*Gasp!* Did I…did I actually just update this thing? Why yes, yes I did! And I'm damn proud of myself to have finished this too! Trust me, not having been able to really write has killed me; I even dropped a day of work (before I had a nervous breakdown from stress) and even that didn't do much to free up my schedule. But this story is now finished. I said it was going to be three chapters long and I'll stick to that…even if this chapter is very long. As I usually say with these ones, read at leisure and enjoy!


Rendezvous with Fools

"You dragged me to this dump?" Hojo snorted.

Vexen would've been offended but he was right; it was a dump. Ansem's desk had papers lying on top that were now more yellow than white. The man's computer was a relic in this day and age. And the entire room reeked of…abandonment, loneliness and despair.

"A little work is all it needs…" the former assistant said.

"Mn." Hojo walked over to the computer and turned it on. Surprisingly, it powered up. "We might actually be able to use this. Maybe I can send Shinra a massive virus to terminate their entire system…"

"This company basically has its hands in some of everything across the globe, right?" Vexen began searching the desk drawers for anything worthwhile. "I don't think a computer virus is going to really hurt them. And besides, Organization XIII could care less for computers. Where can I hit them where it'd truly hurt?"

He began to think it over until a most horrendous sound filled the room and shattered his thoughts. It began as an alarm, changed to a high shrieking, switched over to a noise similar to a severe weather warning interrupting a program, and finally the sound of violent static.

It was the sound of dial-up. For further proof, the modem lay beside the fat, squat computer, the lights on the display flashing green intermittently.

At long last (very long last), the connection was finished and an AOL screen pulled up, mentioning something about a 30 day free trial.

"I can't believe it! Ansem was too cheap to even get proper internet service?" Vexen saw the disk drive blinking, showing there was something in it. He pulled open yet another desk drawer and there stood a large stack of free disks from Wal-Mart for AOL, NetZero, EarthLink and more. "This…this is just sick!"

"Ingenious, actually," Hojo told him, crunching on the keyboard. "Different identities for each disk. Your mentor was a master of disguise. Ah, here we go! The Shinra homepage."

He clicked to view the public information page about the Science Department. It was bland and spiffied up to sound good on paper just to encourage others to join but in reality, the true workings were never to be put out to the public. Though it did give him an idea. "Wonder if I can hack into my files from here."

As he clacked around, Vexen pulled open one last drawer to check its contents. It was full to the brink and he had to give a sharp tug to unstick it. In doing so, something at the very top sprung out and rolled across the floor to rest at his feet. He picked it up, pulling a pair of glasses out of his pocket to read it better. "Let's see here…take once daily with food…yada yada…no more than 4 in 24 hours…erection lasting more than 6 hours!"

Hojo stopped typing while at the same time, Vexen threw the bottle across the room as fast as he could before it tainted him somehow. A vortex was formed for it just before it hit the other wall and it disappeared.

That is until it dropped back on the desk from above.

"Damnit! The portal made another portal! Just like in Portal!"

"Ewwwie!" Hojo cried out and he knocked the bottle away. This time, Vexen took care to ensure that it did not come back.

Somewhere in Destiny Island…

"Now where did this come from…?" Riku asked, picking up a brown bottle floating in the shallow tides of the beach.

Back in the lab, the Shinra scientist was finally able to locate his old files still on the computers that were company property. Within them held his secrets to Jenova, SOLDIER, and the Ancients. "I can use this here to recreate my SOLDIER army to take on Shinra. Only issue is…I need human subjects to inject the mako."

Vexen had been having a brainstorm by standing off to the side and muttering to himself (the only way he knew how to think), but he had actually come up with an idea. "The power of SOLDIER…the heartless bodies of Nobodies. Interesting. I think we have something here!"

"Can you even make a Nobody here with these antiques?" Hojo figured to ask, the nasally snort making it doubly offensive.

