Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, any of the characters, etc, etc. I don't even own Demyx's human name.

Nocturne's Return Revamped

Chapter One


It was so cold.

The floor was cold. I was cold, to the bone, with ice running through my veins.

The first thing I heard was my own shallow breathing, and I felt my head throb. The last thing I remembered was Roxas's Keyblade hitting my skull. What did he have against me? I thought he was a pretty cool guy. I thought he was my friend, too. I guess not.

I sat up, shivering. My whole body just hurt. Not with the sort of ache caused by bruises, but muscle ache, even bone ache. What the heck had happened to me? I rubbed my hands on the tops of my arms, trying to get the warmth back into… well, anything.

The first thing I thought of was the Superior. He was going to be furious. Then I'd have to face whatever punishment that he issued- spending a day with stupid Marluxia in his stupid garden watering his stupid plants, or test Vexen's next potion that will render me temporarily blind and give me a splitting migraine (not unlike the way my head felt right now… ugh… had I been drugged or something?), or taking countless hours to alphabetize Zexion's library only to forget the entire H section so I had to do it all over again, or…

I stopped myself and felt another chill as I remembered they were all dead. However, that didn't really reassure me any. In fact, I almost felt a little sad… almost.

I didn't know why I was so freezing. The air wasn't even that cold, from what I could tell. But the cobbles under me felt so icy.

Cobbles? Where was I?

I looked up and saw a pale purple sky, and when I looked around, I discovered I was in an alley. The cobblestones continued right up the walls, not bothering to stop for a building. Though there were exits, I couldn't help but feel claustrophobic.

The chill faded a bit, and I became aware of how much I ached. What was going on?

I tried to remember what had happened before I blacked out- I had to have, or I was really good at getting disoriented. I remembered fighting Roxas- at least; he looked almost exactly like Roxas, what with new clothes, a different hairstyle, and new friends. I felt a mental nudge, but I couldn't place the nostalgia. It had been Roxas… but not?

Anyway, my mission had apparently been to 'liberate his true disposition.' I didn't know what that meant, as words had been Zexion's thing, but I interpreted it as 'beat the snot out of him until he begs for mercy.'

Ahem. I failed. Epically. I'd told them- lots of times- that I wasn't suited for combat. Did they care? No. I bet they just wanted to get rid of me. I felt a hollow little ping of rejection.

That little smidge of emotion sent almost a convulsion of pain through my chest. Dots scatted across my vision, and it was hard to breathe for a moment. But the pain passed, leaving a lingering soreness that I couldn't explain, and left me with my mouth hanging open.

What was that?

I must have been hallucinating or something. I couldn't feel. I was a Nobody. I didn't have a heart. It had to be something to do with my fight with Roxas. He had hit me pretty hard. That had to be it. This was probably all just a dream… right… of course. Next thing I knew, I would be waking up with creepy Vexen watching me in the infirmary. Then Xemnas would come in, yell, and threaten me with his light sabers.

Okay, I know they're supposedly called 'ethereal blades,' but they looked like light sabers to me. I used to love that movie when I had a heart.

Not to mention, Vexen was dead. That didn't make me feel any better.

I put my head between my knees, trying to wake up or something. Despite the pinches I gave myself, nothing happened.

Either I was having a really vivid dream, or something was wrong.

Slowly, stretching my aching muscles, I gradually brought myself to a stand. The world reeled and I had to grip the wall for support. My stomached heaved inexplicitly and I nearly was sick.

I almost collapsed to my knees. I felt weak, and sick. My eyelids fluttered. I wanted nothing more than to sleep this off. So tired…

Now I felt too warm, instead of too cold. I put the back of one hand to my forehead. Nobodies couldn't get fevers; their blood was too thick to get that warm…

I groped for a potion, but I didn't have any, so I turned to magic. However, it was burnt out, gone. I guess I had used it all in the battle with Roxas. It wouldn't replenish itself for another few hours, and I couldn't just stay here. What if I was seen?

Shakily, I managed to walk out of the alleyway into the opening, feeling too tired just to stick to the shadows.

I looked back once and was glad I had. My sitar was leaning against the wall right where I had woken up. I couldn't believe that I'd nearly forgotten it… yet, why hadn't it vanished as soon as I'd passed out?

What was wrong with me? I'd felt rejection. I was so cold and then so warm, my whole body hurt, and then after I'd felt that little emotion my chest seized up like I was having a freaking heart attack.

My hand flew to my chest.

This was not possible.

Suddenly I was wide-awake. "Oh, my gosh," I gasped, feeling… scared for some reason.

No. I couldn't have a heart. This was all a dream. Of course. When I woke up, I would…

How would I wake up?

