Marluxia sat down by the wall, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths. Larxene leaned on the wall, next to him, just out of the earshot of Vexen and Lexaeus.

"Can we trust anyone else in the Organization?" Larxene asked, tugging on one of her bangs. Marluxia laughed quietly.

"Axel, maybe. Roxas, Demyx. I dunno about Zexion, maybe, but I don't really think so." He said, closing his eyes and tilting his head back to touch the wall behind him.

"At least we know we can trust each other." Larxene said, sliding down the wall to land next to Marluxia. "Right?" Marluxia tilted his head and sent a smile at Larxene.

"Of course." He said.


A month later, in October, Roxas noted that another one of the Organization members was missing---Number X, Luxord.

"Meeting will now come to order." Superior started, ignoring the fact that the Gambler of Fate was not there. This time, at least, Roxas knew it was because of his birthday and not some random thing. He sighed as Xenmas talked, thinking about the other Organization members. All of their birthdays came before his, Axel told him. And you always knew who's birthday was when, because they'd be excused from meetings. Roxas had learned all of the Organization member's birthdays, and they were surprisingly consistent. It made him snicker---or it would've, but he was the youngest, Axel told him. The last Organization member, the one before him, was Larxene, and her birthday was December 12th.

It made Axel snicker when Roxas mentioned casually after that that his birthday was December 13th.

"That'll be the first time that we've ever had two members gone at once." Axel had responded when Roxas questioned him. With a laugh, Roxas pretended to be annoyed.


It was October 7th when things started to get strange. It started with the meeting for Luxord's birthday (Roxas wondered what the blonde gambler did---what any of them did when they were excused from meetings. The only friends he knew they had was the Organization). It was something Roxas hadn't noticed at the time. Rather, it was something he insisted didn't exist.

It started with several looks, a few glances, between the two.

Then they were late to meetings.

Finally, Roxas couldn't handle it anymore..

"What's going on?" He snapped, cornering them before class one day.

"Roxas..." Marluxia said smoothly, draping an arm around him and looking at Larxene over the top of his head briefly before returning his attention to Roxas. "Roxas, Roxas, Roxas. Don't worry about it."

"But---"

"Can it, shrimp." Larxene snapped. Roxas turned to her, eyes wide. "It's none of your business, so shut the fuck up and back off. Understand?"

"Why on earth are we all picking on Roxas?" Axel drawled suddenly, pulling Marluxia's arm off of Roxas. "Marly, Lar, really. There's no need to pick on him."

"Even though he's the youngest?" Axel shrugged.

"So what? You're pretty young too, Arlene." Larxene's fists clenched and she glared at Axel.

"You call me Arlene one more time...." She snarled. Axel leaned forward casually, whispering something in Larxene's ear.

She paled considerably.

Roxas looked from Axel to Larxene, wondering what the red-headed pyro told her to make her react like that. Larxene stayed frozen, her eyes locked on Axel's.

"You wouldn't." Came out in a strangled hiss. Axel shrugged.

"I wouldn't. I would." He smirked at her slightly. "But you never know, Lar." He turned abruptly. "We're gonna be late for class. Let's go." Walking forward, Roxas ran to keep up with Axel.

"What did you say to her?" Roxas wondered, looking at Axel. Axel had his eyes half-open, and Roxas could read the worry in Axel's eyes and face. His arms were crossed, and Roxas touched one gently. "Axel?"

"I hate saying that to her." He mumbled, running a hand through his gravity-defying hair before recrossing his arms. "But she'll live, right? She knows I wouldn't, no matter what."


"What did he say?" Marluxia asked Larxene. She shook her head.

"He said, he knows." She looked at him, worried. "And if we don't hurry, we may not be able to do it. Superior's orders, you know."


Roxas found it strange nothing else happened, but by the time of December, Larxene was telling him to get ready to abandon the meetings.

"What do you guys do?" He asked her. "When you don't have to go to meetings?" Larxene shrugged.

"Depends on the person." She said simply. "Zexion, for example, just hangs out in the library. Marluxia hangs out in the school's garden, Demyx hangs out in the pool, Axel on the roof---"

"Why the roof?" Roxas wondered. Larxene snorted.

"The fire alarms don't go off if he's on the roof with his lighter." Roxas shook his head.

"What do you do?" Larxene leaned into Roxas' face, narrowing her eyes slightly and smiling evilly.

"Do you really wanna know, Roxas?" She whispered in a sing-song voice. Roxas' eyes widened and he shook his head frantically. She laughed, pulling away. "I hang out in the gym with a basketball, Roxas. Don't act like I castrate guys in the back of the school."

For some reason, Roxas had a hard time believing her.


In the end, he decided to hang out with Namine. The blonde girl smiled at Roxas and waved.

"How are you?" She asked, sitting herself down next to him. Roxas grinned.

"Good. Missing my friends, but the Organization's pretty cool, too." Namine blew a piece of hair out of her face.

"I take it your birthday's coming up?" She said. "I know Larxene's is."

"Yea." A sudden question came to Roxas. "Hey, Namine?" She looked at him, curiosity in her eyes. "When did the Organization form?"

"Probably when Xenmas and Xigbar were in sixth grade." She frowned thoughtfully. "Yea, because Vexen was thirteen when he joined, which was shortly after it was formed."

"How old is Xenmas?" Namine grinned.

"Nineteen. Since he was born so early in the school year, he was put in later." Roxas nodded slowly. "Actually, with the exception of Zexion, all of them were put in school late."

"What do you mean?" Roxas asked her. Namine counted off on her fingers.

"Xenmas, Xigbar, Xaldin, Vexen, and Lexaeus are nineteen." She said. "Zexion and Saix are seventeen, Axel, Demyx, and Luxord are sixteen, Marluxia and Larxene are fourteen." Blinking, Namine recounted in her head before nodding brightly. "Yea, that's all of them."

"Wow." Roxas said. Then he smirked. "And I'm going to be fourteen." Namine giggled.

"You're the youngest of them all." She said. Roxas laughed.


That night, he had the dream again.

"You're being an idiot, Zexion!"

"Come on, let's just get outta here already."

"Don't worry, sometimes people like him aren't worth it."

"I thought he would be..."

"We'll get him later, ok?"

This time, however, there were people in it...shapes...Roxas tried to focus on them. He recognized the place---the high school's cafeteria, the whiteness of it practically blinding him...he could see five people standing in a group, by the end of a table...eight were sitting...no, seven were sitting, one was standing by someone else...

"I'm sorry..."

Roxas sat up with a gasp.

"What's wrong with me?" He muttered, grabbing his head in his hands.