Four children in my poor little family and I had to be the outcast. I just never did understand it. Oh, I guess I'm getting ahead of myself. My name is Roxas. I have three other siblings, and we also happen to be quadruplets. My brother and sisters are Sora, Kairi, and Namine. All of our age differences are only by

ten to twenty minutes, but Sora is the oldest of all of us. Our mother died shortly after giving birth to us, so we live with our single stepmother, Aerith. Now that you have an idea of who I am, I suppose you should know why I'm so upset right now.

All of my life, I've not once been the loved child in my family. I didn't understand it at all. Did I have the plague? Well, that's not the point. The point is that Sora is the favorite, of course. He was the first boy, but I'm not sure how that makes him better than me. Namine was last born out of all of us, but she's loved more than me. Kairi is loved more than me because she was the first girl, Namine is loved more than me because she was last born, and Sora is loved the most because he was first to be born. I'm not just saying this to sound like some bratty three year-old or anything, but I've got absolutely no love from anyone in this family. I'm the middle child, which makes me nothing.

It's obvious just by how my day goes that my life sucks. I'll be honest. My grades suck, I'm kind of on the delinquent side, and I'm not the nicest of my siblings. I'm not outright mean, but when you get no attention, you don't know how to love. That's simply how life works.

Currently, it is three in the morning. Now, most people would be asking me why I'm up so early. True, it is a school day, but the bus doesn't pick us up until 6:25. That means I'm up a bit early for the bus. So, one might ask, why am I awake when I can be sleeping? I can't. I can't ever sleep. I'm self diagnosed with insomnia. Not that I ever get sugar or caffeine, so I highly doubt that it's much of an invalid diagnosis. I keep an alarm clock by my bed, so I know that I only had about fifteen minutes of sleep before my body wouldn't allow me to rest any longer. Not that I'm tired or anything.

Sora was on the other side of our queen sized bed, snoring quietly. He always slept like a rock. I regretfully knew that trying to close my eyes and fall back asleep wouldn't work. Hopping out of bed, I grabbed the first outfit in the closet I saw, then stepped into our shared bathroom. Leaving the clothes upon the vanity, I got into the tub to turn the knobs. When my black cotton pajama pants started to get heavy with water, I realized that I had forgotten to take off my clothes before getting in. Slipping out of the clothes, I tossed them to the side, then switched the faucet flow to the showerhead. Sure to check the bathroom door to see it was locked, I then relaxed into the soothing stream of warm water.

I was quick to wash up, then got out and dabbed myself dry with a plush towel from the bathroom closet. Once dry, I took an actual look at the clothes I had grabbed. Well. Those weren't mine. I blinked. Nope, most definitely not, but I was too lazy to grab something different. So, with little reluctance, I put on one of the skimpiest outfits I had ever seen. Was it Sora's? Okay, bad mental image. Worse mental image that I was wearing it. I was clothed in black leather pants and a black cotton shirt over a long sleeved red silk undershirt. Why was this skimpy, you ask? The horizontal rips all up and down the damn pants. There were rips in the black cotton shirt, as well, but luckily not in the red undershirt.

The shirts themselves looked okay. What bothered me was the pants. This was the last time I ever grabbed the first thing I saw. Honestly. Next time I got the chance, I was lecturing Sora. After turning off the light, I stepped out of the bathroom. Sora was still asleep, now hogging the bed. I was obviously not getting back in there. I put on a black leather choker with spikes and a ring in the center I found laying on the dresser, smeared some temporary red dye into my blonde locks of hair, then smudged some black eye liner on my eyelids. I heard the blankets and sheets rustling, but when I swiveled around, Sora had merely rolled over in his sleep. I rolled my eyes as I slipped on my slightly scuffed black combat boots.

What did I tell you? He sleeps like a rock. And is apparently one skimpy, messed up in the head kid. I grabbed my custom black painted house key and left the house, locking the door behind myself. I wasn't sticking around when I had nothing to do. Might as well walk around town while I waited for school to start. Although town was a long walk away, it didn't bother me. I liked the peace and tranquility of walking in the very early hours of the morning before the sun came up. I found my inner peace easiest under the moon. I walked by the cornfields of the countryside I lived on, humming a tune I couldn't name (hey, it was stuck in my head) as I went. Only two cars passed me by before I finally got into town. That's just how deserted my neighborhood was.

I figured that between bathing, dressing, and walking that I had killed around an hour to an hour and a half. Most likely, it was now at the most 4:30. School didn't start until 7:20. Great. I had so much time and so little to do. As I was passing it by, I noticed a night club that normally eluded me. The Paranormal Fang. I mean, who actually went to a club with a name like that? The name just screamed that the owner was obsessed with vampires or something of the sort. And yet, this morning I was drawn to it. While I was staring up at the club sign, a few people passed me by, staring at me strangely. It had to have been Sora's skimpy outfit, I was sure.

Against my better judgment, I walked up to the club bouncer. He had long blue hair, a scar in the shape of an 'x' going between his brows, yellow eyes, and a black trench coat. He gave me a scrutinizing once-over.

"Name?" he demanded gruffly.

"Why do you need to know m-?" I started to ask, but he interrupted me.

"Name?" he demanded more harshly than before.

I heaved a sigh, "Roxas."

"Last name?" he raised a brow.

"I don't have one," I told him.

The bouncer smirked at this, but I wasn't sure why, "Give me your hand."

I followed the order cautiously. The bouncer grabbed my hand, then pulled out a crimson marker, writing the Roman numerals for thirteen on the back of my hand. Capping the marker, he shoved me through the entrance of the club.

"What are you waiting for? Go have fun!" he shouted over the loud music before slamming the door shut.

I tried to pry the door back open to escape, but it wouldn't budge. Apparently, I was going to have to 'have fun' before I could leave. Wishing that I had worn my bulky black hoodie today, I slouched up the steps into the mass of dancing bodies. Partying wasn't exactly my thing, but I was sure that it was probably Sora's. Sadly, I wasn't Sora, and so I dodged the people who practically tried to hump me on the dance floor until I was at the bar on the other side of the club. The bartender looked much like the bouncer with hair similar to his, but white. His eyes were more of an orange color and while the bouncer's skin had been very pale, the bartender's skin was the tan that white girls burned up in tanning beds for hours to get (which never worked, might I add).

He smiled at me, "What can I get you?"

I folded my hands on top of the counter as I sat on a barstool, the marked hand upon the unmarked one.

"Sorry, I'm only seventeen. I won't be old enough to drink for another four years," I told him sorrowfully.

"Oh, I knew that. Did you think alcohol was the only thing that we served at Paranormal Fang?" he said, smiling at me as he eyed the mark the bouncer had placed on my hand.

I wondered silently if the mark was some sort of secret code, like 'drug this one.' Okay, well that didn't sound like an appealing message, but you get my point. I contemplated my options, not sure what this club did serve.

"How about a virgin Mai Tai?" the bartender offered, to which I simply nodded.

As he had his back turned to mix the drink, he spoke to me over his shoulder, "What brings you to our club at this time on a school day?"

"I have insomnia," I muttered, "I can't sleep as it is, so I might as well find something to do with my time."

"Oh?" he said, adding the finishing touches to the Mai Tai, "You must be having a hard time to not be able to sleep at that age."

"Hard time, yes," I replied, "is that causing my insomnia? I'm not sure. I don't ever feel tired, and I don't think a true insomniac feels like that. I guess I simply don't need much sleep."

"Whatever you say, kid," he replied, placing the Mai Tai down in front of me.

"Thanks," I murmur, taking a sip from the surprisingly sweet drink, "this is actually pretty good."

"I'm glad you like it," he said proudly, "I'm Xemnas. Your name is?"

"Roxas," I said, giving him a sweet smile that I didn't offer to just anybody.

I was glad that someone was paying me some attention without yelling at or scolding me for once. I normally didn't get treated this well. Not even at school. It was an understatement to say that I was happy to be talking to Xemnas.

"Welcome to Paranormal Fang, and I hope you come by again sometime. School starts at 7:20 for you, right?" Xemnas asked.

"That's right," I replied.

"Well," he said, glancing down at a wristwatch I hadn't noticed until now, "it's 5:30, so you've got about an hour to kill. Go ahead and mingle if you'd like. You might even find a new friend."

"Thanks," I said, finished my drink, and headed into the crowd.

On my own, I wouldn't normally do this, but Xemnas had been so nice to me already that I was willing to give it a try. So, I decided to mingle, as Xemnas had put it. I found that it wasn't so bad dancing with all these people as I had originally thought, and before long, I was dancing and having a good time, like all the others. I almost didn't notice when a guy with slate blue hair, pale skin, and dark eyes came up behind me. What I did notice, was the sudden strange feeling coming over my body. It's kind of like that feeling that you get that's telling you somebody is watching you when nobody is there, only different.

The feeling I was getting told me that someone was looking at me like a piece of meat. Not in the sexual way where they want to ravish you and love you, but literally like this person wanted to eat me alive. I swiveled around to see the culprit. He gave me a deceivingly sweet and cute smile.

"Hi. I'm Zexion. Who might you be?" he asked me, giving me a once-over like the bouncer had.

If I were a girl, I'd have sworn that the guy was staring at my boobs, but I was a guy. Besides, his gaze was a little higher, yet not high enough to be on my mouth. This guy gave me some seriously bad vibes all up and down my spine. I cleared my throat to get his attention off of it and onto my face.

"I'm Roxas," I introduced myself for the third time in a two hour span.

He gave me a smirk, seeming to be careful not to open his mouth, "Nice to meet you. What are you doing in a night club right before school?"

I stifled the urge to groan at the now abused question of the day, "I have a roaring case of insomnia. I'm just hanging around until it's time to go."

"Ah," he said as his attention seemed to go back down to my throat, "this your first time at Paranormal Fang?"

My fingers found the ring on my collar, tugging it gently, "Yeah. I never thought I'd be found dead here."

That dark aura coming off of Zexion that said I was a piece of meat most definitely had not disappeared as we spoke. If anything, it strengthened, which bothered the bloody hell out of me. I admit that I wished I got more attention, but this was beyond disturbing. I cleared my throat again. Zexion's eyes snapped back up guiltily, as if he had been caught doing something he shouldn't.

"Sorry, what were you saying?" he asked me politely.

"Yes, this is my first time at Paranormal Fang," I told him, offering a nervous smile.

"So, what do you think so far about it?" he asked, his eyes glancing back at my throat quickly, then up at my face again.

"It's okay, I guess. I'm not big on clubbing, so I wouldn't know what to think, honestly," I replied earnestly.

For the fourth time, Zexion looked at my neck. I was starting to wonder if there was a big hairy tarantula on it. Not that spiders bothered me, but you never know. I waved my hand in front of Zexion's slightly glazed over eyes.

"Hello? Is there something wrong with my neck?" I asked him nervously.

Zexion shook his head as if to clear it, "Sorry, I'm a little obsessive compulsive," he said, "your neck has absolutely no blemishes. It looks quite beautiful."

"Er, yeah… I think I should be leaving, I have to get to school…" I muttered, trying to walk away.

Zexion grabbed my hand before I could make my much wanted escape, "But you can't go yet! Stay here for a while!"

"Yeah, uh, Zexion, I, uh-" I babbled, being interrupted by the firm grip of two hands, one on either shoulder.

"He was just leaving. Isn't that right, Zexion?" said a male voice behind me.

I peeked over my shoulder to see that he was very tall, had green eyes, pale skin, and red hair spiked back. He looked kind of like a relative of Sonic the hedgehog. What was most strange about him to me was that he had two dark, upside-down triangular markings on his face, both of which were under his eyes. I was mesmerized by his emerald eyes, which seemed to glow as if they were affected by a black light. Zexion glared at him.

"I was just telling him good-bye," Zexion growled, turning on his heel and stomping off.

I blinked confusedly, staring as he disappeared behind a bunch of dancing people. The redheaded guy patted my head in what I figured was a comforting way.

"Don't mind him," he told me, "Zexion gets an urge to sink his fangs into almost everyone who comes in here, so you're not weird or anything. I'm Axel, by the way."

"Axel? I'm Roxas," I said, brushing my thoughts of Zexion and the mentioning of fangs aside.

"Nice to meet you, although I'd be careful if I were you. Paranormal Fang isn't perfect. Besides, shouldn't you be heading to school?"

I really did groan this time, "Why? What time is it?"

Axel checked a wristwatch he was wearing. Upon closer inspection, I realized that it looked almost identical to Xemnas's watch. Hadn't Zexion been wearing one, as well? And Saix?

"Hm, it's… 7:05," Axel muttered.

"Oh, Hell's bells!" I exclaimed, then shut up as Axel looked at me as if I were insane.

"Hell's bells?" Axel asked me, "Where'd you hear that one?"

It occurred to me that I hadn't ever heard the curse in my life. It had just seemed to come to me, but I should think about that and the fact that I was such a loon later.

"Um, that… that doesn't matter! I have to be at school in fifteen minutes, and I'm never going to make it in time!" I cried, swiveling away and starting to run for the door.

Axel shouted for me to wait up, then caught me just as I had exited the club.

"Hold on, Roxas. You're not going to be late," Axel told me.

"What are you talking about? Of course I'm going to be late!" I sobbed, "What's my mother going to do to me this time…?"

"Roxas, look at me," Axel said, getting my attention, "Xemnas sent me to personally help you out today. You're not going to be late. I have a car and I can get you to school in no time."

"Really?" I asked hopefully.

Somebody pinch me! I must be dreaming.

"Yeah, really," Axel said, pulling out a key with buttons on it.

He pushed one of the buttons, a honking sound coming from behind me. I turned around to see a sleek red convertible with a black hood pulled back. Axel opened the passenger side door for me to get in, closing the door behind me as I sat down on the soft black seat. Axel got in the driver's seat, sticking the key in the ignition and turning the car on. As he drove the car smoothly through the streets to the school, I heard an unfamiliar song. Actually, it was familiar. I had been humming it on the way into town. I listened to lyrics for a while, watching Axel. He seemed to like this song.

"Don't tell me what to think, 'cause I don't care this time. Don't tell me what to believe, 'cause you won't be there to catch me when I fall, but leave me when I'm not here at all. Miss when I'm gone again, oh no. I'm going down in flames, I'm falling into this again. Yeah, I'm going down in flames, I'm falling into this again. Oh no."

I noticed that Axel had actually begun to sing along as he drove. In case you're wondering, he was really a great singer, too. I hated to interrupt his beautiful singing voice, but I just had to know.

"What's the name of this song?" I asked quietly.

"Going Down in Flames, by Three Doors Down," Axel told me, smiling, "you don't have to be nervous to ask. I won't bite your head off."

I chuckled at the mental image that the comment brought, then noticed we were approaching my school. I tapped Axel's shoulder to get his attention, then pointed at the school.

"This is my stop," I told him, almost regretfully because I figured that I wouldn't be seeing him again.

"Wow, I hate this place. Looks like I've got a horrible school day ahead of me," Axel muttered.

"Excuse me?" I asked.

"You thought I was kidding when I said that Xemnas told me to help you out today? Sweetheart, I am here all day," Axel said, making me blush when he called me sweetheart.

"Um, er, okay then," I said oh-so-intelligently as Axel parked.

He got out of the car, then lent me a hand on getting out. Axel was like my own shadow walking behind me as I headed to the school entrance.

Opening the door, I said, "Welcome to the School That Never Was, our wonderful facility of morons who read books all day and do class work."

Axel laughed just a little at my joke, then told me he'd have to go to the office for a moment. If it wasn't apparent already, I had nothing better to do, so I followed him into the office. He walked up to the desk, peering down at the desk lady.

"Hi, I'm Axel. I'm here with Roxas for today, so that wouldn't be much trouble, would it?" Axel requested.

"What relation do you have with Roxas?" she demanded suspiciously.

I was behind him, so I couldn't tell, but I was sure that he pouted, "Does that really matter? I mean, I'm just worried about my best friend and all, you know…"

It looked almost as if the old lady had been put under a spell all of a sudden. She didn't look mean anymore, and she was smiling for the first time I had ever seen in all of my four years of high school here.

"Wow! You are so brave and protective! You must be Roxas's older brother. Of course you can hang around with Roxas today," the desk lady gushed.

"Oh, and I kind of parked my car in the school parking lot. That's okay, isn't it?" Axel asked in a seemingly hopeful voice.

"Of course, of course!" she continued to gush, "Just tell me what it looks like and I'll make sure it stays."

"It's a red convertible with a black hood. The hood's pulled back and I have black seats," Axel explained.

"Okay, head on to class, then," she said, waving us out while wearing that humongous grin.

