A short about Marluxia, of all people. I mean, really?

I don't own Kingdom Hearts. I only own about 3/5 of the games now. Stupid traitors, bring it back to the PS2!

...Demyx sounds like he's high. He's not, I swear.

...Xemnas (who snuck in) sounds paternal. He's not. Ah, Nobodies.

...I love Luxord's earrings.

...I wish Axel was in this story a little more than he already is (and he snuck in too, for that matter).

And that's about all.


Marluxia was freezing.

He hated the cold, the icy tinge tickling his skin, the numbness, that dreaded lack of feeling. It was even worse as a Nobody, when lack of feeling was more familiar than life.

Winter, he thought, is the worst season in the year. He expressed as much to anyone who would listen. Marluxia could howl and complain all day about how snow mussed up his rose-colored locks ("They're not pink, Xaldin, they're rose!"), about how the cloaks that defined them as Organization XIII sucked when it came to warding off ice, and about two hundred other things only he seemed to find important.

Demyx sympathized, if only for his own reasons.

"The cold drives me crazy," he groaned, lazily plucking at his sitar strings. "Water everywhere freezes. I can barely make music without my water."

Marluxia rolled his deep blue eyes. "Of course, Demyx, but haven't you ever thought of anything else besides your music?"

The lecture he was treated to proved otherwise.

Seething, he sought out Larxene. He should have known that the catty woman would be anything but sympathetic to his plights.

"And I care because...?"

"Larxene," he growled. "I'd expect that from others, but not you."

"Oh, boo-hoo," she said mockingly, pretending to wipe a tear away from her cruel blue-green eyes. Then her whole expression hardened. "I am on brat duty, Marluxia. I am not in the best of moods!"

Ah. She means the new one, Roxas. He knew enough then to leave her to gripe and shock defenseless things.

The Superior was nowhere in sight; there were some Organization members he didn't want to talk to (they were so bloody arrogant). The new one, Roxas, had a face that certainly looked sympathetic (for a Nobody), but he couldn't complete more than three sentences at a time. Marluxia personally blamed that on the Keyblade master's own incompetence and left it at that.

Luxord, his most immediate predecessor, was frustratingly neutral about the whole thing.

"Winter is a part of time," he explained patiently, fingering one silver earring. "You cannot change time, Marluxia. Every year these trees, which have about as much of a heart as we do, sicken and die, so as to bow to the coming of winter; and they renew themselves as a celebration of spring. Time is unchanging. It is only right that winter comes to honor Vexen before spring comes to honor you."

As if to prove Luxord's point, the rose petal Marluxia was staring moodily at wilted in his palm, a victim of the chilly air moving throughout the Castle That Never Was. He sighed, and conceded to reason.

For the moment.

Marluxia balanced a pack of seeds in his hands. He smiled; they would make fine roses someday soon.


His hand flexed desperately, but in vain. He'd stolen the pack.


Fire materialized a few feet in front of him as the redhead walked out of a portal of darkness. He tossed the seeds in the air and caught them, grinning dangerously.

"Well, hello, Marluxia. And what might these be?"

Almost fittingly, this was the spark that ignited Marluxia's fury.

He threw out his hand - with a few roses of his own, the long, deadly pink-and-silver scythe materialized in his gloved hand.

I want those roses back.

He growled: "Those are the seeds I am planting. You will give them back."

Axel's green eyes widened, then sparkled. He laughed almost helplessly.

"Marluxia! You're wound too tightly. I'm only messing with you. I wouldn't harm your... precious flowers." His fingertips started to smoke. Almost immediately he switched the bag to his non-smoking hand. "Whoops."

Marluxia fumed. He had a hard time trusting Axel anyway, or feeling very comfortable around him if they two were alone. All that extravagance... all that energy... all that fire...

Flowers - nature - they were all very vulnerable to fire.

He swung the scythe, which moved in a wide arc. Axel dodged the sudden assault, but did not summon his chakrams in retaliation.

That was surprising.

"Axel, I will not ask nicely again. Give me back those flowers."

"...Oh, all right." Axel sighed, and brought his hand back to throw.


"With pleasure," echoed a disembodied voice.

Marluxia stiffened. The Superior.

Axel got the surprise of his life - er, his Nobody life (Marluxia amended silently, with almost self-satisfaction). As his arm tensed to throw, with sparks forming around it, Xemnas appeared and plucked the bag of seeds out of his hands. Axel sputtered; but it was too late. The Superior was already handing the rose seeds back to Marluxia.


Marluxia only inclined his head. He was never one to say 'thank you'.

Xemnas turned his golden eyes onto Axel, onto his fire, his flame-colored hair, his grass-green eyes, a contradiction to the element he so enjoyed embodying. "Leave us, Axel. Saïx waits for you."


Despite his own foreboding, Axel managed to give Marluxia a sly grin before departing.

And then there were two.

Naturally, Marluxia turned to leave - the Superior had, surprisingly, done him a service, and now he needed to get to the only private place he had in this accursed castle.


He froze again. Slowly, blue eyes turned to meet equally emotionless gold.

"Number Eleven," Xemnas murmured thoughtfully. "It has not been so long since I first found you."

The Graceful Assassin said nothing at all.

