when the sun played up the station wall, oh in the land of logan where the thomas all roam

His mouth watches every move he makes.

"The sun will rise at exactly 6:04 today."

His eyes calculate every step he takes.

"Is that so?"

Xemnas smiles faintly, out across the wasteland. Their desert homeland where tiny purple fish swim in the air and mammoth worms swim in the sands.

The desert darkness is impenetrable, but Xemnas sees, sees things Xaldin wants nothing to do with--things that Xigbar makes friends with, things that eat flesh and that's where that eye went, that's where the scars come from. Xaldin knows all about Xemnas' scars as well, they horrify him.

He shivers.

There's concrete out there, beyond the balcony. That's all that's out there, a concrete jungle of nameless shadows and malformed aluminum fetuses.

Xemnas strokes the aluminum in his hair and says something about kinship. The words writhe like smoke and dusks in the air, his breath always smells of ash and curry, Xaldin breaths in too deep, he's always been a glutton for air.

Sands shift slowly as the sun stutters up the fire escapes just the way Xemnas said it would.

The moonlight is still too weak to resist and Xemnas closes his molten amber eyes against the pain the morning causes him.

"Today will be another wonderful day," Xemnas mumbles against the chocolate of his hand, as if kissing one of those tiny purple fish with the petal-sigh whisper wind-stirred movement of lips. "Today I will be going deep into the desert."

It's cold, the sun beats cold rays of moldering light and Xaldin shivers again. He does not want Xehanort to go into the desert again. He lost him there once, a long time ago, and Dilan is not so strong as he needed to be. The footprints fade at the edges and disappear at the chasm of the sky.

"I will be sending Zexion and Lexaeus to the city's heart, to see if she can be tamed, though I doubt they will have the required tact or skill."

He turns his head, he looks frayed. His words come too quickly and his eyes cannot keep up with his own mouth and his own mouth cannot keep up with his own mind and his own mind cannot keep up with his own hands. Pulled in a million different directions and left cold beneath the decaying sunlight of the city of desert concrete.

"You will go tomorrow. You will conquer the little lights of the city; bring her to her shattered knees. You will force her to stay that way, no matter how you have to maim her. I am to understand you cut a woman's Achilles tendons to keep her from running away… break her dainty little feet in half so she knows she is yours… we will fashion her in pretty things later. For now, I want you to write my name across her forehead in her own blood."

Xaldin's mouth is dry. He doesn't want to see. He doesn't have to see, he can refuse the way Braig never wanted to. Braig was too enthralled with the weightless euphoria, the constant vertigo separation of that battered body from the young man's spirit he was given in exchange for all the flesh he let them devour. Xaldin doesn't have to see the way Xemnas. He repeats this vainly to the scales brushing against his cheek, promises that he doesn't have what it takes and--

"You will see, Dilan," Xemnas says, tired, very tired. "Syclla and Xiuhcoatl of the scorched earth will aid you in destroying what little rebellion the city has left. Syclla will be your queen of floods."

Xaldin breaths again, drinks it down as the ivory white concrete begins to sink, slip, roll in dune-waves of white sand. The desolation settles in on him and he smiles his hydra smile and Xemnas seems a little bit brighter where he stands on their balcony of shifting sands above the concrete city of little black ants and little white larva.

"Understood Superior, I swear to you, I will bring her heart to you on a platter."

"Hmmm," Xemnas hums, amused. He looks up to the sky and watches the children play. "The sun will set at exactly 6:07 today."

He indulgently ignores the way Xaldin is shaking, the way young gills giggle back and forth, "so new, so new, but certainly a son of Typhon, Typhon--the dragons and gills welcome you little-son-of-Ty-pha-on."

Xaldin swallows. "It will be done."

oh the empty courtyards hide upon the mountain side and there you won't find intelligent souls

Xemnas' heart feels hazy as he awakens. Sleep, a wandering sleep of sand and sunlight. His heart is hazy, healing around the edges. Burnt and crisp and cauterized by too much sunlight. His hair is bleached, his skin is burned and his heart… his heart is hazy like a mirage.

