Chapter Soundtrack: Gary Jules – Mad World, Three Days Grace – Now or Never, AFI – Miseria Cantare

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Three days. All he could remember were the last three days. Three days of wandering aimlessly down streets he didn't know, but felt he should.

Felt… that was a funny word. A feeling… to feel… somehow the understanding of that concept had been dulled in his mind since then. Since… well… he could only think of it as his birth, but that clearly wasn't right. He was fully grown… he… he could speak and think. So he must have already been a person, existed as a real person… but what kind of person he didn't know.

A real person… was there such a thing as an unreal person (outside of the obvious – fictional characters)? Here he was, walking around in a tangible place, his feet hitting the ground, his eyes seeing to the horizon, so he must be real… yes? Still, he couldn't help but get the sneaking suspicion… Around this town, where he could only suppose he was from, everyone he'd seen had looked on him with blank eyes. They didn't know him. He didn't know them either, but he figured if it was just some sort of amnesia, someone would've recognized him by now… someone would've helped him by now…!

But they hadn't. So… he was nobody. Nobody at all… and no matter how far he dug down into the shallow spring of his recollection, he couldn't retrieve a single shred of evidence that he had ever been somebody. Not even a name.

He couldn't remember.

And that was eating away at him.

At sunset, he was sitting on the clocktower, the highest building around, and contemplating. The ground was so far below… the people there so small, and so completely unaware of him in every sense. If he had not already interacted with some, he might've thought himself a ghost… but he might as well have been anyway, he certainly didn't feel alive… and not one of those happy souls down there would notice if he was gone.

This hollow existence… it put into very clear focus the questions that no three-day-old had ever before pondered – who was he, really? why was he here? what was he really like? where should he go now? Yes, the ground was very far away… but he had too many questions to ask before time ran out and he hit the ground.

So forego giving up for now. He felt in his gut that surrender in this situation was just the wrong thing to do. And maybe that was something… something worth holding onto. Something about who he was, or the first step along the development of who he would become. Determination… or stubbornness… whatever he would come to call it… right now, it was the only thing he could confidently say that he was… and he had to remain true to it, because it was all that he had.

But he would have more. That… whatever it was… would lead him to the rest. There was hope. He put aside the complicated questions for now. They would be answered in time. Right now… all he could do was be. He stood up, almost smiling at his decision, and turned around.

What waited there almost sent him tumbling back into the fateful plummet he'd been considering earlier, by sheer surprise. A figure – male or female he couldn't tell, as they were shrouded in a robe – stood very close by, snuck up behind him (he didn't know how… it was very high up, and though he'd been deep in thought, he hadn't been inattentive), looming over with a black hood obscuring his face.

"Do you know your name?" a deep voice issued forth from the shadowed pit where there should have been a face – male.

"…what?"

"Do you know your name?" it again said.

"…do you?"

He thought he could perceive, from the darkness, a pair of lips pull into a smirk…

So perfect… just like his last. Newborn, not secure with himself yet… still blank, still soft, still so easy to claim and manipulate. Not all would be like this, he knew… not all were, he'd already had to reject a woman for that reason… though it was always a shame to downgrade someone so strong. That one had become too much of a person again, and such individuality was not acceptable… for a Nobody.

He paused in concentration after the other put to him his question… pale, glassy letters danced before his vision, circled their owner in a close embrace, though restrained from returning to him in proper form. He rearranged them as he saw fit and stamped his brand between the sounds, making this newest candidate his… should he choose to come along.

"You don't only have one question." He started, holding a gloved hand out toward the boy, "And I don't only have one answer. Come with me, and you'll learn more by our brotherhood than you could ever hope to obtain on your own in a lifetime."

The boy in front of him seemed unsure… his unnatural, catlike green eyes danced around in his head as he thought… That was the insecurity he liked to see, and the smirk spread into a smile. Slowly, they landed again on the hood and made a request with just the right amount of desperation in its tone, "…tell me my name…"

Understanding passed between them in that moment, and the boy reached out, taking the hand he was offered in agreement. The hood came back and silver hair toppled down out of it, yellow eyes glinting in the dying Western light. "Welcome to the Organization. Come with me… Axel."

---

That had been three weeks ago, and it seemed like forever. So much had happened to him… and that was the best part – that things had happened. He'd felt stagnant and idle, useless in that old town (Twilight Town, he now knew it was called… which was more than he'd known even just being in it), but now… now he was doing things. Half the time he still didn't understand why, but why didn't matter… just the purpose each mission assigned gave him, at least temporarily, just that was enough… just the chance to be occupied gave him the chance to change, to become himself more, whoever he was or would be.

