Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, Final Fantasy, Disney, and so on.
A/N: The final chapter of the rewrite is finally done! For the last time, the lines in this story are taken from Kingdom Hearts II, Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days, and the original GBA version of Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories. Now, as you all know, I have started the third installment to this little series and it's called Sunset Dreams, which I will now be continuing to update so look for a new chapter soon! Thank you to those of you who did take a few moments out of your busy days to review. Your feedback is much appreciated, and I look forward to hearing from you for this chapter! These Kingdom Hearts stories are some of my favorite stories I've written so far so I hope you all like them too! On that note, please review and if you haven't started doing so already, after you've finished reading this chapter go read Sunset Dreams!
The Eyes of Twilight
Chapter 7: The Road to Dawn
Xion...who are you? I can't remember. It's like...like you're missing from my memories. Your name...I don't even remember calling anyone by that name. Where did it come from? I can't recall your face, but the name sounds so familiar. Are you even really real or are you just a figment of my imagination? Is my memory somehow playing tricks on me?
This is crazy! I don't know anyone by that name. I'm sure of it! But...for some reason I feel like I should...
A gentle hand came to rest unexpectedly against the golden-haired Nobody's shoulder, and jerking around in fear, fully convinced there was a sinister Nobody or an evil Heartless (or perhaps something even worse) lurking in the shadows behind him, Roxas nearly stumbled in surprise when, much to his embarrassment, he realized the hand resting upon his shoulder did not in fact belong to some servant of the dark. Instead, he found himself gazing into Riku's aqua eyes, which looked a bright shade of green in some lights and blue in others, and feeling angry at himself for allowing the other boy to sneak up behind him almost unnoticed, he quickly hid the relief he felt at not coming face to face with something straight out of his nightmares behind an angry glare, which he directed at the silver-haired wielder of the Keyblade. "Don't scare me like that!"
Pulling his hand away, Riku raised his eyebrows in surprise, clearly startled by the reaction his perfectly innocent behaviour had caused, and shaking his head he said coolly, "What's with you?"
"Nothing. I...it's just...if you're going to sneak up behind me like that the least you could do is warn me first. Unless of course you want me to accidentally stab you with the Keyblade."
"No thanks. I think I've earned my fair share of abuse from you already," Riku said dryly, a slight smile turning up the corners of his mouth. "Nice to see you're in such a good mood. Is something wrong?"
Blushing a deep shade of red, Roxas quickly shook his head. "No! For your information, I'm perfectly fine."
"Really...Well, if that's the case then why don't you try telling Sora just how fine you are and we'll see how far that gets you. Seriously, Roxas, you'd better snap out of it. We've almost reached the end of the tunnel way. If Seifer really is still hanging around Sunset Terrace then you'd better keep your guard up. Or...have you changed your mind again? Still planning on getting your revenge?"
Roxas stared at the older boy in surprise, and frowning he said slowly, "How did you..."
"Have you forgotten what you said just before we left the usual spot? You pretty much admitted you still want a chance to get at Seifer. Actually, it was more like you blatantly admitted it. Besides, it was already kind of obvious even before you said anything. I figured you'd be annoyed by what he said about Hayner and Sora."
"Well, what did you expect? Don't you feel the same way?"
"Now that you mention it, I guess I do," Riku smirked, summoning his Keyblade and twirling it lightly in his hand. "He could use a little lesson on the proper way to treat other people with respect, but that still doesn't explain you. Why are you suddenly so reluctant to face him when earlier you would have jumped at the chance to make him think he'd seen a ghost?"
"I...I just don't feel like confronting him right now."
Glancing nervously over his shoulder, Roxas quickly turned away again when he realized Sora was watching him, and shaking his head he hastily pointed to the opening of tunnel entrance number one up ahead. "There's the exit. We should hurry before Seifer decides to take a stroll through the tunnel way instead of heading back to Sunset Station. Knowing him, he'll do the exact opposite of what we want him to do, which wouldn't surprise me in the slightest. He's known for that sort of thing. In fact, it seems to be a bad habit of his."
