Being a part of Organization XIII was something to be proud of. It meant you were smarter than the average Nobody and therefore had the right to boss the less-than-average ones around. It meant you had the ability to portal from world to world in the blink of an eye. It meant that you were an excellent fighter with extraordinary abilities.
Most of the members of the Organization had this mindset, and nonetheless they were quite content with it. They preferred to be on top, respected and admired and that was what they got. Besides their longing to be complete there was nothing really wrong with their lives.
But when you were the only girl in Organization XIII you were bound to look at the universe in a slightly different way than the others.
When you were the only girl in Organization XIII you were bound to have an awkward moment with your coworkers, cohorts, comrades, friends...whatever you wanted to call them. There had to be at least one occasion in which you stood there awkwardly while your partners gushed and debated on whether or not the girl that just passed by had a nice rack. Surely there had to be more than one time in which you were supposed to be on a mission, but because of your partner's inability to keep his hormones in check you ended up trailing behind helplessly as your worthless excuse for a partner pervertedly ogled the cute girl sitting by that café on the corner of the street.
Larxene, unfortunately, could've written a book - no, a series of books on the countless 'I-was-the-only-girl' moments she experienced during her time with the Organization. She could've written volume after volume without being bombarded with writer's block. She could've written an encyclopedia on all the times she just stood there, trying to block out the stupid conversations those idiots would conjure up when they thought she wasn't paying attention. Boys, honestly - what good were they?
Normally she would've had one of those experiences at least once or twice a day, and it would always leave her in a rotten mood by the time her mission was finished.
But today was different.
Everyone in Organization XIII knew what Larxene looked like when she was angry. She just had that look in her eyes - there really was no other way to describe it. It was that look, combined with all the little other hints that gave her anger away: the way her fists slightly trembled, the sound of her heels clacking against the floor in a slightly faster rhythm than usual, the way her eye kind of twitched when she was standing still - once one took notice of these signs it was recommended they run for their lives. Thankfully everyone (even IX) was smart enough to stay out of the Nymph's way when she was angry.
But today she wasn't angry. No, Larxene, Number XII, The Savage Nymph wasn't angry at all.
She was downright furious.
How could one tell? Well, for one thing: her fists weren't slightly trembling, they were shaking so bad they almost appeared to be a blur. She was walking so quickly the clicking of her heels almost sounded like they were clicking together instead of one right after the other. Her eye was visibly twitching, and it was twitching so bad she had to slap herself a few times to get it to stop. And that look in her eyes, the one she usually had when she was angry? Multiply that by ten. A hundred. A thousand. Infinity.
Now even Larxene was rash when she was mad. It was natural to not think properly when one was all riled up. It was so easy to just let that quick heat of anger fill you up inside and take over everything that made sense in you; it was almost hard to realize that you were letting it happen in the first place.
Which was probably why Larxene was making her way towards the single door on the topmost floor of The Castle That Never Was.
Now don't get her wrong - Larxene really didn't hate Naminé, though she had to admit that sometimes the little memory witch got on her nerves. It was just so unnerving sometimes to stare into that sweet, innocent face and wonder just how the hell this little runt managed to keep her sanity around here. If being a member of an all-boy group was bad enough, try imagining how much worse it would be if you were a prisoner to said all-boy group.
When Larxene stormed into the memory witch's room - she kicked the door open, actually - she was surprised to find the little blonde not at her usual spot by the long white table, immersed in her sketchbook. She was actually standing somewhere by the far left wall; she had just closed her closet door.
The smaller girl turned around slowly, releasing the doorknob and raising both of her platinum eyebrows in mild shock. "Larxene?" There was a bit of fear wedged into the witch's soft voice, and normally that would've made the Nymph grin. "What are you-"
"Sit down." The older blonde growled, jutting her chin towards the chair by the head of the long table. Naminé nodded and immediately shuffled over to the chair, sitting down and folding her hands nervously on top of her lap. The girl was smart enough not to trifle with Number XII when she wasn't in a good mood - that was a good sign.
Larxene leaned against the edge of the table, crossing her arms and turning her head so she could see the blonde witch properly. After staring at her nervous, quiet form for a few long seconds she began to wonder how she ended up here in the first place. It wasn't like she was planning to come into Naminé's room, and when was the last time the two actually talked? Maybe it was because of the sole fact that besides her the memory witch was the only other female residing in this godforsaken castle. Maybe it was because there was a chance she could help - no, that was impossible. How could a squirt like her know what to do? How would she know how to feel - wait, why was she even asking that question in the first place when she wasn't supposed to be feeling anything herself?
Then why the hell was she even here?
