Chapter Nine ~ Darkwave Surfer
___The darkness is calling you
____Ask the darkness to dance with you
_____Your aimless life
______Being thrown around by the light of heaven
~Darkwave Surfer, Aural Vampire
As Xestra lay on her bed, she stared at the ceiling, wondering about what she was going to dream about. She was worried she wouldn't dream of anything like the night before, which made her anxious.
She sat up and rubbed her eyes. All the worrying wasn't getting her any closer to sleeping.
Her little white room was covered in shadows from the dark scene outside her window.
Swinging her feet around her bed, she adjusted her black robe and stood up. She quietly walked past Axel's quiet room, slightly crestfallen.
Why am I the only one who can't sleep…? She thought sadly as she began making her way through the castle.
She arrived in the Grey Area, and found it to be completely silent; the only sounds came from her long black boots against the floor. Walking over to the window where Saïx normally stood, she sat on the floor and looked up at Kingdom Hearts in the sky.
It was bright and beautiful; the contrast between it and the dark sky surrounding it made such a fact even more noticeable.
As she stared at it, she placed her hand over where her heart should be. She didn't feel the rhythmic pattern of a heartbeat that she wanted to; even though she had known for several days of her status of being a Nobody, she couldn't seem to accept it.
Bringing her knees to her chest, she put her arms around her legs and hugged them closer.
She just wanted to feel something, even if those feelings hurt her. Anything was better than emptiness.
Just then she heard someone's footsteps as they entered the Grey Area.
When they sat on her right, she turned her head and realized it was Axel.
"Oh, Axel…" she said surprised. "I thought you were sleeping…"
Axel smiled. "And I thought you were sleeping, but I guess we were both wrong."
Xestra gave him a weak smile and looked back up at Kingdom Hearts. Axel's smile faded.
"Are you alright?" he asked worriedly.
"Yeah…I'm just thinking…"
"About how you don't have a heart?"
When Xestra didn't answer, Axel frowned.
"Does that worry you?"
Xestra shrugged. "I can't feel anything…"
Axel put a reassuring arm around her shoulder and pulled her closer to him. "None of us can, but once we finish Kingdom Hearts we'll feel all kinds of things."
As she listened to his encouraging words, she thought she felt a glimmer of hope.
"Yeah, you're right…" she said. "Thanks Axel."
Axel's smile reappeared. "Got it memorized?"
Xestra nodded and yawned. Suddenly she was very tired.
"Looks like it's time for bed," Axel said with a grin.
"Not yet…" Xestra said, yawning again.
"Oh? You look pretty tired to me."
She felt herself falling toward him, and stop as she leaned against his shoulder.
"No, I'm fine…" she said through another yawn.
Glancing up at Axel, she gave him a weak smile, and then, staring into his emerald green eyes, fell into a deep sleep.
The first thing Xestra noticed when she opened her eyes were snow covered trees above her.
She sat up and realized she was sitting on grass that was also snow covered. Rubbing her head, she checked her surroundings, wondering where she was, and why it was so familiar.
It seemed like it was the same place in her dream a few days before, but at the same time, it was completely different.
The sun was out, shining a bright light over all of the snow, which sparkled, and, in the distance, she saw a small town, bustling with excitement.
She stood up, brushed herself off, and noticed the scarf she had last time was not around her neck.
Figuring it wasn't a big deal, she shrugged it off and made her way toward the happiness just a few minutes away.
When Xestra arrived in the town, she was surrounded by people talking excitedly about the upcoming holiday, and about whom they were buying gifts for.
The sidewalks, rooftops and streetlights were covered in glistening snow; people everywhere were wearing warm jackets and hats, holding the arms of the people next to them for extra warmth.
Xestra smiled at people who waved at her; whether she knew them or not, she didn't know, but she didn't want to be rude.
She turned around a corner and came upon a small restaurant. She felt her stomach and realized she was slightly hungry.
Checking the pockets of her long skirt, she found she had a wallet with just enough munny to buy herself something to eat.
