I'm currently looking over the names. Still have time to input your idea for a name. Will probably announce my decision in the next chapter. Remember to send your thoughts and ideas through a PM (unless you really can't), and I'll respond back.
Crack into the Storm
Number IX seems to be assimilating well into the parenting role, though it would only be expected of him. Unlike Xemnas or Number XII, neither of which act as though they have cared for a young member, he's taken an almost natural inclination to child rearing. I do worry a bit that Xigbar leaves him alone, since the child seems to still act out but I suppose it cannot be helped. If Xemnas trusts him enough to care for Vixell on his own, then I should attempt to put more faith in him. It could be worse. It could be Larxene.
Speaking of which…
"Kingdom Hearts is growing," Xaldin said.
"It is," I reply, looking up at the giant silhouetted moon. "Our goal seems reachable now."
"With Number XIII and the girl gathering hearts, it will only be a matter of time before Kingdom Hearts is complete," Vexen said.
"We've got missions assigned to all members below Zexion for the next two weeks," Xaldin said.
I turned to him.
"Yes, and I figured any one of us could fill in for an emergency mission, assuming a giant heartless makes its presence known," he answered.
"This idea works," I muttered. "However, I will not be taking part in these missions, at least for the time being."
Xaldin frowns, but refrains from saying anything.
"How often will the two be on heart retrieval missions?"
"Six out of the seven days," Xaldin replied.
"And one mission per day?"
"As per usual," he answered. "Unless you want to add on more missions, though it would be a little difficult considering their abilities."
I turned and faced Xaldin, my face stoic as I calculated the higher amount of productivity should the two Keyblade wielders go on one extra mission. Of course, I would be fair. Four missions between two members certainly was asking for quite a bit. Three though, where one could be shared between the two of them, seemed more understandable. There would be less complaining, especially when the time was shared with your friend. It was a good idea. And it could help make up for what little everyone else did.
"Three missions a day," I said. "One for each of them, and another for them to take together."
"Asking for quite a bit, especially considering one of them is a failure," Xaldin said. But he went on an agreed with me either way. "And you're sure about this?" His question seemed almost rhetorical.
"Going to question my authority?"
"…of course not," Xaldin replied, taken aback by my accusation.
"You may leave, Number III," I said.
Xaldin bowed before backing away into a dark corridor. I was alone at the alter, staring at the wonderful giant moon above me.
I had done it before, but I felt loneliness crept upon me. Staring at my goal didn't seem nearly as satisfying as it once did. Perhaps there was no one to gloat with? There wasn't that familiar voice reminding me how glorious my plan was, how superior I was to have thought it up.
Even though Saix never stood beside me, I still acknowledged his presence. I couldn't feel it anymore. Nothing of his remained here, aside from the simple material goods, and of course, Vixell. But none of these things, not even my son, could really bring that filling sensation that he could produce. Even if it was all just memories and illusion, it helped distract me.
How much longer was I to wait for him? Would it really be wise for me to hold on forever, waiting till the very last day for his arrival? I knew there was always the chance he would reject Vixell, even after everything. The child brought him misery and betrayal…I brought him these and he couldn't help but blame the boy. He understood this now, but he may still cling to those terrible memories and refuse to be with me, at my side. And I couldn't blame him, no matter how much I wanted to.
"I can't believe it," Demyx said in a rather bubbly voice. "Xiggy, everything's moving so fast!"
The older Nobody chuckled as he summoned up a dark corridor. He leaned over and gave the younger Nobody a small kiss.
"Neither can I, little man," he said with a smile. "You gotta try calming down a bit…don't want to wet yourself, do you?"
Demyx frowned, crossing his arms.
"I'm not four!" He said in a half whine. "This is really big news!"
"I know, I know," Xigbar answered with a laugh. "We made it past the first trimester. Woohoo, we did it," Xigbar grinned at Demyx and patted the boy on his head. "But we still need to do missions and other things."
"Aw, don't be like that," Xigbar said. "Office work and babysitting can't be that bad now, can it?"
"No," Demyx said. He gave another sigh and stared up at Xigbar with a solemn look. "I just wish you were around more. Xemnas should have let you fill in for Saix, not Xaldin."
"He nearly throttled me when I took his place," Xigbar said. "Plus, I'm not leader material."
"Tsk, don't worry, Dem," Xigbar continued to reassure the boy. "I'll be back before you know it."