"Erm, Larxene?" Naminé hesitated, breaking the Nymph away from her thoughts, "Did...did you want something?"
Eh, might as well give it a shot. What harm could be done?
XII sighed as her eyes subconsciously raised towards the ceiling. "Do you ever feel intimidated by the fact that you're a prisoner of a male-dominated organization?" When she returned her gaze to the younger blonde she rolled her eyes. "What the hell am I saying - of course you do."
The witch absently pulled on a strand of hair. "Um, actually it's not so bad."
Now that caught the Nymph's attention. "Are you serious?" Larxene raised an eyebrow and she shifted her entire body so that she was facing the younger girl, "How can you not feel inferior, or at least frustrated or something? Isn't it a bit unnerving when you're surrounded by boys almost every day?"
"A little, but they're not really that bad once you get used to them." Naminé's soft, serene tone was so aggravating at the moment, probably because her opinion wasn't quite what Larxene was expecting to hear.
"Please continue." XII's voice was half-sarcastic, half-desperate - was it even possible to sound that way?
The small witch paused for a minute, gathering her thoughts and figuring out how to relay them in spoken word. "Well," She started unsurely, tugging harder on her piece of hair, "If you get past all that, erm, boy stuff they're all kind of nice." She tilted her head to the side a little; for some reason the older girl took a cautious step back. "Is there something bothering you, Larxene?"
This girl was more adept than everyone gave her credit for. "Er, what makes you say that?"
Naminé shrugged. "It's just an assumption. You look a little uneasy." Her eyes lowered to her lap again. "A-and, well, you don't really talk to me much so I figured something must've bothered you enough to make you come up all the way here - away from...away from the others, perhaps?"
God, she was spot on. It was a little frightening, actually. "You're not as pathetic as I thought you were," Larxene smirked as the younger girl coloured in embarrassment, "They're all idiots - inconsiderate, brash, self-absorbed, cocky idiots." With every adjective her voice lowered considerably. "I don't know how much more I can take of this. Really."
The memory witch fidgeted with her pale hands. "W-what happened?"
Oh, this kid was good. "Oh, y'know - the usual stuff. Hormone-infested boy gets distracted, I get pissed off because the mission didn't carry out the way I wanted it to," Larxene was gesturing with her hands as she spoke, "Hormone-infested boy is oblivious to the fact that we're actually on a mission and continues to ogle random girl walking on the street, I get even more pissed off-"
"Who was your partner?" Naminé looked a little nervous, and it was understandable as to why: she just cut right into the middle of the Savage Nymph's explanation.
Luckily XII felt generous - at least to her own gender - for today, so she let it slide. "Why is that so important?"
The witch shrugged. "I just want to know."
The Nymph let out a deep sigh and pressed the heel of her palm against her forehead. "It was the most idiotic one of them all: The Flurry of Dancing Flames."
The thought of the lanky pyromaniac almost caused her to short-circuit, but for all the wrong reasons; her fists clenched the edges of the white table and her teeth ground together as thoughts of today's mission sifted through her memory. White-hot anger pooled into her lower abdomen and she began to quite literally crackle: tiny bolts of electricity were flashing around her head.
Naminé looked a little frightened, but she spoke up nonetheless. "Um…" She tugged harder on her curl of hair, debating on whether it was safe to say whatever it was that she wanted to say.
Larxene sneered down at the littler blonde. "What is it? Just spit it out." She muttered impatiently.
"What did Axel do, specifically…?"
"Didn't I just tell you? He was being a stupid boy, that's what he was doing!" The older blond gritted her teeth and gripped the edge of the table again, "He was completely out of his mind, going so far as to actually approaching the broad and talking to her! What the hell was he thinking?" She slammed one fist on the white wooden surface, startling the small witch, "We had a job to do, we had-"
"Um," Naminé bravely interrupted again; Larxene's head snapped in her direction and the younger girl swallowed nervously, "A-are you sure you're angry because he wasn't paying attention to the mission, o-or is it because...is it because he w-wasn't paying attention to...to you?"
The Nymph's teal orbs widened, and she wasn't sure if she wanted to collapse on the floor in a fit of hysterical laughter or lunge towards the runt and strangle her until that pretty little face of hers was a nice shade of violet. Larxene merely stood there, staring contemptuously at the smaller girl as she tried to figure out how to react. Her mind retracted to her 'real-feeling' days as she tried to find an emotion that was fitting for the situation, but she came up empty.
This girl, this kid just told her she was jealous - how the hell was she supposed to feel about that?