"No kidding," Hayner snorted, appearing suddenly out of nowhere on Riku's other side. "It's like some sort of creepy talent he has. Normally, at this time of day, he's usually hanging out at the Sandlot, which means he'll probably be heading back there at any moment so we'll need to hurry. Although, if you ask me, I think we should sneak up on him and-"
"Nobody asked you!" Olette scolded, interrupting the blond struggler before he could get any more crazy ideas into his head. "Seifer never uses the tunnel way unless he runs out of munny so I think we're still safe for now, but even if that's true, like Roxas said, we should still hurry. You never know, Hayner, today might be the day Seifer decides to run out of cash, and even if you're right about the Sandlot, that doesn't mean there isn't a chance he could still be hanging around Sunset Terrace."
"I know, I know. We'll be careful. I promise."
Sighing softly to himself, Roxas quickly led the group around the corner towards the tunnel entrance shining faintly up ahead and stepping out into the gloomy sunshine streaming down upon the quiet streets of Sunset Terrace, he glanced around quickly, his sapphire eyes searching for any sign of Seifer's golden-blond hair and long white coat. Beside him, his other half was also frowning suspiciously in the direction of the station, but despite the determined look on Sora's face, Roxas could tell the Keyblade Master's attention wasn't really focused on either Sunset Terrace or on Sunset Station at all.
He's not searching for Seifer. The person he's really watching is...me...
Deep down inside, Roxas knew Sora was really worried about him, but despite how much he desperately wanted to comfort the Keyblade Master, to reassure Sora that he was perfectly fine, he chose instead to remain silent. After all, telling Sora he was fine would be a lie, and if there was one thing he knew he could never do, it would be to lie to the one who held the key to his heart.
Lying to Sora would be the same as lying to myself. I can't do that. Not anymore...
And yet, even so, he still wanted badly to stop Sora from worrying about him, but unfortunately it looked as if putting the Keyblade Master's fears to rest was going to have to wait a little while longer.
I'm sorry, Sora. I never meant to ruin your good mood, but why though? You shouldn't worry about me so much. I don't deserve it...
"Doesn't it seem a little...quiet to you guys?" Pence suddenly asked hesitantly, his dark eyes darting nervously towards the road leading to Sunset Hill.
Suppressing a sudden strong urge to summon Oathkeeper, Roxas frowned suspiciously at the people milling around Sunset Terrace, and almost against his will, he found himself nodding in agreement, unable to deny Pence's accurate observation of the scene playing out in front of them.
Sunset Terrace seems pretty busy compared to the rest of Twilight Town, but even so it still feels...empty somehow. I mean, it's not that Twilight Town ever really loses its sleepy atmosphere, but despite the fact that the people who live here always seem to move at a relaxed pace, Sunset Terrace should still be a lot busier than it is now, especially at this time of day when everyone is heading home for dinner or just to relax after a long day of work or school...
"You're right, Pence. It does seem a little quiet," Sora said slowly, looking just a little bit unsure of his words.
"What are you guys talking about? Sunset Terrace doesn't seem any different to me," Hayner snorted, making a face.
"Get over it, Sora. Come on, you're just imagining things."
"No, he isn't. I feel it, too!" Pence protested.
"Yeah, well you're always imagining things so your opinion doesn't really count."
"You're with me on this one, right, Roxas?" Hayner asked, grinning and rolling his eyes in Pence's direction.
No. Sora and Pence aren't imagining things. There's something not...right about this place.
Of course, admitting his fears to Hayner didn't really seem like a sensible option at the present moment, so instead of responding Roxas merely smiled at his best friend, hoping despite the sudden uneasiness he felt that his true feelings weren't revealing themselves plainly on his face.
As for the rest of his friends, Olette, Goofy, and Donald didn't seem to think there was anything out of the ordinary going on, if the confused expressions on their faces were anything to go by, but both Kairi and Namine were a different story. Both the red-haired female and her golden-haired Nobody were gazing nervously at the sparsely populated streets of Sunset Terrace and from the expressions on their faces it was obvious they felt that something was wrong. Riku's face, on the other hand, lacked any kind of emotion whatsoever, but despite the absence of suspicion in his eyes, he too seemed to think there was something not quite right about the lack of people wandering around Sunset Terrace.
"No matter how far away the light gets, your heart's voice will always reach it..."