"Thank-you, ma'am," Axel said, nodding to her before grabbing my hand and tugging me out of the office.

"Time for class!" he declared, making me groan, "Hey, cheer up. At least you have me today."

I smiled, "That I do. No matter how worthless you might be."

"Hey! I resent that!" he exclaimed, shoving me playfully.

We ended up shoving each other back and forth all the way to my locker, where I retrieved the items I would need for the school today. Luckily, most of my classes would be showing movies, seeing as testing was still going on. I had been smart enough to actually pass in my previous three years of school, so I had no testing to do. Instead, I would be in my usual class, 'watching' the movie they would play. Okay, so obviously, I wasn't going to. Our school didn't ever let us watch anything over PG, so I hated basically all the movies. My first class was American History.

Our teacher's aide, Mr. Weaver was letting us watch a movie called 'The Last of the Mohicans.' My seat was nearly all the way in the back of the classroom, so even if I wanted to, I couldn't see much of the movie. Today, though, that didn't seem to bother me. I was sitting with Axel today, which felt very comforting for some reason. Axel sat in the empty desk in front of me, sitting backwards so that he could gaze at me rather than the screen. I smiled at him.

"So," he whispered, "no classes right now, huh?"

"Nope," I replied, "not one. They're all testing."

"That must be nice. Do you want to watch the movie, or…?" he asked me, trailing the question off for a suggestion.

"Let's just talk," I offered, gazing back into his luminescent eyes.

"What about?"

"Well… for starters, what was with Zexion back at Paranormal Fang? You said he has an urge to sink his fangs into almost anybody who comes in."

"Oh. Did I? You must have been hearing things," Axel appeared to chuckle a little nervously.

I knew that I was going to have to play a dangerous game if I wanted any information from Axel then and there. It was just a matter of what I was willing to resort to.

"How about a game between you and I?" I asked, "I'll ask a question first. You answer it truthfully, then you can ask me a question and I have to do the same."

Axel shrugged his shoulders, "Fair enough."

"Okay. What's with this?" I asked him, holding up my hand, which still had thirteen written in Roman numerals on it.

"It's a mark," Axel said simply.

"For what?" I asked, my curiosity peaked.

"Ah, ah," Axel shook his head, "you get one question. My turn. How many siblings do you have?"

I narrowed my eyes in suspicion. That was a very odd question to ask. Why would he want to know about that?

"I have three siblings. We're all quadruplets," I answered.

He nodded as if he understood perfectly, "Hm."

"What do you mean by this being a mark?" I asked, gesturing at the thirteen.

"We're looking for new VIPs for the club. You're our best candidate," Axel explained, "How many parents do you have?"

"None. We all live with a stepmother," I replied crisply.

"That must suck," Axel sympathized.

"It does, but I'm used to it. Zexion kept staring at my neck for some odd reason. What is he, a vampire?"

Axel really did chuckle nervously this time, his eyes trailing away to the side, "You could say that, I suppose. How does your stepmother treat you in comparison to the others?"

"Horribly. I'm nothing," I gave a small shudder, "okay, back to you. Is everyone in your VIP group some sort of mythical creature?"

"Yeah. Have you ever loved anyone?"

I got suspicious yet again, "No. Only lust. Let's just say that, hypothetically speaking, if you were a mythical creature, what are you?"

"Pyrokinetic Fallen Angel. Hypothetically speaking, of course," Axel winked, "if Zexion were actually a vampire, what would you have done?"

I contemplated this for a moment, "I wouldn't have been surprised if he were a vampire. In fact, it would explain why he wanted to eat me. By the way he was acting, I was sure that he would have attacked, so… I don't know what I would have done. I've always blacked out when I'm put in a violent situation, and when I wake back up… Let's just say I'm not in trouble anymore."

"It makes enough sense, I suppose," Axel said, sounding intrigued.

"If I were a mythical creature, what do you think I'd be?" I asked him.

"I'm not sure. That's what I'd like to find out. You're a mystery to some of the smartest of our group."

"A mystery, huh…?"

"Yeah. Before, you said you had insomnia. Xemnas told me. Do you mean that you don't sleep and you're tired, or that you feel fully rested?"

"I'm fully rested. What was the bouncer's name?"

"Saix. He's actually a really nice guy despite what you might think, and he's also second in command. First is Xemnas. Do a lot of hu- I mean, people treat you like an outcast?"

"Now that you mention it, yeah. At home, at school, in public. I'm always treated as if I don't belong," I said, puzzled by the 'hu.'

Axel nodded again.

"Are your hair and eyes naturally that color?"

Axel looked shocked, and it was a good thing he wasn't drinking anything at that moment in time because he started to splutter.

"What?" he whispered.

"Your hair and eyes. Is that natural, or dye and contacts?" I asked him again exasperatedly.

"Oh. It's natural, I was born this way."

"In that case, I really like it. You look so pretty," I commented.

"Thanks, though I prefer handsome rather than pretty. Do you want to come to Paranormal Fang after school today?"

I blinked as this was a request rather than a question, "Sure. I'd rather not wear these clothes, though. Can I go home and change first?"

"Sure, I'll take you there myself, but if you don't like the clothes, then why are you wearing them?"

"My twin brother, Sora. We share the same closet and I grabbed his clothes by mistake."

Just then, the bell for second block rang.

"Oh, looks like it's time to go," I said cheerily, leading Axel out of the classroom.

Next stop, Driver's Ed. Or rather, Health, since I wasn't driving at the moment. We took turns, and when we weren't driving, we were in Health class. Of course, today we had testing, so there wasn't any Driver's Ed. Instead, we were in the downstairs science room. Driver's Ed/Health was normally upstairs, which was where testing was taking place. Hence, we were downstairs. The classroom only had three other students. One of which was Sora, another was Riku, and another was Kairi. Yup, two of my siblings, what a pain. Oh, and not to mention their boyfriend, Riku. This was going to suck.

I sat down in the left hand corner of the room, Axel sitting with me. Riku stalked right over, and Sora and Kairi flanked him. He sneered down at me like he normally did.

"So, who's the redhead, Roxy?" he demanded, rudely jerking his thumb at Axel.

"This is Axel. My friend," I told him as I confidently met his ice blue eyes.

"Another freak, then? Am I right, Sora?" Riku said, looking back at Sora with a threat in those unmerciful eyes.

"Uh, yeah! You're always right, Riku!" Sora said, smiling like the buffoon he was.

"Still being Riku's crony, I see, Sora," I commented dryly.

"I am not a crony!" Sora shouted, then whispered to Riku, "What's a crony?"

Riku rolled his eyes and turned his glare on me again, "Whoa, I didn't know that you were into such kinky stuff, Roxy. You in those pants, really?"

Sora looked down at the floor dejectedly. Obviously, the outfit was his, but he wouldn't admit that when Riku insulted them. Nope, he's too much of a wimp.

"Leave him alone," Axel growled, and I could have sworn his eyes smoldered like a bright green fire.

"Oh, look," Riku laughed, "one freak standing up for the other!"

"Don't test me, Riku," I rumbled, standing up to tower over him with my added height from the combat boots, "I'm not in the mood for it today."

He looked at me defiantly, "And what are you going to do, freak? Bleed on me?"

Kairi cracked up laughing, but Sora looked split. Axel seemed to be ready to pull us apart and I was pissed.

"Would you rather find out, old man?" I challenged, sure that my eyes were scarier than Axel's.

Riku, who finally seemed a little scared, shoved me away, causing me to hit the brick wall, "Get away from me, freak!"

I smirked, because now that Riku threw the first punch, I could do as I pleased to him. No, I wasn't normally like this, but I wasn't normally so offended and pissed. I wanted to vent and I hated Riku, so it was mutual. In my mind, anyway. I placed my hands on the cold floor to support myself, then kicked Riku's legs with both of my feet. He toppled down into a desk with an 'oof.' I leapt onto him and savagely punched him over and over in the face. First, his lip split, then blood started to pour, then I heard a crunch as his nose broke from the force of my final punch. It wouldn't have been the last punch, but our teacher, Mr. Nelson had just walked in.

I heard a gasp of shock, a bark of an order, and then I was being tugged away from Riku. I was speaking for myself, but I had to say that it wasn't easy for Axel to pry my hands away from the stranglehold I had on Riku. Surely, if I had my way, he would have died of something much more painful than a loss of breath. I was pulled into Axel's burning hot embrace as he told me that everything was okay, that it wasn't my fault. I still screamed and cursed at Riku, but I had finally broken down into tears. Kairi and Mr. Nelson went to lug Riku off to the nurse's office as Kairi glowered at me on the way out, but Sora stayed behind. I was still huffing and puffing, glaring down at the floor, but I held Axel's arms where they were as if he would disappear at any moment. I didn't want to be alone. Sora approached us, causing me to snap my glare up at him.

"Hey, man, I'm sorry. I didn't think he was going to do something like that, and I think you look cute in that outfit," Sora said quietly, but I only glared at him.

"Go away," I hissed through clenched teeth, "and don't come back. Ever. In fact, I'm not coming home. No way even in the seventh lair of Hell. I don't want to see you ever again, Sora."

Sora blinked in shock, mouth agape, but soon, he too left the room like Kairi and Mr. Nelson had. I could only hope that my red haired angel didn't follow. I turned in his embrace and hugged him back.

"Please don't leave me. Please. I don't know what I was thinking, Axel," I sobbed, "I just don't know."

"Sh, sh, you didn't do anything wrong. It was Riku who was wrong. It was self defense, and besides, you can come stay with me. I don't mind," Axel offered.

I looked up at him hopefully with, deep blue (and tear-filled) eyes, "You really mean it? I can stay?"

He nodded, "Yep."

"Forever?" I asked.

"Yes, forever," Axel chuckled, hugging me tight.

"I want to go to your house right now," I murmured into his stomach.

"Sure, let's go then," Axel said, helping me stand.

We walked through the hallways hand in hand, not caring what anyone thought. I finally had a friend, and I wasn't about to let the stupid school ruin that. I would stay with Axel, my angel come to save me. Well, that's how I thought of him.

The ride back to Axel's place was fairly uneventful. Neither of us spoke, but it wasn't awkward. Instead, the silence was filled with music. Three Days Grace, to be exact. I watched as buildings and decorative trees zoomed away when we got near.

Axel's house was very odd. Why is that? His house wasn't a house at all, but an apartment. As in, the entire building for the apartment complex belonged to Axel. I didn't even know why he needed all that space, but hey, it's still awesome. Axel lived in floor eight of the complex. While we walked, he explained to me that the entire organization lived in the complex. They each took a number based on their place in the organization. Apparently, Axel was number eight. Xemnas was one, Saix was two, and Zexion was seven.

As we approached the door, I asked him, "If everyone has a number, do I have one?"

"Yep," he said, unlocking the door.

"What number?" I asked, stepping inside.

"Isn't it obvious? Thirteen," he replied, closing the door behind himself.

Spotting a couch in the front room, I made myself comfortable and sat down. Axel walked into what appeared to be a kitchen. I heard him fiddling around with something, then he came back into the room with a huge chocolate bar and a glass of Mountain Dew. He handed me the chocolate and placed the glass on the coffee table in front of me.

"They're for you," Axel said, "they'll make you feel better. Trust me."

I took a nibble from the chocolate bar, "How long have you been living here?"

"What fun would it be if I told you? I'd rather you guessed all day," he said, smiling.

Pouting, I punched him softly in the shoulder, "You're so annoying… I take it that I'll be living here with you, then?"

"Actually, you're supposed to stay on the thirteenth floor, but I don't mind if you stay with me. It's nice to have someone around for once. Gets really lonely, you know?" Axel seemed a little sad at that.

"I wouldn't mind staying with you. I get lonely, too. Plus, you and Xemnas are the first people who have ever been so nice to me in my life," I said, taking a few more nibbles of the chocolate bar.

"Do you want your stuff from your house?" Axel asked me out of the blue.

"What? Why?" I asked.

"Just answer the question," he sighed.

"Well, of course I do. Why wouldn't I?"

"Then we'll do that tomorrow," he said with a sense of finality, "but for now, you are very uninformed of the inner workings of Organization XIII."

"Inner workings? What do I need to know?" I wondered aloud.

"Well, for starters, every organization member is, shall we say, special. You need to know what everyone is, and in the long run, figure out what you are."

"Okay."

"We'll start with Xemnas. He's a Dark Angel, as well as the leader of the organization. You never see Saix, second command and Wolf Shape Shifter far from him. Zexion isn't anything special, just a vampire. I already told you that I'm a Pyrokinetic Fallen Angel, and you haven't met Larxene yet. Just so you know, she's a Bumblebee Pixie."

"Um… nice…" I murmured, putting my half eaten chocolate bar down on the coffee table, "But are you kidding? Mythical creatures?"

"You were talking about them just fine earlier," he stated bluntly.

"I was just joking around. I didn't mean that I believed mythical creatures existed."

Axel rolled his eyes, muttering something that I couldn't hear, then snapped his fingers. A small flame danced just above his thumb immediately after the sound of his fingers snapping. I jumped back in astonishment, having not expected that to happen.

"How'd you do that?" I stared at the flame as it pulsed like a heart.

"It's simple. Well, at least for me it is," Axel chuckled, extinguishing the flame.

I nodded, "Okay, I guess I believe you a little bit, then."

"A little? What do you want me to do to make you believe me completely? Show you my wings? Open a vein?" Axel groaned.

"Fine, fine. I believe you, but I don't understand how I fit into all of this. I'm just a normal kid," I muttered.

"We have reason to believe that your mother was a very rare and powerful creature. We aren't sure what exactly she was at this point, but we do know that you are the only one who didn't turn out a human due to you all being quadruplets. That means that out of all your siblings, you're the only one who inherited your mother's genes, specifically the ones for the creature," Axel explained.

"Any ideas as to what that creature might be?" I questioned, taking a sip from the Mountain Dew.

"Nope, but I'm willing to take the time to find out," he smiled embarrassedly.

"Wonderful. My best friend is some sort of angel that can control fire and is part of an organization full of mythical creatures. I'm apparently more of a freak than I originally thought. Can this day get any better?" I said sarcastically.

"I have no idea, but we have two hours to get back to Paranormal Fang. If you want some different clothes, either you'll have to borrow some from me, or we're going shopping."

"Are you sure about that? Your practically a foot taller than me," I said.

"Follow me into my personal wardrobe," he said jokingly, leading me into his bedroom.

Axel opened up a door in the back of his bedroom to reveal an insanely huge closet. I mean, it was probably bigger than mine and Sora's bedroom. He sorted through several outfits hanging in the closet, then brought them out and set them down on his bed. I came up behind him to look at the clothes he had gotten for me to pick from. After much consideration, I settled on the outfit I liked the most. It included a sleeveless black hoodie with a caption saying 'Bite Me' in crimson dripping letters, some black shorts with chains on them, and knee-high black and red striped socks.

I shooed Axel out of the room so that I could get dressed. Everything was a little big and baggy on me, but I was sure that it wouldn't look too bad. The hoodie hung down half way to my knees, the shorts a little past my knees. I'd manage, though. After I slipped back on my combat boots, I opened the door to see Axel right in front of me. He had been pacing, but now he stopped and stared at me.

"Wow," he breathed, his eyes nearly bugging out of his sockets.

"Yeah, I know they're big and all, so I probably look weird…" I trailed off.

"Nonsense. I think you look adorable. I could just eat you up right now," Axel said.

I raised an eyebrow, "Is that meant literally or as a joke?"

He rolled his eyes, "You kill all my jokes, I don't know why I even try."

"Are we going to Paranormal Fang or not?" I demanded.

"I'm the one who was waiting for you," he said, grabbing my hand and gently tugging me outside.

It was another uneventful ride in the car. Axel sang along with his music perfectly, and I even sang with him once or twice. I wasn't as proud of my voice, though. Quite frankly, I thought it sucked compared to Axel's. When we got to Paranormal Fang, there was an unbelievably long line of people waiting to get in. Having come in just this morning, I never would've expected so many people to show up now. It was just so strange. Axel ignored all the waiting people, tugging me along towards Saix, the bouncer. He looked at us skeptically.

"Name?" I could've sworn that he smiled mischievously, but it was such a quick smile that I couldn't be sure.

"Saix, you know very well who the hell I am. Let us in already," Axel growled, obviously not taking any crap today.

"Yeah, yeah," Saix said, "you always have a stick up your ass. Just take care of the uke."

Axel blushed, "He is not an uke!"

"Sure," Saix said, smiling mischievously longer this time.

As Axel ushered me into the club, I innocently asked him, "What's an uke?"

"You don't even want to know," he muttered darkly, taking me to the bar where Xemnas was currently standing.

