A/N: WARNING. 358 SPOILERS. YOU'VE BEEN WARNED.
The four of them sat there, talking and eating ice cream, like any friends would do, and as the red-headed man watched them, he wondered if DiZ had programmed that into the simulation specifically to torture him.
Of course, that was absurd; a being like him couldn't be tortured, after all, only remember what torment felt like and act accordingly. Like everyone else who knew anything aobut Nobodies, DiZ knew that; yet, still, there they were, sitting at the top of the clock tower and eating ice cream.
He knew they couldn't see him. Members of the Organization weere experts at hiding, staying out of view of those they watched. As he watched a blonde, spikey-haired boy laughing with his new friends, he felt a lance of pain shoot through him. He physically flinched away from it, clutching at his chest with one hand. Remembrance and true feeling weren't the same; he knew that more than anyone alive. No one still living had ever regained a heart lost to the darkness - no one except him. Not that a Nobody could really be called 'alive'. They did the best they could, apd and pretended and remembered, but they could never truly recapture that feeling, that innate understanding of what it meant to be human, to be somebody. It was gone forever. Just as Roxas was gone forever.
He still hadn't gotten used to it again; each feeling was ten times greater than he had imagined, had remembered, and he had never been one to do anything halfway. He remembered being the kind of person that always did everything big, including his feelings; and each joy, each heartbreak, each feeling both amazed and pained him at the same time.
But this... this was simply painful. His best friend, completely ignorant of who he was - at least, that's what the Superior had told him. Laughing with new friends, exactly the way that they had laughed together. WHo cared if the laughter was fake at first? It became real. It was real to the two of them. It just wasn't fair.
He felt that burning within him, a fire within his heart so close to the flames he could sumon to him at will; it was the fire of anger, and he hated it as only someone who has never before felt hate can feel it. He hated DiZ, for doing this to him; he hated Roxas, for leaving; but most of all, he hated himself, for hating.
He'd hated as a Somebody, but he'd never hated this much, and he knew that there were so many more things, better things, that he could do with the heart he now had than hate.
Watching his only friend suddenly reminded him of another day, far away in time, eleven years ago, when he'd still been somebody.
Lighten up, Isa. It'll only take a sec.
You're just jealous. I'm Lea. Got it memorized?
You scared of losing?
I'm willing to call it a draw if you are.
Ya see what I've got to put up with?
I'll see ya when I see ya. After all, we're friends now. Get it memorized.
I want everybody I meet to remember me. Inside people's memories, I can live forever.
It had been a long time since he'd thought of that day, when he'd made a pact to be friends with a boy he'd just met. He'd been that kind of person. Always impetuous, wishing to live life to the fullest. His best friend was hardheaded and practical, someone who kept him grounded in reality. That had been the day their entire lives would change, although they wouldn't know it.
Watching Roxas now, with the memories flooding back to him, he wondered what had happened to the boy his friend reminded him of, a boy he'd gone searching for and never found. He remembered a comment, barely overheard, and it struck him to the core with another of those sudden, bittersweet feelings that felt like they were going to split him in two.
It must be nice, knowing who your friends are.
Deep in his new heart, he knew that Isa hadn't survived the change to Saix. He'd never truly realized it before; he'd always seen him as the same, stubborn, hard-headed, practical person he'd always been. He knew now that he was simply trying to put off the recognition of change, a change that had happened to him as well. Yet, now, for the first time in ten years, he felt more like 'Lea' than the name he'd been given by the Superior. Lea, with his big feelings and open heart, had seemed like a different person for so long that he didn't really know how to go back to being himself again.
As he watched the four friends stand up to leave, a feeling he hadn't experienced yet in almost a full year of feeling crept slowly over him. Once more, he put his hand over his heart, feeling it beat within him, as the first tears he'd cried in ten years fell from his eyes, and he mourned a loss that he'd never been able to feel before; the loss of his own heart, so newly rectified, yet only in it's mending did he feel the wound.
Then he grieved for Roxas, for the only one of Them who he ever really liked, who knew nothing of who he was and wouldn't even exist much longer, even if he did succeed in his mission and bring Roxas back. The force of the feeling sent him to his knees, and he knelt there and cried for a very long time, though he never did know how long. When that forever was over, he looked at his palms with wonder, tehn, shakily, stood, wiping his eyes free of the remnants of tears.
Somehow, it gave him the strength to continue onward. If a Nobody could grieve, then maybe miracles did exist; if, by some such miracle, he could cry, then maybe his friend could come back to him after all.
He set onward into the rapidly setting sun...
A/N: Hey there! It's been sort of an Axel week, and with no vidding to act as an outlet for my inspiration where he's concerned, I decided to write this little piece. Before you send me oodles of review about this detail or that detail that I got wrong, be aware that most of my knowledge where 358 is concerned comes from my BF, as I never got more than halfway through it myself before I had to give it back. I also am aware that there is no way Lea could have heard Ven's comment at the end there; I am using artistic license.
Also, no Yaoi is intended.