A.N.) This is for Rokushi Day. Hurrah!
Disclaimer) I do not own Kingdom Hearts. (I've been doing it. Always will do it!)
A Mission Worth Getting Lost
The mission today was so generic Axel could have done it in his sleep. Go to Twilight Town! Kill the Powered Armor heartless! Oh, and take the Number XIII with you! He saw the advantage of having his friend with him, but there was one slight problem.
The kid just wasn't in his right mind today.
Roxas would probably agree on being able to do the mission in his sleep, considering the Key of Destiny kept zoning out or daydreaming. It was like he was sleep walking while the pyro was watching to make sure there was no holes he'd fall into. Roxas looked down at his boots clapping with the orange brick road, and Axel would have to shove him or shout, "Look alive!" before the boy would be hit by Shadows.
Eventually, the boys worked through the smaller heartless to the Sandlot where the Powered Armor was waiting. Instantly, Roxas and Axel sprang into action and the clanking of keyblade to steel commenced. It was just too damn easy; two best friends in top form that were completely mastered in team work could do this in their sleep. Soon the enemy was defeated, and the boys watch the heart ascend into the sky instinctively. It was just another day.
"Well~! That takes care of the heartless. Let's get going, Roxas!" Axel cheered with joy, walking away from the large plaza and up the Back Alley. Whistling along his merry way, he almost missed the loud silence of no one following him. "Roxas, you coming?" he asked turning back. Roxas had simply been standing in the same spot, staring at the clouds since he watched the heart float away to Kingdom Hearts. VIII sighed, knowing his weird friend was somewhere far away, and he'd probably end up explaining something Somebody-ish to the kid.
The Fury walked quietly back and patted the boy roughly on the shoulder, hoping to snap the boy back to reality. "Yeah, the mission was fun and all, but it's time to go have the icing on cake!" The younger boy shook a little but was still in a dazed. "Come on, Rox, Xion is waiting."
"Huh?" Roxas's eyes went wide with shock like he was stuck in a dark room before someone snapped white lights on.
Axel tugged on Roxas's sleeve, pulling him to the alley. "Zombie Nobody, do you read me?"
Roxas shrugged VIII away and laughed, "I'm alive! I'm okay!"
"Good! 'Cause I definitely need my fix of sea salt ice-cream."
And that was it. They went off to the streets and Roxas went back to staring at his lovely shoes. Axel, however, was staring straight ahead. Ice-cream! Almost there! Left, right, left, right!
"Axel?" Roxas called to his for a change. Once Roxas halted in the middle of a market area, VIII did too.
"What is that kid doing over there?" Axel followed Roxas's pointing finger to the site of some boy giving some girl a bouquet of bright flowers.
"He's giving that girl some flowers," he said a bit plain.
Roxas held a deadpan expression at the answer. "Yeah, I can see that. What I meant was why is he giving that girl flowers?"
"'Cause that's what Somebodies do. When they want someone to like them, they give things like flowers and candy. Mostly on Valentine's Day. Got it memorized?"
They had barely resumed their journey to the ice-cream parlor before Roxas continued his questions.
"Why would a girl like flowers?"
"They're pretty, I guess."
"Haven't I already explained how complex the female can be? Plus, it's not just for couples. People give flowers as offerings to graves. Flowers are given to people who are hurt or sick. Sometimes bouquets are used as a prize in contests. The main point of the gesture to make someone else feel better."
"Really," Roxas muttered under his breath, extremely intrigued. "So, girls like flowers because they like how pretty they are and it makes them feel better?"
"Exactly. It's funny though watching a guy who doesn't know how to put moves in action though!" Axel said snickering.
"Why?" Roxas asked like an innocent child.
"'Cause they usually end up like that kid over there!"
Number XIII followed his friend's gaze and it landed on a kid he knew as Hayner being dragged by his ear by a girl named Olette.
"You are such a jerk sometimes Hayner! Come on! Mrs. Wilkins has had enough of your mouth today!"
