And a very late Merry Christmas. Yeah, this is overdue. I know. But it is here, at least. I really need to improve my skills with updating. Maybe pre-write some things before publishing...
I'm rambling. Anyway, disclaimer is as with the last chapter (characters owned by whomever). Here comes the aftermath.
Note: I wrote this over about half a year, so it may be a little disjointed. Sorry.
It was Nexdrak who was the first to notice something wrong. She had returned from her mission, fully expecting to find Haxisal in the Grey Area, filling in her mission report from her very short simple mission.
Instead, she found Saix, his face stony, grim even. She completed her report and was handing it to him when The Lunar Diviner finally spoke.
"Remain in here while the remaining members return." He said, his voice level. Nexdrak shrugged and half jumped onto a sofa swinging her legs up over the arm rest to lie down as the other members slowly returned.
Luxord, Caixsa and Jinxabnem were the first to return, Luxord surprisingly sober and smelling of Ozone. Nexdrak was glad that she hadn't been with them, she could only guess what Luxord had done and what had happened to him. Judging by the half-healed burns, it hadn't been nice.
Korrax, Onyzx and Navex came next, back from a material collection. The three were often grouped for those jobs, two could find them in the field while the third could manage money should they have to be bought. Nexdrak, as had most of the Organisation, had been surprised when the found how good Korrax could be with money.
Soon, the rest of the Organisation filtered in, a total of forty two Nobodies present before Xemnas appeared.
"It would seem..." He began, the other Nobodies soon falling quiet. "... That we have lost one of our valuable members." He spoke. Even the last mutters faded at the words. Then Axel spoke.
"So who was it?"
"Number XXIX, Haxisal."
There were mutters. Several members glanced at each other, others looked to the floor. Some muttered.
"She faded away within Traverse Town." Xemnas spoke. "Attacked by a large group of Shadow Heartless."
"That can't be right!" Zoxey called.
"Hax could take down Shadow's easily!" Nexdrak supported.
"Not those." Caixsa said, shaking his head despairingly. "The Heartless there have been growing stronger and more numerous." His expression turned to a glare, directed at Saix. "As I mentioned in my reports, as did many others." He added, clenching his fists tight, his nails digging into his palms. Jinxabnem placed his hand on Caixsa's shoulder, trying to silently comfort him
"XV, you are not in..."
"Sir, he is right." Saix interrupted Xemnas. "I was discrediting these comments in the reports as they did not concern the missions that were set." He admitted. His face was blank, but the few Nobodies who were looking carefully could see the regret in his eyes.
There were only a few seconds of silence before Krixae collapsed.
"Are the preparations nearly complete?" Xemnas asked, sounding slightly impatient.
Vexen looked at him calmly. "I have almost finished calibrating the World Turn-off Furnishing. The function 'Fully Terminating Worlds' has been somewhat challenging to use to this degree, but I have managed to program a new function into the machine that will seal off a World to any Nobody aside from those who enter by a Dark Corridor in the inner chamber." He replied. "I call it 'Filling the Linear Universe'." He stated.
"F.L.U.?" Saix asked, looking at the screen that the name was displayed on.
"Of course." Vexen stated, as if it were obvious. "With a few keystrokes, we can prevent Nobodies from entering Traverse Town again."
"What are the chances for an unguided Dark Corridor?" Xemnas suddenly asked. Vexen paled slightly.
"I did not take those into account, but even without the F.L.U. in place, it would still be a one in a two hundred and forty five million, six hundred and twenty one thousand five hundred and ninety seven chance that that should occur." He paused, typing in some algorithm "Hardly even worth the effort." He added, hitting enter. "But to prevent the loss of more of the work force, I shall ensure that that is covered." Vexen finished, typing some new code into the computer.
"Good. Saix, has XXIX's Proof deteriorated as of yet?"
"The portal itself is standing, but the plaque has faded to red and the room within is starting to revert."
"Good." Xemnas said. "Good."
Axel, Demyx and Navix sat around the various instruments in Demyx's Proof, Zexion having been dragged after them to listen to the music that would be played. So far, not a note had been produced.