Saïx stirs restlessly beside him, long nails cutting lines in the sheets. Xigbar is in the window, playing with Xaldin's hair and Xaldin is snarling with protest and indignity.

"Where is Ienzo?" Xemnas wonders faintly. They turn to stare at him, Xigbar and Xaldin do. They think he has forgotten, and perhaps he has. Perhaps that is what is so hazy in his heart this morning.

That is when Axel appears. He seems uncomfortable, knows he has been called and dares not disobey, however… He shouldn't be here. Niggling little traitor he is but… Elaeus and Ienzo are gone, Saïx and Axel are next in line.

Xemnas lolls upon his bed, Saïx still breathing in deep grumbles of animal discontent. Axel shifts, trapped with his back to the wall, Xemnas' laziness offensive and Xigbar and Xaldin's eyes watching.

"Xigbar…" Xemnas calls in that same hazy voice, his body language languid and his mood unclear. Xigbar has never been afraid of Xemnas and so he approaches.

"Yes, boss?" Xigbar's smile has always been a comfort to him, Xemnas thinks. It does not move him now. His head is thick and tumultuous. Hazy, indeed, as hazy as his heart. His fingers find their way into Saïx's hair and stroke absentmindedly. Saïx does not wake, only breaths in deeply, only growls.

"Xigbar…" Xemnas repeats slowly. "I want you and Xaldin to kill every living thing in the Deep Jungle."

Right and Left Hand both nod and are gone without question. Axel feels a little sick, he could have done that. Could have lit the whole place on fire and that would have been it but… Xemnas wants something from him.

Xemnas looks up at him, his eyes focusing. He sits up and takes his hand from Saïx's hair.

"Axel," he beckons. Axel hesitates and then approaches the foot of the bed. Saïx kicks at his dreams. And Xemnas' heart is… he swallows and meets Axel's eyes again. He's given the boy enough time to pull himself together, but Axel has not used the time wisely. There is too much confusion in his expression. Xemnas has not the patience for this.

"Axel," he says again, his attention drift away towards the window. "Where is Ienzo?"

It's an easy enough question to answer. "I don't know." Axel smiles vaguely and Xemnas glances at him out of the corner of his eye, his mouth lax.

"You don't know or… you've forgotten? There's a distinction in them I would like you to make," the Superior poses. He waits for Axel's reply, drumming his long fingers on the sheets. He can see the excitement in Axel's eyes now, the thoughts and ideas spinning round in great arcs.

"Perhaps both, sir," Axel mouths. "You know how the castle is."

Xemnas does, he designed it and had reveled in the designing… memories and hearts and… both are growing hazy in this endless daydream, in this constant twilight. Dead melodies, indeed, Xemnas thinks and does not realize he's said it aloud until he notices the strange expression on Axel's face.


"Come here, Axel," Xemnas motions with those long dark spider fingers. His skin glints a beautiful and yet sickly bronze. Axel hesitates for far too long and so Xemnas motions again, with less patience, yet more honeyed grace. "Come."

Axel eyes Saïx warily, but Xemnas knows he will not wake. He walks the lines between dreams and reality, moonlight and sunlight, as Xemnas has ordered.

When Axel is near enough, Xemnas touches him, from his heart to his clavicle, curving his hand to Axel's neck and drawing him close. Axel's body is taught and resistant but Xemnas kisses him all the same.

"It is unlucky, Axel," Xemnas breaths. What he takes from Axel helps to clear the haziness in his heart, Axel trembles for what he loses. "It is unlucky for you that Ienzo is gone. Now there is only you to scheme… I can more easily watch one than two…"

Axel is very still as he breaths. Those treacherous thoughts of his are whirling once more. When he has decided, he presses his mouth more firmly to Xemnas' and allows gravity to take him down onto the bed.

There is a haziness in his heart as he allows Xemnas to take him.

there's no use lying or in further trying to find a better place to sow your seed

Standard Disclaimers. Irrelevant lyrics by Jolie Holland.