Zexion cursed himself for his utter failure and slumped back on the couch that was sitting in the rented apartment. He sighed, rubbing his aching face and closed his eyes. He didn't even know what that was about. Who was that young boy? Why was he getting the feeling that Minato was in a state of contentment as he stared down the building, fearlessly? It was odd that they young boy seemed so morbidly alright with dying.

"Hey, Zexy," Demyx called from the mini fridge, pulling out a bottle of water and downing half of it in one gulp. "What happened back there?" Demyx was doing his best to keep his nose out of other people's business but he thought that maybe Zexion needed some not-really-emotional support. It was rare that Zexion showed any emotion besides annoyance. Maybe he was starting to remember what it was like to feel sad.

It was the same with him too. When he was new to being a nobody, he was a stoic as a rock. Insults never got to him back then, he didn't care that everyone else didn't care about what happened to him.

Walking to the couch to join Zexion, he furrowed his brow in pensive thought. Back then, his sitar was merely a weapon of destruction rather an instrument to express the memories of his emotions. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Zexion paused and peered one eye open to give the taller nobody a quizzical look. There was a few seconds of silence before he finally replied "are you trying to psychoanalyze me or something, nine?" he asked with a little scoff and a roll of his eyes. "It was nothing, okay?" he reassured the other.

"Its not nothing when you start crying for no reason!" Demyx argued. "I think you may be remembering some things that you forgot or something!" he explained before finishing the bottle of water and fixed Zexion with a pout.

Zexion sprawled out on the couch for a few seconds before curling up on his side like a cat. "Remembering information that has nothing to do with the mission at hand is not what exactly what I want, Demyx," he grumbled. "Whatever it was, it is not important. I need that information and that is all that needs to be spoken about. If you wish to talk about something other than the mission, then I suggest you go talk to the nearest wall."

Demyx hit his senior with a pillow. "Geeze! Fine! Keep everything bottled in! And guess who has to deal with you when you're all cranky and "blah blah blah, Demyx you're stupid! Blah blah blah go do something useful and die!" Demyx flapped his fingers, imitating a moving mouth like one would with sock puppets.

Zexion kicked Demyx off the couch. "That is probably the worst impression I have ever heard" he snorted but nonetheless, slightly amused. "If it pleases you then I shall brief you about the reason as to why what has happened happened." He sat up and stared at Demyx straight in the eye. "Obviously there are no coincidences in this universe or any other universe. It is simply something we like to call 'Fate'" he explained. "I'm strating to believe that I am indeed the Minato that they are talking about, or rather, I was once that person."

Demyx raised his eyebrows. "No way?"

"Yes way," Zexion replied a little awkwardly. "As I was saying, while those people were telling us about the 'dark hour,' I. . . I guess I lost myself in my own illusions."

"That can happen?" Demyx asked, slightly amazed and slightly horrified.

The illusionist shrugged. "Of course it can happen. It's a rookie mistake that I, unfortunately, made." His shoulders slumped a little but he continued. "What I saw was myself as a child, a memory that I had long ago forgotten."

"When I was a boy, I was going to kill myself."

Demyx stared at his friend for a long while before a look of utter horror danced across his face. "What? Why would you. . . even think of such a thing!" He got up and hugged Zexion tightly. "Life is very important! To throw it away is-"

"Stupid, I know," Zexion interrupted, trying his best to pry Demyx' hands off of his person.

"Not exactly what I was going to say but yes!" Demyx whined.

"The reason why my younger self was so intent to kill himself was because he was weak and pathetic, depending too much on others rather himself. I'm almost sad to know that he was me," Zexion groaned and finally got Demyx to loosen up his hug.

"Why did the past you want to kill himself?" Demyx asked. He didn't know if it was a touchy subject but Zexion seemed to be putting up well with recovering his memories.

Zexion pulled away from Demyx's grasp and dragged his feet to his bed. "As I have previously stated, the me of the past was deplorable and pathetic. The loss of ones parents is not that big of a deal." He yawned and crawled under the sheets and sighed a little contentedly.

Demyx stared at his friend a little while before deciding that he wanted to sleep as well. Laying down on the makeshift bed (which was the couch), Demyx rolled to his side and closed his eyes. He was sure that Zexion had no reason to lie and he trusted that the other nobody would tell him anything when the time came. For now, he wanted to sleep.

Zexion woke up to realize that he wasn't really awake. No, he was dreaming. It was the boy again, probably a few years older as compared to the last time he's seen him.

The boy is tall and lanky and he has dark circles under his eyes, sitting on his bed with an old book in his lap. His scarcely decorated room was filled with mounds of books ranging from romance to sci-fi to horror. He looked like a normal, sleep deprived boy if he had to be honest, if it weren't for the fact that his windows were barred.

The nobody examined the room, picking up a few books and browsing through them before making his way to the bed to join the boy. "Boy, who are you?" he asked, putting his hand over the small print on the old pages of the book. Of course he already knew who the boy was.

"Minato," the boy confirmed his suspicions.

"What are you doing?" he asked, only now noticing the pen and notebook sitting on the bed. He noticed that the notebook was at its last few pages and that even the walls had neat scrawl on them. Upon closer inspection, he realized that these notes were not the inner musings of a depressed boy but rather the theories of a would be scientist.