The Nymph breathed in deep and smiled sweetly. This only frightened Naminé even more. "Now," The older of the two stepped closer, her heels clicking against the solid floor, "Why would I give a Dusk's ass whether or not that redheaded oaf is paying attention to me?" She reached forward and dauntingly traced the younger girl's jawline with a single finger; she simpered as the witch shivered under her touch. "I'm pretty sure you know how I despise him with the passion of a thousand burning suns."
"I-I do," Naminé stuttered, her eyes flitting away from the older blonde's, "But...but every time t-this sort of thing happens with someone else y-you don't seem...seem a-as angry as you are now."
Larxene immediately retracted her hand and gawked at the younger girl. Her words stung more than a slap to the face; she merely stood there, staring at the little blonde witch like she had just grown a second head. "W-what did you just say?" She manage to splutter in the midst of her shock; one of her gloved hands was still gripping onto the edge of the white table.
If Naminé was frightened before she was probably utterly terrified now. She clutched the patterned hem of her skirt and stared down at her lap as she spoke. "Um, w-well I don't know if you noticed b-but this wasn't the first time y-you came to me about this," One of her tiny hands moved to pull on her hair, "Just last month y-you did the same thing...and you were angry over the s-same person."
Really? Wow, maybe she should watch her temper from now on.
The Nymph swayed on the spot, confused and embarrassed at the same time. Okay, this was bad, and she knew it was bad because Naminé out of all people had to be the one who called her out on it. The older blonde didn't want her to know that, obviously, so she tried to retain her hard facade for just a little bit longer.
"Just what exactly are you trying to imply here, kid?" She leaned forward on the table so that her elbows rested on its surface, enabling her to rest her chin in her hands.
The little witch's already large eyes widened even more and she leaned back in her chair. "N-nothing!" She exclaimed, "It's...it's just something to p-point out, I guess - not that I'm...I'm saying there's anything w-wrong-"
"Right." Larxene pulled back and she smirked when she heard Naminé exhale in relief. The older blonde absently reached upwards to tuck a stray lock of hair behind her ear. "Why can't you just tell me straight up that you think I'm jealous? Are you really that meek?"
The smaller girl gulped noisily. "I...I never said-"
"I know you never did, but I know you're thinking it," The Nymph rolled her eyes, "It's not that hard to figure out."
The memory witch was silent for a few seconds; she hesitated as she dropped her head to stare at her fumbling fingers. "S-so...are you really...erm," She swallowed again, "You know…"
"Jealous?" For some reason she didn't feel as ticked off as before; this kid had talent. Larxene shrugged and threw up her hands, "Y'know, I don't even know anymore - or maybe I do and I just don't want to admit it." She frowned and crossed her arms, slightly tilting her head to the side. "Or maybe I'm just not sure what the difference is."
"D-difference...difference between what?"
"The difference between feeling jealous and feeling angry, I suppose," The older girl shrugged again, "They're kinda the same thing, don't you think?"
It was Naminé's turn to frown. "They are very much alike, but there are some things that set them apart."
Intrigued, Larxene swerved around. "And do you know what these things are, pray tell?"
The younger of the two began to tug on her flick of hair again. "Um, well...when you're angry everything...everything just stops making sense, doesn't it? You kind of just...go off on a passionate tangent. Sometimes you don't even know why you feel this way."
Passionate tangent...she liked the sound of that. "Uh huh…"
"B-but when you're jealous you...you always have a reason. You're still mad, yes, and a few things still don't make sense but if you line the pieces up they all trace back to one source, whereas when you're just angry everything's all over the place," Naminé shook her head and shrugged her puny shoulders, "At least that's how I see it."
The older blonde's eyes dulled. "They still sound the same to me."
"Er," The witch reached for her hair again, "Well, in a way jealousy is more worthwhile...because instead of wasting your energy on nothing you're at least wasting your energy on somebody."
"Not following you."
"Erm," Naminé's voice was increasing in pitch as her nervousness became more and more prominent, "I guess what I'm...what I'm trying to say is that you can't really waste your time on someone that means something to you. Every moment involving them becomes...precious, like something you'd want to keep forever - even if you're angry at them." For some reason her cheeks were tinged a slight pink. "You may hate them now, but when you calm down afterwards you realize just how much they mean to you and how bad you feel for feeling so negative towards them in the first place."
"So," Larxene scratched the side of her head with an index finger, "Basically what you're trying to say is that this idiotic, egotistical, hormone-ridden pyromaniac is…" The thought of completing that sentence made the Nymph step back for a bit, and she shook her head. "Oh c'mon-" She threw up her hands and let out a dry laugh, "-you can't possibly be implying that!"
