Author's Note: Shock horror, an update! I'm going to try and update this story more and more, as ideas are attacking me left right and centre. In addition, I'm kinda stuck on my other fics, which is a shame. So expect another update some time soon! Again, thanks for your support guys, I truly appreciate it :)
She smiled and waved, her black crayon moving along with the gesture. After a few moments, she placed her hands back on the desk before her. Baby blue eyes bore up into the girl opposite her, and for a moment, Xion felt safe.
Such a concept had her stop and think. She cannot 'feel'. She does not have a heart. Any 'feelings' she has are an illusion of a Nobody's old life. Almost everyone in the Organisation fell for it every so often. They still thought they were like they used to be in their old life – normal. However, with things the way they are, whilst they're still alive, they cannot 'feel'. She inwardly sighed and tried to suppress such thinking. And anyway, why would she feel safe with such a stranger?
She looked away from Naminé and walked towards the curtains. As the solitary black figure in a pure white room, she felt out of place. Now at the window, Number XIV silently looked out, indeed seeing a mass of red hair coming out of the forest, rapidly looking around and calling her name. Axel was panicking, and searching hard.
Stepping away, Xion swallowed.
"He won't find you here," Naminé said, "He's a good fighter and all, but he's not that smart."
"How would you know?" she asked, clenching her fists, "You've never met him."
"Oh, but I have met him. I've met all of them. Xemnas, Xigbar, Xaldin, Vexen, Lexaeus, Zexion, Saix, Axel, Demyx, Luxord, Marluxia, Larxene, and Roxas…" her eyebrows raised slightly with amusement as Xion stared, eyes wide open, "I was their little prisoner at Castle Oblivion, manipulating the memories of the Keyblade Master and those associated with him for their personal gain. Well, at least, for Marluxia and those who were trying to rebel… Axel was a part of that group. But he was a double agent.
"They used to call me a 'witch', simply because of my powers," she looked back down to her current drawing and resumed colouring in the black cloak of her subject, "I liked to see myself as a good one, at least. It's not like I had a choice. At least I'm not trapped by them anymore, and I now have choices. If I had the choice to begin with, I wouldn't have ruined Sora's memories like that. I wouldn't have placed myself in the shadow of another more… worthy. But really, Xion, we're both just shadows of her. At least now I'm doing the right thing and rethreading Sora's memories, putting her back where she belongs."
"Shadows of… who?"
Naminé merely smiled, "Of our old self. Of our Somebody."
"That doesn't answer my question," Xion growled lowly, her cobalt eyes narrowing.
"I cannot say."
Number XIV watched as her blonde hair fell over her shoulder. She sat up straighter and placed her crayon down. Satisfied, she picked up her sketchbook and observed the image one last time, before turning it towards Xion, still all smiles. The image she had been working on for a fair while was finally complete. She had been drawing this image during her 'breaks' – when she had to stop and take a breather from fixing Sora's memories.
It was a picture of three girls, all holding hands. It briefly reminded the Organisation member of that image of Roxas and that brown-haired boy on the wall, as though it had been fashioned for the same purpose and in the same way. On one side was the artist, a gentle smile on her face. On the other was Xion herself, placid yet focused. In the centre was a girl with red hair, and she was firmly holding onto the hands of the other two girls.
"She's in the middle here, you see," Naminé remarked, pointing, "That's our Somebody."
"You speak as though I have some worth," Xion said dejectedly, hiding her emoti -… No. She has none. They don't exist anymore. She needed to stop thinking as though she did have feelings, "You speak as though we're related. And who are you to say that that person is… 'our' Somebody? You look like an ordinary girl, or witch rather, to me."
Naminé chuckled slightly and placed the sketchbook down once more, "You look normal to me, too. No one can really tell the difference between a normal person and a humanoid Nobody. You're a Nobody, yet you can pass for a real little girl, like the Olette child who lives in Twilight Town. And like you, I'm a Nobody as well. We're the Nobodies of this girl."
"I-I don't have time for this."
"For this, you have all the time in the world."
The witch stood to her feet and walked over to the intruder, her hands behind her back. Xion remained motionless and watched, furrowing her thin, black eyebrows. The closer Naminé came, the more it was made apparent to her that they looked quite similar. Maybe even identical. The same white skin, the same blue eyes, the same face.
"Your true name. Do you remember it?"
"Xion. It's Xion."
"No, it's not."
"I know my own name!"
Naminé shrugged and walked away. She walked towards the window, and rested her hand against the wall, observing the scene outside of the mansion. Axel had long gone, but in his place were Demyx and Roxas. Demyx was calling Xion's name, as well as Axel's, and looked around rapidly. Roxas was also searching, but stopped to catch his breath. He lifted his head for a moment and looked towards the lightly billowing curtains, as though he could see her.