"What, you thought some humans would've easily filed in here instead to receive an injection by two old men who couldn't look innocent if their lives depended on it? In comparison, making Nobodies is as easy as it's a piece of cake to bake a pretty cake!"

Hojo stared, quirking an eyebrow.

"Ahem. Let's get started." They set to work fixing Ansem's larger (and thankfully more modern) computer, which filled nearly one half of the room. Vexen was in the midst of unscrambling the tangle of wires in the back when a large thudding was heard against the office door. The two paused and looked at each other.

"Expecting company?" Hojo whispered.

"This place has been abandoned for over ten years, and besides, nobody has access to get in. I'm certain Ansem sealed this place off from other normal beings."

Vexen failed to consider the other person not being a normal being and before either of them could react, the door came crashing down with one more solid kick. There Tifa Lockhart stood, dusting her hands off, muttering something about "Leon owes me one." Then she seemed to spot the other people in the room and crouched into a fighting stance. "Who are you?"

"I think I should be asking you the same thing!" Vexen answered. "This lab here is property of Ansem the Wise and only he and those that have special permission are allowed in here."

"Yeah, well, as of this moment, this is property of the Hollow Bastion Restoration Committee," Tifa notified him, holding up a notice of eviction. "So I'm going to have to ask you old geezers to clear out."

"Old geezers!" Hojo shrilled. "Listen here, young lady, while I'm old enough to be your father—"

"Grandfather," Tifa corrected.

"I'm not that old!" Hojo whined for the second time.

"It's okay sir, we have some really nice nursing homes here," Tifa said, biting her lip to keep from smiling.

Vexen didn't care to hear anymore. He sent an ice blast at her, which she noticed just in time to backflip out of the way. She landed behind a table, which she violently kicked, causing the ice to disperse and sending the object heading for Vexen. The Nobody vanished across the room but Hojo was still in the way. The table crashed into him hard and he fell into a crumpled heap with it weighing him down.

"My hip! Oh, now you've gone and done it, you stupid woman! My hip's been displaced!"

"Oh my god, I'm so sorry!" Tifa hurried over, crouching beside him. "I didn't mean to hurt you!"

"I'm *cough* just a weak, infirm old man, *cough, cough*" Hojo gasped, contradicting his earlier statement. "You'd…hit…an old man?"

Tifa was crying now, gently lifting the table off of him. "No sir, I would never hurt the elderly! I'm so sorry! What can I do to help the pain?"

The scientist blinked slowly, then his eyes fluttered, like he was fighting to stay conscious. "Come…closer…dear."

Tifa leaned down, brushing her hair behind an ear to hear him better, figuring this was it. She'd killed a man and the least she could do was hear his dying words.

Instead, Hojo pulled a syringe out of his coat pocket and jabbed it into her stomach. She gasped, pulling away and stumbling back, knocking over another table full of papers. She writhed on the floor for a few moments before going still.

Hojo got up, straightening his glasses and noticed that Vexen had now produced a large blue shield but was holding it in defense against him. "Did you…just kill her?"

"No. Well…I don't think so. It's supposed to be a mild sedative."

"Mild?"

"Okay, so it was an elephant tranquilizer! She'll live. I think…"

"You think?"

"You know what, let's just hide the body and continue working, please?" Hojo snapped. As they carried Tifa's body to an adjoining room and locked the door, he also asked, "Who is she and where did she come from?"

Vexen held up the Hollow Bastian card he'd taken from her pocket and read her name. "Tifa Lockhart. Can't say I remember that name and Ansem was in charge of the town census. Must be some new, intergalactic punk trying to lay claim on land that doesn't belong to them in the midst of the worlds only being reformed again after the darkness attack."

"…I'm going to act like that made complete and total sense," Hojo told him and Vexen wasn't about to try to explain the workings of his universe to him, a conversation that'd give the most astute of men (and fans) a headache.

They worked diligently enough and by the evening, the computer was running. Vexen had gathered all of the vials and beakers left in the lab together and poured a little of this into that and sat it in a Petri dish. From that, he dipped in two thin tubes that ran back to the computer and analyzed the data. Hojo did roughly the same thing, mixing several substances with his main ingredient, mako.