"Hey, nice to see you again, Roxas," Xemnas said, "how has life been treating you away from the club?"

"He's not having a very good day, but he's in," Axel replied for me.

"I see," he said, then left us, going through a door reading 'Xemnas.'

Axel told me that I didn't need to worry about Xemnas, that he was simply adding me into their database. After he told me to have fun, he went off into the crowd. That's when I completely lost sight of Axel. Already, there was a sensation of shivers going down my spine. Yep, definitely Zexion again. I turned around to see him staring at me.

"I wouldn't wear that if I were you," Zexion said bluntly, pointing at my hoodie.

I decided to play dumb, "What, this?" I pointed at myself.

Zexion rolled his eyes, "What else could I be pointing at? I hope you have another shirt with you, because there aren't very many others here with as much restraint as I have."

"Restraint? Could've fooled me," I said, crossing my arms, "you've always got those vibes coming off of you that say you'd jump me as soon as I turn my back."

Zexion's smile turned into a thin line, "And how right you are. Don't tempt me."

"Yeah, well it's been fun, Zex, but I'm going to go dance now," I said, leaving him where he stood, knowing that he wore a very shocked expression.

All the people in the crowd were more than happy to mingle with me. I felt many bodies jigging up against my own, the sweat of the people around me rubbing onto my skin. Though I was preoccupied with dancing, I was still conscious of what was happening all around myself. Zexion was following me, and I moved farther and farther, making it look as if I was being moved by the crowd. I wanted to be as far away from the vampire as possible. At the time, it had registered that my choice of clothing had been a tad wrong, but if people took everything I wore as an invitation, then they were just plain stupid.

Eventually, I somehow ended up all the way on the side of the club, right next to a side exit with 'EXIT' in glowing red letters above the door. Hoping that Zexion couldn't see me, I eased outside and shut the door behind me. I leaned against the door to hinder anyone who tried to open it. It was late afternoon right now, the sun starting to set. I figured that I had about half an hour before it was full-blown nighttime. There was some banging on the metal door behind me, then someone tried to push it open. I braced myself against the door, the feeling of Zexion's presence strong behind it.

"Why don't you let me out?" he asked calmly as the door came steadily came out farther and farther, inch by inch.

"No, go away," I growled through my clenched teeth.

He was way too strong for me, and soon, the door would be open. Bracing myself, I leapt up from the ground and made a run for it down the alleyway. I heard Zexion give chase, but I was faster. I sped on, right into a brick wall. Seriously, who put that dead end there? Spinning around to face my pursuer from my kneeling position on the cold ground, I searched frantically with my hands for something to protect myself with. As he drew closer, I wrapped my hands around a thick metal pipe, then swung it out at him. Unluckily for me, he caught it just before it struck his face. Zexion tugged sharply on the pipe, causing me to stand with it, then yanked it out of my hands to toss it aside. I was now defenseless against a vampire with bloodlust specifically for me.

"Ah, bloody hell," I hissed under my breath, backing up against the brick wall behind me.

Zexion smirked victoriously, stepping forward and slamming his hands into the brick wall on either side of my head, preventing my escape. I strained my eyes and ears for any sign of help, even going as far as to shout for Axel, but Zexion covered my mouth and sunk his fangs into my neck. I winced and whimpered through his fingers, trying to shove him off. He only became more persistent. My neck was becoming sore, and being bitten by Zexion was absolutely nothing like how the vampire romance novels made it sound. I was in such unbearable pain that I couldn't even faint.

Black started to creep across my vision, but then that blackness started to throb between red and black. I panted and grit my teeth together, then my vision was suddenly all red. Lashing out at the threat to myself, I had Zexion down on the ground in less than two seconds. He looked up at me confusedly, and then his eyes widened in what I assumed to be shock. I was now the one wearing the smirk. What I did to Zexion did not stay in my memory. Instead, all I could remember was standing up and walking back into the club soaked thoroughly in blood.

The crowd that had once tried to hump me now gave me at least five feet of space to walk. I had but one goal, and that was to find Axel and get out of here. When I finally did find him, he seemed very worried about me, checking me all over for any lacerations or punctures. I told him that I was fine and that I only wanted to leave. He was reluctant, but in the end decided that I was right, and so we were on our way back to his house. Axel didn't turn on the music, and he didn't speak. It was an uncomfortable silence. When we got to his house, he let me in quietly, then pointed at the couch. I sat down and waited for him to return.

When Axel came back in the room, he had a first aid kit, a bowl full of water, and a washrag. He set the items down on the coffee table, then sat down beside me. Picking up the rag, he began washing the blood from my face and neck.

"How'd this happen?" he asked me in the sort of calm, quiet way that people would when they were forcing themselves not to scream.

The washrag started to reveal Zexion's torn fang marks in my neck as I said, "Zexion attacked me. I merely got him back."

"I can pretty much see that. Do you remember any of it?" Axel finished cleaning my neck, then rushed off out of the room again.

"No," I shouted to him, "I remember holding him to the ground, and then I draw a blank."

Axel came back in with some light blue cotton pajamas and a towel. Removing the blood soaked clothes I was sporting, he cleaned my skin of the remaining red substance, then patted me dry and helped me into the pajamas. He then pulled out some bandages for a tourniquet.

"I'm all out of band-aids, so you'll have to settle for this," he said curtly as he wrapped my neck, then pinned it together.

He closed the first aid kit, then took all of his supplies and left the room again. He came back in, helping me up and taking me to his bedroom. He gestured to the bed, telling me that I could sleep in it tonight. I thanked him graciously, then crawled in under the covers.

Just before Axel turned off the light, I whispered, "Thank you. For everything, I mean."

Axel just nodded and turned off the light, closing the door.

I awoke in the oddest position I had ever slept in. I was curled up on the couch, but that wasn't all. Currently, I had been sleeping on top of Axel's feet! I wasn't even sure how I had gotten there. Axel was watching me curiously, seeming to have woken up a little while before me.

"Hm. Well, I have no idea how you got there," he said, baffled.

I sat up and got off of his feet, "Sorry, I'm not sure either. I hadn't known myself to be a sleepwalker, but I do normally share a bed with Sora. Maybe I just felt lonely?"

Axel shook his head, "No, I think it was more along the lines of something to do with your heritage. If only we could find out what it is-"

Whatever Axel was going to finish saying was obviously going to have to wait. The song, 'Burn Baby, Burn,' started to play. I knew immediately that it was Axel's ring tone. He fished through his right pocket to produce a small red phone, quickly accepting the call and putting the phone to his ear.

"Yeah?"

There was someone talking on the other end of the line. Axel listened silently for a while.

"Okay, we'll be there as soon as we can."

The person on the other end said something else.

"Okay. I'll bring him," he reassured, hanging up.

I looked at Axel expectantly. He sighed in agitation.

"That was Xemnas. You know, Superior?" he began, I nodded, "He says that something has happened to Zexion. All available members must report to Xemnas immediately," he eyed me, "that means you, too."

"Then what are we waiting for? Let's get changed and go," I said, hopping up from the couch.

Axel disappeared into his bedroom, then came back out with an outfit for me. He tossed the outfit to me, then went back into the bedroom.

"Go ahead and put that on!" he called from inside the bedroom.

I looked around for a bathroom for some privacy, then spotted the bathroom entrance close to the kitchen. I was about to walk into the bathroom when something inside of it caught my eye. There was a pair of bright yellow eyes in the darkness of the bathroom, then something pounced on my leg. I shouted out in surprise, jumping back and taking refuge on the back of the couch. The thing came out at me, getting up on the cushions and ferociously batting at me. I back up farther towards the edge of the couch, away from the thing.

"What's wrong?" Axel asked as he walked into the room.

Once Axel got around the couch, he cracked up laughing. I glared at him, not getting what was so funny.

"Inferno, down," he said.

The thing got off the couch to twine itself around Axel's legs. I switched my glare to the deceivingly sweet creature.

"This is Inferno," he said, picking it up in his arms, "my cat."

I blinked, "What's a cat?"

"What's a- how can you not know what a cat is?" Axel asked, flabbergasted, "They're only the best pet in the world!"

"Oh. My stepmother never let me have any pets. Sora, Kairi, and Namine got pets all the time, but they never brought home a… cat…"

"Well, that's weird. Do you want to pet her?" he held the little orange tabby out to me.

I hesitantly reached a hand out, worried she would attack again, then ran my fingers through her orange fur. My eyes widened in surprise.

"She's so soft," I murmured as I pet her.

"Yeah, I try to brush her twice a day and give her a bath at least once a month," he sighed, "although, she'll get in the tub with you if she finds out that you're taking a bath or shower. Weird ass cat."

Though he had insulted the cat, he had said the insult affectionately as he scratched behind her ears. She rubbed her face up into his palm, starting to purr.

"Why are you so scared of a cat, anyway?" Axel asked me curiously.

"Um… I don't know… I just saw her, then I suddenly got the urge to run. She did attack me, though," I explained.

He laughed, "Whatever. Go get dressed now."

I obediently obeyed, slipping into the bathroom to do as he said. Today, I was sporting a sky blue jersey with the number thirteen, a white undershirt, and some baggy white shorts. As I stepped out of Axel's bathroom, I realized that I was going barefoot, but decided that if anyone was upset, I'd kick them in the face. I told Axel just that, causing him to laugh. We told Inferno goodbye, then left the house and locked the door. Axel rushed me over to the car, telling me that it was urgent that we got to the club as soon as possible.

It happened to still be dark outside, so I figured it was early in the morning. Today was almost a calm, slow Saturday. Well, it would have been if it weren't for Zexion, and maybe Xemnas. We got to the empty club in record time, Saix ushering us in. He told us that everyone was in the back (and that we were late, while he was at it). Axel didn't hesitate to pull me through Xemnas's open doorway, the letters that spelled out his name seeming to glow with agitation.

The first thing that I saw in the room was a big white hospital bed with Zexion laying in it. Xemnas was at the side of the bed, gazing down at his pale, unresponsive face. On the other side of the bed stood a shorter person, a girl with blonde hair slicked back and weird looking antennae things. When I came in, a few different things happened. Zexion began to roll around restlessly, the blonde looked up at me with a piercing gaze, and Xemnas turned around to greet us. The blonde looked back down at Zexion as Xemnas approached us.

"He's been asleep like this ever since we found him. There are lacerations and bruises all over his body from head to toe, he's running a temperature for a human, and up until now, he wasn't moving," Xemnas explained, worriedly glancing back at Zexion.

"Do you think that we could perhaps see for ourselves?" Axel asked Xemnas.

He nodded and walked over to the bedside again, pulling back the covers. Zexion still wore his clothes, but most of his chest was exposed due to how horribly torn his shirt was. He might as well have been wearing no shirt at all. His chest truly was slashed to ribbons, the cleaned wounds looking nasty without the blood to hide how bad they looked. As I got closer, he became more and more restless. Sweat was pouring down his face as he tossed his limbs around. When I was finally standing next to him, he shot up into a sitting position, then opened his eyes and looked right at me. Any color which had previously remained in his face drained and he stiffened and screamed.

"Get away from me!" he shouted, jumping out of the bed to take refuge behind Larxene.

For an injured person, he got out of the bed extremely fast. Zexion was murmuring something under his breath as he hugged the blonde's knee for dear life. Axel looked at Xemnas, then at me.

"What just happened?" he asked.

"I'm not sure, but I guess that he just freaked out. Maybe he's scared of me?" I replied.

Xemnas walked around the bed to Zexion and the blonde. He knelt down beside Zexion and whispered something to him. He shook his head feverishly.

"Larxene, help me get him back onto the bed," he ordered the blonde now dubbed as Larxene.

Larxene did as Xemnas had ordered, Zexion struggling and screaming the whole time. When they finally got Zexion back into the bed, all three of them were panting from exhaustion. I stepped closer to the bed, but Zexion whimpered and tried to scoot away, only being stopped by Xemnas and Larxene.

"Zexion, tell us what Roxas did to you," Xemnas demanded sternly.

Zexion didn't seem in any way ready to do as Xemnas said, shaking his head once again as he kept all his attention on me. It looked as if he expected me to pounce at any moment. Hey, he was the one who bit me!

"Roxas, what's that on your neck?" Xemnas asked suddenly as he looked up at the tourniquet.

"A tourniquet," I muttered.

"Would you mind removing it so that we can see what happened?" Xemnas asked politely.

Though he was asking politely, I knew that he wouldn't tolerate no for an answer. Zexion seemed to realize that all the attention was now on the wound that he had created. He started to look up at me nervously. I hesitantly grabbed the safety pin, removing it, then started to unwrap the cloth. When it was completely off, everyone but Zexion gasped. I couldn't see what had changed about the wound, so I wasn't sure what the commotion was about. I turned to Axel.

"What's wrong?" I asked him.

He seemed to swallow the lump in his throat, "It has gotten swollen."

"What are you talking about…?" I muttered, feeling the lump with the two punctures on my neck, "Ah, hell…"

"Zexion…" Xemnas growled, rounding on the blue haired vampire.

I couldn't help but to feel sorry for him. Although, it probably wasn't the best idea I had when I decided to stand up for him.

"Hey, don't pick on him. It's not his fault," I said, glaring at Xemnas.

Xemnas turned to me, frowning as he looked me over and fixed his eyes on the swollen fang marks.

"And why would you care whether it is Zexion's fault or not? He has, after all, harmed you. What difference would it make if we don't punish him?"

Even though Xemnas was reminding me that I was hurt, as if he were concerned, I felt like I was being threatened. Xemnas sounded more as if he were annoyed after all this trouble than worried for my health.

"It matters to me because he's obviously already torn up," I ground through my teeth, "look at him," I gestured at him wildly, "You said it yourself! He's got a horrible temperature, he's in a pain, and he doesn't want to be anywhere near me! If he hasn't gotten punishment enough now, then there will never be a time!"

At that point, I finally realized that I was yelling. Shyly, I lowered my voice and looked down at the floor submissively.

"What I mean is, he's already this scared. What's the point of punishment when he already understands what he's done wrong? Hell, I'm still not sure how he's alive at this point," I whispered.

"Vampires heal really fast," Zexion offered, then hid under the covers when Xemnas frowned at him.

"Superior," Axel said quietly, trying to defuse the tension in the air, "if I may say, Roxas isn't too horribly affected by Zexion's attack. I also believe that Zexion might have triggered a self defense reflex of Roxas's creature. If we could just examine the wounds, we may find a clue as to what it is."

Xemnas considered Axel's announcement thoughtfully, "Alright, then. You have until midnight tomorrow, and if you find nothing, I'm proceeding with punishment. Larxene, come along."

Larxene nodded to us respectfully, then followed Xemnas out of the room and closed the door behind herself. I looked at Axel expectantly.

"So, what's the plan, smart guy?" I asked him, raising a brow.

He took a breath as if to say something important, then let it out in a rush, "I have no idea…"

Zexion rolled his eyes, "Just great. I guess that means that I'm the only one who's got the slightest clue. You want my opinion?"

I nodded hopefully.

"It's something bird-like. Wyvern or harpy, maybe. I'm not sure, though," Zexion said.

I grimaced, "God, I hope I'm not a damn harpy. That's the last thing I need."

"Relax, Roxas. Male harpies are way too rare. I think Zexion was just joking, right, Zexion?" Axel reassured.

Zexion merely stared at Axel. I hunched my shoulders and sighed.

"This is going to take forever," I muttered, "just terrific!"

"Well, we should get to work, then. Zexion, if you would do the honors…?" Axel said.

Zexion removed the shreds that were left of his shirt from his body to reveal the full extent of the wounds on his upper chest. To me, the wounds seemed right, as if they actually belonged where they were. I had to remind myself that that was due to my heritage. I stepped closer, but not too close lest I scare Zexion. He sat up further, propping himself up on his hands, the blanket slipping down to show me something worse than what I had done to the top of him. Crisscrossed scars were scattered across his abdomen, sunk inwards even now.

"What happened there?" I asked, pointing at the scars.

Zexion, who had noticed the scars by now, yanked the covers to hide them, "That is none of your concern. It has nothing to do with you, so erase it from your mind," he snapped.

"Calm down, Zex," Axel soothed, "he was just curious."

"Yeah, well everyone forgets to mention that curiosity killed the cat," he hissed.

"What?" I shouted, "Inferno's dead?"

"No, no," Axel told me, glaring at Zexion, "it's just a saying. It means that being curious can be dangerous. Inferno's okay, remember? She's still at home in the living room."

Zexion rolled his eyes, "Sentimental morons."

Axel ignored Zexion's insults in favor of examining his wounds. He stared at them for a long time before resurfacing from the trance he had seemed to fall into. Zexion crossed his arms over his chest.