"She was asking for it with the name calling! Didn't you hear her call me a minor, Olette? I mean seriously! Do you see me carrying a pickaxe, singing Heigh-Ho?"
The Nobodies laughed, and so the subject was dropped. They got their sea salt ice-cream headed for their spot on the clock tower and began the ritual of eating said treat while goofing around. All seemed to be right in the world.
Though to Roxas, it was not right in the world. Not yet at least.
"Where's Xion?" Number XIII mumbled before peering down below to see if his other best friend was close.
"Relax, Roxas," Axel said patting the kid on the back with his free hand. "Xion just has some overtime on her mission or there was something she needed to take care of. Girls take their privacy very seriously, you know? Be careful not to flip the wrong switch again." With that said, he returned to biting his treat.
Poor Roxas shivered at the thought and anxiously continued eating. The last thing he wanted to happen was having to relive the confusion of offending Xion with a few ill-chosen words and then spending the next day and a half wondering whether it was too soon to apologize or not. For the record, he still had no clue what exactly he had said to upset her, or why Axel said his apology letter of, "Sorry for flipping your switch XoX" was no good. Nothing made sense!
Moreover, he especially didn't like how he knew he'd hurt her that day (or at least he thought he did). He didn't understand how but…
"I don't want Xion to get hurt again."
Axel perked at the suddenness. "She's fine."
Roxas frowned, finishing off the ice-cream. He checked to see if it was a WINNER stick real quick; it was not, so he tossed it. He sighed. "But you saw what I did this morning, right?"
"You mean how Saïx was picking on her again? Yeah, I saw, but the fact that he's a jerk isn't really news."
"It just seems like he's being more of a jerk than usual. And he doesn't have to call her 'It' and 'Puppet' all the time! Or threaten to turn her into a dusk right before she goes to her mission!"
"But you know that's not going to happen. Xion has kept her quota, and is strong enough to handle anything X-Face has to throw at her. Trust me, she won't get hurt: physically or mentally. And even if she does, she's always got you and me to help."
"Yeah, I guess you're right." Ending that discussion, Roxas left and returned with three more ice-creams. One for him, one for Axel who he knew would finish his by the time he got back, and finally, one for Xion who he hoped would come soon. Where are you, Xion?
He was so glad to hear the stamping of Organization boots coming right when he was thinking how her treat would melt. Though, then Roxas noticed that the steps where accompanied by a squishy, moist sound. Axel must have heard it too, because at the same time, both boys whirled around in astonishment of seeing Number XIV soaked to the bone.
"Well, this is new," Axel remarked.
"Hi," Xion weakly greeted before taking her usual seat. Roxas was most satisfied to see her beaming with gratitude when he handed her the ice-cream. "Thanks," she said more bubbly.
"What happened to you?" Roxas grinned, obviously amused. Xion was taking a few licks when Roxas's eyes wandered to her shoulder to see her coat had been ripped and blood staining some fresh white bandages. "What happened to you?" he repeated much more serious, borderline demanding.
Noticing the change Axel glanced curiously at Number XIII before returning his gaze to his drenched friend. The picture was comical enough to get him chuckling.
Xion smiled. "That was an eventful mission, I think. It was a mission to go to Neverland and kill this giant sea creature heartless I had never encountered before. I met this flying kid who said he would help if I followed him on this pirate ship to help him save some smaller boys they captured. We defeated the heartless, and I went to help rescue the other kids. We made sure the boys got off before we were caught and long-story-short, I was fighting a group of men who smelt like they couldn't even fathom what a bath was. Then one shoved me into the water. The boy assisted me to shore and we went our separate ways."
Xion's audience was greatly pleased and were laughing so hard they clenched their ice-cream sticks to make sure they didn't drop them. Staring off into the sunset for a second thinking, Xion added, "But then the pirates must have sent a search party, because I ran into the same group of pirates on land and was chased back to the corridor."
Roxas recovered quickly and asked containing his protective instinct, "So what happened to your arm?"
Xion gently placed her hand over the bandages. "That was on the ship when I was confronted by this guy with a hook for a hand. He got around me and… well… hooked onto me. I got him to let go, but I was so distracted; that was when that other guy pushed me off the ship."