"So. Concoctions finished. What's next?" Hojo decided to ask, not seeing a host that was usable to their needs.

"Now…the magic starts." Vexen missed Hojo rolling his eyes since he was busy snapping his fingers and watching the Dusks appear. Never being obedient creatures, they began searching for anything they could tear apart, steal, or have fun with. Which included the Petri dishes. Figuring it was some sort of treat, they downed the contents.

"Please tell me that was supposed to happen," Hojo muttered, watching his own mixture go down the throat of one of Dusks. "I don't have anymore mako on me."

But he knew his answer the moment he saw the beings drop the glass dishes, silent screams torn from their mouths. Vexen didn't look concerned as he watched them morph before their eyes. Only having stood knee-high, they began to grow larger and larger. Vexen quickly started ushering them outside for them to finish their growth spurt. As they completed that, he took one of Hojo's syringes and extracted the DNA from one and emptied it back into one of the remaining dishes. This in turn was analyzed on the computer and now he was able to skip the middleman and instantly create Nobodies the size of a three story house.

Hojo stared up at the massive Nobodies in awe. "We've done it! This is better than mechas!"

"Mechas? Who the hell would really want to create giant mechas?" Vexen asked.

"You can't tell me you've never wanted to build a one-hundred foot robot," Hojo stated. "It's every scientist's dream to create one! But till then…this will do." He whistled to catch the attention of the Nobodies and as one, the fleet turned to look at him. "As my—er, our creation, you shall obey our orders! Your first assignment is to destroy Shinra! Headquarters, labs (especially Deep Underground), all of it! Show them no mercy!"

They gave a solemn nod and began to stomp off, the ground shaking with each step they took. The people of Hollow Bastian screamed and ran and what would the moment be without one guy screaming, "Look, it's Goddilla!"

Vexen watched them leave, amused and impressed. "SOLDIER…Nobodies…Dusks. Soulbodies! Get it? Soul and body?"

"Do we even have to name them?" Hojo grunted, packing up the rest of their belongings and clearing away the equipment. "Can't we just call them 'those things' or 'hey you'? A lot easier. And besides, they don't have souls."

Vexen gave a disdainful sniff at his colleague, jumping into the air to rise high enough to see where their creations were heading. To Shinra, surely, but they were in another solar system entirely from where they needed to be. From that distance, he cast a portal and they blindly walked into it. Drifting back down, he created a second one for he and Hojo to follow behind.

"Fine, NoSouls," Vexen suggested again, walking the streets of Midgar. "I'll even give you credit for giving me the idea."

Hojo completely face-palmed. "No, you can keep complete credit for this one. No credit needed."

Vexen noted that they were on a street called LOVELESS Avenue, in which one of the NoSouls picked up a man dressed in a red and black cloak and ate him. The book he'd been reading fell to the ground with a sickening plap. The scientist decided to take a background spot against the shadow of a building, letting Hojo go forth to watch the destruction of his former workplace.

Called to arms, SOLDIERs and Turks alike began to spill onto the street as the creatures got closer and closer to the headquarters. "We can't handle this!" a redhaired man screamed and Vexen watched as he tried to run. A taller, bald man snagged his suit jacket and dragged him back.

"Tseng's looking for a reason to demote you, Reno," he told him and the redhead stopped struggling. "Don't hand him one."

"What? Tseng wants to get rid of me? I've been loyal to this damn company for nearly ten years! That's it, now I'm pissed!" This time he did run away…but was screaming a battle cry as he headed towards the chaos and madness. The other man smirked and followed after him.

High on the shoulder of one of the creatures, Hojo cackled as he led the siege on Shinra. He'd never felt more alive! Not even when he'd created that no-good son of his, the catalyst for one of his greatest experiments. No, Jenova could have Sephiroth. He had this! Ultimate power! Limitless possibilies! The world was his!

