Author's Note: As of 12/28/2011, this story has been updated. This chapter is much the same as before, but you may want to reread it again to refresh your memory of what's happened. Also, all of chapter two has been posted (I only had the first part posted of it before), so be sure to read that. And chapter three's now out, too. I plan to update this every other day. So enjoy!
The sun beat down surprisingly hot. Then again, the girl might have well been asking for such a thing if judged by her attire. She wore a black leather coat, a hood that shrouded her face, and even black colored gloves and boots. Her cropped onyx hair could just barely be seen beneath her hood. But her sun kissed skin, and sapphire eyes, were definitely her most prominent features.
Xion—because, of course, it is her—wiped some sweat from her brow, as she once again tried to figure out how to dig beneath the Station Plaza. None of the spells she learned would do the trick, but if she couldn't figure it out (at least figuratively), she was afraid she would do the heinous crime she'd been created for. If Xion had dared to look up, she would have seen her favorite person prove to be just as confused, and alone as she was.
They truly did compliment each other, but not in the way that Vexen had intended. The two Keyblade wielding Nobodies were so alike, and yet different. They belonged with each other, but they didn't deserve equality. Xion wished she could stay at the Clock Tower forever. But the higher she soared, the more Roxas faltered. Her dear friend hadn't a clue as to what'd been going on. A gift from the worlds, perhaps? The weight Xion carried had become such a part of her, she didn't know who she'd be without it.
She was meant to be burdened, and Roxas belonged with the clouds (If Xion had been in her right mind she would have laughed at Roxas' Somebody nearly having the name). And somehow they belonged together. Xion knew this with every fiber of her being. She would have staked her life on such a claim. But Roxas' was already on the line. If she could just burrow beneath her favorite spot, she could be as close to Roxas as was safe. Her "artificial emotions" sang at the thought. When was the last time she'd truly been with Roxas? The last time she'd been able to watch the sunset without a thought of rain clouds? When was the last time she'd just been able to be?
But alas, the ground would not give away. It was quite similar to how her emotions didn't want to let up. And with her raw emotion, she had lost sight of her decision. She'd lost her mind. All the Replica could do was curl up into a fetal position and sob. Her vision faded in and out through bleary tears. But even so, she could see her tears moistening the ground. The tiniest, most insignificant specks of dirt gave way.
However, as Xion saw tan colored shoes approach her, she wasn't sure if it was the created wind, or her tears, which made the dirt cease to be.
"Oh my gosh!" Came the somewhat raspy voice of the shoes' owner, "What's wrong? Are you hurt?"
There was something about the girls' voice that tugged at Xion's memory. Well, it tugged at Sora's memory. Xion acknowledged that the voice sounded somewhat motherly. And in that moment, Xion wished nothing more than to be comforted by a mother. Obviously, the closest Xion could have had to a mother was Larxene. But she'd never gotten a chance to know the girl before she died. Then again, memories of Sora's mom told Xion that Larxene wouldn't have fit the bill, anyway.
"My name's Olette," the girl said having no clue to Xion's inner musings. Sensing a conversation coming, Xion put all of her energy into sitting up and facing "Olette". Xion was overly glad when Olette decided to sit down beside her; she wasn't sure she would have been able to stand up otherwise. Being mentally exhausted was a trifling matter, indeed.
Xion mutely gave out a sigh of relief, as Olette created a shadow over her. Now that her mind was clearing, it was evident how scorching hot it had been. "Thank you," Xion hoped it wasn't overly obvious that she was thanking Olette for much more than accompanying her.
"Don't thank me just yet. I'm going to make you explain the state you were in."
A smile prickled at the end of Xion's lips. Yes, this Olette was quite maternal. But the smile was gone as soon as it appeared. How exactly was she supposed to explain her problems to a mundane girl? It wasn't a question about whether she wanted to or not (though Riku and Naminé had been good to her, they were nothing short of biased).
No. It was exactly that, wasn't it? She was so used to always being told what to do, when to do it, and how to do it; Xion didn't know how to function by herself. But she wasn't part of Organization XIII anymore (a painful thing when her Roxas and Axel still were). And she had memories of Sora for whatever reason, memories that signaled her to confide in Olette; Xion knew that she had come here by divine intervention (thankfully, she hadn't tried to absorb Roxas like she'd thought she might do). It was decided. "I could actually use some advice about now," Xion replied thoughtfully. "I'm Xion, by the way." The last was added as an after thought. She was so used to evading the citizens of the worlds...
