"You're a Nobody, Naminè. You don't exist."
Marluxia runs a finger through her hair, softly, almost motherly.
"I want to go outside, Marluxia."
He shakes his head, freeing his floral scent.
"It isn't a natural instinct for you. You belong here, in the memories you make."
He reaches over the chair she occupies and pulls her notebook closer across the table.
The fork of not wanting to leave and not wanting to offend him makes her cringe. To bite the hand that feeds her is wrong, she knows, but eating the poison?
"Besides," he adds. "Where would you go?"
She doesn't know, but it's so on the tip of her tongue. "A place... with... sand and water. And there are two boys."
Marluxia shakes his head when she answers this way. He always does.
She scrambles for an answer, a clue that her memory could provide. But seeing what she does to the memories of others, it could all be a lie.
"I don't know. But I have to find it, Marluxia. I don't feel hollow and empty there. I feel-"
"Like something you're not!" Naminè finds safety in her own arms as fast as she can.
Marluxia turns his head to Superior, who has announced his presence so rudely, and another Nobody. Superior eyes are burning at her when he says, "Vexen."
Vexen steps forward and looks down on her.
"One of my clones thinks it knows you," he says.
Naminè turns her head down sharply, only to have it forced back up when Vexen grabs her chin.
"It remembers you," he says. The accusing overtones make her think her response does not matter, as long as she doesn't anger him further, of course.
Marluxia brushes her hair softly, but does nothing about Vexen's grip.
"Do you know anything about this?" he coos in that motherly tone.
Naminè doesn't answer. They know when she lies.
"I have to kill it because of you. You know that, don't you?" Vexen adds.
She doesn't plead its case. And she feels even hollower inside at not knowing if she should. Vexen hits her on the cheek, and she considers herself lucky as he storms out of the room.
"Perhaps he is being overly dramatic about the whole affair," Xemnas muses. "After all, a memory maker is what you are." He reaches to the arm of the chair and puts a hand over Naminè's. She never trusted him either. But again, he was one of the many hands that fed her.
"I want to go outside, please."
Xemnas considers it, giving her the slightest bit of a feeling, like a longing that burns. But when he shakes his head, the burn only hurts.
"The real world is dangerous for you, Naminè. Real people, Somebodies, are filled with hatred and anger. But the worlds you create can be your sanctuary, and really they can give you everything you've wanted that's on the outside."
Naminè shakes her head. "Not everything."
"Naminè," Xemnas sighs. "We need you in order to find our hearts again, in order to find yours. Tell me what you want, and I will bring it to you."
She swallows her fear of ridicule so she can whisper, "I want someone to love me."
Abruptly, Xemnas stands and walks to the nearest wall. He's angry, or only acting angry so he can play at having a heart. Naminè readies herself.
Finally, after he is calm, he turns his head to his side and says, "I remember having a heart, Naminè."
The feeling comes at her again, something so close to... something. There are words to express it, but she doesn't know what it is.
"And those around me: I remember I could feel their emotions."
Naminè nods for him to continue.
"I felt hate. I felt fear, and anger, and sorrow. But I have never encountered this fantasy of yours. Love," he scoffs.
"By keeping you inside, I at least give you hope that you can escape to something better. You should be thankful for that much."
Xemnas walks back to her side. "Marluxia, leave us."
Marluxia doesn't respond at first.
"Of course, Superior."
His steps tap away, behind Naminè back, and he leaves through darkness so quietly that she is not sure he is gone until Xemnas looks back into her eyes.
"I want you to give the clone more memories, Naminè," he whispers.
She mumbles her response at the ground, feeling crushed by his presence.
"About what, Superior?"
"Me. I want it to be loyal to me."
Naminè does not respond, thinking that he will continue, but then nods to fill the silence. "I will... do that."
He turns to leave, and she realizes that after he is gone, she may not see company for another eternity.
"I need more pencils," she says in a last ditch effort for company.
Xemnas waves a hand in her direction, not even looking back, as he steps through a corridor of darkness.
For a time, she is alone. Naminè pulls the notepad toward her and adds some lines to a sketch of her being born in what she thinks a hospital looks like. Sometimes, on bolder days, she thinks that she can give Larxene this memory, and that she will love her. But soon she changes to another picture, just for fun, of Marluxia's vines swallowing him whole, never to be seen again.
She closes her notepad quickly, hoping that he wasn't watching over her shoulder for too long.
"What did Superior have to say to you?"
Naminè shakes her head. "I don't think I should tell you."
Marluxia leans in close to her and whispers, "I have to go to my garden soon. I can take you with me, if you promise not to tell."
Naminè imagines her picture, but now she is the one being swallowed as Marluxia feeds her to the plants. She shakes her head.
"I'm not supposed to tell you."
"I know where the beach is."
Naminè bites her lip, forcing herself not to give in. Something inside of her is clawing its way from her memories to her chest, trying to trigger a reaction, a feeling, but grasps at ether where a heart should be. She closes her eyes when this happens; she sees a boy with spiky blonde hair; she tastes saltwater.
"You've always wanted to visit the beach, haven't you?"
Naminè closes into a ball. "Not with you, Marluxia."
"Special delivery for-!"
Two short Nobodies with their hoods up stop in their tracks at the other end of the table. Despite the hoods of their cloaks, Naminè knows them. Roxas lowers the fresh notebook he'd been shaking like a tambourine to his side, and Xion does likewise with a box of colored pencils, while Marluxia stands taller.
"Superior sent us to get Naminè more supplies," they explain in deadpan voices.
Marluxia waves a hand for them, so they drop the accessories on the far end of the table and leave in silence. When they are gone, he paces to the end of the table and drags them across it until they fall into Naminè's lap. He taps her on the nose then, making her jump.
"We'll talk about this later." And he's gone in a flash of darkness.
After her nerves have calmed, and she has finished accepting that she will be alone again for another immeasurable time, she opens her new notepad. On the top of the first page, in handwriting befitting the Key of Destiny are the words,
You may be a Nobody, but you're Somebody to us!
-XIII & XIV