And of course he wouldn't withstand anyone telling him otherwise.

Upon reaching the headquarters, he ordered the NoSoul he was riding to create an entrance for him. It complied, ripping a hole in the structure. Hojo climbed down its arm (moving slow because he had to admit he was no longer a spring chocobo) and stood before President Shinra, who was still trying to work as though all hell hadn't broken loose.

"I'm rather busy, Rufus, I don't have time to see your musical or whatever the hell you've taken up now. And it's cold in here, close the damn door—! Oh…" He finally looked up to see not his adult son, but his former employee.

"Yeah. 'Oh'." Hojo mocked.

"What do you want?" the man grumbled, shuffling the papers on his desk furiously as though that'd make him go away. "I'm busy."

"Yes, and so was I. Busy making history. Bettering this company. Earning more money for you. But my brilliance wasn't appreciated! The instant the tiniest stain appeared on the Shinra record, all evidence of it had to be wiped away! Sephiroth's death was Jenova's fault! And his own…that boy was always a bit addled in the head. Should've known something was wrong when I found out he slept by standing up only. But that's not the point! Here's what I think of you and your damn company!"

The President flinched by reflex as the scientist reached inside his coat pocket, figuring he'd produce a gun or one of his legendary elephant tranquilizers (yes, they were indeed legendary. Many a young assistant that'd annoyed him would be instantly jabbed with one, making the floor covered with bodies on any given day). But instead, Hojo pulled out a sheet of paper. Even from his desk, the President could see the bold title of the sheet: Notice of Termination.

Hojo held the paper up dramatically and with a look of pure fury, tore the sheet in two. Though…not before giving himself a papercut, which completely ruined the tough-guy image he was going for. Instead, the President calmly crossed his hands and asked, "Are you finished, Hojo? I have things to do."

Sucking his finger, Hojo muttered a "Yeah, whatever," and sullenly walked back to the NoSoul that awaited him outside.

Ten minutes later, he rejoined Vexen, who was watching more Turks and SOLDIERs run around like ants as they tried to topple the monsters.

"So, how'd it go?" Vexen asked, using his shield to straighten a strand of hair.

Hojo's face darkened and the blonde actually took a step back. "Burn it. Burn it to the ground!"

Well, he was no Axel but he gave the command with a signal of whistles, in which the NoSouls concentrated their primary attention on the building. Vexen created another vortex for themselves and quietly, the two slipped away from Midgar.

The instant their feet touched The World That Never Was, his throat tightened and he felt happy and sick at the same time. At least, the remnant of his real self felt that. His Nobody side told him to stop being such a pansy and just kill everyone with no reservations.

Hojo looked impressively up at the long walkway that led to the floating structure of the castle. "This is where you live?" And to think, he'd been sleeping in his own lab for over thirty years!

"Lived, yes. Though they're about to get a rude awakening. They picked the wrong one when they decided to fire Even!"

"Who's this Even?"

"Erm…nothing. Are you coming?"

"No, I'll pass. I'll have a better view from down here anyways."

"Suit yourself," Vexen shrugged and vanished on the spot to reappear inside the castle. Was it really only a few hours ago that he'd been in here? Felt like another lifetime. He looked around, noticing that the place seemed untouched. But at this hour, dinner would've been served, a trait the group had kept to try to appear normal (who were they trying to fool?). Nobody was truly going to take the time to scrub the floor to the shine it was at now without the help of magic…

It was Zexion's famous kitchen illusion trick! Meaning the Schemer was just here…

"Move and you're dead," Vexen heard someone whisper directly in his ear. He didn't jump, only smiled and slowly turned around. Ienzo was adorable when he tried to act tough.

Zexion was poised with his lexicon open, prepared to probably read some deadly incantation off but snapped the book shut once he realized who it was. "Vexen! You're not supposed to be here. Saix and Xemnas…they gave the kill on sight order if we spot you. In fact…they ordered the Dusks to kill you since you hold valuable information that could sabotage the Organization."