Was I… just imagining that I'd been able to run from the battle with Roxas? Had he, despite our supposed friendship, managed to kill me, and I was in some bizarre afterlife?

Nobodies didn't get an afterlife, I reminded myself. But was that really true? None of the dead members had come back to tell us.

I grasped the neck of my sitar, pressing it against me. I felt a bit better, but just a little bit.

I crept out of the alley and into the sunlight. The light hitting my face made me remember the ghost of a memory…

I snapped out of it and walked along the cobblestone walls, which I soon discovered were houses. Everything here was stone and wood, looking very sturdy and… oddly enough, homey. The Castle where I lived was never like this…

A sign caught my eye. There were a bunch of them, all decorated colorfully in red, neon green, and blue. Synthesis booths now open in Hollow Bastion! Store located in the Market Square. Hollow Bastion… was that the name of this world? It sounded familiar…

Where was I even going? Why hadn't I just portaled back in the first place? Because I thought this was a dream? Of course it wasn't… I had just hit my head hard. I'd be fine in a few hours. Right?

I lifted my arm to open a portal, but nothing happened, so I tried again. That failed, too.

Christ… what was wrong with me?

I was really worrying now- when I rounded a corner and jumped back. Locals.

Well, what could I do now? I could go back to the alley and try the other way… but I was pretty sure that was a dead end.

I shook my head. I would just have to sneak around them. Due to the many recon missions I'd been sent on, I knew how to make myself invisible. This wasn't a particularly easy thing to do, since I wore a black coat and worlds had a tendency to be bright- and this one was no exception. I sighed and took in a deep breath, creeping around the wall slowly, painfully. I pressed myself up against it and tried to drag my sitar as little as possible, lest it make any noise.

Despite my near utter invisibility, I was seen. A girl with a long brown braid tapped her friend's shoulder. "Leon, is he with them?"

I felt my eyes go wide. Darnit. I squeezed my sitar's neck harder. Hopefully he wasn't hostile… I had no way to escape, and he looked like the type to chase those who ran…

The guy whirled around. He was about my age, with brown, slightly spiked hair and a scary looking knife-thing. His lips curled into a sneer, and then a snarl. "You!" He hissed.

I grabbed a hold of my sitar's fingerboard. "Dance, water, dance!" The girl gasped as the man was drenched and temporarily knocked off his feet.

Instinctively, I took off running. The man addressed as Leon stood up. "Aerith, tell the others the Organization's here!" He yelled at the girl, and turned to chase me.

Thing was, I knew I was outmatched. I was weak, sick, and disoriented.

"Yeah, you just keep on running, waterboy!" Leon taunted.

I felt almost a snarl crawl up my throat. I struck a hard chord and it hit him, dead on. I noted the fury, and I felt an even bigger dose of fear. "You're asking for it," I muttered anyway.

Leon said nothing and stuck me with his knife-thing. I felt pain spasm down my arm, adding to the soreness. I tried to stop the sound, but I cried out. He grabbed me by the front of my coat and yanked me forward. Our noses nearly touched, but it was not intimate. His eyes held a strange sort of bloodlust.

"Get out," Leon hissed, and threw me to the ground. I watched him walk away, fighting tears for the first time in who knows how long. Now I knew what an injury to one's pride felt like. He was so much stronger than me…

Was Vexen experimenting on me? He'd been trying to figure out a way to give Nobodies emotions without a heart.

What had I felt? So much… and almost nothing. Rejection, fury, fear, and an injured pride to boot. The pain and coldness didn't count, as they had more to do with nerves, but they seemed more vivid than I remembered…

I turned my sitar over, stroking the strings lightly, and tried to sit up normally. I just hurt too much.

I heard the sound of a dark corridor and looked up. Saïx was staring down at me.

"Number IX," he greeted coldly.

I nodded in acknowledgment. "Number VII."

"Where have you been? We've been looking all over for you. You're supposed to be at the Coliseum. Did you at least get the stone?"

"Yeah," I told him, searching my pocket, but it was empty. Roxas must have taken it!

Saïx scoffed. He grabbed me by my wounded arm and yanked me up. I cried out again.

"Demyx, what did you do to yourself now?" He asked in his monotone voice.

"I fell," I lied. I didn't want to let him know I'd let a human beat me, not when Nobodies were supposedly so powerful, so superior. Then why, I thought in a rush, were we trying to become them?

Saïx dragged me through the corridor, and suddenly we were back at the Castle. All these years and it still wasn't home to me… We didn't stop at the infirmary so I could be healed, but kept right on going. The whole time Saïx kept a tight grip on my arm.

"Where are we going?" I asked, feeling fear surge up (this was supposed to be a dream!).

"You have failed in your mission, so you must face the consequences," he stated with almost a smirk. "I'm surprised it hasn't happened already."