Olette smiled at Xion's slip up, and fell back on her two hands. Xion imagined that it was the way she would have sat if she and her friends had ever made it to the beach. "Tell me what's wrong, then. I imagine it must be something crucial to have you sobbing like that."
"Yes," Xion made sure to look at Olette's forehead when she said this. A cross between Kairi and Naminé, she supposed. Kairi—even when feeling a bit shy—always had enough confidence to look someone in the eye. Naminé's timid-ness always left her to look at anyone but the person she was speaking with. And Xion could look at the person, but couldn't bear to see the processing in their eyes. Shaking her head to dispel all of the distracting thoughts, she said, "What would you do if just being alive hurt your best friend?"
Olette gasped with a hand to her mouth. Clearly she hadn't been expecting that. The girl's emerald gaze traveled around steadfastly, as she tried to process what Xion had said.
Xion almost laughed. For the moment, she didn't have to worry about Olette's gaze. She was looking anywhere but Xion's eyes. "I don't understand. Is your friend mentally unstable? Does he hurt himself just because you exist?" Olette's eyes were on the ground beside her, as she said the last bit.
Xion had to bite her tongue to keep from laughing. That seemed macabre even to her. But no, her situation was much worse, wasn't it? "No." Xion did smile at how fast color returned to Olette's once pale face. "It's more like he's allergic to me. Everyone says I should leave; they think we'll be better off that way. But Roxas and I don't want to be apart. And we have another best friend that wants to be with both of us. In fact, I think he's more confused than we are..." Xion's voice trailed off. How had she never realized that before? How hadn't she given Axel any thought?
Olette gave Xion a moment to collect her thoughts before she began her line of questioning again. "And did 'Roxas' say how he felt about the situation?"
It was funny how Olette's obvious question got Xion to doubt herself. Had she been wrong in keeping him in the dark? Did he deserve a choice? Well, she knew he'd choose for her to live; that was the problem right there. "He doesn't even realize the effect I have on him." This was, once again, spoken at Olette's forehead. Oh, how fast the dread returned to Xion's stomach!
Olette giggled. Which did make Xion look her in the eye. "I'm sorry," Olette hastily apologized. "It's just the way you've kept him oblivious reminds me of a story my grandma told me." Xion's raised eyebrow was Olette's cue to keep going. "A long time ago, before the gods freed the elements and gave them to us, each god was a sole element and they controlled its accumulation on the world. This was fine for a while. But the fire and water became much too powerful. As man became more reliant on them, the power of each had to be toned down. One day, the fire came upon a realization. He and the water would have to join. It was tragic, really, because those two had been best friends their entire lives. So alike and so different. And the fire knew that even if they joined they'd lose themselves and their bond. But he couldn't do much about it because it'd been planned all along.
"The fire began to note differences in the water. And the water knew—though somewhat differently—that she was losing her best friend. The water went to the god of sleep, the god that could read dreams, and demanded to know what was on fire's mind. Sleep told water, hoping she'd talk sense into the reluctant fire. But she did something else entirely. She had sleep create dream versions of all of the gods. In doing so, they could give man more of everything because more dreams could always be created. Steam was created as always intended. But there was a bit of a price. The true fire and water had to be put to sleep because they had started it all. But in the end, it was the best decision they could have asked for. They didn't have to change, and they were together in their dreams.
"Even so, sleep vowed that he'd someday wake the two up. When the world no longer needed the dream they'd created, he'd eagerly allow them to be together. And he too would be with his best friends."
There was no avoiding it; Xion's eyes were wide as saucers as she stared into Olette's. Her mouth was agape, but through her shock, her mind was working just fine. That story was so similar to hers, Roxas, and Axel's she almost wondered if Olette had somehow known of it.
And yet, her solution was better than any she'd heard thus far. Olette's plan could be changed. Olette's plan could save them all.
"I'm sorry," Olette said while worrying her bottom lip. "That was a stupid story, huh?"