Today something else was happening… something else which, this time, he did understand the importance of… quite keenly in fact. That sharp emotion struck him in a way little else besides physical pain had since he'd been 'born' (he also now knew that it had been the right term after all, if meant in a different sense)… probably because he'd been there before… in more than one way.

They were going back to Twilight Town now, his first time since the day he'd left it, and they were scouting a new member while they were there. Whoever that lucky ninth would be, Axel already knew first-hand how absolutely pivotal this day would come to be understood as by them, and it made his stomach flutter just to think that he could be a part of something this significant for someone else as it had been for him.

Though he'd been unaware that Xemnas (his new leader) had brought a companion (Saix, the seventh) along to find him, he understood the necessity of the role. If the candidate tried to run before fully understanding his opportunity… if he needed further reassurance before his choice… he was the backup, the example. It was likely that, last time, Saix had been placed strategically beneath the clocktower just in case he had chanced to fall… and he expected to be stationed similarly.

"Axel." The familiar deep voice called him out of his slight, thoughtful stupor, and he looked up and immediately snapped to attention. Xemnas seemed pleased. "Come." And he reached out and clapped a gloved hand down on his thin shoulder. Darkness swirled around him, blocking the ghostly inside of the Castle That Never Was, his new home, completely from view.

They reappeared on a blindingly sunny beach, and Axel had to squint and raise a hand over his eyes at the suddenness of it to see. It seemed kind of funny… that there had been another like him so nearby, in the very same town, simply in a part he'd never been to before, that a mile or two of city street had been all that separated them from finding kinship in eachother. Well… now that would be rectified completely. Xemnas had let him go and started on down the beach, and he hurried gracefully after to keep up, head wheeling around to spot an appropriate position where he could hide, as Saix had previously done… but the command was never given, even as they began to approach who he could only assume was their target.

But this one wasn't alone… not as he'd been… there were two boys sitting there on the empty beach, and Axel wondered with an excited leap in his chest if they might be recruiting both nine and ten today. Instantly, the importance of this mission had doubled.

One was lying down in the sand, his arms up behind his head, platinum hair of uneven lengths pooled around it, moss-green eyes shimmering in the powerful sun. A vague smile was on his lips… probably because of the company. The other boy had puffy light-brown hair styled up in an unusual manner… a milky-blue popsicle stuck out of the side of his mouth, melting down the stick and dripping into the sand. He had an overturned white bucket held between bare legs and was drumming on it lightly with his hands, a complicated and intriguing beat. Axel wondered if this Nobody had been around for long enough to have learned how to play, or if he'd remembered it from before. He wondered if, like speaking (and fighting, he'd found out for himself), those things like music remained from before… he wondered if he knew how to sing or play anything.

The drummer didn't notice as Xemnas came up to them, too engaged in his own music, but the other did, and abruptly sat up at the sight of the suspicious figure, tapping his friend on the shoulder to alert him. The drumming stopped, and Axel found an eeriness run a shiver down his spine as the air was left empty. A merciful, incoming wave made new sound to fill it, and he calmed and regained hold of himself again.

"Who are you?" the blonde-haired boy pounced upon the question even before Xemnas could speak.

Xemnas nearly snarled at the outright and instantaneous address, but refrained from it. This one had spirit… unlike Axel behind him. It could be a problem…

"That's not important." He twisted the question around and supplied an alternative form of his normal words, softening them from interrogation to plain curiosity for the reception of this individual (because he had become one by now… potentially quite unfortunate), "Do you have a name?"

The other sneered a little back, "Of course." He said, "It's Emrys"." His companion seemed to lean forward somewhat in anticipation of providing his own answer, but then only bit on his lip and somberly looked down.

"What about your friend?" Xemnas, noticing this, nodded to him. So this one knew his name… he frowned a bit. It wasn't necessarily a bad thing…. Saix had known his true name... but instinct was warning him much more blaringly about 'Emrys' here. He was much more… emotional (in other words, dangerous), and there was not the same emptiness behind his eyes.

Emrys looked a little hesitant to answer, but remained upright and confident, admitting a moment later, "He doesn't have one." The other boy didn't look back up.

"I can give him one…" Xemnas offered, "And I can give both of you a purpose as well, a home…" he added, stressing his sympathy.