Well, didn't that change his plans. He had hoped to still live in his proper universe but the Dusks were as clever as they were unruly and they'd find him easily enough. This meant there was no other choice; it was kill or be killed.

"Zexion, I snuck in here to warn you; I'm about to attack the castle. I didn't want you to be inside when I did it."

Zexion bit his lip and looked away. "You're wanting to destroy everyone? Not everyone here is bad though! Xaldin isn't too terrible and Luxord is great with keeping people entertained. And Roxas and Xion…and even Demyx, despite how annoying Nine can be. And Larxene might be the wicked bi—witch of the west, but even she knows when too far is too far. The only ones that really want to do this is Xemnas and Saix. And not even Xemnas. I think Saix is just getting bloodthirsty or something…they say he has murderous tendencies…"

The scientist appreciated the sentiments but there really wasn't a way to isolate Saix, who stuck to Xemnas like glue, who'd threaten the death of the other members unless they too attacked Vexen. "Get out while you still can," was his only reply.

Zexion slouched his shoulders for a moment, then gasped and straightened up. Without a single word, he vanished on the spot. Walking into the kitchen was another of his ex co-workers.

"Holy shit, I thought I heard you!" Axel said, walking up to Vexen. "And Zexion too…but that might've been my imagination. How's life treating ya, buddy?" The redhead slapped him hard on the back, his large smile threatening to crack his face in half.

"Don't patronize me, boy," Vexen shrugged the hand off. "Zexion's already told me that you are all on orders to kill me on sight. So. What are you waiting for?"

The smile fell and Axel held his hands out to his sides, a hot wind blowing as he produced his chakrams. "Well, since the cat's out of the bag…" And here, he charged.

Just as he did, a blonde and black blur ran through the doorway and threw itself at him. "Axel, don't!" Axel paused to look down to see a sniveling Roxas clinging to him. "I know nobody likes Vexen, but that doesn't mean we have to kill the guy!"

"Oh, I can just feel the love for me," Vexen muttered darkly.

"Orders, Rox. Disobey 'em and you could be the one in his spot," Axel said kindly. Interesting how gentle he could make killing a person sound.

During this altercation, something was thrown across the room and missed skinning Vexen's nose by mere millimeters. The object stuck up out of the fridge instead, a blue spear.

"Damnit, I missed!" Xaldin growled, using telekinesis to retrieve the weapon. "Must be getting rusty."

"Then move aside, old timer!" Xigbar told him, vanishing on the roof—which, even after years of seeing, Xaldin gave a small scream and stumbled backwards. He wasn't even going to correct Xigbar on the fact that he was older than himself. "I won't miss!"

But just as he fired the gun, a lightning bolt sizzled the arrow and both of them faded into the air. Larxene put a hand on her hip and turned to the Freeshooter with a frown. "Keep your toy arrows out of my way! Can't you see I'm trying to fry someone alive here?"

"But, my dear, no need for such a delicate rose as you to strain yourself when I am fully capable of handling it." Marluxia's vortex formed beside her, this time though with a shower of yellow tulip petals instead.

"Can't we just get along!" Screamed someone else. They turned to look at Demyx, who had a guitar pick on his fingers and looked ready to strum a song. "I…I don't want to have to do it. But I will!"

Luxord vanished in a spot next to him, about giving the boy a heartless heart attack. "What's this that you're going to do, mate?" he asked distractedly, shuffling a deck of cards.

"I'll…I'll do my water technique and flood everyone!" Demyx threatened, trying for all his worth to appear menacing. Luxord stopped shuffling, hands poised in midair and gave him a look with a raised eyebrow. "I'll do it too! Don't try me!"

Xion, who'd been standing in the corner, gave a small splutter which ended up causing a ripple effect of laughter. Larxene laughed the loudest, leaning against Marluxia for support. "You couldn't even fill up a bath tub, much less an entire room! Ha! That was a good one!"