"Listen to me, Xion," she began, noticing Numbers IX and XIII turn to leave, "The Somebody… You have to find her. She'll be able to help you. You were not born of normal circumstances, like other Nobodies. Your Somebody is a Princess Of Heart. Her heart is pure, and no evil could ever possibly taint her. Her heart's so strong. It's so, so strong… Just because she feels she's weak doesn't make it so. Just because I felt helpless doesn't make it so. Just because you feel – yes, feel – alone… doesn't make it so. Because she's so strong. I'm reliable. And you are not alone.
"Organisation XIII was keeping you for a reason. One terrible, terrible reason. The fact that you weren't born like other Nobodies makes you a valuable asset, like I was. Where as I can change the memories of the Keyblade Master and those around him, you are capable of something far more sinister. Two Nobodies, born of one heart. One embodies her Somebody's goodness, and the other embodies what she could never, ever be – malevolence."
Xion took a few steps back as Naminé turned to look at her. Her stomach was twisted in knots, "I'm not evil."
"Yet you fight for Organisation XIII and all its empty promises. You capture hearts in the hopes of becoming whole."
"Against my will! Just like you, Naminé. Just like you."
Seemingly unfazed by the obvious attack, the girl simply smiled, "Just like me, yes. What a… coincidence."
Fed up with her topsy-turvy talks, Xion growled angrily and hurriedly summoned a dark portal. The purple energy twisted from her hand, and from the gateway. Swiftly turning on her heels, she began to move into the portal, feeling the darkness swallow her. She didn't care where it took her (well, maybe she did – anywhere but The World That Never Was would be grand), as long as it got her away from this insane child.
"Capturer Of Hearts, you hide in the shadows of the rising sun. There will be a time when you eclipse the light, and the worlds will be at your feet. Those hours of heart harvesting will be your last. Maybe she can help you stop it."
She had turned around all too late. Xion could no longer see Naminé.
With a heavy thud, she fell to her knees and grasped the dirt under her hands. Gasping for air, Xion lifted her head and hurriedly looked around. Whatever world she had ended up on… it was empty and eerie. A cold, metallic disposition enshrouded the area, and the feeling she got from the location briefly reminded her of the World That Never Was. She could hear the sound of waves far, far away, and that brought a little comfort. Just a little.
Standing to her feet, she saw a giant, dark city looming overhead. Deciding that this would be a good place to hide from Axel and the others, she brushed herself off, pulled her hood over her head, and dashed towards the entrance. The wind howled all around her as she moved, causing her cloak to billow this way and that. Focusing on her survival right now was the most important thing. She couldn't let Naminé's words get to her. They were unimportant, right?
Trying to brush such doubts aside, Number XIV hurried on, now passing through the entrance. Just like the outside, this place was desolate and lifeless. No one would think about coming here to find her. Cars were strewn everywhere, doors wide open and the general bulk of the vehicle, wrecked. Buildings were either standing alone, or in pieces on the ground. Clearly, no one had been living in this large city for a while. The perfect hiding place in… What was this place called?
She passed a poster that had been effortlessly branded next to a broken window. Her eyes scanned inside the building, noting that the place was a bar, before diverting her gaze to the poster before her. She bit her lip and moved on after reading it, hoping to bury herself further and further into the steely wonderland.
'Doom for Midgar.'
Axel obeyed immediately. The tone of the Superior's voice was ice cold. He was trying to feign a calm demeanour, and was failing miserably. Number VIII could see that quite clearly. He knew he was in a world of trouble already, and he didn't want to disobey to make the matter worse. He just wondered what lesser Nobody he would be turned into.
It'd be quite mocking if he was turned into an Assassin Nobody.
"Explain yourself," Xemnas spat, tapping his fingers on his white armrest, one after the other.
He scratched the back of his head and cleared his throat, "Well… I was fighting, and so was everyone else. And in that time, she slipped away. I combed over Twilight Town at least six or seven times, and I didn't find her. Xion's just… gone. Even the others were helping, we just couldn't find her."
His yellow eyes narrowed dangerously, in the likeness of a cat, "She has escaped your clutches, Number VIII. You were assigned to take care of her, no matter what. I don't care if you were fighting a behemoth, she was not to escape. I do not tolerate failures, Axel, and what are you? Nothing but a no good failure! You're not exactly a very good guardian, are you?"
He looked down, smirking ever so slightly, "I guess I'm only programmed to kill."
Number I said nothing for a moment, looking down on his subject in a bored fashion. Eventually, he spoke and shuffled about in his seat, "I am a patient person, Number VIII. I want Xion returned to the Castle That Never Was as soon as possible, and I want her to be alive. Don't allow your assassin nature to override your assigned task."
Axel nodded stiffly, "Of course."