It was the wrong move. The boy's eyes hardened and his lips curled into a sneer, "We have a home, and it's here." he insisted, "And I don't need any of those other things… we've been this way for a while now and we're just fine." The other one, who looked less sure, tilted his head a little further down… which was observed out of the corner of Emrys' eye, and prompted him to add "…he doesn't need a name anyway… he's fine the way he is."

Axel felt something go tight and cold in the pit of his stomach. How long, he wondered… how long had this boy been the way he was to get so… so strong? And he realized, after only a short time, that the knotting there inside of him was jealousy.

"Then you won't join us?" Xemnas almost growled, which set him off… the harshness of the sound.

"No." he clipped hotly, "I'm fine, thanks… come on…" he looked down at his friend, put a hand on his shoulder, and concern flooded into his expression as he touched him, "…let's leave…"

"I don't know…" the other, obviously the weaker, of the two said, "…maybe…" his eyes flickered in what could have been a glance at Xemnas.

The blonde boy frowned further, "But…" he started, but got no further. His stance went rigid… then a sudden twitch, tossing his head back with a gargled sound of pain. He sunk down to his knees, clutching at his chest… and the jumble of emotions visibly written out on his face said plainly that if he had the voice, he would have been screaming. Slowly, he crumpled further, his form warping and twisting, seeping out its color into a miasma of material which quivered around him, the last distinctions of what had once been a person disappearing into the ether. What was left – a twisted shape, a mere creature, writhing in perceived agony there in the sand. It slowly rose to its pointed feet and slouched, head (or what could have been a head) pointed down at the ground, mouth (or what could have been a mouth) zippered shut.

Axel supposed that he and the brunette boy were wearing similar expressions… though he knew there was no way he could be feeling with the same intensity over what had just happened. What had Xemnas just done…? Something so horrible… he couldn't even imagine… from his own leader…

"What about you?" Xemnas asked, his voice lighter, but still threatening.

"He… h-he…" the brunette stammered, his already liquidy-blue eyes further watering, looking as if they were about to erupt into tears at any moment.

"He is now what we call a Dusk." Xemnas said, "And he is what you will soon be if you also refuse. So…" he held out his hand.

Shivering with fear, the boy was somehow able to grapple up the faculties to take it, clinging to the death-instrument of his friend's slayer as if to a lifeline.

"That is a good decision…" the letters started swirling behind Xemnas' eyes, "…Demyx." he said, smiling fondly from beneath the shadow of his cloak. Lifting his other arm, he held it out toward the water and opened up another portal, pitch black amidst the noontime. "You are the ninth… what your friend could have been if he'd cooperated with me. As that was not the case, you've already been given a promotion." A severe little smile, "Now go on through there… the seventh will be waiting for you."

He nodded, tears now quite visible suspended from his eyelashes, but said nothing, only did as he was told and walked unquestioningly forward into the darkness, not even stopping to look back at what remained of his friend. The portal disappeared behind him. He'd left his bucket where he'd been sitting… beside it, a discarded popsicle stick floated in the center of a small pool of gloopy melted liquid, mixing disgustingly with the sand beneath it.

Xemnas turned to Axel, bowed his head slightly, though there was no regret in his voice when he mentioned, "I'm sorry you had to see that."

Axel swallowed, but had already recovered well enough for a collected response, "It was nothing." He said blankly, a little coldly…

"I'm glad you see it that way." Xemnas replied, turning away and opening another portal right where the last one had been, a tiny little suction of sand rising up into it and, he supposed, probably scattering lightly across the floor on the other side. "Kill it and return to the Castle immediately." He murmured over his shoulder before walking through.

Axel stopped there, alone on the beach, staring at the sorry creature that swayed before him. That could've been him. New empathy flooded him… a frighteningly personal understanding of what had just happened… as if it had been him. He didn't know how many minutes went by thinking about it, lost in it, feeling cold in the light of the sun, under all that black leather and the fire that boiled beneath his skin. Eventually, though, he did as he was told. Following orders was, after all, still all he had… despite his newly-sprouting opinions about them. He did his best to put the being out of its misery quickly, a single strike across the neck sending it into wherever Nobodies went when they died. He felt it deserved at least that… after all, this wasn't just the average mindless Dusk… this Nobody had been somebody before Xemnas had changed that. Well… sort of.