It all happened at once. Demyx growled and screamed Dance, water, dance! and the entire room indeed began filling with water. At the same time, Axel made another lunge at Vexen, who now had Zexion there beside him. The Schemer threw his book at Axel, which stunned him and caused him to go down. He and Vexen took a moment to stare at each other and Zexion shrugged sheepishly. Hey, if it worked, it worked.

However, now they had to doge the arrowgun-spear-lightning combination being fired at them. But Roxas and Xion both were using their Keyblades to cause the attack to rebound back to those that fired them and Xigbar, Xaldin and Larxene each received a taste of their own medicine.

"My beautiful sunflower!" Marluxia screamed as he watched Larxene being struck. Livid with rage, he began sending out waves of…well, flower power. Vexen put up his shield but each move knocked him back several feet and he could see his shield beginning to crack.

During all the commotion, another figure appeared in the doorway and mildly watched them for a moment before speaking. "Um…Xemnas would like a word with Vexen," Lexaeus said. He really didn't like anyone fighting unless absolutely necessary.

But the brawl went on. Xigbar was back up and was flashing around the room, reappearing everywhere and firing with little concern as to who he hit. Which was unfortunate as Axel was finally waking back up from having been hit with a ten pound book, all to be shot in the forehead. He spluttered and went down again.

Larxene and Xion were battling on the other side of the kitchen, Larxene throwing her knives with almost-perfect accuracy while Xion tried to fend them off. Her coat though had several blades sticking out of it. Grabbing a handful, the girl began firing them back at the woman, pleased when one scratched Larxene's cheek. As she grabbed her face, Xion took the opportunity to get in a strong hit, finally back on offense.

Roxas had kicked it into over-drive and was fighting both Xaldin and Marluxia at the same time, using Oathkeeper and Oblivion. One of the spears that was blocked was sent flying and stabbed an appliance on the counter. "My George Foreman grill!" Xaldin gasped. "You little bastard!" He reached for another lance and grabbed only thin air; all of his weapons were sticking out of the wall on the opposite side of room. Instead, he whipped around at Marluxia and snatched his scythe and began swinging maniacally at the boy.

Lexaeus thundered a fist against the wall and yelled "I said, Xemnas would like to see Vexen!"

All action stopped, the last people being Luxord, who had Demyx in a headlock and was punching his face for getting his cards soggy. The Gambler released him and stepped innocently away.

"M-me?" Vexen asked, standing up from where he'd been crouched under the table to avoid Xigbar's bullets. Zexion had actually taken care of that by using a frying pan as a deflector and the Freeshooter was crumpled next to Axel.

"Yes, you," Lexaeus sighed warily, pinching the bridge of his nose. Sometimes he felt like the most mature one there.

Vexen picked his way over the bodies and followed him. Those that were still conscious straightened themselves up, brushing cloaks off and fixing hair. It was Marluxia though, polishing his scythe again to perfection, who noticed the NoSouls waiting outside.

"Great mother of moon flowers! What are those?"

The others crowded the windows to look and Luxord made the comment, "They…look like Twilight Thorns…on a triple shot of steroids."

"Want me to kill 'em?" Roxas asked happily.

"Heh, the big man upstairs might wanna use them," Xigbar said, finally waking up. He winced as he rubbed his head.

"We have enough brainless idiots around here, why do we need more?" The Nymph whined, rolling her eyes.

"Am I the only one curious about what they're talking about?" Zexion asked.

They grew silent for a moment before vanishing at once to reappear outside of Xemnas' office. Except there they were met with Saix, who was leaning against the wall and examining a nail…or a claw.

"Figured it'd be about time before you all came snooping around," he told them, straightening up and putting his glove back on. "Superior instructed me to make sure nobody got past. Also, for the fight that just occurred, all of you are being given extra long assignments out in the field. I will notify you once I have them drawn up."

A childish groan of "Aw, man!" went up from everyone. Axel (who too had finally come to, twin welts adorning his head), pointed an accusing finger at Seven.