With a tense look, Roxas nodded. It made him think he was being dramatic, seeing that she was talking about this like it was nothing. So it must have not been as bad as it seemed to him. Right? I thought Axel said she wouldn't get hurt?
Xion licked her ice-cream again. "It did hurt a lot—" Roxas winced. "—but I'm just glad I could buy bandages to clean it up on the way here. I really didn't want to go back to the castle so Saïx could throw my injury in my face. Sometimes, it's like he jumps at any excuse to ridicule me so it will all build up into a reason to finally send me to my death," she ended with a huff.
"What a coincidence! Roxas and I were having a heated discussion before you got here about Saïx being an ass!" Axel cheered, hoping to lighten the mood. Xion was beginning to frown and he could see Roxas beginning to twitch a little… He was assuming that was dangerous for Saïx.
Xion pouted playfully. "Aw~! Why didn't you wait for me? I could have made a major contribution to the topic!" she exclaimed, giggling.
Seeing both friends smiling, Roxas joined also with a grin.
But that didn't mean it was over for Roxas. He woke the next day with enthusiasm, and a goal in his mind. He dressed quickly and went to the Grey Room and met why he hated mornings besides sleep deprivation. Infamous Number VII was in the distance yelling at Demyx for whatever Demyx has done at that point in time.
"Hey Roxas," he heard Xion say from behind.
Roxas turned and met her smile and was even more anxious to get going on his mission so he could do his own personal mission. "Hey, Xion." There was silence only for a second before an idea popped in his head. "Xion, what's your favorite color?"
Taken back for a moment, Xion opened her mouth to answer.
Unfortunately, she didn't get to, though, and Roxas's answer was, "Such favoritism is pointless. Both of you depart immediately." Saïx. Joy.
Number XIV sighed. "Where will I be going today?"
"Halloween Town, Doll." That was one Roxas hadn't heard yet, and he didn't like it. And this resentment was fresh.
"Don't call her a doll!" he yelled with such fury, like it was nature, and it was routine for Xion to place her hand on Roxas's arm and mutter, "It is okay, Roxas." Then, Xion's finale was to take her mission card, drag herself away, and to begin the day's choir.
"You will be going to the Deep Jungle, Number XIII." Still glaring, Roxas yanked his card from VII before leaving himself. What's the Deep Jungle?
The shoreline that separated the area of Congo forest from the ocean was disturbed by the opening of a black corridor. The vibe of dark energy was too much for even the lions or anthropoid apes to be relaxed while in range. Roxas would not have to worry about wild animals pestering him on his odyssey. Once the Nobody noticed his feet were settled in sand, he was gravely confused. He thought he was going to a jungle not beach. Looking ahead he groaned. He found he wound have to travel into the jungle which he found very annoying. He should have been put in the Deep Jungle, not outside of it.
Roxas traveled far, hoping to find a pathway soon. There was no noise of beasts causing him to question if he was even close to where the heartless where gathering. Though on the way, he always looked to his right and left occasionally, scrutinizing his surroundings. All he saw was slimy vines and high trees; nothing Roxas saw was pretty enough!
Deeper and deeper Roxas had gone and finally got to a clearing to rest. Then the heartless starting popping up. He'd kill for yesterday's boring mission with how the heartless were ganging up on him. Plus, these heartless were extremely unlike any others he'd encountered before. They were… monkey heartless? And some monkeys could jump rather high and could shoot fire (which Roxas found out from the experience of getting blasted in the back). There had to have been a report about these if there had been at least one recon mission before Saïx would send him here. Then again, if there had, then Demyx probably was the one given that mission. Yup, that explains everything.
When he finally got them all, he sat down on a log covered in moss, panting. All he could think of was three things. One, how it was too damn close how that wild monkey heartless almost got him when his foot got caught in vines. Two, was how he still wasn't anywhere close to defeating that Stealth Snake the mission card said he had to kill, and he was so close to a climax of exhaustion. Finally, three was how he still hadn't found anything pretty enough.
