The city was silent except for the whispering scuffles of the Heartless among the buildings and the soft footsteps of the lone Nobody out on patrol. The occasional neon light cast long shadows across the pavement in front of him, and he was well aware of several pairs of beady yellow eyes fixed on him from the alleys he passed. The glowing heart-shaped moon hung in the sky above, but he couldn't see it for all the useless skyscrapers that towered over him.

Zexion was sick of patrol duty. The most interesting thing that had happened tonight was having to rescue a particularly thick Dancer from a pack of Shadows, and he'd only done that because there was nothing else at all going on. The city was dead – it had been dead since the day they'd arrived years ago, long since overrun by Heartless. There were no hidden pockets of resistance that hadn't been hunted down by packs of the little black critters long ago, no mysteriously powerful lesser Nobodies… nothing but empty streets and crumbling buildings.

"Aaaah! Help, anybody!"

Okay, nothing but that, anyway. His lexicon materialised in his hand as he set off towards the scream. It had to be better than nothing.

The source of the scream revealed itself a couple of streets over, in the empty courtyard in front of Memory Skyscraper. As Zexion rounded the corner, he saw a swarm of Shadows scuttling towards the overturned truck near the base of the building (eternal reminder of Axel's atrocious driving skills, discovered during that one mission…). He could see someone cowering between the back wheels, furiously whacking away at Shadows and screaming bloody murder. A light breeze whipped up, and he sniffed the air. Not one of us. Not a Heartless, obviously. A human? Ridiculous…

As he stepped closer, close enough to see blonde hair and an inordinate amount of tanned skin. Female, or male with a terrible choice of clothes, he thought, lashing out at a Neoshadow that surged out of the ground to his right. The lexicon made a satisfying thump as it connected with the monster's head, sending it tumbling backwards. Crude, but effective. The noise caught the attention of the rest of the swarm, and some of the ones nearest to the edge of the group made a beeline for him. He dealt out another round of blows along with the occasional blast of darkness and retreated, making a portal to a higher vantage point from which to assess the situation.

"I-is someone there? Help!"

It was a girl. He could see her from his spot on top of one of the smaller building surrounding the square. Long blonde hair that was styled as if she'd stepped out of a magazine, wide, startling green eyes, and a dress that was more accurately described as several strategically placed leather belts that left nothing to the imagination. The wind was picking up, and that was a definite human scent. Smelled like cheap perfume and make-up.

"May as well leave her for the Heartless…" he murmured, turning and vanishing into another swirling portal –

- and reappeared in the Hall of Empty Melodies, several feet away from Demyx, who was sitting on the edge of the low wall and plucking obliviously at the strings of his sitar. Zexion waited until he'd finished the piece he was playing before he cleared his throat loudly – the Nobody in front of him let out a startled squeak and twisted around in his seat.

"Ah, Zexion! Back from patrol already?" He was as cheery as ever.

"It was uneventful. I believe it's your shift now." Zexion sat down beside Demyx, who shifted over to make room, and picked up one of the sheets of music, nodding appreciatively. "That was a nice melody you were playing just now. An original?"

"Ah, you heard that, did you?" Demyx flushed slightly, gathering up the rest of the sheets of staff paper and stuffing them into a folder. "I was just messing around, nothing special. Glad you liked it, though."

"Of course. You could make a small fortune busking in Twilight Town if you wanted to," Zexion said, handing back the sheet. "But for now – patrol duty. Have fun, and keep an eye on those Dancers of yours."

Demyx laughed sheepishly as he opened a portal, tucking the folder of music under his arm. "Aw man, not again… See ya, Zexy!" He stepped through the portal before Zexion could protest at the nickname, and it closed behind him.

Zexion stayed where he was, sitting in reflective silence for a few minutes before teleporting directly to his room. He took a book from the small bookshelf beside his desk and sat down to read, but the writing was kind of blurry, and he had trouble focusing on the words. It was late, he realised, stifling a yawn, and he'd been a long while without a decent night's sleep. So he kicked off his boots and hung his coat over the back of his chair before falling into bed and drifting off to sleep.


Marisa Cowell was running on autopilot at the moment. One moment, she had been stepping out the door, make up done and dressed to impress, to join her best friends down at the mall for a shopping spree, the next, there were these weird black bug things scuttling around the front yard, and people screaming and running – one of the weird bugs pounced on the man across the road trimming his hedges, tearing at his chest with black claws – she screamed and tore back into the house, slamming the door behind her – her mum was on the floor, pale and lifeless for the few seconds before the body dissolved away – there were inky shadows eating away at the floor, bits of the house vanishing into nothing…

And then she was here. A world of black buildings and glowing green signs that towered over her, with hordes of those black bugs everywhere she turned. She had fled blindly from her starting position, barely taking any notice of her surroundings in her panic. As soon as she'd stumbled out of the labyrinthine alleyways and into the empty square in front of that weird skyscraper thing, she'd run straight towards that crashed truck, screaming for help. A car of any sort generally meant people, and she'd be grateful for any assistance at all.

The truck was empty, without a single sign that anyone had sat in it, so she turned, groping around for something to use as a weapon. Her hand closed around a metal bar, probably from the wreck of the truck, which she used to lash out at the creatures surrounding her as she cowered underneath the wreck and prayed for help.