"Well?" he demanded.

"I agree about the bird theory. I'm going to have to research this before I come to a conclusion, though. Can I trust you two not to kill each other while I make a quick trip to the library?" he said flatly.

"Yeah, whatever," Zexion replied, "he's the one who tried to kill me. Not the other way around…"

"Anyway," Axel interjected, "I'll only be gone for a few minutes."

A bunch of fire appeared in a circle around Axel, then engulfed him. When the flames were finally gone after a few seconds, Axel was gone with them. I held my hand over the floor he had just stood on , feeling the heat seeping from the linoleum. I stood back up to see Zexion gazing at me.

"Truthfully, I know what you are, already," Zexion said quietly, "I just don't know if anyone in the Organization honestly should."

"Why?" I asked him.

"Okay, you remember when I bit you back there in the alleyway, right?" he began and I nodded, "That self defense reflex took over when your body knew it was in danger. Here's the catch, though. Your genes are still dormant. Right now, your creature isn't even awake, so to speak. If you understand what I mean, it is very powerful to do so much damage in a dormant state. If it actually awoke, I fear that in the wrong hands, you may bring utter ruin, or worse. The apocalypse."

I laughed, "You're kidding, right?"

He shook his head gravely, "Afraid not."

My face fell, "What's going on, then?"

Zexion sighed, dropping the blanket from his abdomen to reveal the scars I had seen earlier. He pointed at them.

"These, believe it or not, are from a similar creature to what you are. A very close cousin, in fact. That's the feathered wyvern," he explained, "a quite bird-like type of the dragon variety."

"That still doesn't explain what I am," I said skeptically, staring at the horrible scars.

"I'm not sure if I should tell you," Zexion muttered, "do you promise that you will not tell anyone about this? Not even Axel?"

I bit my lip, but said, "I promise, but if he finds out on his own, then you can't hold me accountable."

"Cross your heart," he ordered.

At first, I thought he was joking, but after he stared at me expectantly for a while, I realized that he was serious. Rolling my eyes due to not seeing the importance, I used my finger to trace a cross over my heart.

"Cross my heart, I will not tell anyone about what I am unless they have first discovered it on their own," I vowed.

"Good," Zexion said, finally seeming satisfied, "sit down."

I did as he said, sitting down on the only available seat. Namely Zexion's bed. He scratched his head thoughtfully before folding his hands over his lap.

"Yours, as you know, is a rare race. Your mother was the most powerful of the females, your true father being most powerful of males. Normally, when your kind mates, they have one child, but sometimes abnormalities occur. Because there were quadruplets, only one of the children could be gifted. It is likewise with twins, triplets, and other such things. The exception would be if they were identical, because they are all made from the same egg, sperm, and genes. Know that your mother didn't die just as soon as you may have thought. She first left her blessings with you," Zexion said.

"Yeah, yeah, but what am I?" I asked him impatiently.

"Patience, Roxas," he chastised, "I knew your mother, if only for a short while. In fact, I'm not as dangerous to you as you may think. Nor you I. Vampires have long been allied with your kind."

I watched him impatiently, the suspense killing me. A rapping came at our door, and if Zexion wanted to finish, he'd have to make it fast.

"Griffin. You are a Griffin, Roxas," Zexion revealed, "but you aren't just any Griffin. Due to your heritage, you are one of the most powerful of Griffins that this world has ever seen. So powerful, in fact, that the earth could be destroyed by you alone, if you wished. This is why you must not fall into the wrong hands. This is why I must protect you from harm. I am bound to guide you, though I hate my binds."

"Wait a minute, if you are supposed to keep me from getting hurt… then what the hell is this for?" I demanded, pointing at the swollen wound on my neck.

"That served two purposes. One was to confirm that you were the gifted child, the other was to mark you. The swelling will eventually fade into a marking. It works kind of like a transmitter. Using it, I'd be able to tell where you are and whether you are in trouble. Old vampire technique. Don't worry, though. It won't affect your cute little love life," he explained.

I blushed profusely, "Leave my love life out of this!"

"Touchy, touchy, are we?" Zexion asked, "Anyway, open the door. The buffoon has waited long enough."

I really wanted to know more about myself and what Zexion had in common with any of it, but the knocking was getting quite annoying. I stomped over to the door, yanking it open. I was astonished to see Sora in front of me.

"Sora?" I asked.

"Roxas!" he cried, throwing his arms around me, "I'm so sorry! I don't want you to leave us all alone, we miss you!"

"Correction, Sora," I murmured, patting his head, "you miss me. No way in any of the layers of Hell would Kairi miss me, and Namine could care less. You're the only one who would ever miss me, but Aerith loves all of you. You don't need me."

"But you're wrong! Now that you're gone, she's taking it out on Namine!" Sora sobbed, hiccupping, then mumbled, "All those bruises… her legs, her legs…"

"What, Sora?" I demanded, "Tell me! What happened to Namine?"

"A-Aerith broke her legs! She broke her legs so that she can't get away and tell anybody! You have to help her, please!" Sora begged, looking up at me with the saddest eyes that I had ever seen.

"I don't know how I could help, Sora…" I replied dejectedly, "I'm just the worthless one. I could end up ruining things further."

"No, Roxas," Sora told me, "you're the strongest one of all of us! If anyone could save her, it's you! I beg of you, please! Please… I'll do anything… if you can do that… please…"

"I think it's a great idea," Zexion said.

I snapped my gaze back at him questioningly, "And why would that be?"

"It might be just what you need to awaken. If you can do that, you can most definitely save your sister. Besides, we could use someone like Sora for the Organization. He might come in handy," Zexion said, getting out of the bed to stand up.

Suddenly, there was a lot of heat in the room. For some reason, I knew that it was because Axel was coming back. I rushed everyone out of the room as quickly as I could.

"Come on! If we're going to go, now's our only chance!" I told them, pulling Sora along with us.

"If I may make a suggestion," Zexion said, "I can get us there quickly if everyone holds one of my hands."

I immediately latched onto Zexion's right hand, but Sora was hesitant. I glared at him, then he grabbed Zexion's left hand. Zexion whispered a few words under his breath in a language I didn't recognize, then we suddenly zoomed up through the ceiling. We didn't actually destroy anything, but instead faded through all of it. Before I knew it, we stood on the front lawn of my house. I could hear Namine's screams from outside the house as clear as if she were next to us. That wasn't a good sign, because she was always shy and quiet. If she was loud, then something was hurting terribly.

I was the first to charge into the house, and in my rage I broke down the doorway. It was probably unlocked, but I didn't care, I was in a hurry. I followed the screams until I got to Namine's bathroom. Aerith was dunking her head into the tub, but she was trying to come up again. Every time she did manage to get out again, she would scream, begging for Aerith to stop. I didn't wait for things to get worse. Instead, I came forward and grabbed both of her hands with my strong grip. I pulled her arms back, pulling Namine out of the water with Aerith's arms. Namine was gasping for oxygen, and Aerith was seething.

"What the hell do you think you're doing to my sister?" I growled, squeezing her wrists until she released Namine's hair.

"What does it look like?" she asked me hysterically, "I'm killing her!"

She made a wild strike at Namine, bruising her face. Namine cried out in pain, clutching her cheek. Before Aerith could harm her further, I stood in her line of vision. She snarled at me, pulling her hand back like a rattlesnake posing to strike, then slapped me across the face and raked her nails through my skin. I took the first hit, but when she slapped me a few more times and picked up a hot curling iron from the sink, I grabbed her wrist. She tried to jerk her hand away, but I tightened my grip.

"Let it go, Aerith. Leave both of us, all of us, alone. I'm taking her away from here," I told her calmly.

Namine hugged my legs from behind me, whispering how she was so grateful to me, that she had been so scared. I didn't really mind her being there. I felt like we had a lot in common, and after all, we were related. Aerith narrowed her eyes at me. She feinted an attack with her hand, which I blocked. I didn't realize that her true aim was to kick Namine in the face. She was wearing sharp heels, and I knew that it would hurt if she landed the blow. I turned and draped myself over Namine so that Aerith's heel dug into my back instead of Namine's eye. I ground my teeth together against the pain.

"Zexion," I gasped, "carry Namine. You and Sora help her out of here. Go back to Paranormal Fang. Tell Axel what's going on if you have to, but get out of here."

Zexion frowned, "I'll protect her, but I'm not leaving you, either, Roxas."

"Damn it, Zexion! Listen when I tell you-" I took a sharp intake of breath when Aerith ground her heel harshly into my back.

"Shut up, you useless good-for-nothing!" Aerith screamed.

I hugged Namine tight, even though my back hurt. When Aerith's heel left my back, I became wary. I turned around to see her holding a large kitchen knife. She lunged at me with the knife, making a wild stab. Stupidly, I dodged the attack, not realizing in time that I had left Namine wide open. Everything seemed to be in slow motion when I watched in horror as the blade buried itself into her stomach. Namine's eyes grew wide as she looked at the knife protruding from her belly.

"No!" I shouted, rushing forward and shoving her off of Namine.

Aerith ripped the knife from Namine, then stabbed me with it, then twisted it. I gasped, then collapsed to the floor, clutching the knife. Aerith stomped on my back in the area of the knife. I felt it start to protrude through the other side, my vision flashing wildly. I no longer felt any pain, because I had stopped feeling anything after I saw Namine get stabbed. I was staring at her, and now she looked up to meet my gaze, smiling at me kindly. Something in my heart seemed to crack.

I felt my body suddenly go cold, then a crimson light began to shimmer through my body. I felt a transformation taking place. The knife was forced to leave my body as I started to heal. Aerith screamed in disbelief. I pushed myself up from the floor and turned to face her.

"It's over, Aerith. You're done torturing this family," I told her.

"No!" she screeched, "It can't be! Demon child!"

I looked at Zexion over my shoulder, "I do believe that what we came here for has been achieved, Zexion. I would like to leave, now."

He nodded, "With pleasure."

As I was carefully picking Namine up, Aerith ran over and grabbed her legs. She started trying to pull Namine away from me. Namine cried out in pain.

"She's mine! You can't have her," Aerith said, pulling on Namine's legs again.

"Let her go, you're hurting her," I said quietly, watching as blood endlessly poured from Namine's stomach.

"No, she's mine," Aerith replied, tugging again.

Abruptly, heat started to pour through the room. A circle of flames appeared behind Aerith, then Axel stood there in the place of the flames. Proud white wings were sprouted from his back, fire remaining in a ring around him. With one strike, he knocked Aerith out. Her grip on Namine loosened as she crumbled to the ground.

"There. Shall we leave?" Axel said, smiling at me.

Tears threatened to fall from my eyes, but I held them in. I held Namine close.

"Axel!" I said in shock.

"The one and only," he said.

Zexion stepped forward, "Sorry to break up the reunion and all, but Namine is dying."

Sora stayed back, unsure of what to do. Axel finally looked down at Namine and gasped. I merely looked ahead, my blood running cold. Zexion patted my back reassuringly.

"Not everyone is meant to live," Zexion reminded me, "at least she dies being surrounded by people who care."

"Yeah, Roxas, don't worry. She's going to a better place," Axel told me, sitting on the floor next to me.

It was then that I realized that I had collapsed with Namine in my arms. I bit my lips, the tears starting to roll down my face. Something soft touched my cheek. Looking down, I saw that Namine's hand was against my face. She smiled up at me.

"Everything will be okay," she told me softly, "don't cry…"

Her hand slipped from my face. I watched as her eyes started to close, then hugged her tightly to myself. I buried my face in her shoulder, my body shuddering as I cried. I was sure that my tears would probably thoroughly soak Namine at the rate I was crying. It wasn't long before Axel and Zexion pulled me away from Namine's still body.

"You've got to let her go, Roxas," Zexion told me, laying her body down on the floor.

I nodded, not trusting my voice to keep from shaking. Turning around, I saw Sora crying as well. He still looked at Namine's body. After a moment, his eyes grew wide, but stayed on Namine. I slowly turned around to see color coming back to her face and the wound in her stomach closing. Even breaths started to come back to Namine's body, small at first, then gaining strength. Her big blue eyes snapped open, full of life.

"Namine!" I shouted, coming forward and hugging her again.

This time when I hugged her, she hugged me back as tightly as she could, almost as if I might leave her at any moment. I checked her stomach for any signs of tearing, or even a scar, but it was as if she had never been hurt. She looked better than she ever had before. Well, minus her legs, which had remained broken.

"It's a miracle," Sora whispered, coming forward to hug Namine, too.

"No," Zexion said, "it's magic."

"What are you talking about, now, Zexion?" Axel questioned him suspiciously.

"If it isn't obvious by the wings and tail," Zexion told Axel, "Roxas is a Griffin. That's nothing special, but his mother happened to be two thirds Phoenix. Hence the red wings and the glow from his skin. As you know, Phoenix have special healing properties in their tears. That is what happened."

I frowned up at Zexion, "Then why didn't you just tell me from the beginning and save us some trouble?"

"You think it's easy to cry, boy?" Zexion asked me, "It takes a lot of training to do on purpose."

I remained quiet, just happy that Namine wasn't dead. Apparently, Sora was, too. They both talked endlessly to each other. I wanted to talk with them, but I figured that I might break the happy moment.

"Time to get back to Paranormal Fang," Axel told us all.

"What?" I asked, "So soon?"

"Sorry, but Superior has called another meeting," he said.

Zexion snapped to attention, "Why does he want another meeting already?"

"That is for me to know and for you to find out," he said mysteriously as he started to create a portal of flames.

All of us except for Axel merely stared at the image of Zexion's hospital bed in the center of the flames. After a good minute of staring, we turned our stares on Axel. Axel frowned at us.

"What?" he snapped, "So my teleportation isn't as awesome as Zexion's. Don't hate me for it."

"Are those flames going to kill us?" I asked Axel.

"What? No!" he replied exasperatedly, "They're perfectly harmless. See?"

Axel stuck his hand in the flame, then held his hand up for us to see he wasn't hurt. None of us were convinced. Axel rolled his eyes.

"You all are a bunch of sissies," Axel groaned, "if you think that it's going to burn you, try it for yourself and prove me wrong."

I knew that nobody else was going to try, so I stepped forward. Hesitantly, I reached my hand into the ring of fire. The flames invited me in, licking at my skin, but did not burn me. In fact, they were merely lukewarm. It was strange. I turned to face the others.

"He's right. They're fine," I told them.

Everyone seemed to heave a sigh of relief at that. I heard Axel mutter the word 'sissies' under his breath along with a few other things. Axel stepped in front of the portal.

"Well then, now that we know the big bad fire is safe, shall we leave?" Axel requested, motioning towards the fire with his hand.

Sora and Namine were the first to go through, Sora carrying her. Their figures blurred as they stepped into the flames, then faded. When I saw them again, they were on the other side, standing next to Zexion's gurney. Zexion was next to step through, appearing beside them. I saw that they were talking to each other, but sound didn't seem to travel through the portal. Axel looked at me.

"You did well, Roxas," he told me, "I'm proud of you."

"Thanks," I said, hugging him before we both stepped through the portal together.

When we appeared in the back room beside Zexion, Sora, and Namine, something had changed. Saix and Xemnas were now in the room, as well as Larxene. Everyone stared at me and Axel. I was feeling a little edgy with the expression Saix and Xemnas both wore. It was as if they expected something of us. That, or were disappointed. Either way, it didn't look too awfully good. By now, Axel's wings had somehow magically faded away. I had to make a double take to make sure I wasn't seeing things.

"Roxas. It appears that your heritage has been discovered rather quickly," Xemnas skewered Zexion with his eyes, "as we are unsure of what to do in response of the circumstances, you are free to stay with Axel for now. You will follow orders if we send them, but know that for now, you aren't going to be very busy. Nor is Axel, seeing as he will be busy with, shall we say, babysitting," Xemnas then made a point to look at Axel, "I hope that you will find the next week or two pleasant. You are dismissed."

We all started to leave. I ushered Sora and Namine out in front of me, Axel following behind us. Zexion was last to come out.

"Oh, Zexion, I need you to stay, if you will?" Xemnas requested, a demanding tone nearly hidden from his voice.

Zexion seemed to stiffen before he bade us farewell and closed the door. I felt worried for Zexion, but didn't have time to worry about him at the moment. Sora and Namine were both frozen in place, unsure of what to do. Namine might not have been frozen since she was being carried, but the point was that they were a little stunned by the amount of people in the club. Obviously, Paranormal Fang had opened while we were gone. A few people I had immediately recognized as vampires were getting a bit close to the group. There were a few others that didn't seem human, but I was unsure of what they were. All I was sure of was that if one more vampire looked at Namine with hungry eyes, I was going to rip his throat out.