"Uh...guys? Is there...um...something wrong?" Olette asked hesitantly, exchanging a quick look with Hayner.
"It's nothing," Riku said calmly, dismissing Olette's concerns with a wave of his hand. "Old fears should remain in the past where they belong. Let's go before-"
"Look, it's Seifer!" Pence whispered fiercely, pointing towards a small group of teenagers who had just wandered into sight, almost seemingly from out of nowhere. Clearly the four members of the Twilight Disciplinary Committee had just come from Sunset Hill, and judging from the direction they were heading in it looked as if they were making their way back towards Sunset Station.
"Well? What should we do, Roxas? It's your call," Riku said mildly, nodding his head towards Seifer.
Almost without even realizing what he was doing, Roxas quickly summoned Oathkeeper, its shiny surface sparkling faintly in the pale light of the sun, and turning his back on Seifer he pointed the Keyblade in the direction of Sunset Hill. "Forget Seifer. We'll deal with him the next time we come to Twilight Town. Like I said before, I still want my chance to get a little bit of revenge on him, but it can wait."
"Why? Now would be the perfect time to get back at him, since there aren't a lot of people hanging around."
Leaning close to the older boy, Roxas said quietly, "Because...there's something more important I have to do first."
"What do you mean?" Riku asked quietly, avoiding his eyes.
It's almost like he knows...
Roxas was about to respond when Sora suddenly stepped up behind him, making him jump in surprise. Unfortunately, to his dismay, he realized Sora must have overheard their conversation because the Keyblade Master smiled and said, "You mean...you really are going to go through with it?"
Roxas frowned in confusion, and glancing suspiciously at the Keyblade Master he said, "With what?"
"You know, what we talked about earlier. Namine."
No, Sora. What I have to do now has absolutely nothing to do with telling Namine how I feel about her. That will come later. First, I need to know what both she and Riku are hiding from me. It's about me. It's about my past. I can feel it...
"You sure like to space out a lot," Riku suddenly smirked, startling him out of his thoughts. "You're as bad as Sora, if not worse."
"Hey!" Sora shouted, glaring indignantly at his best friend.
Purposely turning his back on Seifer, Roxas motioned for the others to follow him, and stepping out of the tunnel way, he proceeded to head towards Sunset Hill, once again making an effort to stay close to the buildings and out of sight. Thankfully, Seifer never once looked back towards Sunset Hill, and before Roxas even had a chance to make it to the edge of Sunset Terrace, the head of the Twilight Disciplinary Committee and his group of underlings disappeared from sight, their obvious destination being the train which would take them back to Central Station.
I wonder if Seifer has noticed the change in atmosphere around here. Probably not. He's never really been the observant type. I'll get him back for what he said about my friends the next time Sora decides to visit Twilight Town. Maybe then he'll finally learn his lesson, although I highly doubt even seeing a 'ghost' will make much of a difference with him.
Shaking his head, Roxas quickly made the climb towards Sunset Hill, and reaching the top of the cliff he took a quick peek at Sora and the rest of his friends from underneath his blond lashes, wondering if maybe perhaps he was making a bad decision when it came to trying to get some information out of Riku, especially since there were so many other people hanging around, which meant his chances of being overheard were much higher than if he were to converse with Riku in private, but seeing as how Sora and the rest of his friends were completely absorbed in the process of saying goodbye to one another it looked like now might be his only chance to get Riku all to himself.
Well, I guess it's now or never. It might be a long while before I get another chance to spend some time alone with Riku, and I need to know what's going on before I drive myself completely crazy just thinking about all the horrible things that could possibly be wrong with me. Why? Why do I feel like my memory is betraying me? I need to know...
"Worrying about what might possibly be wrong with you isn't going to get you anywhere. You know that, right?" a sudden voice murmured softly in his ear.
Whirling around in surprise, Roxas quickly lashed out with Oathkeeper, fully expecting to find himself in the presence of something straight out of the Realm of Darkness, but instead his Keyblade met Riku's Way to the Dawn with a resounding clang.
Apparently the sound of their Keyblades clashing was loud enough to attract the attention of their friends because the whole group suddenly glanced in their direction and Olette said curiously, "What are you two up to?"