Xemnas looked to his right, where empty seats resided, "Do not bother coming back without her. You may rise."
The Flurry Of Dancing Flames jumped to his feet and watched as the man sitting overhead flicked one of his hands in dismissal. Turning away, he opened the door, closed it behind him, and stormed down the long corridor. That damn Xion…
He didn't get very far in his brooding. His best friend suddenly appeared beside him and tugged at his sleeve, "Hey, Axel, what did Xemnas have to say? You're not in huge trouble are you? Or is he giving you an hour to pick the type of Nobody you want to be transformed into? Haha, I'm just kidding, I'm just kidding with you!"
"And I'm not laughing, Roxas."
Number XIII cleared his throat and stopped as his friend stopped, "What did he say?"
"I have to go and retrieve the… 'lost property'. I'm not allowed back until I do."
"Woah, for real?" he exclaimed, "You're not allowed to come back to the Castle That Never Was until you have Xion?"
"Yeah. To be honest, I don't know if I'll find her. I mean… Look…" Jade eyes gazed out the small window and into the field of stars, ignoring the moonlight that was basking the pair in an eerie glow, "There are so many worlds out there. She could be at any of them. I'm not going to be able to cover all of them on my own so easily. This is gonna be hard."
He patted his friend on the shoulder, despite the difficulty due to the height difference, "I'll help you look. Every mission I go on, I'll keep a special eye out for Xion. I'll tell Dem to do the same. It'd be easier for all of us to go with you but hey, if the Superior said that you had to do it, then you have to do it, on your own. We'll just be your extra… eyes."
"Thanks, Rox. That's a real help."
"Any time. Now get going. The sooner you find her, the better, right?"
Swiftly, Number VIII summoned a dark portal. This one would lead to Twilight Town, which is where he decided to commence his search. He looked to his friend one last time with a wry smile and stepped through, bracing himself for the new environment. And wherever in Twilight Town he landed, he hoped Xion was there, and that she was okay. She might be a hassle and all but, he considered her (somewhat) a friend too.
The last of Axel's black cloak trailed through the portal, and within an instant, it had dissipated. The Key Of Destiny smiled a little and looked down for a moment to regain his composure. He managed to successfully hide his concern before Demyx bounded in, proclaiming that Xigbar and Luxord wouldn't stop harassing him about the fact that his sitar vaguely looked like something phallic.
"Okay, if I were a lost little girl, where would I hide…"
He tapped his chin with his glove-clad fingers, pacing around a small room. From what he had gathered within the last few moments, this appeared to be some type of club, or hideout. there were books and boxes stacked and scattered in the area, and a crimson, tattered cloth hung at an obvious opening, as though to disguise the location from the outside world.
Axel suddenly jumped and cradled his foot, lightly cursing under his breath. He had stepped on the pointy-end of a dart. Angrily, he picked it up and burnt it in his hand, watching the item turn to ashes. Before becoming a Nobody, he enjoyed throwing darts, but now, he didn't really care. And this particular dart was menacing. Or rather, was menacing.
A male voice suddenly sounded, "The others will have no idea what happened to their stupid Usual Spot!"
Then another, "Maybe we should take their valuables, y'know?"
Then a female, who was shaking a spray can, "Payback."
And lastly, a young nervous boy, "Are you sure about this?"
He quirked an eyebrow. It seemed that the four approaching were going to do something to this place. Judging by the spray can that he could hear, perhaps they were going to… vandalise it? He briefly wondered why, playing with an ember between his fingers, making it bounce back and forth amongst his hand.
The cloth was pushed forward, and four children stumbled through. One had blonde hair, and a nasty scar across his face. In his hand was an odd item, being held by its gold hilt, though the blue beyond that made it apparent that the item was a bat. Beside him was a large, muscly boy, holding a sack over his shoulder. Beside him was a girl with grey hair, holding two spray cans. Lastly, there was a much smaller boy, his face overshadowed by his large hat. He too was holding two spray cans.
The first boy noticed Axel, and ordered the rest of his troupe to stop. He took a step forward and eyed the man up and down, his aqua eyes narrowed. Soon enough, the bat was pointed directly at him, "And just who are you? What are you doing here?"
Number VIII said nothing, his eyes darting amongst the four of them slowly. He could feel the ember still bouncing between his fingers. He noticed that the smallest child was watching that closely, an endless content evident in his yellow eyes. Looking back to the obvious leader of the group, he remarked, "Who wants to know?"
The buff boy growled, punching his fists together, "Seifer doesn't like it when someone's being super defiant, y'know?"
"What are you, his parrot?" Axel asked, "I asked him, not you."
"You're really getting on my nerves, y'know?!"
The girl spoke, "Silence!"
