Reviewing the Basics, Part 1

One day, I just got a really, really weird idea in my head, and couldn't shake it, hence this fanfic. Anyway, it's a Roxas/Larxene fanfic, semi-dark Roxas, and consequently, very, very AU.

Since I'd like to keep chapters at a similar length, and the first chapter was around 7 pages, some chapters will span multiple days, as needed.

Also, I'll be throwing in references here and there to various other videogames/series. I don't know if I'll actually ever use them for chapters, but I wonder if anybody can even catch the references in the first place? If you spot them, tell me in a review.

Finally, this story is called "Brutality" for a reason, so at least for the fight scenes, this story is going to be much darker than canon.


Day 7

Larxene was practically amazed that Roxas had found his way to the Grey Area without help and on time. And then, as expected, the young Keybearer briefly looked around the room before seeing Larxene and heading in her direction. In the most condescending tone she could manage (which was pretty damn condescending, mind you) "This is incredible, Roxas. I'm honestly impressed that you made it all the way here without me holding your hand. Want a cookie for your troubles?"

Roxas betrayed only a margin of insult as he replied, "I have a question, Larxene."

The Savage Nymph kept belittling him; "Ooh, so you can talk now, too? Maybe I should give you two cookies. What's your question, shrimp?"

With a confused stare, the Key to Destiny asked, "What did I ever do to make you hate me so much?"

Throughout the entire Grey Area, there was complete silence for five seconds as Larxene processed exactly what her charge had asked her.

And then she started laughing as though it were about to go out of style.

Poking Roxas in the forehead, Larxene answered, "You know, if you weren't such a waste of space, you'd almost be cute, shrimp! But get something through your head right now: we're Nobodies, and that means that we can't actually feel any emotions. So I technically don't hate you by simple virtue of being incapable of that feeling. But if I could hate you, it would be because you're abso-freaking-lutely useless. You're a waste of space, and worse than that, you're a waste of my time."

Larxene cruelly giggled again at Roxas's expression – he looked as though he were actually hurt by her brief tirade. Pinching his cheek, she said, "Don't worry, shrimp. You don't really hurt, you just think you do. Now get a move on, the old man evidently has some big announcement for us."

Confused again, Roxas inquired, "Which one?"

Stopping in her tracks, annoyed once more, Larxene asked, "Which one what?"

Roxas elaborated, "You said the old man had an announcement. Which old man are you talking about? You call Xemnas, Xigbar, and Vexen all that. How do I know which old man you mean when you say it?"

Demyx, Marluxia, and Luxord, also in the room at the moment, chuckled a bit, while Saïx's ever-present frown intensified.

Taking special note of the Luna Diviner's heated glare, the Savage Nymph had the sense to look somewhat abashed as she explained, "Well, in this case I meant Xemnas. Just pay attention to what I say and how I say it, and you can probably figure out who I'm talking about at any given time. Now move it, shrimp, double time!"

Inwardly wincing at the slight malice in his mentor's tone, Roxas quickly obeyed, and everyone noticed a small spring in the Keybearer's step as he rapidly strode from the room to his new destination.

Once the entire Organization was assembled, Xemnas spoke. "Good tidings, friends. Today is a momentous day. I am pleased to announce that a new comrade has been chosen to wear the coat."

A small figure on the floor strode into the room, looking to be of about the same height as Roxas, though with a somewhat smaller frame.

Xemnas continued, "Number XIV. Let us all welcome one of the Keyblade's chosen."

There was muted applause from the more sociable members, including Xigbar, Zexion, and the five newest members sans Larxene.

Then, the various Nobodies began teleporting out, until Larxene, Roxas, Xemnas, and the new figure were all that remained.

Knowing exactly what the Savage Nymph was about to say, Xemnas cut her off. "Don't worry, Larxene. I have chosen to take care of Number XIV myself, as she is even worse off than Roxas was when we found him. Speaking of whom, is he prepared to start going on missions yet, Larxene?"

While Larxene wanted to be rid of him, another part of her was starting to get attached, however begrudgingly so. She also knew that, if Roxas died on a mission because she hadn't done her job well enough, she'd be erased as well. "Eh… he could probably go fetch the laundry by himself, but anything tougher than that, you'd better give him somebody to save his sorry ass for a good while yet."

Xemnas nodded, before replying, "I see. I shall arrange the next week of missions accordingly, and I suppose I'll give Roxas a chance to get to know each of his comrades therein."

