Zexion had always thought that the amount of plants and fallen leaves that littered the Castle's grounds was ridiculous. Was it so much to ask to clean up a little?

The youth had been stumbling through it all for a good fifteen minutes, heading to the forest that boarded the grounds, his heavy book- Lexicon- clutched to his chest.

To anyone who happened to be out in the gardens to witness the boy's trudge would have found it extremely bizarre. Zexion was a bookworm. He spent all of his time huddled away in his library, reading, sorting and writing.

Marluxia, as it so happens, was indeed in the gardens the morning, tending to the roses as usual. He happened to look up and brush his fringe out of his eyes in time to see the book-wielding boy disappearing into the surrounding woods. "I wonder what he's up to." Marluxia said aloud. Curious, the Gardener slipped off his gloves and apron and started a quick gait after the boy.

Marluxia was careful to stay a few paces behind the boy. Zexion probably wouldn't have been happy to find the auburn-haired man had followed him, and he would probably ask a million and one of his harsh, probing questions to find out exactly why he had followed him. The sheer idea made him shudder, so he shook his head as if to knock the thought from his mind.

Zexion stopped suddenly. His slated fringe swayed slightly in the breeze. His one visible violet scanned around the clearing he had found; long grass, glistening with dew, small purple blooms popping up here and there, a small stream running through it and trees towering around the area, throwing odd shadows down on the green canvas. He supposed anyone else would have found it beautiful, but to him it was nothing special. He'd seen it all before in his books.

"Perfect." He muttered as he seated himself amongst the grass and purple flowers, leaning back against a tree. Marluxia at this point had stopped a good five metres off from where Zexion had settled. He watched with dull curiosity from behind a twisted tree trunk as the slate-haired boy undid the clasp on the thick black book that lay in his small lap. He always had that book with him. Whenever Marluxia had seen him, it was either tucked under his arm, or clutched to his chest (In a way somewhat akin to how a solider holds a shield.). Marluxia had once even seen Zexion use the book as a stool so he could return a book to the top shelf in the library—Zexion was tiny, you see. Sixteen years of age but with the appearance akin to that of an eleven year old, due to his small, thin frame and height. He made Marluxia feel like a giant.

Zexion smiled slightly down at the pages of his book, the rich black text slowly leaking onto the pages. To anyone else the pages would appear blank, if not slightly stained with age. The Lexicon was special to him, as he was to it. Only he knew it's secrets and that's why he chose to only read it in private. There would be too many questions otherwise.

If he could've seen Marluxia's face at this point, he would've burst into laughter. But of course, he still hadn't realized Marluxia was there otherwise he wouldn't have started reading.

The words that fell from his lips weren't in English; they fell in the grace of Latin.

As Zexion continued to speak in the dead language, the words seemed to lift off the page, twisting and writhing against themselves, bursting into patterns as they finally intertwined.

The only word that Marluxia could describe the scene with was alluring. Unconsciously, Marluxia had left the safety of his hiding place and was now slowly making advances towards Zexion. The slate-haired boy felt Marluxia's gaze on him, and tried to pull himself from the book to shoot a blood-freezing glare at the older man. But he couldn't, the book had a firm hold on him and for a moment he was scared- the patterned words turned their attention onto him, pressing themselves into his mind, Zexion could feel them moving through his memories, like cold hands on warm skin. He shuddered as they found what they wanted, and pulled out again.

Marluxia had watched all this with wide eyes, his rose-esque lips slightly parted in astonishment- he'd never seen anything like it, he couldn't see the words Zexion was chanting, but he could see the magic pouring from the book in plumes of blue and purple.

"W-what are you doing here?" The boy's words made Marluxia jump slightly. His visible eye still stared down at the book, but the chanting had stopped.

"I saw you walking into the forest, so I followed… To make sure you didn't run into trouble, the forest is dangerous." The man replied eventually, reaching up to touch the twisting patterns, only to have his hand pass right through them.

"You can't touch it…" Zexion said, almost chiding, his violet eye flickering over to meet cobalt blue. "You're not even supposed to see it." He added with a frown as the auburn-haired man continued to bat childishly at the magic, Zexion was even more surprised when the magic complied with Marluxia's feeble attempts at catching it; the blue plumes twisted around his wrist and fingers, balling into his palm.
"Well… It doesn't seem to mind." Marluxia chuckled, bringing his hand up close to his face to examine the balling magic. The younger boy frowned deeper at Marluxia's indifference. But then again- the man had always been like that, since the day Zexion had met him. He had never cared much for anyone's opinions, and very rarely respected them. Marluxia wasn't rude, though, perhaps a little arrogant but he had moments when all that could be forgiven. Like the time Zexion had left his library for little under an hour; when he returned Marluxia had placed flowers on almost every flat surface possible. When asked why he had done it he had simply smiled and said 'To bring the place to life'. Zexion had never forgotten that.

As the thought surged through his mind, the ball of magic in Marluxia's hand burst—for a moment Marluxia looked startled, until the burst of light settled, and all that was left in the man's hand was a rose, and now Zexion looked startled. "Did you do that, Zexy?" The auburn-haired man said, grinning up at said one.

"No." The boy scowled, "And don't call me that." He snatched for the rose, but the other was quick to pull it from his reach.
"You so did!" He beamed, coddling the bloom. "Oh! Look-" Marluxia's eyes were quick to move from Zexion to seemingly the sky. Out of curiosity, Zexion followed his glance. Rose petals! The swirls of magic had vanished, and millions of red rose petals had taken their place. The slate-haired boy held out his hands, the petals landed against leather gloves, dissolving with a soft hiss.

He watched Marluxia do the same, pure delight sketched into the older man's face. Zexion couldn't help the colour that flushed into his cheeks, and he was quick to turn away. He knew perfectly well what had bought on the roses, and the blush for that matter.

The memories. The feelings. The Lexicon had pulled them out and used them for this particular practice; the practice of Roses.