He felt sick… and porting back didn't make it any better, though he was already quite used to the feeling of being swallowed by the darkness, it felt like new once again. And the meaning that came with it was heavy and grim. This wasn't how it was supposed to have gone… this new boy, number nine, had joined for fear, not for enlightenment. He had walked into the dark with no illusions, but no questions either. Axel had come with both… and now, today, his questions only numbered more, and his illusions were all gone. He felt as if he'd just shed a coat of naivety, and was left naked.

Xemnas was curiously waiting in the room he ported into at the Castle… probably waiting for him, waiting to see how long he took, and Axel honestly had no idea. He acknowledged him, however, with a slight bob of the head, and received one in return as Axel passed by and went on toward his room.

Change had come again.

---

It had been a week since the Organization had gained Demyx, and it was time for the boy to go out on his first mission… his rite of passage… his true initiation to their brotherhood. He was quite obviously nervous beyond all reason. Axel wasn't (though it wasn't his mission to be nervous for)… his first had been easy, he doubted the newcomer would have any more trouble than he had. Xigbar was going with him to help, and train, and supervise… everything would be alright.

For the life of him Axel couldn't figure out why he felt such concern for the welfare of the newcomer, despite. The nearest reason that made any sense derived from the means of his original coming to the Organization. That day had just gone so badly that the only way he could see them redeeming themselves in Demyx's eyes was if this one went well.

He was in the room, by the doorway, just idly standing by when the two of them ported out, and hadn't moved from the spot when they returned… from what he perceived, much later than they really should have. It didn't get better from there. Demyx looked shaken and tousled. There were cuts in his cloak and a bruise slowly flowering on the side of his face. Xigbar seemed to have retained saintly patience, though the true frustration was visible in the way he carried himself as they went in to report back to Xemnas.

Axel sighed. Something had to be done. He didn't want to see the boy turned into a Dusk. He didn't want to ever see that happen again… to anyone. The memory of it still haunted his mind, one of the precious, still easily countable few he'd gathered in the only month of his new life. It was up to him, he supposed… Saix was preoccupied, Xemnas likely wouldn't care enough to make the effort, and Xigbar clearly had had enough of the newcomer for one day. None of the others knew him well enough yet to give a damn.

He waited, skulking, outside the office, until the door opened. Only the two came out, and Xigbar quickly strode away, not even noticing him. Demyx was left, pitiably alone and not looking as if he felt any better than he had when he went in. It was then that he approached, stepping out from behind the corner and walking up to the other. "Hey…" he started casually.

The other nearly jumped, biting down on his lower lip and turning to face the Axel timidly, "…hey… you're uh…" his teeth clamped down harder on his lip, "…I don't think I ever heard your name…" he admitted bashfully.

Axel shook his head. He didn't think so either. "It's Axel…" he kept his voice light, though somewhat forcibly so… it was a little hard to imitate it when he'd never really heard it done before, and had no feeling yet within himself that could bring it forth. He added a bit jokingly a moment afterwards, giving Demyx a moment to think and digest the word, "…got it memorized?"

The very corners of Demyx's mouth twitched upward faintly. "Yeah…" he said, his voice uneven, whether from continued fear or attempted laughter, it was unclear. "…what is it?" he ventured a moment later.

"You look like you could use a chance to relax." he mentioned, approaching again amiably.

Demyx looked as if he were going to shrink away, but braced himself and managed not to. "I've pretty much been doing nothing but that all week long."

"But it obviously didn't work very well." Axel put in.

This time he got a weak, yet recognizable laugh. "No… not really."

Axel smiled… a somewhat foreign expression to him, actually, and it made his face tingle to move those muscles like that. "Let's get out of the Castle, then." he suggested, "You're still new to the place… that could be what's psyching you out."

Demyx seemed uncertain as he considered this, admitting, "…I've only ever been to Twilight Town…"

"Then that's where we'll go." Axel decided, taking up the hint that the other still wasn't quite ready to leave his limited comfort zone… which clearly didn't yet include the Castle That Never Was.

"Okay." he consented, nodding.

Axel stepped forward and touched his shoulder, summoning up a portal and sending them through. They came out on a street at the edge of his own familiar territory nearest to the beach. "Recognize this part of the place?" he asked carefully, feeling he was catching on better to this gentle, friendly manner of speaking. He hoped Demyx did, because for his plan they would need to go to a place he hadn't been to yet… and didn't know how to get to.

Looking around a little, the Nobody nodded slowly, "Yeah. The beach is that way." He pointed correctly, then cringed and dropped his arm, looking at the ground.