"Practicing," Riku said smoothly, shrugging his shoulders and twirling his Keyblade with a flourish before allowing it to disappear from sight.
Roxas gaped at the older boy, startled by the ease in which the silver-haired wielder of the Keyblade had managed to lie his way out of what could possibly have become somewhat of an awkward situation, but what was even more astonishing was the way everyone else appeared to accept Riku's explanation without a second thought.
Everyone except Sora, that is.
Unlike Olette and pretty much everyone else, except perhaps Namine, Sora proceeded to gaze long and hard at Riku before once again turning his attention back to Hayner and the rest of the group, who were crowded around the Keyblade Master in a tight circle. Roxas also hadn't failed to notice the way Sora had looked at him and blushing he gave Riku an angry glare. "Didn't I tell you not to sneak up on me like that?"
"Sorry," Riku smirked, not looking the least bit sorry at all.
Letting out a soft snort, Roxas moved to stand near the edge of the cliff, and resting his arms on the old wooden fence surrounding the perimeter of Sunset Hill he proceeded to gaze quietly at the sun shining weakly in the distance. He felt, rather than saw, Riku step up next to him and together they watched the sun in comfortable silence, neither one of them feeling the need to talk to each other, or to anyone else for that matter.
They stayed that way for what seemed like hours, though it was really only a few minutes, and just when Roxas thought the silence would go on forever, Riku at last spoke, his words soft and quiet and his expression serious in the light of the fading sun. "Roxas, memory is the key, but it isn't always the answer. I won't deny that our memories are important to us, but they aren't everything. In order to plan your future, you have to first understand your past, but that doesn't mean you should allow the chains of memory to bind you to what can't be undone. Remember that. You never know, it might come in handy someday."
"Riku, do you mind if I ask you something?"
Riku glanced quickly at him, and turning away the silver-haired wielder of the Keyblade murmured, "Depends on what it is."
"Well, I'm not really sure. I was hoping you could tell me."
"So...you're starting to remember."
Shaking his head, Roxas dismissed Oathkeeper with a quick flick of his wrist, and frowning he clenched both of his hands into tight fists. "No, that's the problem! I don't remember, but you do! You and Namine. What is it? What are you two hiding from me?"
"Roxas...I know you probably won't believe me, but...Namine and I really don't know much more than you do. I won't lie to you. I'll admit we've started to remember some things, too, but...it's not enough yet. Not enough to satisfy your curiosity, that's for sure. There's a lot Namine and I still don't understand, but there's one thing we do know for sure. There are still some things about your past you have yet to remember, and not just you, but all of us," Riku said slowly, a soft sigh escaping his lips. "We all have missing memories, memories of...well, it's better for you to find out on your own. I don't know how much you know exactly, how much you've remembered...Maybe it's the name, or maybe it's only a fleeting memory, but either way it's hardly more than what I know, or even what Namine knows. That's what this is about, isn't it? You're starting to question your past, and that includes your memories."
"What exactly are you trying to say?"
"Look, it's...hard to explain. Namine and I...we both know some things even Sora doesn't know, and I'm pretty sure you do too, even if you aren't able to remember any of those particular things at the moment. Though...maybe Sora knows more than we give him credit for. Maybe he's even the key to all of us remembering. Funny, isn't it? He was asleep the whole time, but I have this feeling...and from the little I know, I think he missed a lot. I don't know eveything, not even close, but Namine and I...we're sure a lot of it involves you, at least that's what Namine believes. I know what you want, but...if you think you're going to get some information out of me, despite the fact that I know little more than you do, then I'm going to have to disappoint you. I know you want to know what's going on, but if you think I'm going to be the one to tell you, it's not going to happen. Even if I could tell you, I wouldn't. Sorry, Roxas. I know this isn't what you want to hear, but...I can't help you."
Roxas turned to stare at the older boy in disbelief and feeling a sudden surge of anger bubbling up inside of him, he snapped, "Why not?"
"I told you why, but...there's more to it than that. Don't you see? Only you have the right to tell Sora your story. No one else."