The smaller blonde shrugged again, and it only further aggravated her. "I'm not implying anything." She could hear the slightest trace of mischievousness behind that delicate voice. Naminé reached for her sketchbook and flipped it open to a blank page, and Larxene watched her in silence.
This kid was wrong - it was impossible anyway.
Regular Nobodies like her couldn't feel. They were incapable of expressing emotion. It was impractical, unimaginable.
"Look," Larxene spoke up, and Naminé glanced up from her sketchbook to acknowledge her, "I don't know where you're getting all of this from but I'm pretty sure you know I can't feel." She poked her chest, where her heart should be. "In case you've forgotten we don't have hearts, therefore I'm not able to express the emotion you're implying!" A little bit of her dignity was restored after letting that out, and she straightened up. "You're just all high and mighty 'cause you can feel real emotions without having a heart - you just wanna rub it in, don't you?" She sneered down at the smaller girl, but to her surprise the flaxen-haired artist merely shrugged for the third time.
"I'm not rubbing anything in," Naminé replied simply, "What I'm saying is I think it takes more than just a heart to love somebody."
She dropped it - the l-word. If it were possible Larxene's face would've been beet-red by now. "W-what did you just-"
"Love," The younger blonde's smile widened by just a fraction, "It's supposed to be the most powerful emotion, right?" She picked up her pencil and pressed the lead tip to the paper. "It might just be so powerful it requires more than just a single organ in your body to express it. The heart is central to many living things, yes, but it's not the only part of you. To be able to love properly I think you have to be able to do it with everything that you are, heart or no heart. If you can't then you can't call it love."
The memory witch's words struck the Nymph dumb for a few seconds; the older blonde frowned and leaned against the white table with her arms crossed over her chest. "But what about anger?" She asked quietly - she wasn't sure if she was asking Naminé or herself.
"Anger is another powerful emotion," The witch piped up from behind, "Like love it's very passionate, very strong - but in many ways it's more rash. Anger never holds good consequences, no matter which way you decide to use it," She paused for a second, "But in a way they're kind of the same: sometimes things don't make sense and you end up doing things you'll regret later on, but unlike anger love...love makes you feel good in the end, no matter what." She could hear a smile in the girl's voice, and for some reason it made her cringe.
Where was she getting all of this? Larxene's eyes widened and she shook her head; she had to pull up a chair because she lost the strength to stand. She could feel Naminé's eyes on her as she sighed noisily and buried her face in her hands - she couldn't remember the last time she felt this confused.
Actually she couldn't even remember the last time she felt this much in a single day. It was downright frightening.
"L-Larxene?" She lifted her head and eyed the nervousness etched all over the flaxen-haired girl's face.
"What?" The Nymph shot back wearily, half-dreading what else the younger girl had to say.
"Why...why are you being so reluctant?" Naminé's eyes dropped to her lap, "Love...it's such a wonderful feeling. Why are you holding yourself back?"
She was speaking as if she knew how it felt to love someone. "I don't get what you're saying." The older woman replied, though her eyes were staring at the wall.
"I-I know it shouldn't be possible for you to be f-feeling...feeling something towards anything or...anyone, but it's...it's kind of obvious you're feeling s-something towards...towards him." The younger girl swallowed. "Why can't...why can't you just accept the way you feel instead of...instead of getting mad over it all the time?"
The squirt's words struck her dumb for the billionth time today. XII's rolled her green eyes and shook her golden-blonde head. "I never saw the point, even back when I had a heart," She scoffed, "It was…" She cursed herself mentally for acting so vulnerable - and in front of Naminé out of all people- "It was too…" Painful. "Time-consuming. I had more important things - and I still do - to do instead of pondering stupid things like that, and-" I didn't want to risk getting hurt. "I just didn't see why it was so important. I still don't." She glared down at her hands, which were absently fiddling with each other on her lap. She felt stupid, utterly exposed and weak.
This wasn't her. This wasn't her at all.
"Maybe it wouldn't be so unimportant to you if you gave it a chance," Naminé suggested; she was staring at her in a strange way, like she somehow knew what she was really thinking, "I know it does sound a bit silly and ridiculous but it's often overlooked; people who live without love are often bitter and pessimistic - not saying you are," She corrected herself quickly, a tinge of pink spread across her cheeks, "B-but…" She paused for a minute, collecting her thoughts, "Maybe...maybe you just need to show him how much it...bothers you when he does...t-things like that. It's not much, but it's a start."
"How are you even sure that I, er," The Nymph stuttered uncertainly for a few moments, ashamed of continuing her sentence; instead she fluttered her hands to imply her words, and much to her surprise Naminé nodded in understanding.
