Xehanort sighed as he watched his fellow apprentices scramble to clean their workspaces before Master Ansem came to inspect. If they had been smart, like him, they would have kept their workspaces clean to start with... But if they weren't stupid, they couldn't make him look smarter.

Braig's was a mess of candy wrappers, empty chip bags, paper coffee cups and reports. He was desperately trying to sort through the garbage to find the important papers, hoping there wasn't any coffee or grease stains on them. What a fool...

Dilan's was almost clean to begin with, just a few scraps of paper here and there to straighten and tidy. But he always had to have his desk, 'just so'. His eraser had to be in the top right corner, his pencil sharpener on the left... His reports on his left and his fresh paper on the right.

Even's desk was swamped with papers and reports, most of them not actually his. He had a habit of borrowing the other apprentices work, reading it over and picking it apart. But he never complained of Xehanort's work... it was brilliant...

Aeleus' was very tidy, though some of his flasks and beakers were cracked. Aeleus had been under a lot of stress lately, and it showed as he swept the old broken shards of glass into the garbage.

Ienzo's was also very clean, the only task he had to attend to was watering that bonsai tree Aeleus had given to him as a birthday gift. Ienzo hadn't been too thrilled with it at first, but as Aeleus taught him how to care for the plant he grew to enjoy the tree. How could one love a plant?

---

Things were different now, Xemnas observed. The same, but different. He was still their superior, but in a different way. Vexen still kept his desk rather poorly. Zexion no longer had a bonsai, God only knows what happened to the one that had been on Ienzo's desk that day.

Xigbar and Xaldin didn't have a desk anymore, they were often out, on his orders. Sometimes he would send Lexaeus with them... Vexen's theory about Kingdom Hearts intrigued him...

Yes, things were truly different.

Yes, they were truly the same.