I took in a quick breath. "What…?"

Saïx cut me off when we reached a door. I'd never seen it before, but he knocked and the door slid open. Saïx unexpectedly let go of me and I stumbled forward. "I have found Number IX," he said.

"Good work, Number VII," a deep voice praised from behind a desk. I looked up, taking another quick breath, and saw Xemnas peering over some paperwork. He looked up and smiled in a fake way. "Hello, IX."

I felt like screaming, my name is Demyx! The way he gave us numbers, and referred to us with them, seemed to take away my identity. But I didn't speak. I didn't want this day to get any worse. Instead I said, "Good morning, Superior."

"You are dismissed," Xemnas said to Saïx.

"But…" he sputtered. Saïx thought that Xemnas's business, as well as mine, and everyone else's, was his, too.

"I repeat, you are dismissed, Number VII," Xemnas repeated, signing a paper.

Saïx nodded, still a bit shocked, and disappeared.

"Please sit down, Number IX," Xemnas offered in an almost polite tone. His voice was even and civil. Would the worst I get really be a lecture? Could I get that lucky?

I sat in the chair across from his desk. It was hard and my thigh muscles ached.

"I am thinking that you have a perfectly reasonable explanation for failing this mission, no?" He asked, looking up from his papers to me. He was wearing a pair of thin reading glasses and took them off, setting them carefully aside.

I stared, groping for words. "Well… I… I tried to fight him… but… he was just… so strong. I wasn't really thinking at the time, but I ran away, injured. I was just trying to save myself, really."

"Do you have the Olympus Stone?"

"Well, no." I hung my head in shame. "I guess I must have dropped it somehow."

Xemnas let out a deep sigh, and I flinched, but he didn't move to attack me. He didn't even raise his voice. "I see."

"So," I mumbled, trying to suck it up and deal with it, "what's my punishment?"

The Superior closed his eyes. "Strange of you to ask. If I'm correct, you don't like work much, do you?"

There was no good way to answer that. I shook my head.

Xemnas sighed. "As much as I sometimes regret it, you are a part of this Organization, and this is the first time you've done something legitimately wrong. I think I will let it slide… this time. There will be other times when we can confront him. Obviously you are not fit for this sort of job. I will talk to Saïx about that."

I felt the relief wash through me- vivid, clear, and too real. "Thank you, Superior, thank you so mu…" I was cut off suddenly when another sensation, this one stronger than all the rest, arced through my chest, touching my lungs and bouncing against my ribs. It was weird… once it settled, I felt strange sort of… throbbing. Each pulse hurt. My face flushed suddenly, and I felt feverish again. I took deep breaths.

"Number IX, are you sick?" His voice was almost concerned.

"I must have breathed too much Underworld air," I forced out, knowing somehow that it was a lie. I knew what this pain really meant. It was still hard to breathe.

"I've never seen it do this," Xemnas muttered. I wrapped my arms around myself as the pain continued to throb, burning now through my chest, ripping past my lungs and stealing my breath still trying to settle anxiously. It squeezed all of a sudden, squeezed so hard, bending and pulling…

I felt like screaming, almost. I couldn't breathe. My temperature would just continue to rise until it got too hot for my body…

"What's the matter with you?" Xemnas asked, creeping from behind his desk to look at me. He seized my shoulders as the pain convulsed through me. I whimpered.

"I don't know," I admitted almost in a sob. "Help me…"

Xemnas looked a little perplexed. He laid a hand on my forehead. The skin was cool.

He gasped. "It can't be…" I felt fingers move to the side of my throat. Tears welled in my eyes, everything blurring and shimmering at the edges from my sickness. "I refuse to believe it…"

I looked at him. "…What?" I choked out. The fever reached its peak then, and the last thing I saw before I blacked out was Xemnas's face, disbelieving and angry.

For readers of the original, welcome back! For my new readers, how the -dolphin noise- are you?

I wrote this chapter a couple of months ago, actually, just didn't want to post it until the original was done. You can check that out if you want. It's okay, I guess, but I'm not forcing anyone.
Just a note, to the readers of the first- this story is going to be much shorter. I found so much filler material I was able to just cut out. However, in terms of a sequel, this will make more sense.

I don't really know what else to say, other than thank you for reading, liking it (maybe even not liking it). All I can ask of you guys is to please leave a review, even a flame if you feel it's necessary.
Oh yeah! And in terms of an update, unlike the biweekly schedule of the original, I think I'll just post a chapter once a week, taking reviews into consideration, of course. However, if I get writer's block, it might be two or even three weeks between updates.

So yeah, thanks for reading and whatnot. I assure you I don't always sound like an idiot in my ANs. (Well, usually.)