Before Minato could answer him, the door to his room was opened and a nurse came in with a gentle smile. "Minato," she called gently. "There is someone here to see you."

"I'm coming," Minato called back, closing his book gently before getting up. He picked up his pen and paper as well and walked towards the lady at the door.

Zexion followed and stood right next to his past counter part as the nurse led them down the hallways. "How old are you?" he asked.

"Eight," the boy replies with a small shrug. "Turning nine this December."

The burse opened a door and gestured Minato to go in. The boy did as he was told and stepped into the eerily white room where a blond man was sitting on one of the chairs.

He stood up and extended his hand for Minato to shake. "Hello, Minato. My name is Ansem."

Zexion woke up with a small jolt and he groaned slightly in irritation when he saw the clock. It was five in the morning and he knew that there was no way he was getting back to sleep any time soon.

With half lidded eyes, he slung his legs out of bed and lazily changed his clothes. All the while, he was doing his best to retain the memories from his latest dream and smiled a little bit fondly. That was the day Ansem the wise 'adopted' him and took him back with him to Radiant Garden.

He walked out of the rented apartment quietly to take an early morning walk. The cool air felt nice against his skin and he rummaged through his pockets for his mp3 and put it on, letting the music play and calm him.

Of course he wasn't expecting to bump into a familiar face at such an early hour. "Akihiko-san?" He asked slightly incredulously. "What in the world are you doing awake so early?"

"Just taking a morning jog," the boxer replied. "Care to join me?"

Zexion shrugged. "Sure, whatever," he replied and fell into pace with Akihiko.

"So where have you been all this time?" Akihiko asked through breaths. "I honestly thought I'd never see you again."

"Foster family," he replied simply. "They found me wandering around town like an idiot a few years back and took pity on me," he lied. It was probably one of the stupidest lies he's ever said but he's had so much time practicing how to lie and deceive that it comes out like a sincere and true story.

Judging from the look on Akihiko's face, the white haired boxer seemed to believe it. "Whoa, I guess that was pretty tough," he replied with a sympathetic look on his face. "Well, at least you're here now and starting to remember things, right? We'll jog up your memories until you remember everything!" he said with an enthusiastic and confident smile on his face.

"Oh, I just remembered how horrible your puns are," Zexion retorted. Of all the random things to remember, he had to remember all of Akihiko's lame pick-up lines. He remembered that one fateful day in the dormitory when there was a black out and the boys decided to have a contest of "who has the best pick up lines."

The boxer blushed a light crimson and tried to laugh it off. "I honestly didn't mean for it to be a pun," he replied.

But Zexion clearly knew it was a lie. Good old predictable Akihiko-senpai.

And Zexion was starting to fear that he might remember everything else and that he might get attached before he even completes the mission. Setting his priorities straight, he pauses and sits on one of the benches littered around the park and beckons his friend over to join him.

Akihiko sits down and fans himself a little by pulling the collar of his shirt back and forth to produce a small breeze. "Something the matter?"

"Well, I've been meaning to ask, and I apologize if its hard to talk about but what are shadows?" he asked. "Though you were guys were explaining it to me yesterday, it was a pretty vague description."

"Huh? Oh, well, the semantics aren't all that important when you think about it. Keep looking forward, you know? Hope for a better future," he said with a far off look in his eyes. There was a few moments of silence before he started talking again. "Do you remember Shinji?" he asked, almost below a whisper.

Zexion turned his head to face Akihiko and tried to remember. "Wasn't he that creepy looking guy who's one heck of a fighter?" he asked in turn with a quirk of his brow. He remembered a tall brunet with cold looking eyes.

"Yeah," the boxer nodded slowly. "I was really depressed when he died, you know. I felt so alone and helpless and. . . just useless." He laughed sardonically and continued "but call me crazy, but there was this voice in my head then, telling me to 'be a man,' and to 'stop being such a fucking cry baby.'" He smiled a little. "It was Shinji's voice."

The nobody didn't say anything. The boxer continued.

"At first I thought I was going crazy, another part of me thought that maybe Shiji was actually contacting me from beyond," he sticks his tongue out when Zexion gives him a judgmental stare. "But when I thought about it, it was probably just me trying to keep his memory alive."

"What does this have to do with anything?" Zexion asked skeptically.

"That the semantics don't matter," he repeated. "No one really needs to know what I was thinking about when he died. All they need to know that I've accepted it and that I would be fine."

Zexion frowned slightly. "But, I don't know. I guess I just want to know."

Akihiko stood up and ruffled the nobody's hair gently. "It will come back to you soon," he replied. "I'm heading back to the dorm," he informed and started jogging in place to warm himself up again. "If you like, you can come. Everyone was a little bit disappointed that you had to leave so early yesterday, me included."

Well, he was feeling a little bit hungry. "Alright," he said and they started to jog with Akihiko leading the way. "But if it's alright, maybe we should keep Fuuka out of the kitchen," he said with a shudder. "I just remembered how horrible her cooking is."


I can't believe you guys are still reading this! The guilt of not updating has forced my to spew out whatever my brain thought of!