Hey, everyone! Happy New Year and all that jazz; oh yeahh, I was writing fanfiction during the festive days. That's got to say something.

Not much to say this time. But hey, as opposed to this site, I'm really active on dA. I suppose it's just easier to be active there. Why don'tcha go say hi?

Too much adieu, huh. Well, here goes the chapter.

And Then The Demons Vanished

Chapter V: The Shaken, the Mistaken.

Monday morning. For a reason he couldn't quite put his finger on, there was something Xigbar found unsettling about Monday mornings. Maybe that was the bare gist of Braig's dislike for such a day altogether, and Xigbar admitted that there was something lethargic – no, somnolent about it, but it felt like he should've been remembering something more concrete to dislike it about. Not that it'd matter if he remembered; he wouldn't have it in him to hold hard feelings for it anyway.

Momentarily entertained as he was by the thought, Xigbar soon discarded it and took a quick portal into the meeting room; much to his dismay, Demyx was not there to bug for a while, neither Xaldin to chat with, nor Luxord to amuse himself with. Instead, there was only Saïx is his chair, arms crossed over his chest, leaning back slightly.

"Hey, wolfboy!" He called; Saïx instantly straightened his back and barely turned his head in his direction. "Mornin'."

"Good afternoon, number Two," he said.

"Not too good."

Xigbar didn't really begin to wonder whether he should be offended at the correction or anything of the sort – the only thought that crossed his mind was that, despite the usual way-too-stiff tone in Saïx's voice, there was something about him that made him seem somewhat pleased. Interesting.

"Monday… what a drag," he muttered. "Do you like Mondays, Saïx?"

The Diviner certainly didn't look like he expected further conversation from him, neither such a question. Still, it didn't take away the faint smile tugging at the corners of his lips or the peculiar glint in his eyes; quite the opposite. After the initial slight surprise – for every little reaction in Saïx could only be slight –, he gave an honestly pleased, oddly unconcealed smile.

II couldn't help but grin. Smart boy.

"If I could, I'm sure I would love Mondays."

He nodded, uninterested now in VII, much more preoccupied by the new flash of black in the chair almost across from his own and the young Nobody who sat there.

The Freeshooter waved, slumping back in his chair comfortably. "Mornin', Dem."

"Hey!" Greeted the musician. "Anything new?"

Bad news.

Xigbar soon found, much to his dismay, that he didn't really have it in him to say such a thing.

"Not a whole lot."

"Just another case of Monday morning, right Xig?" Demyx said with a smile that Xigbar couldn't help but return in response. "Say, when does this-"

The musician was cut short by three simultaneous corridors of darkness opening and closing quickly, leaving behind the three other Nobodies that formed the organization, six in total out of the original thirteen. The seven empty seats still posed a discreet reminder of Castle Oblivion's losses, of meaningless companions and betrayers.

"Start? Now, I'd say," Xigbar completed Demyx's sentence with a small smirk. He then turned to the arriving non-beings. "Hey Lux, right on time."

"Irony, oh irony," Luxord replied with an appreciative laugh.

"Silence. There are important matters we must see to," Xemnas ordered; the less Nobodies in his realm, the shorter each meeting was, especially without those who did not pass the test of simple natural selection. "Surveillance on the key-bearer has brought results; within a week we may end this."

Organization XIII stilled, expectant and unbelieving.

Xigbar looked at the Superior with a raised eyebrow. "Are you implying Kingdom Hearts will be complete in a week?"

"Indeed," he answered. "At the rate the wielder is collecting hearts for us, one week will suffice. By the sixth day, Hollow Bastion is expected to crash upon itself by a failure of its own defense system, ambushing Sora and forcing him to remain there for a considerable period, far enough for us to deploy troops towards the city by the dawn of the seventh day. The wielder of the keyblade will serve his purpose be disposed of. Kingdom Hearts will finally be complete, and we… we will regain possession of our hearts."