"Listen, Roxas, sooner or later we're all going to start remembering, including you, and if your recent weird behaviour is anything to go by then it looks like the process of regaining your lost memories is already starting to begin. Just like it has with both myself and Namine. No...just before you merged with Sora. That's where it really started for you. But...unlike Sora, the process of regaining your lost memories isn't yet complete."
"But...I'm not the one who went through Castle Oblivion..."
Riku shrugged his shoulders, and smiling slightly, he said, "It's kind of complicated. The point is, soon we'll all remember everything, and when that happens you need to be the one to tell Sora your history. He deserves to hear it from you. Besides, I think it's better for you if you remember all of your past at your own pace instead of having someone else give you hints about what really happened during the days when you were still a member of the Organization."
"The days when Sora was asleep. Something big happened. Something huge, but what exactly went on when you were a member of the Organization...when DiZ, Namine, and I were protecting Sora, Namine and I are hoping that you and Sora can figure out the truth."
"Do you really want someone else telling you who you are, or more importantly, who you should be?" Riku asked quietly, looking him directly in the eyes. "Do you really want someone else intruding on your memories? Memories you can't even remember for yourself?"
"Namine agrees with me. That's why we haven't said anything about the little we know concerning the past to either you or Sora. Your past is your own and no one else has the right to judge you for it. Only you have the right to judge yourself. You know who you were, and you know who you are now. Your opinion of yourself is the only one Sora needs to hear. How you see yourself, how you view your past, those are the things Sora needs to understand. How I see the past, how Namine sees the past, none of that matters. It's all about you, Roxas. Only you have the right to tell Sora who you were and who you really are now. Your past is his past, and he needs to hear it from you. The rest of us? We're just bystanders. Bystanders who want to hear the truth from you."
Roxas nodded slowly, and avoiding the older boy's eyes, he mumbled, "What about her? What about Xion?"
Riku blinked in surprise, clearly startled, but instead of looking nervous or angry the older boy's lips suddenly turned up in a small smile. "So...you've come as far as the name. When you remember, I'm sure Sora will be pretty interested to hear all about her. She's a part of this, too, and the reason your past, our pasts, are a mystery. It's all connected. And somehow...I think she's at the centre of it. And maybe...she's the reason why your past is so important, why you feel like you can't trust yourself anymore. I don't know, but it's a possibility. Sora needs to know, and someday, when you finally remember, I hope your memories will serve you well. Until then, don't forget, your past is what makes you who you are today. Cherish your memories and learn from them, but don't let them allow you to forget what's really important. Sora learned his lesson the hard way and so did I. Whatever you do, don't let the same thing happen to you."
Namine, you're always trying to protect me. How can I hold that against you when all I want is to do the same for you?
"Hey, aren't you two going to come here and say goodbye to Hayner, Pence, and Olette?" Kairi suddenly called out, interrupting his thoughts.
Turning, Roxas waved to the red-haired female in response and glancing at Riku, he said sheepishly, "I guess that's our cue to get moving."
"You won't take your frustrations out on Namine, will you?" Riku demanded, a slight frown marring his handsome features.
"No, and the same thing goes for you, too. At least I know now that I'm not imagining things. I'll figure out what's going on."
And if I do, maybe it'll explain why Twilight Town seems...a little different than it usually does...
"I'm sure you will," Riku agreed.
To his surprise, Riku actually smiled at him, and pulling gently on his arm the silver-haired wielder of the Keyblade said nonchalantly, "Come on, we should take Kairi's advice or we'll miss our chance to say goodbye to the others. Besides, Sora keeps looking over here and it's starting to get kind of annoying."
Roxas let out a gasp, and leaning close to the older boy, he whispered, "You mean...Sora's been watching us?"
"The whole time. Smooth move, Roxas. You've really made him start to worry now."
Riku just barely managed to get out of the way before both Oathkeeper and Oblivion collided with the back of his skull, and muttering to himself, Roxas quickly made his way over to the Keyblade Master's side. "We're leaving now?"
"Yes," Namine said softly, before Sora could answer. "Should we just beam back up to the Gummi Ship or should we have Chip and Dale land it on Sunset Hill?"
"We'd better beam back up. I don't trust Seifer," Donald grumbled.