Xigbar turned and saw Vexen approaching him. The older Nobody made his way towards the two, making occasional glances at Demyx.
"What is it?" Xigbar asked.
"Have you seen the Superior?" Vexen asked. His voice seemed a little shaky.
"No, I haven't," Xigbar replied. His grin slowly faded as he noticed how troubled Vexen appeared. "What is it?"
Vexen made another glance at Demyx before answering.
"Classified," he said.
"Really?" Xigbar complained.
"What's going on?" Demyx asked nervously. "You want me to leave?"
Vexen shook his head. "This is something that needs to be spoken about in private." He forced his pained expression away as he continued to converse with Demyx. "Your presence or not, The Grey Area is an inappropriate place to go over my current discovery."
Demyx's face lit up a bit.
"You discovered something?" he asked enthusiastically. "A new world?"
Vexen didn't reply. Instead, he turned to Xigbar and gave him a rather estranged look. Xigbar lowered his gaze, feeling uncomfortable.
"You want me to look for him?" Xigbar asked silently.
"No, we need to hold a meeting right away," Vexen replied. "I've sent Zexion to the Round Room already, and Lexaeus is currently looking for Xaldin's whereabouts…"
"This sounds really important," Demyx said, his cheery demeanor now disappearing.
"Demyx. Leave," Xigbar said.
Demyx's eyes widened and he looked up at his older lover and frowned.
"Go, now," Xigbar said. "We're talking."
"Listen to your superiors orders, Number IX," Vexen said hastily.
Demyx's jaw dropped, astounded and hurt by his orders. He turned to Xigbar, hoping for some sort of retribution. Xigbar kept silent, his eye on Demyx. Finally Demyx gave up, giving a weak shrug before taking a step back.
"Ok," he muttered.
Xigbar and Vexen both waited till Demyx was far enough to where he couldn't hear the rest of their conversation. As soon as Demyx was at the stairs, Xigbar roughly grabbed Vexen by the shoulder and glared at him.
"Wanna explain to me what was so important that I had to tell him off?" Xigbar practically hissed the words out.
Vexen gave a long sigh.
"We've got…a minor problem," he answered.
It had been almost two months since I've stepped foot on this desolate world.
The black, colorless sky. The empty, Heartless filled streets. The giant thunder clouds booming, releasing everlasting rain and reminders that this was a world that was never meant to be.
This was our home.
What was I to do now? Although I could feel myself growing calmer, bring back in my familiar habitat, there was no way I could stay for long. I couldn't go to the castle, and wandering these empty streets would put me at risk of getting caught.
And I couldn't provide my Lord Xemnas with a proper answer.
I guess I'll walk through the Dark city, though my mind will be uneasy with every step. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do now. Home seemed like a good idea. Those memories of my past life sprang forth a feeling of missing and longing for those faces that I had grown accustomed to. But looking at them now, I could never face any of them. Xemnas would want an answer from me if I stepped into the castle. And now my mind is in a thicker haze than before…
I looked up, suddenly remembering the one and only thing that had ever given me hope, since the first day I awoke and was brought to this world.
The large heart shaped moon hovered above me, glowing and radiating such amazing power. I could feel such a drastic increase in its energy. It had grown, become stronger since I had left this world. Xemnas was still collecting his hearts, and he was getting closer to his goal. And I could feel it.
Things seemed to be moving along without me. Just how much was I missed? How much was my presence really needed, seeing how well everything was going without my help?
Or was my Superior trying even harder? Was there something for him to strive for that made his dream more valuable?
The answer came sooner than I had hoped. Yes. Of course he did.
That child gave him more reason to achieve the completion of Kingdom Hearts than anything else. He wanted a heart more than anything else now, probably so he could be closer to his son.
Everyone was out on missions right now. Now wouldn't be a good time to make my presence known. I know I'm not trusted to be around the child, even after showing my dedication to Xemnas. I'd only cause trouble if I returned to the castle, even for just a few moments. Xemnas would detect me, and I'd be questioned.
I don't belong here…not yet.
Not when I'm still jealous and hurt. I'm more hurt now than ever.
"You really think we're in trouble?" Axel asked Roxas.
The boy gave a confident nod as the two of them hurried through the long gray hallway. Roxas hoped Xemnas would be in his office right now. He knew Namine would never joke about these sorts of things, not when it came to Heartless.
