No. i: A Nonexistent Love

"I can't remember, something important…"

An inner thought bringing into light forgotten secrets.

"You're a weird guy, but I like you."

A casual comment, a candid confession, and a rare smile on an otherwise gloomy face.

"Who… am I?"

A poignant question, left hanging in the warm island winds for no one else to hear, except for a silver-haired youth; and the pictures begin to blur.

I stand atop the roof of an abandoned old mansion, overlooking The Woods to gaze at the fantastic view of the bright, fiery sun bathing the town in everlasting twilight. The smile on my face dims in intensity, bewilderment and melancholy dampening my usually high spirits. And I don't even know why.

I grudgingly tear my attention away from the ethereal sight and glance at the grand piano, holding close to this belief that by releasing my emotions via music, I may solve the mystery to my random episodes of depression. Confident in this hypothesis, I comfortably seat myself on the wooden bench and experiment with the keys, checking to see which notes make the right sounds according to my emotions, until I begin to play.

I sense someone hovering near the stairway, their passive curiosity revealing their presence. If they want to make themselves known, they can freely do so. Otherwise, the melody I am composing deserves my full attention. I smooth out what little mistakes are caused by my tentativeness, and let my fingers be guided by my heart.

Tranquility… Heartache… Acceptance…

For some reason, I can't pinpoint the individual I hold these special feelings for. Stuck at a standstill, I absently hum the extra notes unreachable by piano, repeating the composition several times while concentrating to uncover the rest.

"This person feels like Sora…" I muse quietly, and by thinking of the Keyblade Master reveals an entire list of people connected to him in some way or another. "…shares the same presence with Roxas…" Nostalgia, and twilight wishes; I input a piece of Roxas' music, and smile contently when it perfectly accentuated the slow tempo - like it belongs there. "…looks and sounds like Kairi…" Solemn desire, and misplaced affection; it is subtly reminiscent of Sora's feelings for Kairi. "…reminds me of Naminé…" I switch the tender, loving tune into a sorrowful one. "…has Tōya's fragile state of mind, and Riku's dark disposition…" Time drags on as I ponder, my fingers smoothly pressing the correct keys as if I've memorized them by heart. "…and she means a lot to me, like Koi…"

By putting them all together, all I receive is a deranged picture. Is it a he? Or a she? It goes to show whoever this is doesn't have a true self, if he/she can resemble so many people. It's sad, yet I don't even know this person. Or do I?

I have no recollection of ever playing this piece before, but… how come it feels so familiar, so important to me? Like I've come to cherish it for the past year. Past year? Has it really been that long?

The emotions are still here, even though the memories are gone. I have no doubt in my mind Naminé has something to do with this. But why? Why does my dear friend have to disappear?

Water begins to leak from my emerald eyes without warning, the long tendrils of my platinum blonde hair drooping to shadow my face. Why can't I remember? The tears stream down my cheeks, dripping off my chin and softly splashing on the ivory keys. Why am I crying?


I immediately straighten and furiously wipe my eyes, forcing a cheery smile on my face before turning in my seat to greet the cloaked figure. "Oh. Hi, Riku." It's difficult not to look away, when he has taken the form of Ansem, a powerful humanoid heartless. But I know it will hurt him deeply if I reject what he's become, so I don't. However, it's one thing to sense it, to know what has happened, unless you see it face-to-face. The reality is hard to accept.

The dismay clearly shows through my bloodshot eyes, but Riku easily ignores it. My cordial greeting does little to affect him, neither is he fooled by my poor lie, but he can't hide the fondness he holds for me from the best heart-reader in the universe. "DiZ sent me to give you this. You haven't been acting yourself lately, and he thought this might cheer you up." In his hand is a sea-salt popsicle, obviously been kept cool with a simple blizzard spell.

"Thanks!" I exclaim jovially, grateful of the new distraction, and I snatch the item from his hands. While I am busy licking the cool treat, he stands there, simply watching me, until he moves to sit beside me. He places his hands curiously on the keyboard and idly presses random notes, a clumsy, tuneless melody in the works. I withhold the urge to critique on his horrible piano skills, wordlessly respecting the fact he has probably never played one before.

"So, what were you playing, Akiel? I've never heard it before." Riku's pensive silence convinces me to believe he is familiar with the melody like I was. So, I guess I'm not the only one who's memory got swiped by Naminé. That is, if she does play a hand in this mystery.

"You know, Riku, I really don't know," I reply somberly, pausing at mid-lick. "I wish I knew…"

"Why don't you play something you do know?" he asks, and I hum thoughtfully, knowing exactly what he is getting at, but deliberately stalling the answer.

I smile and swing my legs childishly back and forth. "Like what?"

"Anything you feel like."

"Whatever you feel like?" I tease in a sing-song voice, stuffing the last of the ice cream into my mouth. Taking a peak at the popsicle stick, I frown in disappointment when I didn't get the winner stick. Oh, well. I sigh and carelessly toss the piece of garbage away.

I can perceive the annoyance and impatience swelling in his heart, taking for granted the fact Riku is honestly trying his best to cheer me up. Tilting his head a bit, he glares at me with amber eyes, the mean scowl working horrifyingly well with Ansem's face.

"Do you want me to leave?" he quips, and I deadpan, realizing I have pressed my luck too far. This guy doesn't know the meaning of tolerance. Yeesh.

"No!" I shake my head vigorously, before rubbing my head in embarrassment. "No. You don't have to." My nervous smile and endearing laughter does little to ease his aggravation.

"Then play something, before I change my mind," he demands, crossing his arms indignantly.

I chuckle, my mouth twitching in the corners of a broad smile. "Sure thing." Cracking my knuckles and flexing my fingers, I start pushing the keys, converting his current emotions into something tangible for us to enjoy.

Fragile hope. Inner turmoil. Profound misery.

The dark pressure stifling his heart is lifted ever so slightly. It will be a long time before my other can find the light again.

(A/N): The first piano composition Akiel played was Xion; the one in the end is Riku. I'll leave it up to your imagination who or what Akiel is. I'll definitely drop hints here or there about him, and I'll be introducing more OCs as I write more chapters. The updates will come periodically and randomly.