Maybe I should just buy some flowers in Twilight Town like that kid did, he thought but quickly disarmed. The flowers he saw in Twilight Town were curvy and bulky, with bursting bright colors of the sunset like ruby red and sun yellow, but Roxas wouldn't accept those. No, those aren't pretty enough!
He rested for about half an hour before noticing that both the bigger animals were returning (hungry) and that the sun would start setting soon. He needed to finish the mission, so he stood, collected himself, and continued in the direction away from the beach knowing the Stealth Snake was close for so many heartless to show earlier. He wiped the sweat of humidity from his forehead, then used his keyblade to slash at the vine, eventually coming to a clearing where the dry grass had been smashed and stomped on. It's here!
On cue, a massive lizard heartless had what appeared to be out of thin air, but Roxas had encountered a lizard similar before. This type can turn invisible, shoot energy, and swing its tail around. The only difference Roxas cared to take note of was the painfully obvious exterior change. This wasn't like the one he'd fought for Xion; it had camouflage patterns of highlight green and yellow.
Kill it! Kill it! he repeated over and over and reverted to his zombie state. As a zombie-Nobody, he would go all out without choking. The strategy was the simple: Attack with everything in you! Driven by his worn patience due to fatigue and determination to fulfill all goal for the day, Roxas actually finished the thing very quickly for being single-handed. I'm getting stronger, he figured.
He looked up and saw the sun was already setting. Maybe the time in Twilight Town was slower? Maybe it was faster. Looks like he'd miss his friends today. He sighed. The mission was done, so he'd have to report back soon. I guess I'll have to wait till tomorrow's mission to find pretty flowers…
Which way was it back to the corridor again?
The pair of blue eyes surveyed his surrounding to find any trail of ripped vines to indicate which way he came from. However, he found that the Snake had blown away much of the trees surrounding the battlefield. His trail was long destroyed. Okay, I can fix this. He looked for a high reaching tree, thick enough to hold him and climbed to the top, scavenging the landscape. In the distance, he saw 10 o'clock from his position—"The corridor!" he cheered.
Positioning himself to climb down, he caught a glimpse of something far away. He leaned toward 3 o'clock and squinted, spying the answer to his problem! It was a group of flower definitely pretty enough for his standards!
The sun was going down, he was tired, and the flowers were on top of a waterfall cliff. Even consider these factors he just grinned like an idiot and thought, I can handle it!
Meanwhile, on Twilight Town's clock tower, Axel and Xion ate their ice-cream. Axel was telling what a nightmare it was to be in Wonderland with Luxord, while Xion was glancing down below every thirty seconds just as Number XIII had yesterday.
"When is Roxas coming?" she sadly mumbled to the sunset, almost finished.
Axel took a big bite of his precious treat, rolling his eyes. "Xion, I already had to say this yesterday; he's probably having a longer mission without me around to wake him up from Zombie Mode! Geez, is all you two ever think about each other?"
"Should I climb… or go around?" Roxas asked himself as he stared up at how high the waterfall was. It was already well into nightfall, so he supposed he'd see this journey through to the end no matter what. It just became a matter of getting to those flowers and getting back to the corridor.
His idea was to get them as soon as possible so nothing would damage them before he could make it.
If he climbed up beside the waterfall, he'd have to be fast and use the keyblade to keep him secure on the wall. He pictured it'd be like what mountain climbers did (he wasn't aware he had any knowledge of mountain climbers; he just did). In the end, he decided to go around. The rocks that made up the side of the waterfall were loose and ominously sharp. It'd take longer because everything plant-life was denser than anywhere else in the Deep Jungle, but he knew it'd be worth it with success. Also, Xion and Axel wouldn't be pleased to hear he'd died while taking a shortcut. He wasn't in a hurry anymore; everyone was definitely asleep by now!
Some heartless still popped up on the way, so he killed them; it would only benefit the organization right? Maybe Saïx will finally be happy for once and get off Xion's case. And leave me alone too!
