"You're up early."
Number IV's voice startled Zexion from his thoughts as he moved back into the lab, the diminutive Nobody looking up to see him bent over one of his lab charts, wearing his usual black garb. Making a soft noise at the back of his throat, testing the air for the scents and locations of the other Nobodies, Zexion tilted his head ever so slightly to the side.
"Yes. I decided to wake up a little earlier today, went out to take a walk."
Vexen looked up at him, frowning, setting his pencil down and turning to fully face the other male. He arched an eyebrow, his face carrying an unimpressed look.
"A walk, you say?" He murmured, Zexion nodding as a reply. "The sun's barely come up... I mean, you spend an awful lot of time in libraries and labs, but you didn't seem to me the type to take a walk outside at sunrise."
Zexion shrugged in a non-commital way, and Vexen waved his hand a little in dismissal. "It doesn't matter much... there's work to be done, where are those documents I asked you to find for me?"
"I was going to retrieve them now, Number IV."
"Good... fetch them for me, and we'll begin." Vexen turned back to his work, Zexion regarding him for a long moment in silence, a guarded look on his face. He exhaled slowly through his nose, then moved out of the room to fetch the documents, eyes moving to gaze down at his feet as he walked.
Just another day, like every other in Castle Oblivion. Just another day...
Nothing here seemed to change. He supposed it didn't matter at all anyway, they were Nobodies, they shouldn't care that the days didn't change.
"It's true, we don't have hearts... but we remember what it was like, and that's what makes us special." He murmured to himself as he walked, hands hanging at his sides, eyes half closing. "Maybe that's why I went out there today... because I remember what it was like, what it felt like to watch the sunrise. Maybe..." He made another soft noise and took in a breath, stepping into his room to pick up the things Vexen requested. He took a moment to look around, pausing with his hand on the doorframe.
The room was sparsely furnished... a bed, a chair, a small dresser and a closet... it was all he needed to store his things, all he needed to get through his days, one after another after another.
He lowered his eyes again, the glow of the sunrise still lingering in his mind. He quickly shut the lights out and hurried back to the lab with the documents under his arm, unable to keep from feeling frustrated.
He shouldn't feel at all...
Vexen was sitting in a chair when he entered the lab once more, not even bothering to look up at him when he dropped the documents onto the table. "Thank you... now, if you would-"
"Vexen." Zexion met Vexen's green eyes steadily when the other male looked up , surprise etched out on his features at the interruption. "I'm going to take the day off."
Seeming at a loss for words for a moment, Vexen blinked a few times, then arched an eyebrow again, shaking his head.
"I beg your pardon?"
"I've got some reading to catch up on, can you handle the work here yourself?"
There was a long pause of silence that stretched between them, then Vexen nodded once, shortly, lifting his pointed chin. Those calculating green eyes regarded Zexion for another long moment, and the smaller Nobody could swear the temperature in the lab dropped several degrees.
"... I can handle it just fine, Number VI." He said softly, a strange look crossing his face as he continued to regard the other man. "Is everything quite alright?"
"Just fine... I just need to catch up on-"
"Your reading, of course." Vexen stood, towering over Zexion, who looked up and up to continue meeting Vexen's gaze. "If you are sure... then go ahead."
"Thank you." Zexion turned to leave, glancing over his shoulder as he reached the door. He looked at Vexen, opening his mouth to speak, then closed it again, frowning. Vexen gave him an expectant look, but Zexion just shook his head, stepping out of the lab and letting the heavy door close behind him. Vexen gazed at the closed door for a moment before shaking his head, pale hair swinging, and returning to his work.
"... we remember what it's like..." Zexion ran his fingers over the cover of the Lexicon, his gloves laying forgotten on the dresser beside his bed, his eyes half closed once again. After a moment of hesitation, he opened the book and gazed down at its pages, a soft sigh escaping him. "We remember... what it's like."
A part of him wanted to remember exactly how he might have felt before, standing and watching the sunrise. He wanted to remember exactly how Ienzo might have felt.
Another part of him felt foolish for the desires of the first part, and he closed the book with a grunt of dissatisfaction, leaning back against his pillows and closing his eyes. He didn't sleep... he just lay there, thinking for awhile. The minutes wasted away to hours, and soon his thoughts left him as death's second self encompassed him and pushed all thought away.
Nobodies still dreamed, even if they didn't have hearts.
And that night, Zexion dreamed, dreamed of things that he had pondered while awake, things he wouldn't remember when he woke again.
Just as he had the morning before, he woke before the sun rose, slipping out of bed and out of his sleep rumpled robes. He put new ones on and opened a portal, stepping out of it and onto the battlements of Castle Oblivion.
Taking up the same spot he had the morning before, Zexion settled back comfortably, turning his eyes to the twilight, the horizon. There was a cool breeze this morning, blowing about his periwinkle hair, but the breeze wasn't as interesting as the swelling line of light just at the horizon. He fixed his eyes on it and waited, breath soft and even.
He concentrated so much on it that he didn't even realize he wasn't alone until Vexen spoke.
"I thought I'd find you up here." There was a hint of amusement, no sign of disapproval in the older Nobodies voice... Zexion found his face growing warm, lifting his chin and regarding Vexen curiously.
"Come to get me to fetch you more work, Vexen?" He asked softly, managing a slight smile, but Vexen simply chuckled and shook his head.
"What do you see in this sort of thing?" The blonde asked, Zexion sitting up a little straighter and regarding him. "It didn't strike me as the sort of thing-"
"Perhaps that's because you've only ever known me in work, Vexen."
Number IV shut his mouth very quickly, glancing at Zexion briefly before turning his green eyes back to the horizon. They didn't speak for a long moment, Zexion turning his gaze to Vexen, regarding his expression.
Those icy green eyes widened as the light continued to swell, and his hand betrayed him, straying towards his chest before he could catch himself.
Zexion looked back to the sky as the sun broke the horizon, bathing everything it touched in brilliant, golden light. He could feel it's warmth on his face, felt the breeze become much cooler, and he couldn't keep the smile from touching his lips.
Vexen, too, was smiling, a slow, careful smile that was much different from the crazed ones that grace his face so often as of late.
It lasted maybe seconds, maybe a moment, maybe more... it stretched on and on, and Zexion, too, placed his hand on his own chest, where his heart would have been had he still been Ienzo. Vexen continued to smile, jolting slightly in shock and pulling his hand from his chest, face falling when he realized what he was doing.
But he didn't dare look away from that sunrise...
When it became too blinding to look anymore, Zexion looked up at Vexen, who turned his gaze away at last, eyes still wide. He stared at Zexion, then dropped his gaze to the ground, something almost like pain flickering across his features.
"Oh." Was all he said.
Zexion understood completely.