Trying to get my feelings across to Axel, I grabbed his hand and squeezed it. Hard. He seemed to wince, but got my implied meaning. He nodded, then walked over to Sora. He took Namine from Sora's arms, motioning for me to get Sora and follow him. I did just that, giving the evil eye to the speculators. They backed off as if they had been burned. Meanwhile, I dragged Sora through the masses of people to the all-too-familiar side door. Axel shouldered the door open for me, then stepped out, letting the door close. I let go of Sora's hand as I held my arms out to cradle Namine when Axel handed her to me. He then made a portal much like before for us to get back to the apartment. I smiled at being back in the vaguely familiar surroundings, though Sora seemed a little edgy. I laid Namine down on the couch carefully, trying my best not to jostle her broken legs.

"What are we going to do about her?" I asked Axel.

"Believe it or not," he replied, "I am quite the expert in medics. I'll have her fixed up in no time!"

Axel then rushed off into another room that I hadn't noticed before. Namine merely rested her head on the arm of the couch as she watched me standing in front of her. Sora was looking around the room warily. I gave a little shout of surprise when something soft brushed against my leg, then realized that it was just Inferno, Axel's cat.

"Hey there, Inferno," I welcomed him, rubbing my hand along her slender spine.

Namine's eyes widened, "Is that a cat?"

"Yep," I confirmed, picking Inferno up gently, "she's Axel's. Want to pet her?"

"Please?" she whispered, reaching her hand out.

I slowly lowered Inferno down to Namine. She immediately began petting Inferno, whispering compliments in the small orange cat's ear. Axel came back in and chuckled at the sight before him. I smiled up at him with a twinkle in my eyes. Sora chose that moment to finally calm down and come over to the couch, sitting on the floor beside Namine's petite form. Inferno came over to sniff his hair, batting at his ear playfully. Axel held out a small orange vial for Namine to take.

"This is for your knees. It's a secret family recipe, so don't tell anyone about it, but it should fix you up well," Axel said.

Namine looked the bottle over, "What does it do?"

"It will mend your bones," Axel explained, "I do suggest that you take it before sleeping, though. The process of the substance sinking through your skin burns, then bones healing obviously hurts a hell of a lot. Just wanted to warn you ahead of time."

She nodded, "I'll remember it. Am I sleeping on this couch, or have you somewhere else in mind?"

"Actually, this entire floor is mine, so you and Sora will be rooming next door. If that is acceptable to you?" Axel said.

"Sounds great, actually," she replied, smiling brightly, "do you mind if we go over there right now?"

"Not at all, be my guest," Axel said, motioning towards a closed door at the right side of the room, "that door leads directly to the place you will be staying in. All the apartments are connected by side doors so that it is easier to access them."

"Great to know," Namine said, "Sora, do you mind helping me over?"

Sora nodded, patting Inferno before scooping Namine up. He told us goodbye, then carried her to the door, opened it, then left and closed the door behind himself. Axel and I were left alone together in the living room. I looked over at him curiously.

"So…" I started thoughtfully, "what now? You have anything we can do?"

He smirked, sitting on the couch and pulling me down onto it with him. Picking up Inferno, he sat her on his lap. He then looked at me pointedly.

"I had a few things in mind…" he trailed off.

"Such as?" I asked.

"You'll see," he told me as he put Inferno on the floor and leaned towards me.

I wasn't the happiest camper after how crappy my day had been. I mean, can't a guy have a break? The only honestly good thing about this day was that we were all still alive. Though, Namine did almost die. I was glad that Roxas had actually deigned it necessary to help me at all. I was even more glad that he was able to save, and possibly bring back to life, Namine. It was just that things were getting a little too supernatural for me. Now I watched as Namine was falling asleep in her bed. She had rubbed the stuff from the orange container over her knees just a while ago. They had started to glow a little while before she fell into a blissful unconsciousness. I was glad for her, but a little overwhelmed at this point.

After I closed the bedroom door, I sat down on the couch in the living room. This apartment was much like the one Axel was living in, so the layout was basically the same. I was just minding my own business, sitting in the living room when I started to hear a strange noise. At first, I figured that someone was walking up some stairs or something, but the sounds persisted and got louder. Before long, it was a loud thumping noise, quite strange to my ears. I walked over to the door I had entered the room from, placing my ear against it. After it had gotten really quiet, I figured it was nothing, but then there was a strange scream as well as another thump.

No longer able to remain neutral to the situation, I threw the door open. As soon as I was inside Axel's apartment, I looked around wildly to find the source of the strange sounds. Roxas was on the floor, under a table while Axel had just swiveled halfway around to look at me.

"What the hell is going on in here?" I demanded.

I was shocked that Sora had come back in the room. What shocked me more was that he was disturbed by mine and Axel's actions. I looked at him flatly.

"We're playing tag," I deadpanned, getting out from under the table, "is there a problem with that?"

Sora blinked, a quite visible blush filling his cheeks, "Oh, okay. Sorry for bothering you then…"

As Sora started to leave, Axel asked, "What did you think we were doing?"

"N-nothing!" he shouted before slamming the door shut behind himself.

I looked at Axel and giggled. He snorted, trying not to break down in laughter. It was so fun to mess with Sora sometimes. Then again, he was always such a prude, so it wasn't hard to zero out what he tended to have problems with. Wait, I'd probably have to amend that. Based on the clothing Sora had in his closet, he wasn't as innocent as everyone thought. Which, in that case, I couldn't even imagine what he may have thought we were up to. Weird…

"Well, that was fun," Axel sighed.

"Yes," I agreed, "yes it was."

"Unfortunately, I do believe that we should get some sleep," Axel said.

"What?" I asked, "So soon?"

Axel raised a brow, looking at his watch, "Um, yeah. It's 11:49, we're kind of cutting it close. Besides, I wanted to take you shopping in the morning, so let's get some sleep."

I pouted, trudging off to Axel's bedroom, "Fine, but if you want your bed, you're sharing, and if you think I'm putting on pajamas, then you're stupid."

Axel laughed, "I know."

Axel's bed was queen sized. More like queen and a half. I swear, it was huge, but of course I saw that yesterday. It was a good thing that the bed was huge, though, because I was a major bed hog. Axel took off his shirt, putting on some pajama pants, then slipped into the bed. Yes, he was hot. No, I was not telling him that. I would have fallen asleep perfectly, but I had to keep fidgeting to find a good position. Sleeping with wings was painful, not to mention the glowing. I was honestly hoping that would wear off soon. Maybe Axel could help me…

I awoke yet again in an odd position. I swear, I don't like Axel in any strange way, but I always find myself laying on top of him. Quite literally. Well, I take that back. I wasn't exactly on top of him, but I was curled up against him. One of my wings was scrunched against the bed beneath me while the other was laying casually over top of him. My tail was curled around my ankle. Oh, and I also had somehow managed to kick the blanket over the side of the bed at some point. Meaning that we were blanket-less!

Axel mumbled something in his sleep that I couldn't decipher before his eyes fluttered open, coming in and out of focus over and over. He stared at my wing curiously; realization seemed to dawn on him. He smiled and looked at me.

"Hey," he said.

"Hi," I said as I returned his smile.

"Your wings look so much cooler than mine," Axel pouted, "why can't I have red wings?"

"I dunno," I replied casually, "but I kind of need a way to hide them, you know. Don't need the entire human populace freaking out."

"True," he replied, "but Halloween is in a week. They'll probably just think it's a costume, so it won't matter for now."

"If you say so," I rolled my eyes.

"What I want to know is how you keep ending up on top of me," he muttered.

I blushed, "Hey! It's not my fault! I just… kind of move in my sleep…"

"Sure…" he said, smirking at me.

I rolled my eyes again, "Pervert. I so do not swing that way."

"Uh-huh," he said, "I'm not the one laying on top of someone."

My blush grew, "Like I said! In. My. Sleep."

"Then how come you're still on me?" he asked sneakily.

"What? I'm cold," I complained, a shiver going down my spine to prove my point.

"I don't mind it, you know," he said abruptly after a few minutes of silence.

"Mind what?" I asked.

"If you like me. I don't really mind. It wouldn't bother me- I mean, it would be okay," he explained, tripping over his words a bit.

"I'll consider it," I said, hugging him, "but right now, I'm starving."

I hopped out of the bed to make my way into the kitchen, Axel close on my heels. I guess that I wasn't the only one who was hungry. I opened the cupboard up. Axel came up behind me to peer curiously over my shoulder. Not finding what I was looking for, I walked over to the fridge and opened it up. Getting the eggs out of the fridge, I placed them on the stove top.

"What are you making?" Axel asked me.

"I have no idea, but hopefully it will be something," I muttered, then added, "and edible. That would be good, too."

"Here," he said, snatching the egg I had in my hand, "let me handle it. You just sit down at the table and wait."

I nodded reluctantly, sitting down in the aforementioned seat. Axel moved around the kitchen, pulling things out, putting things back, mixing, and cooking. Eventually, he brought two plates over to the table. Upon both plates were three pieces of large French toast, topped with strawberry and blueberry syrup. Before anybody asks, yes, it looks awesome. He set a plate down in front of me.

"Um," he said, "I hope you like it. I don't normally cook, but… Well, I couldn't let you burn the house down, you know?"

I pouted, "I would not have burned the house down… maybe charred it a bit, but not burned…"

Axel burst out laughing. We both tried a bite of the French toast.

"Wow, this is so good," I told him, "where did you learn how to cook?"

"Ah, here and there. I'm originally an angel, so I came to Earth knowing absolutely nothing. I started some hobbies and found out that I had a talent for cooking. Maybe it's something to do with my fire," Axel mused.

"Maybe," I sighed, "but I wonder if I'm good at anything…"

Axel picked up his empty plate and took it to the sink. He turned on the water and started to scrub the plate. I hurriedly finished my food, bringing my dishes over to the sink. When Axel tried to wash mine, I refused, insisting I did it myself. He rolled his eyes, but smiled at me as I did my self assigned task.

"So, uh, if you go get dressed, then I can take you shopping," Axel said, "if you want to, that is…"

I looked up, placing my plate in the strainer, "Sure! It sounds like fun!"

"Okay, go pick something out. Unless you're going in that?" Axel joked.

"Two days in a row? Get real," I replied, shoving him in the shoulder.

I walked off into Axel's bedroom to pick an outfit, though I couldn't help but to think Axel had been staring at my ass. I mean, he's my friend. I couldn't be that conceited, could I?

The outfit I picked today was a pair of loose black jeans with a Dimmu Borgir shirt. I was surprised to find such merchandise in Axel's closet. He didn't seem like the type to listen to that band, but I guess appearances weren't everything. After I was fully dressed, combat boots and all, Axel came in to have a look at me. He had changed clothes, as well. He was now wearing a long black trench coat, opened to reveal a white wife beater and black leather pants. He had on combat boots as well. I caught myself drooling just a bit. He smirked.

"Like what you see?" he asked me.

"Yeah, right," I replied, walking right past him out the door, "are we going or not?"

"I was the one waiting for you!" he complained, causing me to laugh.

This was only my third time at the mall, and it was great. Especially since I was spending it with Axel. We first stopped to get cookies, upon my request. Come on, I'm a sucker for cookies. Now, we were walking down the hallway to Hot Topic. It was a pretty nice store, but it was slightly butchered due to the appearance of Twilight. Just ask Zexion, there is no way a vampire could sparkle, ever. At least not unintentionally.

I'm sure that Axel thought I was really annoying, though. I wanted practically everything in the store, so it had to be annoying. The clerk on duty was quite overwhelmed by my requests and quick changing of mind. Throughout it all, Axel didn't complain once. When we walked out of Hot Topic with bags in hand, Axel took me to check out Spencer's, telling me that if I liked Hot Topic that I'd love them. I wanted even more stuff from them, then we finally left Spencer's with even more bags. More than twice as many as before.

Axel drove us home, 'I Don't Wanna Stop' by Ozzy Osbourne tearing through the speakers. It was a great song, and it helped me think. We got back home, carrying all the bags into the house as we huffed and puffed. Axel and I tossed all the bags carelessly on the floor of his bedroom, falling back on the bed. We lay there for a while, just staring at the ceiling until Axel turned to look at me.

"That was fun, wasn't it?" Axel asked me.

"Yes, but exhausting," I replied, "no more shopping for a while. And so many people pulled on my tail or touched my wings that I'm just sore all over. Are you sure that it's okay to be in public like this?"

"Don't worry," he told me, "we'll figure something out."

"Good, because if one more guy makes a cat call or gropes me, I'm ripping their face off," I sighed.

Axel propped himself up on the bed so that he was gazing down at my face, "What if I did that?"

I sat up just a bit so that I was closer to his face, "Then I might allow it…" I started to lean closer to him.

We were almost touching, I felt a warm tightening in my stomach as I got closer and closer. Axel was looking at me with an expression that I was sure mirrored my own. I'm not sure exactly certain what we were doing, but the next minute, our door slammed open.

"Hey, guys, Namine is-" Sora took a good look at us, "Oh my God! I am so sorry!"

Sora then ran out of the room. I vaguely heard a door opening and closing, but right now I was focusing on my embarrassment. What the hell had I just been doing…? My face burned, and when I looked over at Axel, his face was nearly the same color as his hair. I scooted away from Axel a bit, trying to cool down the heat in my body, most of which wasn't from embarrassment.

"S-sorry," I mumbled, "I'm not sure what I was thinking, I just kind of-"

"It's okay," Axel said, finally back to himself, "I'll, uh, see what's wrong with Sora, then. You go ahead and unpack your things, I guess."

Axel then ran out of the room as quickly as he could. Maybe he was still embarrassed.

It turned out that Namine just wanted to thank Axel for helping her out. She was fully healed, already walking perfectly. Tension between Axel and me seemed to have sprung to life ever since our moment had been broken by Sora. I couldn't help but to wonder if things might have been different if we hadn't been interrupted. Sora seemed a little off, as well. He was giving us both strange looks. Whenever I looked at Axel, though, the redheaded pyro would quickly look away.

For the rest of the day, I tried to confront Axel about what had happened, but he wouldn't pay me any attention. I would come in the room and he would need to use the restroom. I came in the bedroom and he was done resting. I came in the kitchen and he was suddenly not hungry. He was talking to Namine and Sora more than he even looked at me.

I ended up sleeping on the couch, knowing that if I tried to sleep in the bedroom, Axel would say I could have the bed. Despite my decision, I was still upset. I felt cold and alone. I also felt scorned, but forced myself not to cry over something so stupid.

I awoke on top of Axel once again. He was luckily not awake, so I quickly got off of him. I grabbed my clothes and went off to do my morning procedures. When I got out of the shower with my clothes on and patting my hair dry, Axel was just finishing getting dressed. When he saw me in the room, he quickly threw on a shirt and left the room. I followed him, but he left the house. Being outside wasn't keeping me away, though. I was following him out there. Throwing the door open with a bang, I ran down the steps after him.

"Wait!" I shouted, but he ignored me.

I was almost caught up with him, but he still ignored me. I grabbed the sleeve of his shirt, yanking him to a stop.

"I said wait, damn it!" I breathed, panting for breath, "What the hell is your problem? Just because Sora walks in on us doing something, you're going to suddenly give me the cold shoulder?"

Axel didn't reply. He remained silent as I wait for a response.

"Listen, I don't care that he saw. He's my brother, and if he doesn't understand, then who cares? Let's be honest. If he didn't walk in, you wouldn't be acting like this, would you?" I said.

Axel frowned at me, "We are not having this conversation."

As he walked briskly the rest of the way down the stairs, I banged my fist on the safety rail, "Fine, then! I'm leaving!" I shouted at him, leaping over the rail into a five foot drop to the ground.

Before I could change my own mind, I sprinted off towards the street. I didn't even look back as I ran all the way to town. The whole way, I had to dodge cars and other road hazards. I actually got hit by one car, but luckily, it was going a little bit slow. Don't get me wrong, I was in a world of hurt, but it wasn't life threatening. Many people stared at me when I walked by them. I still had a tail and wings, as well as a faint red glow emanating from my skin.

After it became dark outside, I started to get cat calls from both women and men. It greatly disturbed me that so many people were that kinky. I had to fend off one guy because he tried to get a bit too close. A few other people attempted the same, which was overwhelming. Thankfully, though, I kept my beloved virginity in my voyage down the street.

At one point, I actually ended up hiding behind a tree. Why, do you ask, did I hide? Well, that's easy. A gang of thugs had noticed me. Not to mention that I was paranoid that Axel was looking for me. Every red car looked like his to me. I guess it was a little vain of me to think that he would care about me that much, and yet I still hoped.