"But the numbers are really low," Axel said.
"They're not low enough," Roxas said. He looked down in shame. "It's because we all slacked off when we should have been working!"
"I doubt that was the reason," Axel responded, looking off to the side.
"We gotta make sure to warn Xemnas," Roxas said. "That way some of us can stay here and finish what we were supposed to do."
"You think he'll listen?"
"He has to," Roxas said. "I know he will…he wouldn't want anyone to get hurt."
Axel slowly nods his head, though he didn't appear so sure. The idea of a Heartless attack just didn't seem realistic. Of course, he never had a real conversation with Namine, and wasn't nearly as close with her as Roxas was, but for he knew the girl was just trying to frighten everyone as a means of distraction. The girl was prisoner of this world…it wouldn't be so drastic for her of use fear as a means of escape. He still wanted to believe Roxas though.
"He might ask for proof," Axel muttered as he followed the young boy.
"I can have Namine talk to him," Roxas said. "She'll listen to me. Xion and I, we're really close to her."
"Hopefully that'll work…"
Axel continued to follow Roxas, his mind going in circles as he tried to think over the possibility of a Heartless attack. Was anybody really ready for one? Two of their members couldn't fight, one of them was missing, and they had such a hard time getting through the last one. How would they manage another one? Axel could guess that Xigbar and Luxord would be nowhere in the city, not with Larxene and Demyx and Larxene needing protection. And Xemnas would do the same for Vixell too. Everyone else would have to hold up on their own, in smaller groups…
Axel sighed as he stared down at the huge city. He couldn't see any Heartless, but that didn't mean they weren't there, building their numbers up. The tight alleyways, the center of the city, the streets, buildings, and the sky; all the Heartless could sprout from these places.
Just as the two were about to make their way up another flight of stairs, Axel spotted the tint of light electric blue amongst the dreary lights that the Dark City produced.
"Axel?" Roxas asked.
Axel stopped where he was, his arms holding on to the ledge of the building as he leaned in to get a better look. He squint his eyes and stared down into the darkness, trying to spot the moving figure he was sure he had seen.
"Axel," Roxas said. "Axel, what is it?"
Axel didn't answer.
He was sure he had seen it. Axel looked around the many streets, trying to spot that family blue color again. He was positive that he had seen him. He had to be here. He had to.
Axel turned and stared, surprised, at Roxas. His mouth was open, but his expression was blank. What could he possibly tell Roxas? He hadn't spotted Saix for sure, and tell Roxas that he thought he had seen something might worry the boy even more.
"Uhm, yeah?" Axel asked unsurely.
"What were you doing?" the younger boy asked in a nervous tone. "You kept staring out into the city."
"I…was daydreaming," Axel replied.
"A Heartless attack," Axel answered half truthfully. "I just couldn't stop thinking about it. I guess it nerved me a bit, seeing that we're unprepared for one." He held his breath as he watched Roxas' expression change, thinking over the same worries. He lowered his gaze, trying to hide the lies he held in his eyes. "You go hurry to see Xemnas."
"What?" Roxas said suddenly. "You're not coming with me?"
Axel forced his casual smile on his face, trying to look less suspicious.
"I'd lower your credibility," he said. "I'm always messing around. He'd believe you more if you arrived by yourself. I'd only make him think something lese was going on."
"You think so?"
"I know so," Axel answered. "Go on ahead…I'll be in my room when you're done."
Roxas gave a small, disappointed nod. He silently sighed, but then continued on his way. The boy didn't seem so confident to approach the Superior on his own, but Axel didn't have time to worry over it. He made another glance down into the city, knowing that his eyes hadn't played some sort of trick on him. Axel would have to hurry down their and find what he was looking for fast…he had promised Roxas he'd meet up with him later. He just needed to figure out what Saix was doing here and so early too.
I watched the child push the bottle away from me, his face full of distaste and frustration after my numerous attempt to get him to take his food. He rested in my arm, staring up at me, his eyes asking me why I kept on proceeding to bother him.
I had managed to get him to take his bottle last night and early this morning without him making a fuss, but once again he was being finicky. I knew his personality was starting to take hold, but I hoped that what I was experiencing now wasn't it. I was patient, but I doubted I could keep holding up with his terrible attitude towards his food. I suppose someone like me was never meant to have children…
"You look frustrated."