From the moment she'd heard those footsteps, she was sure that she was safe, that someone had come to rescue her. There were sounds of a scuffle, and the swarm of enemies around her seemed thinner than before. She caught a glimpse of her rescuer through a break in the horde – a young man, hell, couldn't have been out of his teens yet, with pretty blue-grey hair and a sleek black coat, carrying – a book? She blinked and looked again. It was definitely a book, and he was laying a severe smackdown on the creatures around him with it. Then the creatures closed in, there was a sound like ripping fabric, and he was gone.

She looked around, shrinking back further under the truck. Oh no, don't tell me they got him too...

Then she caught sight of him again – how did he get on top of that building? What the hell is going on? – and saw him say something… and he vanished into what looked like a round blob of shadows.

Ah, I'm seeing things, going crazy, she thought, tears coming to her eyes as the swarm of creatures renewed their assault, several ducking under the flailing metal bar and clinging to her arms and legs.

"Mum… dad…" she sobbed, trying to shake the creatures off, "I'm sorry…"

The bar dropped from her fingers as the Heartless overwhelmed her, claws reaching towards her heart.


"He-hey, Ienzo, you're a-a good kid…" Braig slurred, taking another sip from the bottle in front of him. He was already having trouble sitting up straight, and it was barely midnight. Dilan had already fled, not wanting to take responsibility for the drunkard later on. A wise decision.

"Aah, Braig, that's flattering and all, but I think you've had enough to drink…"

"'m not drunk! 'm just getting war – hic – warmed up!"

Ienzo sighed, leaning back in his seat as Braig slung an arm around his shoulder and started singing. No wonder Even had laughed when he'd declined Braig's invitation for a night out. Smarmy bastard… He was seriously contemplating getting hammered himself.

***

"Check."

"Huh? No way!" Ienzo frowned, studying the chess board in front of him. Elaeus just smiled, folding his arms across his broad chest.

"You're good, kid, but you've got a lot to learn."

Ienzo moved his king in what he thought was a safe move, and Elaeus's smile widened. He tipped over the black king with a quick movement. "Checkmate."

"Damn it!"

"Four games to nil."

"I'll get you one day, just you watch." Ienzo started setting up the pieces again while Elaeus fetched the two of them something to eat.

******

Zexion rolled over onto his side with a groan. Those dreams were back again… he sat up and ran a hand through his hair, pushing it out of his face as he looked around the familiar room. Well, I'm not going to get back to sleep in a hurry.

He pulled on his boots before letting his feet touch the cold stone floor, then quietly opened the door, being careful not to disturb anyone else who might be in their rooms. It was cold in the twisting corridors of the Castle that Never Was, and his footsteps echoed off the walls every now and again. The whole place was much more eerie at this time, when everyone was either asleep or on a mission. He could see through the large windows that it was raining – Demyx was probably still out on patrol. After half an hour of aimless wandering, he opened a portal and stepped through into the library.

The shelves were stacked with books of every kind, from scientific journals from the various worlds to those cheap teenage horror novels that some of the other members liked to read. The whole place had that utter stillness and sense of history that was common to libraries the worlds over, and it was somewhere that Zexion felt at home.

He spun around at the hissing sound and smell of hot metal that normally signified the arrival of one of the lesser Nobodies. Lack of sleep put him far more on edge than normal. His nose wrinkled slightly as another smell met it, something annoyingly familiar. It was flowery and slightly dusty, like perfume and makeup.

A Creeper was stumbling around between the bookshelves, obviously trying not to trip over its own oversized hands, its tiny feet waving in midair comically. Zexion bent down and picked it up, placing it on a nearby table and waiting for it to stop moving. It was obviously new to the whole Nobody thing, and he was still trying to place the scent that was lingering around it. He'd encountered it before, not that long ago…

"Aha."

The Creeper toppled off the table, landing awkwardly on its back with its hands paddling the air. Zexion righted it, setting it back on its feet with a quiet laugh. It was that girl, the one he'd encountered down in the city. No wonder it seemed familiar. The Heartless must have finished her off only moments after he'd left.

"Welcome to life as a Nobody. Don't fall down the stairs."

With that, he strode over to the bookshelf containing some lengthy novels, picked one and teleported back to his room, leaving the unlucky girl-turned-Creeper to fend for itself.

After a few minutes spent locating the doorway, it fell does the stairs.


Well, I tried for another parody, and it just ended up weird. I tried to make it start out like a story where 'OMG random girl with sympathetic back-story meets Organisation member and then she becomes a Nobody and joins the Organisation', and it kind of spiralled out of control from there. Yeah anticlimax. I just find it infinitely amusing when people assume that, just because their character has been attacked by the Heartless and become a Nobody, they'll become a higher Nobody instead of one of the adorable little cannon fodder lower Nobodies. Personally, I'd love being a Creeper or a Dusk. You're not immediately targeted for extermination, and can go hide in a corner for the duration. Also… Demyx and Zexion make such cute friends, I couldn't help myself.

Reviews would be nice, even if they're just cracking down on me for daring to post this.