Roxas, for some reason getting annoyed at being ignored like this, spoke up, saying, "I'm sitting right here, you know. Don't talk about me like I'm not present!"

Xemnas, in mild surprise – or what passed for it with him, at any rate, replied, "Perhaps so. I'm not entirely certain I expected you to be this self-aware already. It would seem I've underestimated Larxene's ability as a mentor. The two of you are now excused."

Larxene was about to teleport to Roxas's chair, but he shook his head in defiance and jumped down from his chair, falling over thirty feet to the ground.

Miraculously, however, he managed to land uninjured on his feet with a soft thud, startling the cloaked newbie as Roxas allowed his momentum to pull him into a slight crouch. The Key to Destiny pulled up his hood, smirking a bit beneath it at the alarm from his superiors, and calmly strode out the door, cloak billowing about his feet… as though Roxas were already a shadow of the badass he would eventually become.

The cloaked figure subconsciously backed out of his way. And while her hood prevented everyone from seeing her face, if it were down, they'd have found Xion to have a peculiar sparkle in her eyes, as of admiration.


Day 8

Larxene observed Roxas walking into the Grey Area, while she lounged on the couch, sipping a cup of hot tea.

Saïx, her least favorite co-worker besides Xemnas, walked over and said, "Roxas, your work begins today. I will issue missions, which the Organization expects you to carry out. For now, on Larxene's recommendation, these early missions will be practice, until we determine that you're prepared for a real test. Under Xemnas's orders… Demyx will be joining you today."

When the Luna Diviner had spoken Number IX's name, he spat it out quickly, as though it left quite an unpleasant taste in his mouth.

Despite how badly she treated him, Roxas was somewhat disappointed that Larxene wouldn't be going with him. Nevertheless, the Melodious Nocturne walked up and said, "Hey there, new guy. I'm Demyx, Number IX. As soon as you're ready, go talk to Saïx about the mission, but don't be ready too soon, all right?"

Roxas, turning to Larxene in confusion, was about to ask why he should wait before getting ready, but she cut him off, saying, "Just go talk to Saïx now, knucklehead. Demyx is just being lazy, and he doesn't want to do any work. Whatever your mission is, make sure that he puts just as much effort into it as you do. And if not, you have my permission to beat his punk-ass down. Got it?"

Roxas, glad that Larxene was finally being nice to him, even if only a little, smiled and nodded, before doing as she told him and going to Number VII.

Melodious Nocturne

Going through the Corridor of Darkness, Demyx said, "Well, let's start with the basics of the basics. A mission is, well… The easiest way of looking at it is that Saïx tells you to do something, and you go do it. He told me to teach you about some basics, and that's my mission. You follow?"

Roxas nodded, before Demyx said, "Now then, a lot of times, a mission objective – the thing that you're supposed to do – isn't right where we drop you off. Instead, you're going to have to move around and go places. Now then, there's a treasure chest somewhere in here. Track it down and open it for me."

Sighing, Roxas was about to tell Demyx that making him do everything wasn't fair, before he got an idea. "Fine."

On the way to the chest, Roxas noticed a doorway blocked by black and white lines of energy, and kept on going past it. Demyx called out, "H-hey, aren't you gonna ask about the barricades?"

Roxas shook his head, replying, "No, Larxene told me yesterday."

After about a minute more of searching, Roxas found the chest, and opened it.

Taking the Potion inside, Demyx shouted, "Hey, you found it for me! Thanks, now give me that Potion."

Smirking, Roxas said, "No. You didn't do any of the work, so you don't get anything. If you really wanted the Potion that badly, you'd have gotten it yourself."

Demyx, incredulous, slumped over and said, "Oh, fine. C'mon, let's RTC."

The Melodious Nocturne went back to the Corridor of Darkness, and Roxas followed him.

Once the pair were back in the Grey Area, Demyx went off to a corner and started playing his sitar, while Roxas looked around for Larxene. Deciding that she must not be back from her own mission yet, the Key to Destiny needed something to do, so he went to the training room, preparing to burn off some energy.

Once he reached his destination, Roxas snapped his fingers the way Larxene had taught him, and summoned a number of Data Dusks (1), before calling forth the Kingdom Key. After all, one of the very first things Larxene had taught him was this: "With great boredom, comes great cruelty potential."