"Number XII, I trust you have some business being here?" I asked without turning my head.
"I need a reason to be in the kitchen?" I heard her say. I continued trying to get Vixell to eat, listening to her move around the area and making unnecessary noise. I suppose the sound of her checking cabinets and opening, closing, and reopening the fridge was her going through cravings and looking for the necessary nutrients, but it bothered me. I was trying to concentrate, trying to silently sympathize with Vixell, and she was bothering me.
"What do you need?" I asked whilst letting the bottle down on the counter. He wasn't going to let me win. I'd have to wait an hour or so before trying again, otherwise he'd start crying and flailing about.
"Is that to me or Vixell?" Number XII asked.
"You," I answered, turning my attention towards her.
"Don't know," she replied while closing yet another cabinet. There was nothing in her hands. What on earth was she looking for? "I guess this means I need to leave?" she asked me, raising a brow.
I found myself staring at her abdomen, feeling guilty for having said anything. Even I had these problems several months ago. I couldn't bear with being a hypocrite.
"No," I said with a long sigh.
Vixell produced what sounded like a gurgle of amusement. I withheld from sighing again.
"You look awful," Number XII said with a small frown. She actually looked concerned for me. It was strange to behold. "Something going on?"
"That's really one of your concern," I answered.
She rolled her eyes.
"Number XII, surely you have important things to do?" I asked.
"I'm supposed to rest," she replied. A small smile appeared on her face. "You look like you need it too."
"Is that so," I answered somewhat sarcastically. "Well, I was on my way…"
"Vixell's not eating?" she suddenly asked.
I wanted to groan. I felt Vixell move a bit at hearing his name.
"He's being stubborn," I replied.
"Like his father," I heard her say with a snicker. I ignored her. I couldn't possibly punish her for her remarks, not without making myself look terrible in front of the others.
"Number VII wasn't stubborn," I answer. He was obedient, but never stubborn. Perhaps only to someone who refused to take orders he'd appear that way.
I walked passed her, holding up Vixell and making my way out the door. I had things to do. I'd let Vixell rest a bit and try another attempt to fee him. He'd probably be more willing after a nap. But just as I was out of the kitchen I heard Number XII's voice again;
"I thought you called him Saix?"
"That's…odd," Xigbar muttered. He closed his mouth tight as he tried to make out what he had been told. He could feel Lexaeus and Vexen's presence, both of them waiting to get his reaction from the news. The only problem was he didn't know how to react. He finally looked up at the four other Nobodies and rested his arms on his thrown, his expression empty as ever. "…when do we tell Xemnas?"
"As soon as possible," Vexen replied.
"And how much else do you know at the moment?" Xigbar asked.
"Aside from what we've already mentioned, nothing," Zexion answered. He raised his head and cupped his hands together. "For all we know, there may be nothing wrong with Vixell, and all of this may be a natural occurrence for the child of a nobody."
"What do you consider natural?" Xigbar asked in a snide tone.
"No need to get hasty," Lexaeus said loudly. "You need to understand that we've hardly any information on our discovery…"
"When do I tell Demyx?" Xigbar asked, ignoring Lexaeus' words.
"You will tell Number IX nothing," Xaldin said.
Xigbar turned and glared at Xaldin, "excuse me?"
"Unless Xemnas says otherwise, we keep our moths shut," Vexen said. "And why raise a stir when we don't know what's going on?"
"Because it bothers me?" Xigbar asked.
"Which is why we don't tell the neophytes," Zexion answered. "We'd only make tings worse…its better we wait until we can collect more data on the matter. It's stressful, but it's the moral thing to do. A human is only dying once it leaves the womb, so we a few months till it becomes morally wrong to stay silent."
"Is that supposed to make him feel better?" Xaldin asked.
"It's supposed to tell him what's right," Zexion explained. "I don't like it either, but I'd rather not stress Number IX or XII right now. Let them rest."
"So, Vixell's aging wrong?" Xigbar asked.
"No," Vexen shook his head. "Only certain parts of his body, particular organs, are rapidly developing."
"But his body is replacing tissue and cells at the same rate of removal," Zexion hastily added before giving Xigbar or Xaldin a chance to ask.
"So…that's good, right?" Xaldin asked.
"We don't know," Lexaeus said, looking down in embarrassment.
"In actuality, it goes against the norm of regular toddler-infant development," Vexen said.