On instinct and habit, Xigbar watched his fellow Nobodies through the awed silence, quickly spotting Demyx. He couldn't help but smile at his joyous expression, a mere resonance of the boy's apparent happiness – he hadn't been sure what to feel to start with, which was why, like in several previous times, he chose to allow the sitarist to demonstrate. Demyx soon appeared to notice and turned to meet the gunslinger's gaze, giving another one of those smiles, the ones that he'd never really been able to say 'You don't have a heart' to.

"Sir, what will our duties be?"

Xigbar took a brief glance at Saïx's unsettlingly persistent smile, wondering if the imminent conclusion was the source of his change in demeanour.

Xemnas set his eyes on VII for a moment; Saïx outright grinned.

Guess not. What's goin' on?

"Number Seven, you are to continue surveillance and report any changes that might affect the outcome of this. Three, you are to remain in the castle and stand guard. Two and Ten will be assigned different missions shortly, and Nine will be the one to intercept and destroy the key-bearer in Hollow Bastion."

Xigbar instantly turned back to Saïx. Fuck! So that was it, you little-!

"Me?" Demyx blurted out. "But I'm not really cut out for-"

"Consider this a chance to redeem yourself, Nine. Do not fail."

His tone was too definitive for the musician not to gulp and nod as his eyes once again met Xigbar's in the single most desperate and lost look he remembered; the sniper gritted his teeth and felt his hand turn into a fist.

"Xemnas," he called, voice strained. "I request to take on the mission-"

"I will speak with you in a moment, Two. The rest of you are dismissed."

He looked for Demyx among the white again – the Nocturne only looked back at him and shook his head before disappearing through the dark corridor that expanded behind him.


"God dammit, Xemnas, just lemme get rid of the damn punk, let's get it over with."

The silver-haired Nobody regarded Xigbar silently. A few seats to his left was Saïx, to whom dismissal apparently did not apply – he, however, preferred not to dignify the Diviner with any sort of acknowledgement.

Xemnas finally heaved a sigh – Spare me, drama queen. – and spoke.

"Why do you protect him?"

"Because you're tryin' to kill him."

"It seems you forget I can hold no resentment towards him or anyone else, Nobody or not. Soon Kingdom Hearts will grant him a heart in exchange for nothing. He must do this, at the very least."

The Freeshooter rolled his eye.

"Don't grant him anything. He doesn't need it, no more than his goddamn life."

"A life? We have nothing like that. We have nothing. And in turn, I'm giving the chance to regain everything."

Admittedly, he was starting to become quite damn pissed. "Don't fuck around with me, Xemnas. I'm not stupid. I'm not blind either, not yet. I can see what's going on."

The organization's Superior raised an eyebrow. "Oh, can you, Two?"

"You know he can't win; you're expecting just that, you're expecting him to go and die," Xigbar paused, briefly held back by a particularly annoying and lucid portion of his mind. "Does the name 'Zexion' ring any bells, Superior?"

Silence. Xemnas' chair suddenly seemed to be much higher up.

"He must be put to use," he said with a slight hint of disdain on his features. "Whether he is able to fulfil the mission is up to him. I still can't fathom why you would want to protect number Nine, but I would recommend you keep your personal affairs apart from this."

"Tch," Xigbar frowned. "Spare me."

"Very well."

With that, Xemnas exited the meeting room by a void of inky black and dark purple, leaving the Freeshooter and a pleased Diviner behind.

"Ah, Mondays… how lovely."

Xigbar disappeared and reappeared perched on the armrest of Saïx's chair within the timeframe of a blink, nevertheless earning only an unfazed look. A second blink, and his sniper rifle was pressed to Saïx's temple. "I'm gonna kill you, much sooner than you can kill him."

"I'm sure this would be truly terrifying, if I could imagine such a feeling."

"You'll know it soon enough. Right now there's no time to waste with your kinda scumbag. Just thought I'd give ya a heads-up."

Despite the tinge of regret for not shooting him right then, guilt and worry overpowered his senses and drove him to exit the room via portal before Saïx could begin to notice movement.

End Chapter Five

Three guesses on what Zexion has to do with anything. Get it right and you get... the satisfaction of being a little smartass spoiling my story. Yay!

Reviews make me happy. MAKE ME HAPPY, GUYYYYSSSSSSS.