Roxas nodded in agreement, and turning to gaze almost shyly at his three friends from Twilight Town, he said, "I'll see you guys later. Don't forget about me again, okay?"
"No way!" Olette cried, flinging her arms around him and burying her face against his shoulder. "I never forgot you. You were always in my heart."
"Come back and visit us as often as you can," Pence said cheerfully, though he looked a little down about having to say goodbye.
"I will, I promise."
Both Pence and Olette smiled at him, and turning to look at Hayner, Roxas suddenly felt the other boy clasp his hand in a tight grip. The two of them stared at each other for a moment, and glaring at him, Hayner said fiercely, "It doesn't matter how far away you are or what world you're on. You're not going to get out of being my best friend so you'd better get your butt back here as soon as possible!"
"I take it this means you're ready for round two?"
Hayner grinned at him, and he felt the blond struggler's arm go around his shoulders in a one-armed hug. "Next time, I'll be the one beating you, not the other way around."
Roxas raised his eyebrows and smiling slightly, he said, "Is that a challenge?"
"You bet it is! The next struggle competition is so mine!"
"If you want to win you're going to have to go through me first!"
Hayner nodded and pulling back slightly, he said eagerly, "I look forward to it. Forget about Seifer, I need some real competition!"
"It was nice to finally have a chance to meet you, Riku," Olette said softly, beaming at the silver-haired wielder of the Keyblade.
"Yeah, and Namine, too," Pence added.
"Which means neither one of you can get out of coming back here to visit us either," Hayner smirked.
"We'll be back," Riku promised, nodding his head and the three teens from Twilight Town.
"I can't wait to come back here," Namine said shyly.
"Everyone gather around, the Gummi Ship is waiting," Donald ordered, directing the group into position with his staff.
Roxas quickly moved closer to Sora, Namine taking up position on his other side, and turning to gaze back towards Sunset Terrace, he frowned at the tall buildings looming menacingly in the distance. Although he couldn't be sure, it felt almost as if there was a dark shadow hovering over Sunset Terrace, covering virtually the entire residential area of the town.
A shadow that did not actually exist, but Roxas could feel it all the same.
I hope Hayner and the others will be okay...
It was almost as if Namine had read his mind because all of a sudden he felt the golden-haired Nobody give his hand a quick squeeze, and blushing slightly he gave her fingers a grateful squeeze in return.
Namine...One day I'll tell you how I feel. I promise...
Turning to look at his other half, Roxas gave the Keyblade Master a quick smile. "Thanks, Sora."
Sora smiled at him, and he felt the Kayblade Master place a comforting hand on his shoulder. Having both Namine and Sora close to him eased his fears somewhat, and almost without realizing it, he felt himself responding to their touch, his muscles relaxing easily beneath their hands.
Everything will be okay.
But even as the thought crossed his mind, he couldn't forget the words of Organization XIII's Number VI...
Strolling as quietly as possible through the gloomy hallways of the castle in The World That Never Was, Roxas scratched the back of his head in confusion, trying and failing miserably to figure out just exactly where he was. Being relatively new to the Organization, a member of only nine days to be exact, at least according to Axel since he himself couldn't remember his first week, he still had trouble finding his way around the castle sometimes, and if Axel wasn't with him in the evenings, more often than not he would end up getting lost in one corridor or another, much to his annoyance. At least, that's what Axel had told him last night, which he couldn't really deny since he wasn't quite sure himself. During those unfortunate incidents like the one he was currently experiencing, and like the one he'd had the night before, normally he would just give up in despair and open a portal back to his own room, which was what he'd done last night, and from there he would proceed to start from the beginning again with hopes of finally reaching his destination, which had resulted in Axel having to search for him the night before, but today...today was different. It was something he couldn't really explain, but for some strange reason he couldn't quite summon the energy to start from scratch for what had to be the hundredth time since becoming a member of the Organization.
Well, maybe not that many times. After all, I haven't exactly been a member of the Organization for very long, and it's not like I can even remember anything before yesterday, so who am I to say? And after today's mission with Marluxia and all those things he said about the Heartless...Maybe I'm just tired. That would explain why today seems worse than yesterday when it comes to finding my way around the castle. Or maybe it's because Axel hasn't shown up to help me out of this current mess I've gotten myself into. Speaking of Axel, I wonder where he is. He picks the worst times to disappear on me...