"Aren't you the one that really wanted Vexen dead? And weren't we to kill him on sight? How come we're being punished?"

"Because, Lea, the instructions were to get him, not each other."

Axel scowled, taking a threatening step closer. "You had to make this personal, didn't you, Isa?"

"This isn't about you or me. It's about being one, a group, an organization. That downstairs was anything but organized."

"Oh yes, so about being a team, aren't we? You and I were a team! What happened to that?"

Lexaeus stepped forward and put a hand on both of their shoulders. "I think I speak for everyone when I say that nobody cares about your friendship feud."

They stared at him as though they were about to yell something but before they could, the office door opened up and Vexen stepped out into the hall. Xemnas came out after him and raised his arms for silence.

"Denizens of darkness, today we have witnessed a truly most remarkable and fascinating event. The turn of brother against brother, friend into foe, comrade into enemy. But know this; the Organization is only as strong as we are. For with a single weak link in the chain, the entire structure collapses. I thought that letting Vexen go was ridding ourselves of that link; I was wrong. It only created a larger hole. We must all work together to do what we can so that we may survive as One! One whole, one being. As thus, we shall complete Kingdom Hearts and together we can truly, finally exist! Hear me now, my friends…"

By this time, half of everyone was snoring. They got it, Vexen was back in the group and they didn't need to kill one another. But naturally, Xemnas continued on in this way for another ten minutes, wrapping up by making at least four more Kingdom Hearts references, all of which had been said twenty times before.

At long last, Xemnas asked Vexen about the NoSouls outside. "Would you mind sharing the secret to creating those beings? I believe these are just the creatures that the Organization has needed!"

Vexen didn't miss the irony that it would be the project completed when he wasn't one of them that had the most success. But then again, he knew he was underappreciated. However…the NoSouls would not have been created without the help of someone.

"Er, excuse me Superior, I'll go take care of those monstrosities…" he faded into a portal before the leader could protest.

Back outside, he found Hojo where he'd left him. Except…he was smiling. Hojo and smiles were enough to kill puppies. He snapped a cellphone shut and turned to the Nobody."I have my job back. Seems the president was quite impressed with my display of prowess with the…those things," he said, still unwilling to call them by their name.

"Same. Though my company just attacked themselves. I never said they were a brilliant bunch." Vexen shuffled his feet for a bit, looking away before asking. "So. I suppose this is where we part ways?"

"Yes. The next in line for the head of the Science Department is some asshat named Hollander and though he's been MIA for awhile, I'm not risking him coming back to take my spot. So. This is farewell."

They each hesitated. Neither would be caught dead admitting it, but a kinship had formed. It wasn't everyday that either came across someone of their own intellectual level and they were reluctant to have to return to the simpletons of their field. However, finally Vexen awkwardly held out his hand and after staring at it with a wrinkled nose, Hojo offered his own hand and shook it.

"Nice…working with you. It was…interesting." Hojo faltered, not one to give goodbye speeches.

"Yes, truly…remarkable." They let go and turned to go their separate ways.

"Oh hey, um…could you…you know…" Hojo waved his hands around weirdly. "Create one of those inter-dimensional black holes that you travel though? Unless there's an intergalactic shuttle that could take me back?"

Vexen thought about telling him of gummi ships but didn't want to confuse the man with the discussion about that. Even he was a bit confounded as to how a gummi ship worked. Instead, he obliged and created a portal that would lead back to Midgar. The Shinra scientist gave an awkward bow of appreciation and stepped through.

Vexen wondered only briefly if he'd ever see him again. Well, there was always Facebook. He returned back to the castle, the insensible dunces inside arguing over who would clean the kitchen this time (not Zexion), but still, Vexen was glad to be a part of them. Sometimes crazy was normalcy and that was just fine with him.


Whoot, finished! Forgive me if this was a bit all over...been writing this single chapter for the past several months (sad, right? xD). Anywho, please leave your final comments!