That night, I ended up sleeping in an alley. The ground was cold and unforgiving. I could see two people making out a ways down the alley, and a drug dealer trying to sell even farther down. All around me, there was broken beer bottle glass, discarded syringes, and even powder from crushing and snorting pills. I also found disgusting sexual juices splattered on the ground and wall. I, of course, slept very far away from that.

A kick in my side was what woke me up early in the morning. I looked up to see one of the thugs from before, when I was hiding behind the tree. He smirked down at me as if he had just found the jackpot. As I tried to get up and run, he grabbed me by the leg, holding me in place. Still keeping a firm grip on my ankle, he called out to his buddies, alerting them to my presence. Soon, they were all crowding around me with identically crude smiles.

One who was more buff than the others and had a lot of dark stubble upon his upper lip and chin came forward. He appeared to be the boss of the group. He had a short scarf tied around his neck with a Satanic symbol on it. On closer inspection, I realized that all of the other thugs wore a similar scarf tied around either their shoulder or their wrist.

I couldn't handle any of them messing with me when I got such horrible vibes from all of them. When the boss leaned down over me, a knife to my neck, and started to try and grope my thigh for some odd reason I could not name, I snapped. Before I realized what had been happening, my hands formed claws and raked through skin, flesh, and any other soft tissues they could find. I could see everything that I was doing, but it was as if something else was in control. Working almost completely on adrenaline and fear, I made quick work of the boss.

His body fell, soiling the blacktop with blood and gore. If I had looked down at the body, I wouldn't have been able to recognize it as the guy I had just mutilated (and possibly become sick while I was at it). His face was a shredded mass of skin hanging loosely from around his jaw. His eyes were gouged out, and his nose was not visible without professional inspection. In fact, what I had done to this guy made Zexion's wounds look like a small fall at the playground. Literally. Not only was the guy's face not recognizable, his body barely passed as humanoid now.

And all of the rest of the gang was terrified. Every last one of them looked as if they were ready to make a run for it, but whatever had torn up the guy wasn't satisfied. It wasn't me killing these people, it was some primal animalistic instinct alive in my body from the day I was born. None of the others looked nearly as bad as the boss did, but none of them were recognizable, either. My ghoulish deeds had left me thoroughly soaked in the blood of the thugs, alone in the cold night. I slipped out of the alleyway, shivering from head to toe as the blood was cooled by the autumn air.

This time when I walked down the street, no one tried to grope me. No one made cat calls or touched my wings. They didn't even leer at me. Instead, their eyes would be filled with fear as they found my small, blood covered form. They hadn't known what I had done, but they knew I hadn't tripped over a curb, that much was obvious. As I walked down the street, the only thoughts that filled me were thoughts of getting back to the calm warmth of the house. I didn't want to think about Axel at that moment, but perhaps if I could see Sora for a little while, or even Namine…

The thought was dropped like a burning stick when I remembered how horrible I looked. No way would Sora or Namine be able to handle seeing me like this. That left Axel, Zexion, and Xemnas as my options at the moment. I still had a grudge against Axel, which left me with Xemnas or Zexion. Currently, I didn't know how much I trusted Xemnas, so Zexion it was.

Turning on my heels, I decided the best course of action was to head for Paranormal Fang. With any luck, Zexion would still be hanging out. If luck wasn't on my side, I'd have some searching to do.

To say the least, I didn't have to worry about protecting myself at Paranormal Fang. Plenty of people opted for giving me as much space as possible. I searched the room for any sign of the slate haired vampire I sought. He wasn't in the immediate vicinity, so I headed over to the bar. What surprised me was the fact that instead of Xemnas, a sandy blonde haired guy with blue eyes and a mullet was working the bar. As I approached the bar, his body tensed, then he looked up to meet my eyes.

"I don't suppose you're here for a drink, are you?" he asked, deadpan.

I shook my head sadly, "Nope. Is Zexion here, or am I going to have to go on a wild goose chase looking for him?"

The blonde gave me a hard stare before sighing, "He's in the back," he pointed his thumb towards Xemnas's door, "but I'll warn you now that he isn't in the best of moods."

I was already walking towards the door, saying over my shoulder, "Oh, don't worry, he'll snap out of it when he sees me."

"I'll bet…" I vaguely heard the new bartender mutter under his breath as he began wiping the bar down with a rag.

Not bothering to knock, I threw the door open and walked in. I kicked it closed with my foot as Zexion looked up with an angered expression before it was taken over by shock. I hazily noted that Zexion was stitching shut a gaping wound in his shoulder. Now, though, I had his undivided attention.

"Tell me what happened," Zexion sighed, finishing the stitches on his shoulder and putting the needle down on the bed.

I didn't sit down on the bed, figuring that I would get blood all over the sterile white covers, which might upset Xemnas. I did, however, walk in front of Zexion and sit down on the floor. Someone could mop it up and if it bothered them, he or she could kindly kiss my ass.

"Axel…" I trailed off, amending my story already, "Sora and I got in a skirmish after we got Namine back to the house. I blew up in his face, then stormed out of the house. Then, I ended up taking my rage out on a few… innocent… thugs…"

Zexion rolled his eyes, "Roxas, don't be stupid. Thugs are never innocent," he paused thoughtfully, "anyway, why does this bother you so much?"

"I told A- Sora that I was leaving. Meaning that it would look stupid if I came back. Not to mention how the thugs look. Zexion, it looks horrible," I explained, "like something from a sci-fi horror film."

"I've seen a lot of horrible things," Zexion said after a long silence, "and I'm not denying that what you did was bad, but you might be overreacting. Griffins are very instinctual and animalistic until maturity, which can take quite a while. I've seen them get to thirty before reaching adulthood, so this is completely normal. You should also know that Griffin attacks never look human. Even though you have wings and a tail, they'll never suspect it to be you. In the meantime, I think that Sora deserves to see you again. He probably will start missing you, and with what has just happened, he will be worried that you're hurt."

The way that Zexion emphasized Sora's name made it sound as if he didn't believe my lie for even a second. I bit my lip before I could give in to my traitorous conscience and tell him the truth. It wasn't necessary for him to know about that. Instead, I smiled thankfully at him.

"That means a lot, Zexion, it really does. Sora probably is pretty worried as it is. Besides, I kind of want to go home and get warmed up, get a cup of hot cocoa, and of course take a shower. Not in that order, though," I said.

Zexion laughed, "You do that, and in the meantime, I'll call up Axel and fill him in on what happened."

"No!" I shouted, cursing myself internally immediately afterwards.

"No?" he asked me confusedly.

"No…" I said more quietly, "I'll tell him myself. I'd feel more comfortable."

"Suit yourself," Zexion replied, "I'll be visiting tomorrow to make sure everything is going okay. Just remember that these sort of things aren't your fault…" he tilted his head, as if listening to a whisper in his ear, "And by the way, if Axel upsets you, just let me know. I'll knock him a good one for you. He can be an ass sometimes."

I spluttered and stared at Zexion, "Excuse me?"

He smirked knowingly, "I'll take that as confirmation. Go on home now. Unless you need transportation back?"

I was about to say no, but then thought about it. Looking up at him, I smiled.

"Actually, that sounds pretty good. I don't think that the masses are going to handle me well much longer," I stood up stretching, "when are we going?"

Zexion got up off the bed, "In just a minute. I have to put up this stuff, then we'll go."

While I waited by the door, Zexion replaced the things he had borrowed from the cupboards, then we entered the club room. The bartender with a mullet was still working the bar when we passed by. He waved at Zexion. Zexion pulled me over to the bar with him.

"Hey, Demyx, how's it going?" Zexion asked him.

He smiled cheerily despite my gory state, "Superior just called me and Lex back from Hawaii."

"Oh," he replied, "how'd it go? Did you guys have fun?"

"Yeah, but Lex screwed up on his drum solo again. Luckily, the crowd's too stupid to notice, but I swear he needs a lot of practice," Demyx groaned.

"Hey, don't be so hard on Lexaeus, Demyx," Zexion chastised, "you know how he just got out of the hospital. You should cut him some slack, even if you guys had to do a concert. I mean, did you see how he looked after that?"

"Um, excuse me?" I cut in, "What are you guys talking about?"

"Woops," Zexion exclaimed, "it completely slipped my mind that you guys haven't met. Demyx, this is Roxas. Roxas, this is Demyx. He wasn't here for the last month or so because he was on tour. He and his buddy, Lexaeus are in a band."

"Cool," I said, "it must be awesome going around and playing music all over the place."

"Actually," Demyx replied, "it's a lot of hard work. All I want to do is sleep, but something came up and Xemnas needed me to come back ASAP."

"To take care of the bar?" I asked confusedly.

"No," Demyx clipped, "for the new member."

"That would be me," I smirked.

"I figured as much. Zexion doesn't get along well with outsiders," Demyx replied," although, it's strange that he's taken a liking to you even now. What's with you?"

"I don't know," I muttered, averting my eyes to the floor.

"He's the one that Superior has been looking for. Remember? The one I told you was the entire reason I even joined the organization?" Zexion said in an attempt to jog Demyx's memory.

Demyx was silent for a moment, then did a double take at me, "Wait, he's that kid?"

Zexion nodded solemnly.

"Oh no, no, no. Zexion, you're not planning to-" Demyx began.

"Yes," Zexion said firmly.

"Zexion, 12 is not going to like this. You know how he gets when-"

"I do, and I'm going to take the chance that I could end up getting killed, but I'm not leaving Roxas's life in jeopardy before he even knows what he's gotten into. I'm going to do everything in my power to keep him safe, and I'm not leaving him open for attack. 12 would mince Roxas if he found him, so I'm just taking precautions," Zexion explained.

"Zexion…" Demyx whined, "he is going to drag it out of me. I hope you know what you're doing, because if I die, I'm dying for a good reason."

"You're not going to die, Demyx," Zexion muttered, "he wouldn't kill you to get to me or Roxas. Now, if you don't mind, I have to get Roxas home to his brother."

Zexion put a lot of emphasis on the word brother, letting me know that he still didn't believe my story. I pursed my lips, watching as the people in the club were slowly gaining the courage to get a little closer to me. I guess that even blood and gore couldn't keep the weirdoes of the human populace from dry humping me on the dance floor. Best to get out before they even thought about trying.

"Zexion," I ground through my teeth, interrupting their farewells.

"Yeah?" he asked me.

"Can we please leave before these people try to rape me on the dance floor again?" I demanded rather than asked.

Demyx waved goodbye to us as we left, our pathway narrowing as the crowd got closer and closer. We exited through the side entrance, just like before. Zexion held his hand out for me to grab, which I gladly took. We were then spirited away to Axel's living room. Sora was in the living room with Namine and Axel. All of them jumped when we suddenly appeared out of nowhere.

"Hi," I muttered.

Axel was the only one who had gotten over his initial shock, meaning that he was back to ignoring me. I was almost wishing that he'd get up and leave like he'd been doing so that I didn't have to deal with seeing him pretend I didn't exist at all. At the moment, though, I had to deal with Sora and Namine, who were freaking out over my bloodied appearance. They wouldn't listen to me as I tried to get their attention. They kept babbling and staring, then babbling some more.

I got so fed up that I finally shouted, "Shut up! I'm not hurt and it doesn't matter!"

I then stomped out of the room, leaving Zexion to deal with explanations. I was going to the bathroom for a much needed shower. After slamming the door shut, I realized that Inferno, Axel's cat, was in the restroom. I opened the door to kick her out, but when she rubbed up against my leg affectionately, I lost my resolve to do so. Closing the door, I began to strip, then stopped to look in the mirror.

There were two things which concerned me. One was that I was, in fact, hurt. There was a long gash coming from just beneath my collarbone up across my neck. It looked awful and gaped like a great bloody maw. The other thing that caught my attention was the other side of my neck. There was now a dark crimson rust colored marking on my neck. It was a spiral with an eye in the center, and twined around it were two dragons that face towards each other above the spiral.

I decided to take my shower now and worry about my problems later. A nice hot shower to wash away the blood and warm me up would do me some good. I turned the knobs and pulled the switch up; the warm water sprayed down from the showerhead. I hopped in, and surprised to find that Inferno followed me. I hadn't anticipated her doing it, but welcomed her as she tried to comfort me. The blood flowed down my body, mixing into the water, then swirling down into the drain. After a few minutes, I noticed a strong sensation in my flesh that felt like a cross between burning and stinging. It was horrible, and furthermore, took me a few minutes to realize that it was the gash being affected by the water.

I clenched my teeth, but didn't get out of the spray of the steaming hot water. Despite the pain from my wound, the water felt wonderful. Inferno, bless her strange little heart, was still in the tub and rubbing up against me. It felt as if it took half an hour for all the blood, gore, and grime to flow off of my body, even with my vigorous scrubbing of soap. Eventually, somehow, I managed to get cleaned up.

Some stumbling around, a drenched cat, and a couple minutes later, I was out in the living room with dripping hair and a towel around my waist. Everyone stared at me when I walked in. Well, everybody except Axel. He glanced at me, looked away, then got up and left. I had to force myself not to beg him to stay. I came over to the couch with a soaking wet Inferno beside me.

"What did I miss?" I asked curiously.

"We're sorry about being so rude, Roxas," Sora apologized, Namine nodding.

"Yeah, we should have given you a chance to speak instead of making a big scene," Namine added.

"Thanks," I said quietly, "it really means… It really means a lot to me…"

Zexion patted me on the back, "I told them basically everything," he said.

The way he put that let me know that Zexion hadn't told them everything in my terms. He simply told them enough to let them know that everything was okay. I'd have to figure out the story at some point.

"Well, I'm going to go put some clothes on, so if you don't mind…" I said, ducking under Zexion's arm and escaping to Axel's bedroom.

When I came in, Axel was still in the room. That didn't shock me as much as the fact that he stayed in the room and even did as much as to acknowledge me. He got up, and I expected him to leave again, but he instead closed the door, then turned back to me.

"Look, Roxas," Axel said, "I understand that I was being… stupid… I behaved wrong and I upset you, but please hear me out before you hate me."

I held my finger up to stop him, "Hold on, I don't hate you. I never did, I'm just angry."

Axel nodded, "Well the point is that I acted like a jerk. I'm just really confused, because of something that happened. There is something…" Axel trailed off, staring at the wall before making eye contact with me, "There is someone who is after you, and he wants power. He wants to use you for his own selfish gain, and something he said bothered me."

"Wait, what's going on Axel?" I asked, worried.

"His name is DIZ. Darkness In Zero. His name is misleading and he will do anything in his power to hurt you. I've had contact with him recently, and I'm worried that he might use me to get to you."

"Is DIZ number 12?" I asked him, recalling Zexion and Demyx's conversation.

"What?" he asked, then his eyes widened, "Oh no. You've got to be kidding me! No, DIZ isn't number 12, why would you want to know that?"

"Zexion mentioned that a guy called 12 is trying to hurt me," I stated coolly.

"Oh no, great. Not Marluxia, why does it have to be Marluxia?" he murmured.

"What's going on?" I asked him.

"Nothing. It's nothing," Axel said quickly, "here, you get in some pajamas and go to sleep. I'm going to go talk to Zexion."

"But I'm not tired," I whined.

"Go to sleep," Axel repeated firmly, leaving the room.

Reluctantly, and whining the whole time, I did as Axel said. Even though I honestly wasn't tired.

I woke up laying next to Axel. He was still quietly snoring in his sleep, his face peaceful. I turned towards him and reached a hand out to him, brushing it gently down his smooth cheek. He rolled over to face me, but didn't wake up. After two days ago, I was really curious about him. I wanted to know if his lips were as soft as they looked so badly.

Not realizing what I was doing, I leaned into Axel and did just what I had been thinking about doing shortly ago. I was about to pull away, ashamed of what I was doing when Axel's eyes shot open, then half lidded. He fisted his hand into my hair, reaching the other one around my waist to pull me closer. I was surprised by his reaction, but quickly rebounded. I hooked my left arm around his neck, then caressed the side of his face with my right hand.

Our kiss could have lasted all day, but with the way we had desperately been coming onto each other, we had to pull away to gasp deeply for breath. We were still looking into each other's eyes, but we now both wore smiles on our faces. I gave him one more quick kiss before hopping out of the bed. That's when I realized just what I had drowsily put on for bed.

"Roxas, what are you wearing?" Axel asked me, sitting up in the bed.

"Um," I said, "I have no idea, I was too tired to notice what I put on. It appears to be one of your t-shirts, though."

"Without pants?" he sighed.

"I don't think I'm wearing underwear, either…" I trailed off abashedly.