Shaking his head in amusement, Roxas nearly smiled, which was something only Axel seemed able to make him do, and straightening his shoulders he proceeded to continue his useless attempt to find his way through the Organization's stronghold, feeling suddenly determined to keep on going until he reached at least one area of the castle he could vaguely recognize.
Like the Grey Area where Saix gives us our missions or The Round Room where Xemnas holds all our meetings...
With that thought in mind, he took a few small steps forward, the hem of his black coat rustling softly against the sleek, cold floor beneath his feet, but almost immediately he halted again when he spotted someone coming towards him through the shadows.
Judging from the robed figure's height and stature, and the unusual colour of his hair, the young man moving towards Roxas could only be one person.
Number VI. The Cloaked Schemer.
What was his name again?
Axel had mentioned all the names and ranks of the other members of the Organization to him the day before, pointing out each one as he did so while they'd strolled through the corridors of the castle late in the evening, so he hadn't really needed Marluxia's 'proper' introduction earlier this morning, but nevertheless, he still had trouble keeping up with so many names and faces to remember, especially since he'd only been to a couple of the meetings in The Round Room so far, none of which he could even remember since they'd all taken place during his first week as a member of the Organization. As far as Roxas could tell, Number VI hadn't noticed him yet, but even so he still felt a little bit embarrassed about his current predicament. After all, with the exception of Axel (and that was only because Axel had been extremely outgoing towards him right from the very beginning) he didn't really know the other members of the Organization very well yet, having as stated before, only been to a couple meetings involving the whole of the Organization so far, meetings he could not even recall, and as a result he was still getting to know their names and their roles within the Organization. Even Axel was still a mystery to him, and although he still didn't trust the red-haired Nobody completely, for some reason he found it hard to remain serious and focused while in the presence of The Flurry of Dancing Flames, despite his resolve to keep the other members of the Organization at arm's length. Though he had no proof, with the exception of Axel, he could tell they didn't trust him, at least not entirely. It was just a feeling he had, but to him it didn't really matter since what the others thought of a rookie like himself was really no concern of his.
But...what about Axel? He seems different from the others, and Demyx isn't so bad. A little annoying maybe, but not bad. And I guess the same thing can be said about some of the others...
The only reason he had even come to know Axel so well in such a short time was because the red-haired Nobody had been quick to open up to him and even faster to accept him into the Organization, and quick to remind him of his first week as a member, but some of the others, like Number VI, he hadn't even had an opportunity to speak with yet.
Zexion. That's what his name is. I remember now.
Gazing at The Cloaked Schemer as he made his way down the corridor, Roxas was surprised to find himself studying his fellow member of the Organization with something close to what might have been considered a spark of curiosity.
Without any regard for his surroundings, Zexion glided down the length of the hallway with the air of someone who knew exactly where he was going, despite the fact that his nose was buried in a book and he did not appear to be at all aware of what was going on around him. And yet, despite the alarmingly thick spine his choice of reading material bore, he held the book open easily in his left hand, (his right hand being momentarily occupied with straightening his cloak) and although Roxas didn't have a clear view of the title etched onto its spine in gold lettering, he was quite sure The Cloaked Schemer's idea of an interesting book had to be something either positively boring or too complicated for any normal human being to comprehend.
If I keep quiet, he probably won't even notice me, but...
Tired of walking around in circles, Roxas quickly hurried towards The Cloaked Schemer, effectively closing the gap between them before his Superior could reach him first. "Uh...Zexion?"
At the sound of his name, the mysterious Nobody known as Number VI came to a stop so abruptly Roxas nearly ran right into him, but thankfully he somehow managed to skid to a stop before almost slamming into his Superior's chest, which would have effectively sent them both crashing into the wall.
Mumbling a quick apology, Roxas felt his face heat up, and gazing nervously at Number VI, he said, "Um...you're Zexion, right?"
The Cloak Schemer regarded him with a level look, but instead of responding he merely nodded his head, his one deep blue eye Roxas could see displaying absolutely no emotion whatsoever.