"She would always complain about the noise, wouldn't she?" Demyx spoke, looking at his sitar.
"She did." Zexion commented. "She complained to me, Caixsa and Zoxey."
"And she threw things at us." Navix added rubbing a bruise on his arm, beneath his coat. "I never knew dictionaries could do more than bore you."
"Don't forget, Zexion has a dictionary that can do more than just be thrown at you." Zexion glared at Axel, but it didn't seem that his non-existent heart was in it.
"It's a lexicon Axel." He replied, sighing. "Now shut up. Her Proof will already be dissolving. It will be like she was never there."
"But she was here." Demyx complained. "Even if she was cruel, she was still one of us. I know Caixsa will take it hard. So will Zoxey and Nexdrak." He added.
Navix sighed. "It just won't be the same without her throwing books at us whenever we get too loud..." He commented.
"Not to mention knives, shoes, pillows, Xasech's spikes, arrows..." He trailed off, seeing the tears forming in the eyes of the two nearest Nobodies. "I'll stop." He said, feeling his own tears start to build up in his eyes and evaporate.
"You're all such idiots." Zexion sighed as he started walking towards the exit to the Proof, not letting the three see the tears forming in his own eye.
Caixsa was sat in front of the fountain in his Proof, the fog thick enough to hide the carved thunderstorm on the fountain, turning The Blinded Weather into nothing more than a blurry silhouette.
Jinxabnem could hear nothing, but he knew that that could mean anything. Caixsa had told him about what had lead him to become a Nobody not long after Jinx had mentioned his. He had gotten used to Caixsa's personality then, figuring out what showed which emotions. He found that Caixsa's eyes, or eye rather, would never lie. No matter what, that was the one thing that he knew he could trust when Caixsa ended up in one of his hidden fits of depression. Not even Korrax had known.
The Lucky Omen stepped forwards, quietly making his way to the seated figure. "Cai..." He said, squinting through the fog at the blurry figure.
"My sister is dead." Caixsa replied, using an affection he didn't often use himself. "Can I have time alone to mourn?" He asked, not looking at Jinx.
The ravenette sat down next to the older teen, resting his hand on Caixsa's. The blond refused to look, knowing that Jinxabnem would see the emotions he was keeping from his voice.
"At least let me mourn with you." Jinxabnem sighed, looking to his feet. "I wasn't as close to her as you, I admit. But I will miss her. Just like you." He smiled gently, sadly, and shuffled close to Caixsa. "Please don't follow her." He whispered. "I know you were planning to." He added, Caixsa turning to him in surprise.
"I know you." Was the only reply as Jinx wrapped his arm around Caixsa's neck, holding him close to comfort him. "And I would miss you, as I miss her." He whispered, closing his eyes in silent mourning, Caixsa following suit without a word.
"Do you think Krixae is all right?" Lavonax asked her fellow Cupids, worried about their team mate.
"Guys, quiet. I'm listening to them. She seems all right." Exneri 'said'.
"That's a relief." Leixym said, her eyes red. Looking around, she noticed that it was the same for the other two. She sighed. "We have to face it. Haxisal is gone..." She said, rubbing at her eyes.
"We know..." Exneri moved to comfort her sister, wishing that Demyx were here. And Nelaxathi.
"We have to be strong." Lavonax spoke up, the natural leader of the Cupids trying to motivate the other members. "We have to be. Haxisal would have wanted it. We will have to face the fact that she has faded, but we cannot just stand still for it." Lavonax spoke. "We must make sure that no Nobody will ever fall victim to the fate that Haxisal suffered!"
"That's right! We will strive to ensure that it never happens!" Exneri cheered.
"We shall not rest until we have fulfilled our mission or faded away trying!" Leixym shouted.
"Never again shall a Nobody die without love!"
Of the five Nobodies in the Target Range of Tragedy, only two people were actually doing any target practise. In the shooting range, Noxcorn was using a rifle to shoot a paper target, trying to hit a perfect ten, headphones over his ears to limit the sound. On the other side, in the magic range, Sejox was firing spells at various targets that would only form a mark on the spot where the focus of the magic hit.