Wincing in understanding at what the other was probably thinking about, Axel cleared his throat and quickly travelled onto another topic. "Well… since you know where you are, and I don't… why don't you show me around?" he suggested, already regretting that he would once again have to revive that unfortunate memory to go through with his plan. "Take me to the icecream shop where you got that blue popsicle last time… it'll be on me."

Demyx didn't appear to react all that much… maybe he hadn't connected an innocuous little thing like icecream to that day… which was good. Better that he didn't. In a moment, he nodded, delayed reaction, and started off slowly through the streets, looking around as if afraid somebody would see him… or perhaps just to help himself remember where he was and where to go from there.

The way they took led downhill and almost all the way to the beach. The air was cooler and smelled like the ocean… the breezes from the shore almost carried the gentle roaring of the waves all the way to them. On a corner, a small crowd of children had gathered, some waiting in line, some walking away… most of those who left were carrying identical blue popsicles… only a few odd ones had gotten a different flavor.

Axel felt kind of weird getting in line after all the kids… but he did it anyway, ushering Demyx along with him. They stood in slightly awkward silence until they were next in line from the front and Axel realized something somewhat important. His face felt a little warm as he slowly turned to Demyx and asked in sheepish whisper, "Hey… what're… those things called anyway?"

Demyx looked up shyly, another tiny smile appearing on his lips, "Sea-Salt Icecream." He reported, then dared to go a little further… "I can't believe you're from here and you've never tried it before." He remarked.

"Yeah, well…" Axel ran a hand through the spikes of red hair on the back of his head, "I'm from a different part of the town. Never got down to the beach… and… I wasn't here all that long." he admitted.

"Oh…" Demyx looked back down, stepping forward with him accordingly once they were next up.

"Two Sea-Salt Icecreams, please." Axel said, pulling out his bag of munny and putting the appropriate amount down.

The smiling shopkeeper was clearly expecting this request, and immediately bent and produced two of the bright frozen treats. Demyx took his first as Axel replaced the pouch back in one of his pockets, accepting his own a moment later. The newcomer spoke up again as they started away from the vendor, "If you've never tried it before, you're going to be surprised…" he cryptically mentioned.

Axel thought to ask what he meant by that, but decided it was faster just to try some and see. Without waiting, he took a bite out of the top, and immediately twitched, lifting a hand to his mouth as if to spit it out… but he refrained, swallowing it down instead and looking up surprisedly. "It's… salty…" he observed immediately, then reconsidered, "…but… sweet…"

Demyx was laughing again, quietly, and took his own little bite out of the end of the pop. "But you like it, right…?"

Axel thought a moment… then nodded. "Yeah. It's… weird." He glanced at the thing again, then tried another time, finding the flavor grew on him, "But good."

The other nodded, and continued to slowly work down his own stick. "…what now?" he asked after a moment.

"Mmm…" Axel considered, "Let's go to my favorite place." He suggested, smiling for the second time today… strange how the other's company seemed to have that effect on him. The only other member of the Organization who he could really call his peer, in the sense that he was not among the original founders and included in their own already developed circle of trust, was Saix, with whom he felt a strange familiarity that he'd so far been unable to explain (though equating it to some vague form of intuition based on Saix's presence at his recruitment worked well enough to settle the confusion it created)… and Xemnas had recently made him his second, despite that he was the Organization's seventh, which completely negated the lack of seniority they had previously shared.

He supposed this all meant that he just… felt lonely… though he didn't know why. He'd never had any friends before the Organization, and hadn't been lonely then… or maybe three days just hadn't been enough time for him to get lonely. Whatever the reasons for any of that were… they didn't matter much. The goal of the day had been to raise the new member's spirits a little bit… and he seemed to have succeeded.

They ported in to the top of the clocktower, and Axel eagerly flopped down on the edge, his feet kicking over the empty air below. Demyx wasn't so confident on the precipice, and sat a little farther back, but fairly near all the same. The silence, this time, was much more comfortable, and filled with light crunching as they ate their icecream and the occasional call of gulls.

"You can see the whole city from up here." Axel mentioned smoothly.

Demyx nodded.

"Incidentally, this is as close as I ever got to the beach while I was here. You can see it just over those buildings." He pointed. Demyx nodded again.

More silence… and though the other didn't seem to mind, this time Axel fidgeted, somewhat unsettled again by the one-sided conversation. He quickly finished off the rest of his ice-pop and carelessly tossed the stick over the edge, watching as it spiraled to the ground. "So… how did your mission go?" he asked curiously, glancing over a shoulder at the other.