Squirming slightly under Number VI's intense gaze, Roxas quickly lowered his eyes to the ground, but realizing all of a sudden that it probably wouldn't be a good idea to show any sign of weakness in front of the other members of the Organization, he quickly looked The Cloaked Schemer directly in the eye and said coldly, "You wouldn't happen to know where we are, would you? I seem to have taken a wrong turn and-"
Zexion slammed his book closed in one hand with a loud snap, and Roxas jumped in surprise, completely forgetting what he had just been about to say only a moment ago.
Huh? Why is he looking at me like that?
To his surprise, Zexion suddenly moved closer to him and Roxas let out a gasp, startled by the other's unexpected movement, but instead of stopping The Cloaked Schemer merely glided past him, their black cloaks brushing together at the slight contact between their bodies, the soft rustle of their clothing echoing faintly in the hallway.
"Hey, wait! Where are you-"
"Number XIII," Zexion said quietly, tilting his head slightly to look back over his shoulder, his expression as unreadable as ever. "Perhaps not my place to say, since this would be Luxord's area of expertise, and I'm not the superstitious type, but..."
"XIII," Zexion murmured, shaking his head. "Number XIII. Such an unlucky number."
Roxas opened his mouth to respond, but before he could think up a suitable reply, The Cloaked Schemer glided around the corner of the hallway and disappeared from sight.
"Number XIII. Such an unlucky number..."
Shivering slightly, Roxas stared blankly off into space, his forehead wrinkling in confusion.
What was that all about?
Realizing all of a sudden that Zexion never did tell him where he was, Roxas quickly summoned a portal, immediately teleporting back to his room to once again make an attempt to reach his intended destination.
Starting at the beginning like usual, of course.
"Roxas, I don't know what's going on here, but...I do know one thing," Sora said quietly in his ear, effectively bringing him back to the present.
"If the worlds or any of our friends are in danger, this time we'll fight together."
Avoiding the Keyblade Master's eyes, he whispered, "We've always fought together. Always."
"I know, but this time it'll be different," Sora said firmly, giving his shoulder a quick squeeze. "This time we'll be there to help each other."
Roxas smiled, and without even having to think about it, he returned the Keyblade Master's gesture of affection. "It's a promise."
"A definite promise."
Beaming at Hayner, Pence, and Olette, Roxas waved one last time to his three friends before a stream of light suddenly surrounded his body, nearly obscuring his view of Sunset Hill.
And to think my road led me here. To Hayner, Pence, and Olette. To Sora...
"Number XIII. Such an unlucky number..."
After the incident with Organization XIII's Number VI in the corridors of the castle in The World That Never Was, right up until the day he left for Castle Oblivion, never to be seen again, Zexion had not once mentioned their unusual conversation, or lack thereof, even when they'd gone on their first mission together the day after the incident, and for that Roxas was grateful. Whether or not his suspicions about Twilight Town were real or merely just a figment of his imagination, he did not know, but there was one thing he did know beyond a shadow of a doubt. No matter what happened in the future, as long a he was with Sora, everything would be okay.
We'll fight the darkness no matter what, and we'll win. Together we're unbeatable, and with our friends the darkness doesn't stand a chance.
Which was why the road Axel had made possible for him had led to this very moment, and it was also the reason why the lonely road of forgotten promises Sora had been forced to travel had eventually brought the Keyblade Master to an end he could never have foreseen. Without Sora even realizing it, a journey to find his friends had become a journey to find himself, and instead of finding only darkness at the end of the road, he had stumbled upon not only his friends, but also a golden-haired wielder of the Keyblade who all along had been waiting for him with open arms, surprising not only the Organization, but even the Key of Destiny himself.
"It's a name for those of us who are missing a vital piece of who we are: our hearts."
A name that means nothing when you choose to follow your own path, and sometimes the path we decide on doesn't always lead us where we think it will.
And sometimes that was a good thing.
No one should ever have to walk alone, at least in the eyes of Organization XIII's former Key of Destiny, and Roxas knew he would always be grateful that both his road, and Sora's road, had ended with each other.
"Walking this road without you, to remake forgotten promises, and meet you at road's end." (Kingdom Hearts: Chain of Memories)