She opened the door, to which a bell made a 'cling' noise, and a young woman with long, black hair smiled at her.
"Your table is right over there, ma'am," she said, pointing to the other side of the restaurant.
"My table…?" Xestra repeated, following her outstretched finger.
It was then that she saw a guy with red hair, around her age, looking out the window behind him.
"Thank you…" she said to the woman before walking over to the table.
When she reached the table, she stood there awkwardly, waiting for him to turn around. When he didn't, she cleared her throat and said, "…Axel?"
He jumped a little and turned to meet eyes with her.
"Hey, you finally made it!" he said standing up and pulling out a chair for her. "I was afraid I would have to come look for you in the freezing cold."
Xestra smiled a little. "What's going on here?" she asked.
He suddenly looked crestfallen. "Aw, are you saying you don't remember? Darn, I thought it was finally official…"
"What was finally official…?"
"Us," he said with a weak smile.
"Us…" she repeated. "What do you mean, Axel?"
"Axel? You mean, you don't even remember my name now?" he asked as he pouted. "This date is getting worse and worse by the minute…"
"Date?" Xestra repeated, feeling the blush that was appearing on her face. "We're on a date?"
The boy nodded and rested his chin on his palm. "Yeah, I mean, it was supposed to be."
"And it's not anymore?"
"Not if you don't think so…"
"Well, what if I do think so?"
He smiled hopefully. "That'd be nice, I mean, if you really want it to be…"
"I do…" she replied quietly. "Lea."
His smile broadened. "So you do remember my name? I knew you were just kidding. We've known each other for way too long to forget names."
"How long has it been, anyway?"
"As far back as I can remember," he said with a knowing smile. "We were both little kids when I came here…"
"Where were you before?"
Lea shrugged. "Who knows. But it doesn't matter. All that matters is that I'm here now, right?"
Xestra nodded. "Right."
"Alright, now that we've got that settled…" he said, handing her a menu. "What do you want to eat?"
Xestra gratefully took the menu, and looked through it, trying to decide what to get. "Let's see…there are so many choices…"
She looked up at Axel, who was staring at her with a smile. When she smiled back, he blushed and looked back down at his menu.
"You're right, I don't know what to get either…"
Xestra giggled silently and hid her blushing face behind her menu.
"Hey, Aster," Lea said quietly.
"Yes, Lea?" Xestra said, responding to the familiar name.
"I'm…really glad you came."
"Me, too, Lea."
The two looked over their menus to smile at each other, then went back to talking about what they were going to order.
Walking close to each other, Xestra and Lea made their way to someplace he insisted was a surprise.
"How do I know you're not leading me into a trap?" she asked suspiciously.
"Darn, you got me," he said with a sarcastic shrug. "I almost had you, if it weren't for your smarts, and cunning nature…"
"Well, we're all blessed with talents," Xestra said with a fake cocky grin. "Yours is obviously coming up with plans that don't work…"
Lea turned and glared at her. "Well, you're still coming with me, so I guess my plans do work."
Xestra snapped. "Darn, now you got me."
The two laughed and before them stood a giant fountain with frozen water inside. The sun glistened off of it, making it a beautiful sight.
"Where are we?" Xestra asked, looking around.
"We're at one of the first places we walked to when we first met," he said. "Don't tell me you forgot…"
Looking around, she felt like everything was so familiar…
"No, I didn't forget everything…" she said.
I just forgot most things… she thought to herself.
"Good," he said before taking her hand and leading her to the fountain's edge.
He sat down and guided her to sit down next to him. He pulled out a box from his bag, and handed it to her.
"What's this?" Xestra asked.
"I know it's early, but I wanted to make sure I gave this to you," he said with a smile.
"Oh, Lea, I--"
"No need to thank me. It's what…friends do, right?"
"Friends…right," she said with a smile.
She turned her attention to the box and, when she opened it, she found the blue and white scarf.
"This is so pretty," Xestra said, taking it out of the box.
