He Never Listens

A Kingdom Hearts Fanfiction by Jonathan "KnightMysterio" Spires

All characters copyrighted their original owners and used without permission for non-profit amusement reasons.

-Radiant Garden-

"My lord, greatest and most noble leader to bear the title of Ansem," Lieutenant Railaum said, using the full formal greeting for the ruler of Radiant Garden, "I wish to report something that needs your immediate attention."

The elderly man at the table stroked his goatee, looking over the man before him. He wore the gray uniform of the Radiant Garden Elite Guard. Smooth pink hair, tied into a loose ponytail, adorned his head, the bandana he wore pink instead of the usual black or red. His weapon of choice, a long, silver scythe, rested against his shoulder as he stood at attention.

"What is it this time, Railaum?" Ansem the Wise asked, "And please, just Ansem will do. I may bear the title, but I see no need to stand on ceremony when I am just a man as you are."

"There have been many disappearances around the city. There have been no signs of a struggle, no signs of someone being drug off. Several witnesses have reported that the ones who disappeared just vanish right before their eyes, the only sign of them being a shadow that appears just before they vanish," Railaum said, standing stock straight.

"Troublesome," Ansem the Wise admitted, leaning back in his chair.

Railaum bit his lip, clearly uncertain about continuing. "Sir... All the evidence is pointing to someone that can teleport. And the only teleporter in the city with that much skill is... is Major Braig, sir."

Ansem sighed. "...Braig is a wild card, to be sure. But his loyalty is unquestionable. These are heavy charges, Lieutenant."

Railaum shook his head. "I wouldn't bring them if I wasn't confident about their validity, sir."

"I understand," Ansem said, "And you have been right about things such as this in the past, such as Sephiroth's connection to the witch Jenova... But this is different, Railaum. These are people I have selected myself, that I know like the back of my hand."

"Who else could it be, sir?" Railaum said, his voice tinged with frustration, "Since Jenova's death, the only one that comes close is... well, you. And I know it couldn't be you, sir."

Ansem quirked an eyebrow. "All right then, let's try this. Who would Braig be kidnapping these people for?"

Railaum's eyes closed, as he braced himself for the inevitable response. "...I think he is kidnapping them for Xehanort to experiment on."

Ansem groaned, rolling his eyes. "Oh, here we go."

Railaum's fist clenched around his scythe. "Sir, there is a tremendous darkness around this boy's soul. Are you so blinded by pity for him that you cannot feel it?"

Ansem stood up, putting his arms behind his back. "He doesn't remember anything more than his name, despite all the efforts I've made in examining his Heart."

"Sir," Railaum said, "I've heard strange, muffled sounds coming from his lab. There have been shrill, human-like screams coming from..."

"From down near the laboratory area, usually at night, right?" Ansem said, scowling.

Railaum blinked, startled. "You... You have heard them?"

"I have," Ansem said, "I have even investigated them."

Railaum nodded, feeling a bit more confident. "Then you know what Xehanort and the others are do..."

"They came from a device of Even's one meant to gather and analyze the energy of a Heart. They are CREATING, not destroying, Railaum," Ansem said, his voice stern.

Railaum shook his head. "Sir... Sir, can't you see that was just a show put on to misdirect you? They are up to something! Xehanort cannot be trusted!"

Ansem sighed, lowering his head. "Why? Why can't he be trusted?"

Railaum blinked, and shook his head, confusion coming over him. "I... I don't know. I just... Every time I look at him I get a horrible feeling, like something bad is happening. And when he is around... When he is around the gardens, I can feel him leeching the life from the flowers..."

Ansem shook his head, smiling sadly. "You have served me well over the years, Lieutenant Railaum. And I want to believe you. But without concrete, solid proof, I cannot just accuse Xehanort and Braig of something of this magnitude. I need to have something solid, something substantial before I can make a formal complaint against them. Can you bring me evidence of this? Solid, concrete evidence?"

Railaum stood straight for a moment, his fists tightly clenched... and then he seemed to wilt. "I... No sir. Nothing solid."

Ansem sighed, coming around the desk and patting the pink-haired man on the shoulder. "Go. Investigate the disappearances. If you are right, then I shall personally lead the charge against them. And be sure to relax, to not let yourself become too tense. Visit the gardens with your assistant, Sergeant Relena."

"Thank you sir," Railaum said, "As always, your wisdom is a boon to us all." He bowed to Ansem, who returned the gesture, and left the room, grumbling under his breath.

On the way out of the castle, he passed Xehanort. The white-haired young man was clad in his usual lab coat, scribbling idly on a notepad. Railaum glared at him on the way past. Xehanort paused, smirking slightly, and said, "Can I help you?"

Railaum debated just ignoring him. But the man's presence was chilling. Railaum could literally feel his blood going cold in the man's proximity. He had to say something.

"I do not trust you," he said, "I never did. I can't prove it yet, but I know you're responsible for the disappearances that have been going on. I will stop you, Xehanort. No matter what it takes, I will stop you."

Xehanort just smiled chillingly. "We shall see," he said, before walking off.

Railaum shivered, and sighed. He needed to be in the gardens again. After experiencing the cold darkness of that man's aura, he needed to be around flowers again to feel renewed.

As he stepped outside, a pleasantly cool breeze washed over him, carrying the scent of dozens of blossoms from the gardens surrounding the castle gate. He smiled, taking a deep breath, feeling cleansed by the scent.

"Much better," he said, spreading his arms wide and letting the smell of flowers wash over him.

"Well, if it isn't my favorite pretty boy?" said a harsh, biting voice.

Railaum looked down, and chuckled, seeing his second, Sergeant Relena standing there. Her short blond hair curled up in two antennae, and her face had a perpetual smirk on it. He grinned. "Hello Relena. Been busy?"

Relena scoffed. "Aaaah, nothing much. Those punks Isa and Lea were being cute again. Thought a night in lockup would help teach 'em some manners."

Railaum shook his head, chuckling. "You're the same age they are."

Relena smirked, twirling one of the throwing knives she was famous for between her fingers. "True. But I had the brains to enter the service early. How'd it go in there?" she asked.

Railaum scowled.

"No go, huh?" Relena said, her smirk fading.

Railaum shook his head. "He will not listen to me. He never listens, not until it's far too late."

Relena snickered despite the situation. "You musta been Cassandra in another life, boss. Either that or the pink hair makes it hard for you to be taken seriously."

"I like pink," Railaum muttered.

Relena chuckled. "So what now?"

Railaum sighed. "Continue our investigation, I guess," he said, shrugging. He paused for a long moment and said, "Relena... If I should make... a drastic decision... Would you back me on it?"

"Always, boss man," she said without even a trace of hesitation. "You know me, I like making a little ruckus."

Railaum chuckled. That was true. Relena was the most proficient Thunder magic user in the Elite Guard. "Thank you," he said sincerely. "Now, before we continue, I think we should rest a bit. Let's head over to Rould's club. I heard Myde's new band is making its debut tonight."

Relena blushed, grinning. "Sweet. Always did like his music. Even if he does seem like a bit of a twerp at times."