"Thanks, Fuu," the boy called Seifer remarked. He looked back to the intruder, "Now, you. Tell me your name."
"I don't have time for child's play," the Flurry Of Dancing Flames remarked, clenching his fist. The embers fizzled out immediately, much to the disappointment of the smallest in the room, though he still watched the smoke rise from his fist intently. Swiftly, he stepped past the four of them, his cloak trailing behind him, "If you really wanna vandalise this spot, then I'm not going to keep you. It's not my business anyway."
Now outside, he looked around and picked a path to go down. Choosing the left one, he walked.
Somehow, during her wandering, Xion had ended up in a church. She looked at the flowers in the ground idly. It Marluxia were alive (not that she'd care), he would've enjoyed these. Their smell was enticing and relaxing, and they brought some happiness and life in the otherwise glum slums.
She had not seen anyone in this lonesome world. Not a single soul. That in itself was a little unsettling. Where were all the people? Midgar once seemed to be thriving with life, however dull it may have been. The fact that the entire place was empty was not comforting. She felt even more alone now than when she was held prisoner in the Castle That Never Was. At least there, she knew she was guaranteed food and safety. Here, she was not so sure.
Pulling her legs closer to her chest, she remained seated on one of the unbroken brown benches. How long would she have to wait here for? When would Axel and the rest of the Organisation stop looking for her? Why was she that… vital to their little 'plan'? What was her part in the story in the first place? Just another arm to hold the hearts? Another weapon to pierce their opponents?
…What did Naminé mean by her last sentence? Number XIV didn't want to admit it but the witch was wise. Or at least, she seemed wise. Should she listen to her words? What else was Xion going to do aside from run from Organisation XIII? Should she seek out her Somebody? She always wondered who she was. She always wanted to find out. She wanted to have the memories that the others had. More than anything.
Who were her Somebody's friends? A boy with a charismatic smile? A boy with long silver hair? Did they fight with wooden swords and proclaim that one was better than the other? Were they trapped upon an island and wanted to build a raft to sail away and find other worlds? Did they have other friends who liked to play ball, who liked to skip, and who also liked to spar with them?
Maybe she should go find her Somebody. Maybe her Somebody has all the answers.
The soft, pitter-patter of footsteps garnered her attention. Xion held her breath and curled into a ball, peering over the top of the seat. She could see a flame idly moving through the air. It was hypnotising at first, but once she realised that it was fire, she panicked, thinking that it was Axel. Axel controlled fire. He loved to play with it when he was bored.
Summoning her keyblade quickly, she leapt from the seat and stood guard. To her surprise, though, it was not some fiery, obnoxious Nobody, but rather a furry, tall creature, which looked somewhat like a dog. It was large, and appeared fierce. She noticed tattoos on his red fur, including a black 'XIII' on his left shoulder. The fire that Xion had seen was coming from the end of its tail – quite a unique asset.
"So Midgar breeds life once more," the creature rumbled. The voice was male. His one, amber eye observed the edgy woman.
The fact that the beast spoke worried her more. Xion tightened her grip on her keyblade, her eyebrows furrowing.
"Relax," he said, chuckling slightly. He approached her, "I bid you no harm. Just put the weapon down."
She held onto her keyblade, though lowered it. If the beast would not attack her, then she would not attack him. Despite this, for every step he took forward, she took one back. She furrowed her eyebrows, "I am Xion of Organisation XIII. Speak your name or leave me be."
"Nanaki," he answered, bowing his head slightly for a brief moment, "Also known as Red XIII. I am all that is left."
He stopped moving. Xion took this opportunity to seat herself once more. Eventually, her keyblade vanished, "What happened to Midgar? It looked like this place was once so… alive. And now it is dead, withered and gone."
Red XIII looked to the flowers, "The Heartless came. They swarmed over this world and destroyed everything within it. I was hiding deep underground at the time, and I did not notice their approach. A few managed to escape to another place called Radiant Garden. I do hope they are alright, as most of them were my friends. They were also the heroes of Midgar."
She nodded slightly, "Are the Heartless still here?"
"As a matter of fact, they are," he remarked sadly, "I saw you appear. I was looking around outside from the Shinra Building, and saw you just… appear out of no where. This world is dead. Just a blanked out star in the vast sky. To see life aside from myself is wonderful, because with another person, we now may be able to fight off the Heartless. There are not many of them left – a lot of them died bringing down the WEAPONs. But they're still here and there. Will you help me?"
"Only if you will help hide me. I am a fugitive."
Red XIII nodded, "You have selected a good place to hide. I doubt your chasers would look here."
She smiled slightly.
"Now, let's get to work. Let's find and eradicate these fiends," he stepped aside so Xion could stand.
As she did, she looked to the entrance of the church and immediately summoned her keyblade, "It looks like they've found us instead."