himself thinking that if Myde asked again, Ienzo would still decline. As over-thought as his conclusion may seem, he'd already decided a long time ago that he wouldn't risk his friendship with Myde for the world.

The car lurched to a stop in front of Ienzo's front gate and he was brought from his stupor. He released the seatbelt hesitantly, as though he were expecting something. The cab had gone quiet. Myde was staring at him, a peculiar smile on his face.

"I'll see you later."


And with that Ienzo stepped from the car and made his way to his front doorsteps.

It was ironic, really, Ienzo thought, that, not far from here had been the very place that he'd first met Myde.

And now they were saying goodbye, if only temporarily.

Back then, there were no Heartless or Nobodies or other worlds or Organization XIII. Back then, Ienzo would freeze up with the thought of sitting in a dirty seat, would flinch at the touch of another person. Back then, he would worry that his room wasn't perfect – just like the day before – and would rush home to make sure the lampshades were perfectly straight and his bed was made without a wrinkle.


Back then, Ienzo hated the number six. It was the number he could never count past. It was the number he confined – labeled - himself to in his head.

Now it's the number he is on a list of prophesized murder victims.


But now…NOW... Now he stopped worrying and fretting and being scared of things that hadn't earned their label…NOW he started enjoying things.

Because now…they were friends. Myde had helped Ienzo in more ways than he could ever know. He'd made him grow up. He'd taught him to speak up. He'd made him experience things he never would have experienced before.

1. . 6…

So even though, in some ways, NOW was worse than THEN, it truly wasn't. Because even though now includes Heartless and Nobodies and other worlds and Organization XIII...Does all that really matter? And while it's true that the Heartless are still there…so what? Sora, Riku, and Kairi were a determined group: they would eradicate them if it was the last thing they did. It wasn't Ienzo's job to get to the bottom of it all: HE wasn't the hero of this story, was he? He'd done enough already, even he could realize that.


No, all that mattered was the moment. THIS moment. That was another thing Myde taught him: how to really live.


Ienzo smiled and waved to the car as it drove off. And, he knew, Myde waved back.

The End…For now.

Author's notes: … Yes, there will be an eventual sequel. EVENTUAL being the key word there.

I'd like to thank all the people who reviewed this story. You kept me going. I'm really sorry this took so long to get out, but I was having serious distractions. Like, y'know, life. Not that I really have one, but, you know…

So…hope you aren't going to kill me. It had to end somewhere. I'm sorry if you hate me for it.

Disclaimer: I don't own it.

I'm tired. Are you? –yawn- why is it that I always end up doing most of my writing at one in the morning? –shrugs- sorry for any mistakes.

Btw: if Durlo looked different than Luxord, it's because Nobodies and their others don't look the exact same. Look at Sora and Roxas for example.

Review please! Sequels are review powered vehicles!

b9 iNe is signing out