Ch. 1: Fifteen Beginnings
"He looks a lot like you."
Two strangers talking on a dark, moonlit beach.
"So long as you continue to exist, your light will never cease to shine."
A boy standing at the crossroads, a soul yearning for existence, a heart forfeiting its future.
An extra hero given a new existence, the letters of his true name scrambled to overwrite his past self; and the days start to rewind.
~Setting Things Right Again~
Lightning crackles through pitch-dark clouds as thunder booms in heavy rhythm with the rapid pace of our footsteps. We sprint soundlessly across a long series of winding streets, avoiding wide and open areas to remain undetected from the searching eyes of our pursuers. Neon signs attached to vacant buildings flicker in the rain, providing little illumination in the perpetual nightfall.
No one is to know where we're going. No one is to know what we're about to do. No one is to know what's going to happen to us.
Deep in my gut, I know this mission is suicide, but I... my promise... I can't back down now. What scares me most is the guarantee beyond our reach; the guarantee of surviving to see the next day. Ever since the two of us defected from the Organization, I debated whether or not I should disclose to Roxas the truth about me. What else do I have to lose?
I suddenly grab his arm, urging him to stop. He snaps his head back, and angrily asks, "What's the hold up, Akiel? We have to–."
"I want to tell you a secret." Suspicion and curiosity bubbles underneath his impatience, and I hastily re-gather my courage to finish the rest. I stumble over my words, my gasps falling short in the hollow wind and endless raindrops. "I... I'm not... who you think I am."
He turns to face me fully, causing me to let go of his arm, and he tilts his head, inquiring, "So, who are you, then?"
"I don't want to lie to you. Not anymore." There is no telling how he may react, but I have to get this off my chest - or else end up regretting it forever. I close my eyes for a moment and take a deep breath to steady my nerves. It's now or never. "I'm a spy in the Organization."
Behind the darkness of his hood, surprise fractures his calm mask, but disbelief is quick in sealing the cracks. "...why?"
The rueful smile comes at full force. I turn away from him and cross my arms, feeling absolutely dubious to his simple question.
Why did I become friends with Nobodies, despite knowing of the consequences? Why did I join the Organization, despite learning the futility of their dream? Why did I agree to help Father, despite the immorality of his revenge?
"I wonder that myself sometimes..."
Father believed I could do it, but I didn't want to go through with this. There were times I thought I'd slip and blow my cover and ruin everything Father has worked for. Other times, I thought I was a part of the Organization and I'd sworn allegiance to them and nobody else. But then, the memories I've made with all of my comrades reminded me never to give up.
Luxord always told me to play the cards right, even if it means I have to cheat. Axel taught me the way of flexible thinking and my mentor, Xigbar, advised me never to blindly follow the orders of others. Xaldin's independence inspired me to do things my own way and Saïx's discipline showed me the hard way of separating personal feelings from the job, because it would only bring trouble meddling in world affairs. Demyx, despite his laziness, set a good example for me; he took life in stride no matter how dire things got. It was an important lesson that helped me cope with the loss of five people– Lexaeus, Marluxia, Larxene, Vexen, and Zexion.
Though short as our time was together, I enjoyed their company immensely and cherished each and every moment I spent with them. Through their sacrifices, I realized the truth of Xemnas's words; that the power of the heart is not to be underestimated.
So I hanged in tough for an entire year. Xemnas issued missions on me everyday and I grudgingly did whatever he told me to do to ensure his trust in me. He pressured me to prove my loyalty to the cause and fight for what he believes is right. But I've known, since the very beginning, Kingdom Hearts will not give them back what they've lost.
The Organization's goal is all wrong. Roxas and I, we've learned this painful fact through Xion after witnessing her tragic fate. We ultimately chose to run away and set things back to the way they were.
This is the end of the road for Organization XIII.
Things happen for a reason.
If that wasn't true, I wouldn't be here, spying on Organization XIII or eating ice cream with my three favorite people.
The Superior sits atop the highest throne with gloved hands gripping the edge of the armrests, projecting his strong and deep voice for all to hear. "Good tidings, friends. Today is a momentous day. I am pleased to announce that two new comrades have been chosen to wear the coat. Number XIV and XV."
This is my cue to reveal myself to the thirteen members. The black coat, which is uniform to the Nobodies, sweeps the ground as I walk behind Number XIV. Halting at the center of the white platform, I lift my eyes to glance at Number I.
Pewter white hair and olive dark skin, and eyes the shade of amber - that man has to be Xehanort. Or technically, Xehanort's Nobody, who goes by the name of Xemnas. With lengthy bangs parted to the sides, he gazes at me with an unreadable face and I refrain from fidgeting under his intense staring. He doesn't look very different from the man I met at Radiant Garden ten years ago. I wonder if he remembers me at all. For convenience's sake, he shouldn't be able to recognize me, since I'm a teenager now, no longer a toddler.
"Let us all welcome the Keyblade's chosen wielders."
Indifference. Curiosity. Boredom. Fascination.
I can sense these emotions, but they are unnaturally faint. Almost as undetectable as a dying heartbeat.
That is to be expected. Nobodies don't have hearts, therefore they cannot feel (at least, that's what Father has told me). Their basis of acting and human behavior relies solely on memories. So, it will be kinda difficult for me to perceive their thoughts through what scarce emotions they have.
I look around the Round Room, imprinting each and every face to memory, both familiar and unfamiliar. When I reach the young member beside me, her gaze is focused upwards. Curious, I follow her line of sight, and recognition sparks the emotion of glee inside me.
Roxas; Sora's Nobody.
Wow! He sure does look like him. Not exactly like him, but the similarities are still there.
I smile at him. Confusion clouds his sky-blue eyes.
"Hi!" I shout abruptly, and energetically wave. That single note pierces through the thick silence, bouncing back loudly from the distant, white walls - startling everyone within hearing range. Immediately I realize this is no place for frivolous behavior and I bashfully lower my eyes, fiddling with the cuff of my sleeve.
I can't believe I just said that. I'm such an idiot. Father advised me to keep a low profile, but here I am, embarrassing myself in the scrutinizing eyes of Xemnas, doing something a Nobody wouldn't normally do.
A lone emotion stands out stronger than the rest, like a firefly roaming in the foggy night - amusement. It compels me to look for the source, which is actually right next to me, and I am surprised to see Number XIV smiling at me, eyes hidden beneath the shadow of her hood.
Unable to interpret this innocent gesture, I slowly smile back.
(A/N): I wasn't planning to do this, make a story out of 358/2 Days, but my friend rocklee4ever persuaded me, and I'm glad he did. I can see this story has potential. The main character is Akiel, one of my OCs, and his story can be considered a stand alone. However, it is deeply linked to my other story, Do You Accept It?, if you want to read that, too.
Chap. 2 should be up soon, so I'd like you be patient.