In between, in the small seating area, sat Onyxz, Codyx and Tendax, the three of them each watching one of the two doing target practise.
After a minute of silence, Codyx sighed. "I feel so sorry for Caixsa…" He admitted.
"I get what you mean." Onyxz replied, leaning his head back and staring at the ceiling.
"Why Caixsa?" Tendax asked, confused.
"A while ago, Korrax mentioned that they had such similar personalities that they could be siblings." Onyxz answered.
"That's what Caixsa thought of Haxisal as." Codyx added, looking around, before his eyes stopped on Noxcorn. "How can he stay like that even with one of our members gone?" He asked Tendax, who shook his head.
"I think he finds it a good way to cope with things. I think Sejox is the same." He added, nodding towards the oldest Nobody in the room.
"To focus so hard on something small so that everything else fades into nothingness…" Onyxz spoke, rolling the idea through his head.
"That sounds about right…" Tendax sighed.
"I'm going to try it." Codyx announced, standing up and walking over to another section of the shooting range and summoning his shuriken, throwing it and seeing where it hit.
"I wish I had something like that to do." Onyxz spoke. "I barely knew Hax, but somehow…" He sighed again. "I guess I feel protective of people, especially younger people." He admitted.
"There are worse things to be." Tendax spoke, looking over to Noxcorn who was staring at the target, frowning slightly. "I'm going to the long-distance range. Good luck." He said as he stood, heading for the door.
Onyxz sighed. "I guess it's the training room for me…" He said, standing and following Tendax out of the door.
"Are you sure you're all right Krixae?" Roxas asked as he stood next to her bed, Korrax opposite him. The two other Nobodies in the room, Xasech and Texsh, were both leaning against walls, although only one seemed remotely interesting in making sure Krixae was well.
"Do you need fixing?" Xasech asked.
"No guys, I'm fine." The young girl smiled at them from her place on the bed. "I just had a bit of a shock, that's all." She stretched. "Thank you for carrying me here Texsh."
"Oh, y'welcome." He spoke distractedly, the winces everyone had toned down as much as they could. Texsh didn't notice them, he was too busy staring at Korrax.
"It will be strange without Haxisal…" Korrax spoke sadly.
"Yeah." Roxas agreed.
"No one left to attack you when you annoy them." Krixae smiled at them, but they could all see it was forced. "I was so sorry to see her go…" She trailed off, yawning. "Sorry…"
"It's all right." Roxas smiled, placing his hand on her cheek. "I'll get you some soup."
"Not yours…" Krixae spoke tiredly. "You can't cook." Roxas smiled, and Krixae fell asleep.
"It'll be strange without her, wont it Texsh?" Korrax smiled sadly as the Texan quickly replied.
"Uh, yeah." He answered, not noticing the wince Krixae gave in her sleep.
"She liked blood." Xasech said. "I liked her."
"I think we all did, in some way…" Roxas whispered as Krixae let out a quiet snore. "Let's go." He added, moving towards the door. "We should find a way to remember her."
"Lets." Korrax replied, heading for the door with Texsh following, each of them leaving the room and going their own ways.
Of the five Nobodies in the Grey Area, only four seemed calm. The fifth seemed to be really annoyed, and also seemed to be floating slightly above his seat.
"Vixen, stop floating." Navex said as he took a card from Uyxe's hand.
"We know you have the Ace." Nelaxathi added as he took a card from Navex before taking it and one of the two other cards in his hand, the twos of hearts and diamonds, and placing them onto the table between them, before handing his last card to Navex. "I'm out." Uyxe looked at the cards, then sighed.
"Haxisal looks angry." He spoke.
The other four looked at the card, Vixen trying to see Navex's hand, and saw that the two of hearts had a picture of Haxisal on it. She was glaring at the hearts, her bow aimed at it while around the hearts themselves two Shadows were crawling.
"Ironic that the design choice was that…" Luxord spoke, reaching over to turn the card upside down.
"No." Navex said, making them all look at him. "Let's leave it as it is." He sighed.