"What troubles you, Marluxia? You have been quiet lately. Quiet and secretive. ...Secrets can be dangerous." The Superior started to circle him.

Marluxia bowed his head. "No secrets I keep are detrimental to the Organization, Xemnas. I promise that." He banished his scythe - he'd been gripping it so tightly that, had he a heart, he might have actually felt pain.

"That is good... You know the rules, Marluxia. Kingdom Hearts is our goal. Completion is our goal, and nothing else. Traitors are eliminated."

"Yes, Xemnas."

The golden eyes blinked. "Good." Silver hair shone lethally. "Very good."

Marluxia knew that tone. It meant that he could leave - and the quicker the better. He took the rare opportunity and bowed out; the Superior intimidated him more than he would ever admit.

The pack of seeds was back in his gloved hands, where it belonged.

His shivering increased tenfold as the stairs leveled off to a basement floor few knew about - namely Xigbar, Vexen, Lexaeus and Zexion, the ones he'd stolen it from.

I hate this weather.

Few actually knew why - partly because he'd never bothered to tell. If they knew why he hated wintertime yet braved the elements to come down here, instead of just curling up until springtime, he'd never hear the end of it - especially when they all had hearts to scorn him.

It's because he reigns over flowers, the founders would sneer.

Well, they were half right.

Marluxia bent down, and lowered his voice to a quiet croon.

"Hello, my children. I know you aren't doing so well... I feel your pain as you feel your pain."

The roses, lilies, daisies and sunflowers did not respond. But he did not need human words to communicate with his young ones.

"I've brought you new friends..." Marluxia placed the seeds in the dirt, covered them, poured a few drops of water to each future rose. "...From Twilight Town."

He hoped they grew fairly soon, and yet knew that false hope didn't benefit a Nobody.

He could no longer deny it. The cold was killing the flowers. Slowly. Surely. One and all were in mortal danger year after year, and annually he ranted about anything but them to hide his fear... but...

But Marluxia's fate was intertwined with that of the roses especially, and this year was not unfolding as the others had. The winter was, was longer this year. More brutal. It had always been roughly the same length of torture for him - until now. And those of the Organization either didn't notice or didn't care to.

The roses were dying, and Marluxia knew why.

So cold.

"It is my wintertime," the Nobody told the equally-heartless flowers - but could not conjure the appropriate sadness or fear.

It's freezing.

When the last roses died and his power had waned completely, Marluxia would die. - No, not die, for he was still a Nobody, and incapable of dying a second time. He would fade, and the rest of the dying flowers would perish down here, alone in the bowels of the lonely Castle That Never Was.

Am I the only one who notices how severely cold it is, even for winter?

Wouldn't Vexen just be thrilled? He disdained any Organization member beyond Zexion, and Marluxia himself in particular.

I don't want to fade...

Did any of them? Only Xemnas seemed to have no fear of the idea.

What, though, could he do about it at all? If he was to cease to exist without ever again knowing what it was to feel, what did it matter? What did anything matter, including those fiercely-private plans he'd made with Larxene at night - those plans to somehow, someway, make the Organization theirs?

He looked at the dirt where the just-planted seeds settled even now. If those roses bloomed in time (with what little magic he had left), maybe everything could still matter.

Marluxia did not know, and he did not tell any one of the others about the roses that he so cherished; the roses that wilted in the cold and made him hate Winter, Murderer of Nature; the roses that were connected to his existence, lying so dependent and vulnerable beneath and within the castle he hated.

Yes... how he hated this place and its especially-cold basement areas, lethal to the nature he loved. After all, what would the world be without the beauty of a rose, thorns and all?

The scythe materialized around Marluxia's flexing fingers again. He was the Graceful Assassin, and he would not fade away in a place he did not want to fade away in - home world or not. He simply would not fade - not without a fight.

So when Xemnas, four weeks later, suggested that about half of the Organization take roots in Castle Oblivion to ensnare the Keyblade master with a small blonde girl, Marluxia gave Larxene a This is it glance from his throne - and then did everything he could to make sure the Superior entrusted the mission to none but him.

He requested the Savage Nymph, felt a twinge of unease when Axel "volunteered" his skills, and only shrugged when Zexion, Vexen (argh...) and Lexaeus tagged along.

Seven leaving seven - counting that new girl, the strange one that Axel and Roxas insisted was dark-haired, not that Marluxia counted her anyway. He bid his flowers farewell-but-not-good-bye and promised that the roses would grow, the other flowers would flourish, and they would not be abandoned for long: "Spring will come again, my loves."

Not that he could love them.

And yet Marluxia was right. The other flowers, growth not as influenced by magic, flourished. They were not abandoned - they were, in fact, found soon after all the Keyblade wielders departed Castle Oblivion, and thus well cared for - after a fashion. Spring came again to the Castle That Never Was.

However, the Graceful Assassin was wrong, too.

Spring did not come fast enough for Marluxia - the roses in the bowels of the other white castle wilted and faded long before their still-barely-living fellow flowers were found.

And the new roses did not ever grow. It was good-bye, not temporary farewell.

Only later, as a certain Key of Destiny added his name to that of the traitors', did a thoroughly non-magical rose rise gracefully from the dirt.


Now review. Do it. Gracias.