Day 9

As Roxas entered the Grey Area, he found Larxene, who was lightly massaging her forehead. Spying her protégée, she asked, "Hey, squirt. How'd your mission go yesterday?"

Roxas replied, "I had to look around the tunnels and find a treasure chest. When I opened it, Demyx told me to give him the Potion inside it."

Larxene rolled her eyes, saying, "Typical for that lazy-ass bum. And what did you do about it?"

The Key to Destiny answered, "I told him that if he'd really wanted it, he should've gotten it himself."

The Savage Nymph laughed out loud, saying, "Okay kid, that's better than I expected from you, but from now on, if that lazy-ass bum tries to mooch off of you, hit him with the Keyblade, as hard as you can manage."

Roxas enthusiastically nodded, happy to take Larxene's advice.

Then, Marluxia entered the room, introducing himself. "Welcome to the fold, Roxas. My name is Marluxia. Speak with Saïx once you're prepared for today's mission."

Roxas nodded, while Larxene finished the last of her tea for the morning, before setting off for her recon mission in Empire City.

Graceful Assassin

Numbers XI and XIII arrived in the Sandlot in Twilight Town, Marluxia said, "My mission today is to teach you the basics of fighting, as well as Heart collection, but I'm quite certain that Larxene has already taken care of that. So instead, I'm going to give you a challenge."

Snapping his fingers to summon a group of Shadows and Yellow Operas, the Graceful Assassin continued, "But first, the official objective. I want you to defeat all the Heartless you see. Show me how experienced you are with the Keyblade."

Roxas nodded, closing his eyes and summoning the Kingdom Key, before standing in silence for a moment, as though crafting a plan. Then, his eyes snapped wide open with an undefined rage as he lunged at a Shadow, stabbing through its face and killing it in one blow. Then, head snapping up and to the left, Roxas jumped at a Yellow Opera and sent it crashing to the ground with an overhead strike, before taking advantage of his opponent's temporary disability by stomping its head into the dirt, crushing it.

However, a second Yellow Opera had charged itself with electricity and then tackled Roxas in the back, causing a sharp, yet brief, intake of breath at the sudden pain. Before the Emblem Heartless could get out of reach, however, the Key to Destiny turned around and, using his empty hand, grabbed where its throat would be, choking it.

Desperately attempting to free itself, the Yellow Opera charged itself with electricity – which was exactly what he'd wanted. Roxas gauged the power build-up in the small Heartless by the growing pain in his hand, before he threw it like a grenade at the remaining Shadows. Upon contact with the Pureblood Heartless, the jolted Yellow Opera detonated with force comparable to a Minute Bomb, instantly killing them all.

Shaking the numbness out of his left arm, Roxas panted a bit as he looked around for his remaining enemies. Barely warned by the crackling of electricity above him, Roxas dove to his right as the last Yellow Opera cast a Thunder spell, a lightning bolt striking the spot where Roxas had stood just a second before. Taking a moment to properly aim at the Emblem Heartless, Number XIII threw his Keyblade at his flying foe like a shuriken, effectively decapitating it.

Then, before he could call back his weapon, Roxas noted a pool of Darkness just to his right, and quickly jumped back to avoid the lunging Shadow, before pivoting on his foot to charge forward, punching the small Heartless in the face. Then, before it could recover, Roxas called the Kingdom Key back to his hand and rushed forward, dragging the jagged edge along the ground and creating sparks, before swinging upward and slicing his last enemy in half.

Panting from the exertion, and his left hand still twitching a bit from the massive electrical charge it had been forced to endure, Roxas turned to his partner for the day as his inexplicable anger left him. "So, you said (huff) something about (huff) a challenge?"

Marluxia shook his head and replied, "Not today, Roxas. While you're stronger than I expected, you still need more experience. Perhaps next time. Until then, I expect you to keep honing your skills. Now then, let's RTC."

As the Graceful Assassin opened a Corridor of Darkness, Roxas looked as though about to ask something, but changed his mind and followed without question.

Upon return to the Castle, Roxas noted once again that Larxene hadn't returned yet. Feeling rather exhausted, Number XIII went straight on to his quarters, and within a few minutes, was deep in slumber.


(1) Basically, the same concept as Data Replicas from Kingdom Hearts II: Final Mix, applied to regular Nobodies. After all, the Organization would look pretty stupid if they slaughtered their own minions, wouldn't they?