The blond sat in the dark, his long hair hanging down onto the book that he was reading, his acid green eyes darting across the page. The book was a deep green, and somewhat tattered, the pages slightly yellow with age.

They were his former research notes; many of the theories listed here had been disproved in the years that had past since their original writing. Of course, in comparison to the man he had been when he wrote them and the… entity he was now, he was so much wiser.

It was amazing how much the darkness could change one. Once he'd been a man, with foolish notions of right and wrong. Now he was something beyond human, thanks to the darkness.

He hadn't been afraid the first time Xehanort had shown him the darkness. He had been fascinated; curious. The fear had come later, as they experimented with its shadowy essence, when he saw the bacterial effect it had on hearts, consuming them and transforming them into monsters.

They had called these monsters Heartless, assuming that the heart had been completely destroyed by the darkness. It was only later that they discovered that the heart was capable of being restored, but without the body and soul…

They had stored these recovered hearts in bell jars filled with water infused with light. Unfortunately, when their former Master, Ansem, was disposed of, they could no longer store these hearts; they lacked the mastery over light required to produce the essential liquid to store them in.

Of course, by the time they had rid themselves of Ansem, they held little interest in storing those hearts anyway. "Vexen? Are you in?" A familiar male voice interrupted, turning on the lights and causing the blond to wince.

"Yes, yes, Zexion. What is it that you want?" The blond replied, closing his book and turning to the slate-haired young man that had intruded on his privacy.

"I was wondering what it is that Xemnas has you up to now," Zexion folded his arms when Vexen shook his head.

"That is still confidential, Number Six," Vexen sighed, "and besides, I haven't even a half-finished product to show. The research required is extensive."

"Alright then, but I do hope you'll see fit to share with me your prototype when it's finished," Zexion smirked, "old friend."

"Don't play that card with me, Number Six. I will or I won't depending upon the Superior's orders. If or when he sees fit to entrust you with that information, I will tell you more." Vexen brushed the younger man away coldly as always.

"A stickler for the rules as always Vexen. Or is it that you fear our Superior's punishment?" Zexion smirked, folding his arms.

"A valiant effort, Zexion," Vexen chuckled coldly, a slight smirk on his face now, "You'll not manipulate me so easily."

"Fine. I can be patient, I suppose," The blue-eyed young man shrugged, turning away and conjuring a portal of swirling darkness, "I'm eager to see your prototype, Vexen."

Vexen had taken quite some time deciding upon who he would Replicate, but in the end he chose his former self. He couldn't use himself as he was now; he was lacking some essential parts, namely his heart.

He gave a nod of approval at the finished prototype that looked exactly as he had ten years ago, before he had lost his heart to the all-consuming darkness, "Even, awaken. You are complete."

The reaction he got from the newly awakened Replica was not what he had expected. It opened its eyes and stared evenly at Vexen, "What do you want?" It growled irritably.

Vexen frowned, unsure of how to proceed. The Replica had quite the mind of its own and it slipped off the table, now looking strangely at the other blond, "Who are you?"

"I am Vexen, your creator. You are a Replica of my former self… how do you feel?" Vexen explained slowly, while the Replica looked on irritated.

"Annoyed and naked." The Replica folded his arms, "Have you any clothes I could wear?"

"Yes, but I want to run a few tests first," Vexen replied, bustling off to get his instruments.

"Can't it wait until I'm clothed?" The Replica huffed, scrunching up his nose.

"No." Vexen replied shortly, slipping on a stethoscope first, to perform the most important test. He laid the cold metal instrument on the Replica's chest and listened intently, hearing what he needed to almost instantly, "A heartbeat."

"I don't see why I had to be naked for you to check my heartbeat, but may I please have something to wear?" The Replica was obviously uncomfortable, shifting under the probe.

Vexen ignored him though, continuing the Replica's check up, though it seemed that the Replica was functioning smoothly, the body was perfectly stable, and the Replica was reacting correctly to obvious discomfort.

"Now you may be clothed, if you will give me a moment to find to a spare uniform," And Vexen left the Replica alone in his lab, halfway expecting to hear something smash on the floor, but he came back and the place was still intact. As a matter of fact the Replica didn't seem to have moved at all.

Vexen frowned, tossing the outfit to him and he reacted surprisingly swiftly, catching the coat with one hand and the pants with the other, "Thank you, now could you please turn around?"

"Why would I do that?" Vexen arched an eyebrow. What would it matter if he was looking? He'd already seem him in full "regalia".

"Because you don't need to watch me get dressed." The Replica replied with a snort, yet began to pull on the pants with a sigh, followed by the coat, which he zipped up as far as he could manage without having it interfere with his face, "Good enough, I suppose."

"I suppose that I should report this to the Superior. I'm sure he'll be quite pleased that the Replica program works…" Vexen mused, putting a hand to his chin. The Replica furrowed his brows.

"The Superior?"

"Our leader," Vexen huffed, having no patience with his creation, "I'll go and fetch him and then you'll understand."

"Like Master Ansem?" The Replica narrowed his eyes in thought.

"Somewhat," Vexen replied vaguely, "If you would stop asking me questions and let me go fetch him…"

"Go and fetch him, I'm eager to make his acquaintance." The Replica smirked, unaware of the danger he was requesting.