"But it's not to say there's anything wrong with it?" Xigbar asked.
"We're not even sure if what Vixell's experiencing is something the other fetuses will go through," Lexaeus said. "It could just be him, or maybe all three of them. We don't know yet. We'd have to do tests."
"With Xemnas' permission," Vexen added.
"You don't think he'd be willing to let Vixell get a few shots?" Xigbar asked Vexen.
"There would be more than just shots," Vexen said. "We don't know what's going on in the boy-we may need to run a biopsy on a few of his organs." He crossed his arms. "Would you be willing to put an infant through that?"
"Didn't think so…" Vexen said.
"Xemnas is gonna be pissed," Xigbar sank into his thrown.
"We'll just have to wait it out and see," Zexion said. "Right now he's busy with Kingdom Hearts or his son….lets not ruin the day for him just yet."
"Xemnas is going to be really pissed…"
Saix leaned against the wall of a long alleyway, his yellow eyes locked on to the redhead that was casually approaching him. He didn't say a word as he saw a smirk grow on the Nobody's face. If anything, his body grew more stiff and rigid as he drew closer to him.
"You're back early," Axel said.
"I wasn't planning on staying long," Saix answered.
"But you're here?" Axel commented. He crossed his arms and chuckled. "I really can't believe it."
"You find this funny?"
"What? No," Axel answered, his smiling easing a bit. "I'm just glad you're back. Yeesh, you really need to ease up a bit, Saix."
"How can I with you around?" Saix asked coldly.
"You really didn't want to be spotted, did you?"
"No," he answered.
Axel shook his head. His cheery demeanor, though no much smaller, was still very much there. He let himself rest against the very same wall, only several inches away from Saix. Saix didn't take notice and stared up into the dark sky.
"It's nice to see you," he finally said.
"I knew you missed me," Axel replied.
Saix stared up at Kingdom Hearts, the void where his heart would have been ached.
"Lord Xemnas has done so much," he said quietly.
Axel didn't respond.
"Kingdom Hearts will soon be complete," Saix muttered.
Saix took a few steps forward, his eyes still up at the darkened sky. He lifted his hand, his palm open as he imagined just how close he was to having his heart. He could almost grab on the Kingdom Hearts, he could almost reach the end of his long awaited dream. He could grab hold of it, after such a long time of waiting. Xemnas had promised him his heart, and he would soon get it back…
But would it be for the reason he had been told?
Saix lowered his arm, his hands gripped tight. His head lowered, his eyes to the floor.
"I'm upset," Saix answered weakly. "Very upset, Axel. I still don't know what to do."
"You'll think of something," he heard Axel say. "And it's not there's anything wrong with not wanting to raise the kid. People do it all the time on other worlds…"
"A common practice in other worlds…but it's not one here," Saix said solemnly.
Just then, Saix raised his head, feeling the presence of another in their area. He turned his head to Axel, his eyes signaling that they were no longer along.
Axel grew pale.
"Heartless," Saix asked. His eyes leered into a glare as he watched dark pools form on the floor. Elongated bodies emerged from the ground, and Saix and Axel found themselves surrounded by a small group of Neoshadow.
"Guess Roxas was right," Axel commented, lifted both his arms and summoning his chakrams. He turned to Saix and frowned. "What do we do?"
Saix grimaced as he summoned his claymore. Roxas? So Axel knew there was a possibility of an attack? Why on earth was that not mentioned until now?
"We attack," he answered.
"And attract attention?" Axel asked.
Saix sighed. "We have no choice."
"Sure about that?" Axel asked, smiling weakly as a few more Neoshadow began to appear.
Saix stared at the new forming pools that were covering the floor. Conjuring a portal to travel through would put them at risk of being attacked while they were in a corridor. It was better that they stand their ground here, while he had the moon's advantage. There were quite a bit, but it wasn't anything the two of them couldn't handle…for now.
"Yes," Saix answered.
Oh yes, I'm quite serious. In order to help spread the name of my friend's forum, I've decided to give away reviews to anyone who wants one. So, if you would like at least one review from me, please send me a PM of your story, and I will critique it and leave a review. Mind you, this review will be more than "good job" or "update soon", there will be some actual effort in this review. Because you're worth it!
1. I will critique your story. Which means I will talk about your flaws as well. I'll still point out your strengths, but I also want to help you with your weaknesses.
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