Demyx was also done, but instead was turning over the stick in his fingers and considering it carefully… the redhead could almost imagine him tracing each line in the woodgrain, and just thinking about it made him antsy. "Not so good…" he pointed vaguely to the impurpled mark on his left cheek.

"How'd ya get that?" Axel asked, leaning back on his palms to get a better look at it, and tossing one leg over the other, still dangling over the edge of the building.

"Heartless." Demyx replied. "Appeared out of the ground. Tripped me and I fell flat, facefirst…" he answered, ashamed.

Hearing it now, Axel had to admit that it was… a bit pathetic. But he didn't say that. "Yeah, they can do that to you." He merely stated, turning his eyes back on the cityscape.

"…I'm just really not cut out for this…" the other mumbled, leaning forward and resting his head on his arms, arms on his knees.

Axel glanced back and quirked his head to the side, "Cut out for what?" he asked.

"For fighting." He said, "For being in this Organization, you know?" he looked away at that, a hint of fear coming into his eyes, "…but mostly for fighting."

"Don't worry…" Axel assured him, stretching back and extending his arm as far as it would go, reaching to pat him on the shoulder, "…if fighting's not your thing, Xemnas'll catch on to that soon enough and start sending you on different missions. Recon and stuff, y'know?" he assured. "And don't worry about fitting in. One through six are always too wrapped up in their own agendas to notice much else going on around them. You're new and haven't gotten a chance to make your mark yet… but you'll find your place." After all, he had… or he thought he had. Up until recently he'd wowed the other members by turning out to be such as skilled fighter as he was… by taking missions one after the other, two and three a day sometimes, working like a machine for his promised answers. He'd been sure of everything he did… cocky with victory… and then they'd scouted Demyx, and doubt had formed. Now he wasn't sure if he wanted the place he'd found. But he didn't get into that… it would be no comfort to the other.

During his mental digression, the other Nobody had scooched forward slightly, taken up a spot at the roof's edge. He still wasn't sitting as close as Axel, and only his ankles crossed the corner, but it was an improvement after all. "So… things'll get better?" he asked, his voice sounding strained and fatigued, his position still slouched despite his calmer attitude now.

Axel considered his answer only a moment before going with the first one that came to mind, rather than taking the time to puzzle out something truthful, logical, sensical… he was very quickly becoming annoyed with doing that always. It only led to wasted time. Things went by so much faster and smoother when acting on impulse…

And he supposed he'd changed again, just by adding that intention… and somehow, the decision he'd come to encouraged him. "Yeah." He assured, "Things'll be okay."

---

Author's Ending Note Thingy: Written for NaNoWriMo 2009 with help from my wonderful roommate, whose fault it is that I've been introduced to Kingdom Hearts (at this late stage). I'm new to this genre, so I don't know all about the various conventions of KH fanfic. That means that this one will either be refreshingly unique or bizarrely out-of-place. I ask only that you bear with me reading this… my writing style is a little odd, and I'm going off of very little background information for the first parts.

Also, for this fic, I'm attempting to include at the beginning of every update, a Chapter Soundtrack which suggests a couple of fitting songs for the story. They're listed in an order which corresponds to the order of parts in the chapter which they relate to. Some will be so necessary to the story that the lyrics will be included among the actual writing as well. That does not make this a songfic. The majority of the music is just there to add flavor, only a very small percentage of it is being incorporated into the plot. You can listen to the soundtrack as you read to influence the atmosphere, you can take it as simple recommendations of good music, or you can completely ignore it… whatever. The point was that while writing this, music was one huge drawpoint of inspiration… and considering that one of the main characters is Demyx, to whom music is inarguably important, I thought it would be a nice touch. Whatever the case… please, please, please don't be a douche and stop reading or leave a flame just because you take offense to the music we listen to. Everyone has their own taste, and I doubt anybody reading will like every single song that we list.

Finally, now that this author's note is longer than the chapter itself, we only ask that you please leave a review… there may even be periodic review incentives drawn and posted up on my or my roommate's deviantart pages, which we will send you links to for leaving reviews on according chapters (we'll always have a notice). Thanks everybody, and hope you liked! More will be coming, approximately one update every month or so, as I have to space out what I currently have written (which is only the first half) to last until I can finish it next year (that's right, this fic is gonna be over 100,000 words long. Daunting, isn't it? At least you're not the one who had to write the thing.)