"Oh, God!" Axel exclaimed, covering his face, "Go get dressed, please."

I smirked at him, "Fine by me."

With that, I picked up one of the outfits I had chosen at Spencer's and headed off on my great expedition to the bathroom. I could hear Axel muttering under his breath behind me as I left the room.

I didn't uncover my eyes until I heard my bedroom door close. When I did finally open my eyes and put my hand down, I sighed and looked down at my pants. Man, I'm pitching a tent. That is so embarrassing. Though Roxas had left the room, I couldn't get the image of him in my shirt out of my head. Had he seriously not been wearing underwear? I really hoped that was accidental, because he was going to be the death of me.

I waited for around fifteen minutes before I deemed it okay to leave the bedroom. Mostly because I had to find a way to get rid of my 'little' problem. Eventually, I had decided on a cold shower. That was what normally worked for me. I was lucky that no one was awake, yet. Roxas was in his restroom, the shower turned on, Zexion was sprawled out on the couch asleep, and Namine and Sora were sleeping curled up together on the other couch.

Stealthily as I could, I snuck over to my other bathroom, sneaking inside and closing the door quietly. When I turned around, Inferno was on top of the vanity, looking right at me. I jumped and gave a small shout of surprise.

"Inferno!" I gasped.

She tilted her head at me, then jumped down onto the floor, "Having a little trouble with the new kid? I'm telling you, be careful."

"What? I am being careful. All I did was kiss him," I said defensively.

"No, you dimwit, I meant about DIZ and Marluxia. DIZ knows way too much for his own good, and Marluxia is suspicious about how edgy everyone is being. I would watch out if I were you…" Inferno warned me.

"Don't worry, I will. Now get out, I need to deal with something," I demanded, opening the door.

"You mean that you have to get rid of the wood your sporting for Roxas," Inferno snickered.

"Out," I repeated angrily.

"Fine, fine," she said, prancing off with her tail in the air in a snob like manner.

I closed the door, groaning to myself and looking down at my traitorous manhood. I scowled.

"I'd kill you, but it would probably hurt me more than you," I growled, knowing fairly well that I looked like a moron.

Taking my clothes off and dropping them to the floor, I got into the tub. I turned on the cold water, then pulled the switch. I waited for the frigid spray to get me down from my arousal. Regardless of the fact that the water was at its lowest temperature, I was still burning up. How could I feel so hot when it was so cold? This was going to take awhile, as well as a new tactic.

I scowled down, "I still hate you so much."

After I was warmly dressed and in some comfortable clothes, I stepped out of the bathroom. It was then that I noticed Zexion was still here. Sora and Namine hadn't left, either. They were all sleeping, but when I approached Zexion, his eyes flew open and he sat up from the couch. He rubbed at his eyes tiredly.

"Sorry if I seem a little annoying," Zexion apologized, "upon Axel's request, I remained here to keep an eye on things. I see your mark has appeared, by the way."

My hand found my neck, and I ran my fingers over the slightly raised mark. I looked at Zexion curiously as I dropped my hand to my side.

"What does it mean?" I asked him.

"It means," he replied, standing up from the couch, "that you are my responsibility. The eye means that I know what is happening to you, the spiral represents my protection."

"What about the dragons?" I asked as I noticed he had left that part out.

"It simply represents a fight for those who harm you. A fierce fight," Zexion said, "anyway, I couldn't help but notice your wound. Would you like me to stitch it up, or would you rather let it gape at Sora and Namine a little longer?"

I pursed my lips, "Stitching it up would be nice, thank you."

Zexion nodded, pulling a needle and thread from his pocket. He ordered for me to sit down on the couch while he did his task. Surprisingly, he was great at stitching the wound, and I barely felt a thing. Finishing up with the stitching, he knotted the thread and broke it, returning his tools to his pocket.

"There you go, all better," Zexion said, smiling at his handy work.

"Thanks," I said, "this will probably scare them less than the wound itself. Are you staying because of DIZ and Marluxia?"

Zexion's eyes widened as he seemed to think I shouldn't have known about them, but he didn't have a chance to say anything. Our talk was interrupted by someone clearing his throat. Zexion was staring and so I turned around to see Axel.

"Hey, Axel," I said, "I'm all dressed now!"

I was sure not to tell Axel about the tent he had been pitching. It would embarrass him. Besides, I got the feeling that he didn't know I knew. Zexion looked at me with shock when I told Axel that I was dressed. Axel's face turned red with embarrassment, but he took a deep breath, then it was gone. He sat down on the couch beside me.

"So, what did I miss?" he asked me.

"Oh, nothing much," I told him, "I'm bored though."

"Want to watch some television? Maybe you won't be so bored, then," Axel suggested.

"Sure," I said.

Axel picked up the remote from the coffee table, pressing the on button. The screen blinked on, revealing the news channel. Axel was about to change the channel, but I held my hand out.

"Wait, I want to see what they're talking about," I told him.

"… Yes, we have confirmed that there are seven bodies in total. The bodies were found late last night by a woman and her children who happened to be walking by…"

My stomach clenched when the realization hit me, "Change the channel," I ordered.

Axel frowned at me, "But I want to see what they're saying it is."

"It has been confirmed that the bodies belong to the local gang, the Broken Nine Inch Nails, or BNIN. We still have not confirmed who the victims are or whether they are even male or female. Due to the graphic nature of their condition, we cannot show photos, but I can describe how they looked," the news woman shivered, "faces shredded to no recognition. Their bodies are butchered and any genitals they may have had are either gone or shredded, just like the faces. Our investigators say that based on the build of what they could see, the victims are all most likely men. All I know is that there is no way that the killer is human."

After that, the reporter promised an update later that day, then went on to another subject. Axel finally turned off the television. He turned to look at me.

"Did you do that?" he asked me.

I bit my lip, but nodded slowly. Zexion patted my back.

"Don't worry, Roxas," Zexion said, glaring at Axel, "it's like I said. You're still an adolescent, so it's not your fault."

I only nodded, staring at the blank television. Axel leaned over and hugged me tightly to himself.

"Zexion's right, Roxas. It isn't your fault," Axel said.

I hesitantly hugged him back, sniffling as tears threatened to fall. Zexion sat down on the couch and hugged me, too. That's when I really did break down crying. All this time, I had thought that I was in this alone, but I was wrong. I had friends, and they cared about me a lot.

I was just minding my own business outside, looking for the necklace Namine had somehow managed to drop out the window. It was a memento of our mother, so it mattered a lot to her. It mattered a lot to all of us. I had been looking high and low for it for two hours now with absolutely no results.

Finally, I saw the necklace on a bush a couple feet away from the apartment complex. The blue glint of the birthstone hanging from the chain caught my eye and I began to reach for it. Just before my fingers could touch the necklace, my wrist was grabbed by a red gloved hand. I tried to jerk my hand away, but found that the grip remained. I turned my head to see a tall man with a red balaclava covering all his face except for his terrifying eyes.

"You…" the man said, "he cares about you…"

Terrified, I tried to get away from the man again. Calmly, he pulled me into a strangle hold, covering my face with a cloth. I wasn't sure what was on the cloth, but it smelled weird. Losing consciousness, I made a wild grab for Namine's necklace. I somehow knew that I wasn't going to get away, so I yanked my own necklace from my neck and dropped it to the ground as I was dragged away. I hoped with all my might that it would somehow get to either Roxas or Namine.

Axel and I were sitting together in the living room on the couch. Zexion had to leave for awhile. He said something about checking on Demyx. Axel and I weren't doing anything naughty, though. We just sat together, talking about how the day was going, embracing each other's warmth. Our together time didn't last long. It was interrupted by the door being thrown open. Namine ran in, panting heavily for breath.

"Sora…" she panted, her face red, "he's… he's…"

Dread filling my body, I jumped up from the couch to grab hold of Namine's shoulders, "What is it, Namine? What's wrong with Sora?"

Namine looked up at me with tears running freely down her face. She fished through her pocket and pulled out a silver necklace with a small shape of a crown hanging from the center of the chain. I gasped.

"No," I said, grabbing the necklace, "Sora never takes this off!"

"What is it?" Axel asked, coming over to comfort me.

I was silent for a while, staring at the necklace. I didn't want to admit what Namine and I both knew, but it had to be said.

"Sora's been kidnapped," I said quietly, so quietly that even I had to strain my ears to hear it, then I shouted, "he's been kidnapped!"

"Are you sure? He might have just dropped it on the ground and-"

"You don't get it, do you?" I asked him hysterically, "Sora does not take this necklace off. Ever. He was practically born with it. If it isn't on him, that can only mean that something horrible has happened."

With that, Namine and I walked briskly over to the front door. Axel grabbed my arm. I turned towards him viciously.

"What?" I yelled.

"Roxas, you have to calm down. I know that this probably sounds horrible coming from me, but there's nothing we can do right now. We have no clues as to where he is, or who has even taken him. You can't rush out on nothing," Axel said, almost pleading for me to stay.

A dark, menacing voice whispered in my head, telling me what I needed to say, "It's DIZ. Are you letting me go or not, 8?"

I used his number instead of his name, which seemed to shock him. He dropped my arm as if he'd been burned, metaphorically speaking, and simply walked away. I threw the door open and Namine and I left the house. Axel didn't try to follow us, or even say anything.

I cursed to myself, slamming my fists on the kitchen counter. Inferno, who had been in the kitchen for a while by then, flinched. She jumped up on to the counter and rubbed up against my arm.

"You shouldn't let it get to you that much, you know," Inferno told me, "you let him push your buttons way to easily."

I laughed mockingly at myself, "I'm not sure what bothers me more. The fact that he called me by number instead of by name, or the fact that he knows who kidnapped Sora. I knew that Griffins are highly intuitive, but I didn't know that it was to that extent…"

"If it bothers you, then do something about it. Go out and find him," Inferno encouraged.

"You know what?" I asked, "You're right. I'm going out."

Giving Inferno a pat on the head, I walked towards the door. I grabbed the knob, looking back at Inferno.

"Thanks, I really needed that," I said.

"If you're really thankful, get me some damn catnip," she told me jokingly.

I smiled, "Right. It's on my shopping list."

I groaned as I awoke, my eyes fluttering open. I tried to reach up to rub them, but found that my entire arm was stuck. As I woke up completely, I looked frantically around myself. I was in a wooden seat, metal braces keeping my arms d0wn on the chair. My legs were tied together and a gag was in my mouth. The man who had kidnapped me stood just a couple feet in front of me. I glared at him, trying to say quite a harsh insult that was muffled by the gag.

"I see that you're awake," the man told me, "my name is DIZ. This…" he said, holding up a syringe, "… is only going to hurt a lot…"

I had been searching for hours. Namine's feet were hurting, my eyes were dry, and there was still no sign of Sora or DIZ. We were out of ideas and options at this point. Just when I had told Namine that it was time to go back, Axel ran into us. Well, rather, he quite literally ran into me. If I hadn't already prepared myself, we would have went tumbling to the ground. I think that he realized that I wasn't just going to stomp away now, because he straightened up and took a step away from me.

"I finally found you," he said after catching his breath.

"Yes," I said, "that you did."

"I wanted to tell you that I didn't mean to act stupid again. I wasn't trying to sound like an ass, I was just trying to tell you that people lose things sometimes. I do, however, believe you when you say he doesn't ever take off his necklace. If you'd like, I'll help you look for him," he offered after his apology.

I bit my lip and embraced him in a fierce hug, "Thanks," I whispered.

I cried out in pain as the burning liquid raced through my veins. I strained against my restraints, wishing I could crawl into a fetal position, or at least fall asleep. DIZ didn't do anything about my pain. He didn't appear to be happy, didn't show any expression except for the scrutinizing one he used to examine me with. Though he had injected the stuff into the bend in my elbow, it seemed to travel quickly. It traveled up through my arm into my shoulder, to my neck, and to my heart and head. Eventually, it got into the veins all throughout my body. My legs, my chest, my arms, my head, my neck. They all burned.

I screamed again after taking a sharp inhale of breath. My throat was raw from screaming so much, but I couldn't feel the pain in it over the raging pain from the liquid DIZ had used on me. It felt disgusting and horrible, completely against everything my being was. Finally, when I collapsed in the seat and was unable to do anything but gasp for breath, DIZ released me from my restraints. I fell to the floor, unable to move due to the soreness in all of my muscles.

DIZ was right when he said that it was going to hurt, which didn't make me happy in the least. I gritted my teeth, clenching my fists as I glared up at the culprit of my agony. If anything, he only seemed pleased by my pain.

"Your transformation has better results than I originally thought it would," he said, voice unwavering, "you might just be able to fight Roxas on equal terms."

I laughed breathily, "And what makes you think that I'll give into your twisted ways and hurt my own brother?"

His eyes narrowed at me, "You have no choice in the matter. You are but a minion to my power."

"Yeah, right," I scoffed, "and horses are dancing in the sky wearing polka dotted tutus."

"They are?" DIZ asked me confusedly.

I banged my head down on the stone floor. This was going to get very annoying very fast.

Axel was an extremely good tracker, I'd give him that. He found the entrance to DIZ's hideout rather quickly. Almost too quickly… Namine and I followed him through the dark hallways of the abandoned hotel. It was easy to find his room when we started to hear agonized screams coming from the end of the hallway. Recognizing Sora's voice, I ran ahead of Axel and Namine. Axel shouted for me to wait, but I wasn't stopping now.

When I got to a closed door, Sora's screaming coming from inside, I kicked it open. A man covered in red leather and wearing a red balaclava looked up at me. Sora was squirming on the floor, whimpering now. Somehow, I knew that this man was DIZ. I averted my eyes from Sora to glare at DIZ.

"I'm the one you want, aren't I?" I growled, "Quit torturing him when I'm right here!"

He chuckled darkly, snapping his fingers. I watched in horror as Sora struggled up from the floor, returning my glare. Just behind his piercing eyes, I spotted pain. Unbearable pain. DIZ pointed at me. I didn't even react when Sora came towards me menacingly. When he got closer, I noticed that his skin had lost its color. He was now a pale grey color, his hair was darkened, and his eyes glowed yellow. As my eyes traveled downwards, I saw that his shirt was gone, a hole on the right side of his chest. Blood was pouring out of the hole, a lump was on the floor a couple feet away. Upon closer inspection, I realized with shock that it was a heart. Sora's heart.

Sora got closer to me, his hand raised menacingly. There were long, black claws on his fingers, curving slightly downward at the end. I did nothing when Sora slashed me with his claws. A long gash was made from my shoulder to just above my bellybutton. He slashed me again from the other shoulder now. I still didn't do anything, not willing to hit my beloved brother. Even if he sure was hurting me. Something told me that he wasn't the one doing it, and that was why I didn't have the heart to harm him. Sora tackled me down to the ground, and DIZ watched our every move like a hawk. I felt claws digging into my neck; Sora's hand was strangling me. He pulled his other hand back to strike. That was when Axel came running in, Namine just behind him. I turned my head away from Sora to look up at Axel. His eyes widened as he ran forward.

I felt a hand penetrate the left side of my chest, going all the way through, then rip out savagely. I coughed, blood dripping from over my lips. Axel collapsed to the ground. He stared at us. Sora was back to his senses. He looked down at me. His eyes were wider than Axel's had been. His fingers brushed over my face, then over the hole he had made. Something wet hit my face. When my eyes came back into focus, I realized that Sora was crying over me. Namine had somehow ended up beside us, begging me not to die. I wasn't staring at anything but the wound in Sora's chest anymore. What had he been through before we had gotten here? My eyes slowly found Axel, who was weeping beside us, then over to DIZ. He was sneaking out of the room.

"… He's… getting away…!" I rasped quietly, attempting to point at DIZ.

Just as everyone looked up at him, he threw some smoke bombs on the ground. When the smoke had disappeared, he was gone. I was too tired to care anymore. Sora cried loudly, begging me not to go just like everyone else. I reached up and pulled him down to myself, hugging him in a brotherly way.

"It's not your fault, Sora," I whispered, "shh, it's not your fault. Don't worry…"

Not loosening my hold on Sora, my eyes started to close.

"Goodnight," I whispered.

Even as I felt Roxas fall asleep, I hugged him back. I didn't seem to want to let go of him. Even when I tried to, he seemed to still have a firm grip on me, and so I stayed. I laid on the cold floor, hugging Roxas tight. Axel wiped his eyes, then told me that we'd have to get Roxas back home. Everything was a blur as I could only think of what Roxas had said. It had to have been my fault. If not mine, then whose?