Lea's eyes lit up. "You like it?"
Xestra smiled and nodded. "Of course."
Without thinking, she turned to the bag she had and handed him the box inside.
"For me?" he asked surprised.
"I…think so. I mean, the tag says it for you, anyway," she replied with a smile.
He smiled, too, and opened the box. Inside was a necklace with a small, silver charm at the end of it. He held it closer to his face to examine it; the charm was in the shape of a heart, and had the words Love Comes in Many Forms.
"Wow…" he said with a smile. "This present is way better than mine…"
Xestra put the scarf around her neck and shook her head. "No way, this scarf is totally better."
Lea shook his head. "It can't compare to this amazing necklace."
"So…you don't think it's too…girly?" Xestra asked before cringing.
"Not at all. It's probably the manliest necklace I've ever seen," he said, putting it around his neck and smiling. "How does it look?"
"Perfect…it looks perfect, Lea."
His smile broadened. "Good…but now we'll have to argue about who looks better in their present," he said. "Because that scarf looks better than perfect on you; it brings out your pretty blue eyes."
Xestra blushed and avoided eye contact. "You think…? Thanks, Lea…"
"Of course. And thank you."
"Anything for you."
The two leaned forward and smiled just as their lips were about to touch…
"Do you think she's going to wake up any time soon?"
"I don't know, she has been out for a while…"
Xestra heard the familiar voices of Roxas and Axel to her left, and realized the image of her and Lea was gone.
She opened her eyes and found herself in her little white room. She blinked and looked over at them.
"Good afternoon sleepy head," Axel greeted with a smile.
"Hey Xestra," Roxas added.
Xestra rubbed her head, laid back down and pulled her covers back over her head. "No, I have to go back!"
Axel and Roxas exchanged confused glances.
"Go back where?" Roxas asked.
"Sounds like someone had a good dream," Axel teased.
Xestra peeked up from her covers to glare at him.
"So it wasn't a good dream?"
Xestra pulled the covers down and stared at the ceiling, trying to take everything in from her dream. "It…was a good dream."
"That's good," Roxas said. "Looks like you dreamed for me."
Xestra turned her head to face him. "You didn't have any more dreams about that boy?"
Roxas shook his head and smiled. "It just makes things less confusing when I don't."
Xestra nodded her head. "I know what you mean…"
"Well, I'm going to go find out what my mission is. You guys coming?"
"We'll be there in a minute, Roxas," Axel said.
"Suit yourself," he replied with a quick wave before walking out of the room.
Xestra watched him leave and immediately turned to Axel. "We went on a date…"
Axel smiled. "Which one did you dream about?"
"Our…first one…but your name wasn't Axel, and mine wasn't Xestra…"
Axel nodded. "Axel and Xestra are our Nobody names."
"You mean our names change from when we had hearts?"
"Well, we're not exactly the same people," he said matter-of-factly.
Xestra nodded. "I guess so…" she said as she stood up and stretched.
Axel walked over to her and stood beside her as they started out the door.
"Why did you have to go back to your dream, anyway?" Axel asked with a smile.
Xestra paused and looked away, embarrassed. "I…don't remember."
"You don't, huh?" he asked suddenly stopping.
Xestra looked over at him curiously.
"So it didn't have anything to do with…anything at all?" he asked, his face inching toward hers.
His face was just inches away from hers when he asked, "Are you sure?"
"Um, well, this is how it ended…" she said sadly.
"Just like this?"
"And you wanted it to continue?"
Xestra paused, unsure of how to answer.
Before she could, he took her chin in his hand, tilted it upwards, and briefly touched his lips against hers.
She blinked and he brought his face back to assess her reaction. When she gave a small smile, he leaned forward again for a slightly longer kiss.
When he leaned away, Xestra couldn't keep the smile that had formed on her face from leaving.
"Better?" he asked with a laugh.
Xestra, unable to answer, just nodded her head and followed him to the Grey Area for their daily mission.