"Not at all!" Xion was quick to disagree. "It actually helped more than you know." Xion—surprising herself more than anyone—ended up hugging the somewhat younger girl. But she was even more surprised to feel tears trickling down her cheek. She quite liked Olette, and it was heart breaking to know that she may never see her again before she died. "Thank you, Olette." Xion brought her arm up in a way to squeeze Olette's shoulder blades rather than her back. But with her forearms elevated, she wiped the evidence of her tears away. When Olette pulled away, she almost feels like a normal teenager.
It was two days later that Xion ended up tracking Axel down in Agrabah. But what surprised her most was how he hugged her; how he didn't relinquish her touch for a half an hour after they'd found each other. They sat on the sand dune they'd discovered many moons ago, and remember simpler times. Bile rose in Xion's throat, and it made what she was about to do even harder. She had to make him understand...
"They reprogrammed you, didn't they?" Axel looked at Xion from the corner of his eye, as he sat on her left side.
The question momentarily caught her off guard. She hadn't thought about such things in awhile. "Yes."
Axel's hands turned to fists, and the way they knotted made Xion glad that he'd finally released her. "I thought for sure that you'd either come back as the Sora copy they wanted, or you would have returned to Sora by now." Tears prickled at the corner of Xion's eye. If it hadn't been for Olette she would have rejoined with Sora by now. But a worse fear was how close she had come to absorbing Roxas. This thought had Xion clenching her fists in anger.
"So what happens now?" Axel asked as he scratched his head nervously.
And there was the question. The one Xion needed to hear, the one she'd been waiting to hear. It was the perfect opportunity. "I need to go into a coma."
"What? So you are returning to Sora?" Axel's eyes were livid, as he turned to face Xion. He jumped to his feet, as if even being close to her would make the idea become real. And the girl found herself pitying Axel. How hard it would be to choose between your best friends! It was all the more reason she hated herself for ruining her perfectly planned speech.
"No. It's not like that. I've found another way." From the look on Axel's face, it seemed he was finding it exceedingly difficult to not burn the town down in frustration. "Naminé thinks she can extract Sora's memories from me. In which case, I won't have to return to him."
Axel's face notably lit up at this information, but Xion could tell he was still as worried as she was. "I thought you were a clone of Sora's memories. So how would that work?"
Xion smiled, as the conversation seems to be going better. She just had to keep him calm until she dropped the bombshell. "I was. But I'm obviously flesh and blood, too. I'm a Replica much like the Riku one. It was the memories I absorbed—the ones I shouldn't have—that caused this mess."
"And Naminé would be okay with undergoing this difficult process?" Skepticism was clearly written in Axel's tone.
"Yes. She fears that there's too much to my existence. That if I returned to Sora, it could tax out his system." It made Xion feel guilty that Sora would wake up later then anticipated, but it'd be better for everyone this way. "But, there's one tiny little detail in the way."
Axel ran his hands over his eyes, as he seemingly tried to hang on to his sanity. "What?"
"I'll have to go into a coma for awhile. I was designed to absorb memories and become a Replica of Sora. So as long as I'm functional, I'll still take what's rightfully Roxas'. We'll run into the same problem. But Naminé thinks if she erases the traces of Sora from me completely, that my body won't know to try and emulate him anymore. But it'll take awhile for her to do this. So I have to go to sleep," Xion said hurriedly.
If she hoped that her fast-talking would catch Axel off guard, she was sadly mistaken. "And what happens to you, Xion? It was Sora's memories of Kairi that made you who you are. That made you in general! What'll be left of you when that's all gone?"
Tears, once again, fell hastily from her eyes. Honestly, she was scared, too. But this was their best option. "Naminé will have to recreate me. Or remold me, to be exact."
"So you won't be you?" Axel asked incredulously. And Xion was horror struck to see that Axel had begun crying, too.
"Naminé's power over memories will give me what I've lost when the time's right."
Axel raised a perfectly sculpted eyebrow. "You're not really sure of that, are you?"
"Please Axel!" She pleaded now. "I can' t hurt Roxas anymore. Not in anyway. He's the last person that should be hurt." And she knew she'd put the final nail in the coffin when Axel, too, looked at everything but her.
"He's going to hate me."
"He'll hate us both. But in the end he'll love us more."
Axel relented with a sigh, "What do you want me to do?"