After I put Roxas down on the bed, Axel told me to go get some rest. I told him that I wanted to stay, but he reminded me how tired I was and repeated his order. Reluctantly, I got Namine and went off to bed. Our room had two twin sized beds, one for me and one for her. I turned off the light and got in mine as Namine did the same.

"Sora?" Namine asked me just before I fell asleep.

"Yeah?" I asked, rolling in the bed to face her.

"Will Roxas be okay?"

"… I… I don't know…" I whispered, looking down at the hole in my chest.

Memories came rushing back to me as I stared at it. DIZ had said something in a strange language, which caused me to lose control of my limbs. I was completely conscious of everything, and could see all that I was doing. I could even scream. My hand had moved on its own accord, penetrating my chest and digging through until it reached my heart. The process was painful, but I had ripped my own heart out, though I wasn't technically in control of my body. After that, he had merely told me to and I had attacked Roxas. What might happen if we ran into him again? What if he told me to attack Roxas again, granted that Roxas did live…?

"You know that he missed Roxas's heart, don't you?" Inferno asked me skeptically.

"Yeah, I know," I sighed, "I just can't stand seeing him end up like this. Even if he will survive, it was just so close."

Inferno jumped up on the bed, rubbing her face against my arm, which was folded in front of me by Roxas's unconscious body. I looked down at her and smiled, scratching behind her ears.

"You never got that catnip, Axel," she berated.

"I know, I know," I replied, "I guess it slipped my mind. You have to give me a little more time. I didn't get a chance to buy it today, but if we go shopping tomorrow, I'll buy it. Deal?"

"Deal," she agreed as she padded over to Roxas and laid down upon his stomach, careful not to get near his already healing wound.

I had already rapped the hole Sora had made in Roxas's chest, so I didn't have to worry about patching it up now. Blood was heavily staining the bandages, but Roxas wasn't in immediate life threatening danger. I wasn't ready to breathe a sigh of relief just yet, though. Just because he healed fast and wasn't dead didn't mean that he wouldn't die later. If infection set in or anything of the sort, he'd be in trouble. I didn't plan on leaving him alone tonight, because that would be the worst time to let him be unwatched.

I turned off the light, then came back to the bed. After giving his face a soft caress, I sat down on the side of the bed, ready for sentry duty.

It had been a long, mostly restless night for me. I couldn't stop thinking about what I had done, what had happened to me… what had happened to Roxas. He was my brother. Brothers weren't supposed to try to kill each other, and yet I did what I had. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw the image of Roxas, a gaping hole in his chest. Every time I fell asleep, I dreamt of how much he'd hate me when he awoke. So I sat there in the bed, awake all through the night. Not that I felt the need to sleep.

I wasn't sure what DIZ had done to me, but I no longer felt the same as I was before. I knew that my appearance had changed, that I now had often urges to kill, and that it wasn't safe to have me awake or asleep around any innocent people alone. For that particular reason, I left the house soon after Namine had fallen asleep. I situated myself on the patio at the front door, looking down at the blacktop on ground level. As soon as the sun had come out, my skin started to burn as if I had been sitting inside of a fire. I hopped back into the shadows by the door, soon receding into the house. Namine was awake, and was cooking something. When I came inside, she looked up over the counter at me and smiled.

"Hey," she said, "I'm making pancakes."

I forced a pained smile onto my face, "Great, smells good," I lied, "I'm going to take a quick shower, okay?"

"Okay, Sora," she said, flipping the pancake in her frying pan.

I ran into the bathroom, closing the door behind myself and looking into the mirror. Luckily, I had stayed in the shadows while Namine was looking. All over my face were second degree burns, which were healing quickly now that I was out of the sun's rays. My eyes glowed in a demonic sort of way, not right even in comparison to Axel's strange eyes. I had fangs that were far different from that of Zexion. I was no vampire, that was for sure. Not just because there was more than one set of fangs, either. My skin had lost it's bronze hue, now an ill color of gray. My brunette hair had gotten darker, not quite black, but very close. As I finished looking myself over, the burns completely disappeared, not leaving even a scar or blemish on my skin.

My eyes fluttered open to reveal Inferno sitting on my torso. I could no longer feel any pain in my chest, though there was still a slight wound. It didn't look even close to nearly as bad as it had before. Axel was sitting on the bed, and I jumped a bit when I saw him, but then realized that while he was sitting ramrod straight, he was in fact sleeping. I chuckled and pulled him down into a laying position on the bed.

"You're going to hurt your back doing that," I explained to his sleeping form.

Inferno rubbed up against my face before jumping off of the bed and running over to the door. She lightly scratched on the door, meowing at me. I slowly got up from the bed, walking over to her.

"Do you want out?" I asked her.

She meowed at me again and started to twine herself around my legs. I picked her up so that she wouldn't trip me, then opened the door. I put her back on the floor and watched her go. She ran over to the front door just to do the same thing as with the first door. I sighed and opened it to see that Zexion was passed out on the doorstep. I wonder what happened to him. Come to think of it, did I see cuts all over his neck? They looked really fresh.

I hauled Zexion into the living room. The effort brought pain back to my chest, and I could see blood starting spread from the reopening wound, but I was intent on getting Zexion onto the couch. As I got him up onto the cushions, he winced in his sleep. I wanted to help him, but it occurred to me that I had absolutely no medical experience. I looked up, seeing Inferno sitting in the doorway of the bedroom. She meowed at me again, urging me to follow her.

I came into the bedroom where Axel was still sleeping. Inferno jumped back onto the bed and pressed her right forepaw into Axel's cheek. Her claws popped out, pricking his face. Apparently, Axel wasn't a deep sleeper, seeing as he woke right up.

"Inferno!" he seethed, "Get off!"

Inferno happily did so, jumping off the bed and making herself scarce. Axel looked at me. I smiled, making a little wave with my hand.

"What's up?" he asked.

"Um… I would like to tell you, but you should probably come see for yourself…" I trailed off.

"Oh no," Axel muttered, getting up and coming into the living room.

He immediately spotted Zexion. Axel ran off, coming back in with a first aid kit. He slipped off Zexion's shirt, making both of us gasp. There were slices and puncture wounds all over his body.

"What happened to him?" Axel demanded, fishing through the first aid kit.

"I-I don't know," I stuttered, feeling Zexion's face for a temperature, "I just opened the door for Inferno and he was passed out on the patio."

"I see," Axel said, disinfecting Zexion's wounds, "I hope that these aren't from who I think it is…"

"Why? Who do you think-" I started to ask, but was interrupted by Namine throwing the door open.

"Sora's gone!" she shouted.

Axel pounded his fist on the couch, "Damn it."

"What? What's wrong?" I asked him.

"DIZ," Axel muttered.

"You think that he did this?" I asked.

"No. I think that Zexion was attacked by Marluxia, but Sora's disappearance was DIZ's doing," Axel began wrapping Zexion's wounds.

"What are we going to do?"

"Nothing, yet. Trust me, though. We will find him. We just have to wait for them to reveal themselves," Axel explained.

I put my hand on top of his as he closed his first aid kit, "I trust you."

Axel smiled at me, "Perhaps more than you should."

"Why's that?"

He sighed, "Never you mind."

"Axel," I complained, but we had more urgent matters.

I was starting to notice just how cold and pale he looked. I hoped that his blue lips were just my imagination. I looked over at Axel, but he was walking away.

I cleared my throat, "Um, Axel, you might want to look at this…"

"What?" he asked turning around.

I pointed at Zexion's face, "His face is extremely pale and his lips are blue."

"Don't worry about that. It's not the same as with humans. That's not very bad for vampires," Axel dismissed, leaving the room.

"Are you sure?" I shouted after him.

"Yeah. I said not to worry."

Zexion's eyelids started to twitch, then opened. He rubbed his face, looking up at me with a puzzled expression.

"Where-?"

"You're at Axel's house. I found you passed out on the doorstep. What happened?" I interrupted.

"I… I don't quite remember… The bastard got me good, though. I've got no blood left," Zexion said flatly.

"You're over exaggerating," Axel told him as he walked back into the room.

"No. I'm not," Zexion used his fangs to gouge his wrist, showing it to us, "see? It's not bleeding."

"Holy shit, Zexion," Axel massaged his temples, sitting down on the couch, "you mean to tell me that you could attack someone in here at any moment?"

"Pretty much, yeah," Zexion made a pained smile.

"Is there anything I can do to help?" I asked, laying a hand on his shoulder.

"Not really. Not unless you want to give up some blood before I lose control."

"Okay, hold on. Roxas is not donating blood. I'll go pick up some at the hospital or something," Axel interjected.

"Paranormal Fang," Zexion said, "there's some in the back room of Paranormal Fang."

"Got it. Zexion, give Roxas your phone."

Zexion pulled a black and blue phone from his pocket. He handed it to me. Axel pulled out his own phone and made a call. Zexion's phone rang and I answered it.

"We'll keep in contact using the phones," Axel explained, his voice sounding from the phone as well as Axel himself, "I'll be back."

Axel then left. Namine said that she was going to go back to her room and left shortly after. That left Zexion and I alone. We sat silently until I heard a strange sound from the phone. It took me a moment to realize that it was Axel.

"Roxas? Can you hear me?" the phone asked in Axel's voice from my hand.

I held the phone up to my ear, "Yes, I'm here. Is something wrong?"

"No. I just wanted to remind you to let me know if something bad happens. I'm going to hang up, now. Bye," he said.

"Bye," I hung up the phone sticking it in my pocket.

"Roxas," Zexion whispered, his eyes closed, "it's really cold in here. Do you think that you can get me a blanket?"

"Sure," I jumped up and ran into Axel's bedroom.

Suddenly, I remembered that I didn't know where the blankets were. It was a good thing that I already had an idea of where they were. It turned out that they were in the closet, on top of a high shelf. I pulled a big thick one down and brought it back to Zexion. As I was putting the blanket on Zexion, my hand brushed against his skin. I could have sworn that he was colder than ice.

"Zexion, you're freezing," I said in shock.

He grabbed my hand and held it against his cheek, "I know. It's because I have no blood to keep me warm. A human would be long dead by now."

"Your point being?"

"I'm going to die soon."

"What? No! We just met!" I cried, causing him to open his eyes and look at me, "You can't leave now!"

"I'm sorry, but I've only got a few minutes left. Any of my working organs have already started to shut down."

"No!"

"Yes. There's nothing you can do for me."

"But… but what would Axel do? What about Demyx and Sora and Namine? You know they can't handle losing you," I argued.

"No, Roxas, you can't handle losing me," Zexion sighed.

I pursed my lips, staring at him, then muttered, "You're right."

"I know I am. Even so, you have to stop worrying. It will only make my passing harder for both of us."

I squeezed my hands into fists, "No."

"Excuse me?" Zexion's brow furrowed.

"I won't let you go. I'm not letting you die," my claws came out, piercing my palms from how nervous I was, "use my blood."

"No, I can't Roxas. I promised Axel," Zexion said as he tried to sit up.

"Whom are you going to listen to? Him or me?" I demanded, using my claws to slash open my wrist.

Zexion slammed his eyes shut and covered his nose and mouth, "Quit that."

"I don't want to lose you. You're one of my precious friends," I held my bleeding wrist up to him, "use my blood, before this heals over."

"Roxas," Zexion groaned, but with much less vigor than before.

"It's okay. I'm letting you this time," I pulled his hand away from his face, "I'll deal with Axel."

Zexion chuckled darkly, "You know, Axel is going to kill me for this…"

"Not if I can help it. I'll kick his ass if he tries," I told him.

He started to lean forward, but stopped, "I can't do this."

"Yes, you can," I said, my wrist starting to heal, "quit forcing yourself not to when I already said it was okay."

Zexion just shook his head. I bit my lip, glaring at him, then I got an idea. I got up from the floor and walked off into the kitchen. After finding a big, sharp knife, I came back to Zexion. Zexion eyed me suspiciously.

"Roxas," he said as calmly as he could, "what are you going to do with that knife?"

"I need a better cut," I said, quickly running the blade through my nearly healed wrist.

I cut my wrist open so fast that a little bit of the blood started to spurt. It flowed down my wrist, onto my hand and dripped from my fingers. Blood was getting all over the carpet, but all I cared about was keeping Zexion alive. His eyes were shut tightly and his brows were furrowed. Zexion pursed his lips and covered his mouth with both of his hands.

"Zexion," I grumbled, "quit being difficult."

"I have a right to be. I'm not going to hurt you," Zexion said, his voice muffled by his hands.

I sighed, then looked down at my bleeding wrist. Zexion wasn't going to like this, but nevertheless, it had to be done. I sat down next to him, yanking down his hands. I leaned down on top of him so that he couldn't cover his mouth again, then forced his mouth open. I shoved my wrist into his mouth before he could close it.

Zexion looked at me with pained eyes and I felt sorry for him, saying, "I know that you don't like this, but it's a necessary evil. Do this for me now, you can hate me later."

Zexion finally gave in, his fangs piercing into my flesh, much worse than a bee sting. Though it hurt, I ground my teeth through the pain. Axel was taking too long, so that's why I was doing this. That's why it's okay. Well… maybe I should tell Axel over the phone about what I'm doing…

I pulled out Zexion's phone and called Axel, holding the phone to my ear, "Axel you have been taking too long."

"I know. I'm on my way back."

"Don't bother hurrying. I'm giving him my blood," I looked down at Zexion.

"Roxas, no!"

"I had to," I argued, "he was dying. If you don't like it, then you'll just have to live with it."

"Roxas, quit what you're doing right now!"

"Bye, Axel," I hung up the phone.

I was suddenly feeling woozy and there were spots in my vision. Zexion was still too weak to move much. I tried to take deep breaths to keep myself stable.

"Zexion, I'm feeling woozy," I told him.

Zexion pushed my arm away, "I don't need anymore."

"You're lying, I can tell that you're barely able to move," I told him, lifting my wrist up toward him.

"That's my own problem. I am no longer in danger of dying. Go get a snack from the kitchen," he paused, thoughtfully, then said, "and some orange juice. Drink some orange juice."

I hugged Zexion, then reluctantly did as he said. I found some crackers and peanut butter, then some orange juice. I was quick to finish my snack, bringing the orange juice with me into the living room. Zexion had his eyes closed and was resting. I finished my orange juice, then laid a hand on his shoulder.

Leaning down I whispered, "I'm going to look for Sora. Don't worry about me."

Then, I went over to Sora and Namine's apartment. I called for Namine, but there was no answer. Frantically, I checked all the rooms for Namine, but there was no sign of her. My hands shook at my sides. Namine was nowhere to be seen.

I ran outside and scanned the parking lot, but she was long gone. I leapt over the rail, knowing I could land the fall unharmed. I knew that Namine was most likely looking for Sora, who was most likely with DIZ. How I knew that, I wasn't sure. Maybe it was a sixth sense. Unfortunately, that sixth sense wasn't telling me where DIZ was. Good thing I had my memory to depend on.

I quickly found the building where I had last seen DIZ. He turned out to be in the exact same room, waiting for me. I had to lean over my knees and pant for lost breath before I could stand up and face him. Perhaps my lung wasn't quite as healed as I thought it was. I eyed DIZ.

"Where is Sora?" I demanded.

"Oh, Roxas, Roxas," he chastised, "how should I know where your brother is?"

"Don't play games with me!" I took a threatening step toward him.

"Let's not get hasty, Roxas. You will know all in due time," DIZ said.

I lunged at him, trying to punch his face, but phased right through him, "what the?"

"I am but a hologram, Roxas," DIZ explained, "you can not hurt me because I am not here. I will tell you where I am, but you have to come alone. Or else-"

"Or else what, you coward?" interrupted.

"I'm not sure what might happen to Sora, Roxas," he warned, "if there were to be a little problem, I'm not sure what might happen to your beloved Sora…"

I sighed heavily, "Fine. But let me see him, just for a few minutes."

He smirked, "Very well then."

DIZ's image faded away, leaving the room dark and quiet, then a light appeared. As the light faded, Sora appeared in it's place. A hologram, no doubt.

"Roxas?" he asked unsurely.

"Sora!" I shouted, wishing that I could hug him.

"You shouldn't be here, Roxas!" he shouted, "Get out of here!"

"Why? I'm trying to save you," I said as an attempt to reason with him.

"I don't want to be saved! Go back h-"

Sora's imaged disappeared before he could finish his sentence. DIZ appeared in his place again.

"As you can see, he is doing wonderfully. Please do hurry before that changes…" he threatened menacingly, "this is the building where I am staying," he said, his image fading to show a tall, cylinder-like building, "we are on the top floor."

With that, the hologram completely faded, leaving me alone in the cold, dark room. Regardless of what Sora thought or said, I was coming to save him, and no one could stop me. Not even Axel.