"Well," The small witch tapped her chin with the eraser end of her pencil, "When you look at him what do you see?"
"Isn't it obvious?" Larxene rolled her green eyes, "He's a foul-mouthed, loathsome, ignorant, self-centered, egotistical, ass-kissing, hormone-infested, enigmatic, confusing, deceivingly charming-"
"Okay," Naminé cut in slowly, "And when his attention is drawn towards someone else how do you feel?"
She could've just lied, but for some reason it felt unethical, and that was saying something since almost everything Larxene did was unethical - the only difference this time was that she was actually feeling guilty about it. "Like I want to castrate him."
The smaller blonde raised an eyebrow. "Is that all?"
The annoying guilt bubbled fiercer inside of her. "Yes." A few seconds later she groaned in defeat. "Ugh...no."
The Nymph eyed the subtle smile on the artist's face: though it was delicate and innocent she could see the very faint traces of victory in it, and she ground her teeth together to keep herself from lashing out. "See, I knew you felt something."
The older blonde muttered inaudibly under her breath and leaned into her palm, wisely choosing not to say anything back.
"You should be more open with your feelings, Larxene," The memory witch's smile was still evident, "Maybe you won't be so, er, mad...all the time." She raised a small hand to tug on her hair.
Normally she would've threatened to kill her, but today was different - most of today has been different, now that she thought about it. "For some crazy, unexplained reason you're actually making some sense." The Nymph stood up and dusted her black coat. "I never thought I'd be saying this, but…" She slowly turned around and awkwardly rubbed the back of her neck, "Thanks, kid."
The pale artist smiled softly. "Sometimes it's good to take risks, Larxene," The older blonde raised an eyebrow at her, "Because even if you don't succeed it'll make you want to try harder next time."
Did this kid know how to read minds or something? The possibility was a little unnerving. The older blonde managed to put on another smirk before leaving the room.
Her heels were clacking at a slower, more even pace now, and her hands were relaxed - in fact they were swinging by her sides. If it wasn't so out of her character she would've been whistling - plus she didn't know how to do it properly. Her eyes were cool, calm, relaxed - they stared straight ahead with her head held high and her mouth curved into that impish grin of hers.
Maybe she underestimated Naminé - maybe everyone did. Oh well - she knew better now. Sure, the kid still was a bit aggravating, but maybe in a different way now. Maybe she was just mad she couldn't figure out her feelings herself and she had to have a measly kid do it all for her.
Whatever - she knew what the real problem was now, at least. All she had to do was fix it, and she knew exactly how to do it.
That idiot was going to get what's coming to him, that's for sure.
Naminé scribbled absently on her sketchbook, her ears strained to the clicking of Larxene's heels on the other side of her closed door. When they faded away to nothing the small blonde stood up, absently brushed off her skirt and slowly made her way towards her closet door. She leaned in to touch her forehead to the white wood.
"She's gone." She murmured, and the door swung open.
A blond boy her age was standing in the midst of her closet, his spiky hair messier than usual and his leather cloak slightly drooping off one shoulder. The flaxen-haired girl giggled as Roxas pulled her into his arms, laughing some more when she felt him squeeze her waist lovingly. She reached upwards to cup his face in her small hands, and he tilted his head downwards to meet her lips with his. The kiss was sweet and short, and when both blondes pulled away they rested their foreheads against each other and broke into a fit of hushed chuckling.
"Do you have supersensitive hearing or something?" Roxas asked jokingly as he tucked a lock of hair behind her ear, "How did you manage to hear her?"
Naminé smiled shyly as she pulled him out of the darkness that was her closet. "You can hear those heels from any distance, Roxas," She giggled, "You just don't pay much attention to your surroundings."
"Oh, I do," He grinned as he embraced her once more, "I was a little...distracted, that's all." He kissed her briefly and pressed his cheek against the side of her head. "Whoever knew?"
The small blonde weaved her thin fingers through her companion's tousled hair. "You can find love in the strangest of places." She whispered enigmatically.
Roxas frowned. "Maybe I should talk to Axel about it - I mean, if it's really bothering her that much-"
The artist shook her head. "We should leave this to them, Roxas. They have to work it out themselves - we can't interfere with such things."
The Key of Destiny shrugged. "I guess I understand where you're coming from," His grin returned and he pressed his forehead against hers, "I mean, imagine how awkward things would've been if you didn't hear her coming in time!"
A hot blush crept over Naminé's face, but before she had time to think up of something to say Roxas pulled her in and kissed her again.
A/N: I really have no idea where this came from, but after forcing myself to write it out I guess it's not so bad after all =)
Hope you guys like it - reviews would be awesome!