"Respect her memory." Vixen spoke, strangely solemn. The five Nobodies nodded, then returned to their game, Navex placing down a pair of fives before Vixen took a card from him. "Oh, come on!"
Gentle snores filled the garden, the eight conscious Nobodies silent while the ninth lay in the lap of one of them, sleeping as he always seemed to do.
"You're surprisingly mellow." Marluxia spoke, moving around the garden as he tended to the plants, him being the only one to be doing anything.
"Well, I did lose my little sadist…" Larxene replied, her hand resting unconsciously on Kraxnf's arm.
"Why did Saix send her there?" Zoxey growled, her fists clenching and unclenching robotically as she sat next to Nexdrak on the grass. The newer Nobody rested a comforting hand on Zoxey's shoulder, causing The Elegant Reaper to sigh. Nexdrak silently agreed with her, patting her on the shoulder.
"And we never even got her to date…" Nexdrak sighed, sounding exasperated. "She'd do anything to avoid us helping her love life."
"Some of your ideas were terrible though." Tiraxcovi replied, staring at a flower. "Like Saix, Xigbar, Xaldin, Lexaeus…"
"All right! All right!" Nexdrak yelled, and Tiraxcovi giggled.
"How can you all be laughing?" Xion asked, looking around at them all. "We've just lost one of our own!"
"We're trying to cope with the pain Xion." Maylenex replied.
"Laughing is just a way of dealing with it." Larxene added. "We're all hurting inside, even Kraxnf, and before we can even think of mourning, we have to manage the pain." She paused. "I think that's what he'd say…" She trailed off, looking down at the Nobody in her lap.
"Right…" Xion said, drying her eyes. "I see…" She sighed, and seemed to be trying to force something else to mind.
"Why don't you go and see Onyxz?" Maylenex suggested.
"He was going to the Target Range of Tragedy." Tiraxcovi added, smiling. Xion nodded and formed a Dark Corridor, heading through to see her boyfriend.
"Losing people never gets any easier." Larxene commented. Only Marluxia seemed to know how to respond.
"So what are we going to eat tonight?" Xigbar asked from his seat on the ceiling. The room was too cramped for him otherwise, so he had reversed gravity for himself.
"What about a stir-fry?" Cloudx suggested, looking in the fridge. Lexaeus nodded in agreement.
"That would be a good decision." Xaldin spoke as Cloudx began pulling various vegetables out from the fridge, piling them on the counter while Xigbar kept them from falling and Lexaeus and Xaldin began peeling and chopping the various ingredients to make such a large stir-fry.
About an hour later, all of the vegetables had been prepared, and the industrial sized woks had been pulled out. Cooked chicken had joined the vegetables, and there were several bottles of soy sauce next to each hob, ready to join the other ingredients as they were added. It was only minutes before they were pulling out bowls to serve the food, dishing up the concoction evenly.
It was Lexaeus who noticed. "We made too many…"
"We made one for Haxisal as well, didn't we?" Cloudx spoke, sighing. Xigbar looked down to the ceiling, while Xaldin looked down to the floor.
"It just feels strange, to have her gone." Xaldin finally spoke, earning surprised looks from the other three Nobodies. "She was so memorable, always trying to kill one of us…" He trailed off, as if remembering better days.
"It is odd." Xigbar admitted, jumping down from the ceiling. "How about this. Let's make her a shrine, like the Japanese." He decided. "That way, we won't have to forget her. She'll still feel like a presence, even if she's gone."
"We start tomorrow." Lexaeus spoke.
"So, let's get this food out now, shall we?"
This ended up longer than originally expected, but you did want to know how the Organisation would react to Haxisal's fading away. I also had trouble with the order of the scenes after the announcement, so I used a random number generator. So it may seem a little odd.
Hope you liked this double gift! … Despite how spread out it turned out to be...
And yes Nexdrak. Xemnas didn't really care.
P.S. The new pairings were just me testing them to make sure I like them. You'll find out if I did at the end of NR. Sorry about using this as a test drive.
Haxisal: I still hate you both for killing me.
I know. And how I do not regret it.
Haxisal: … You have such a death wish…
It seems so, doesn't it?