"Good morning, Axel," Xion said practically skipping to her flame-haired friend. The Grey Room was slightly louder than usual. It was early and most members hadn't departed yet, socializing, buying from Moogle and whatnot. Axel was packing away an ether when the girl approach. Seeing her upbeat attitude made him smirk.
"What's the occasion, Sunshine?"
She leaned forward slightly, standing on her toes, and smiling big. "We didn't see Roxas yesterday, but he's got to show up here for his mission. And when he does, I won't fear his demise any longer!"
"Yeah, Roxas isn't dead!" he cheered with joking sarcasm.
"I didn't see him return, kupo."
The two turned to Organization Moogle confused. "Excuse me?" Xion asked with her voice quivering slightly.
"I was selling late last night, and he did not return, kupo."
There was an unkind chill paralyzing Xion's mind.
"He never came back?" she heard Axel ask, eyes darkened.
"That is correct, kupo."
Without waiting Axel glided over to Saïx by the window, and Xion jogged behind barely keeping up with Axel's swiftness. Saïx had not even looked from his clipboard to acknowledge the other members staring at him. He simple held out two cards and said, "Axel, you will be sent to Agrabah. The Puppet will be going to Twilight Town."
Axel didn't take the cards. "Stop calling Xion a puppet—and where was Roxas sent yesterday?" His voice was so cold Xion trembled. Saïx still did not look from his chart.
"Number XIII was sent to the Deep Jungle yesterday. It was a good choice considering our heart collection was nearly twelve percent higher than usual."
"You didn't think the extra heartless would make it harder as a one-member mission?" Axel glared.
"It was either send him or the Doll, and It would have broke again if It went."
"Well Roxas hasn't returned! Let us go find him," Xion yelled, surprising both men.
In light of the information, Saïx looked at XIV then to VIII. "Axel will go to the Deep Jungle. Xion will go to Twilight Town. We cannot afford to lose XIII knowing will have to depend on the Doll if we do."
Axel patted the girl's shoulder, stopping her from pursuing protests. "It's okay, Xion. I'll bring him back. Hey, then we can both kick his ass."
"Maybe I bit off a little more than I can chew."
I'm lost, Roxas admitted as he continued to work his way through the jungle. He was attacked by snakes, elephants, and the actual monkey's teased him. He was tired. He was dirty. He stepped in something he didn't want to think about around the apes' den. He'd nap on occasion, but was still exhausted from tree-climbing. Unfortunately, when he'd climb the vines hoping to reuse that scavenger technique, there'd only be a very thick roof of leaves even farther up. And with the top branches smothered in moss and mold, Roxas would just end up slipping, then falling all the way back to the ground. After the fourth time this happened he decided not to even try it anymore.
But then he listened, and XIII could hear east of him, the sound waves. Like the conch Xion showed me after I woke up from that coma… If the ocean is east, I have to go west!
Poor, poor Xion was perfectly unharmed from her mission, seeing it was extremely easy and extremely insulting. Saïx could be so hurtful… The names she was used to, but being treated like the last ranking of everybody really bruised what little self-esteem she had.
She waited on the clock tower for hours for Axel to come with Roxas, so she could see clearly that he was alive and unharmed. I hate waiting… Is that really all I can do? XIV sat and drank her feelings with soda. She didn't even bother for ice-cream; it tasted too salty today.
She jumped from her seat squealing when she saw a dark corridor open and Axel stepped through. But when she saw no Roxas, her shoulders slumped. He didn't even need to say.
"I couldn't find him in all that dense wild life. I don't think he's dead; just lost somewhere further in. Xemnes has already decided to send Xigbar and Demyx tomorrow to continue the search."
Xion sighed. Then a rush of footsteps sped toward them just so that, "If Demyx is who I'm depending on to find me, I'm doomed!" could be said in time for it to be a joke.
And the music of a picture-perfect happy reunion played in Xion's mind. Both friends looked to embrace their companion but stood shellshock at his rugged appearance.
Poor Roxas who stood covered in dirt, grass, water, and there was some muddy stuff on his boot. His hands stayed behind his back, and his teeth flashed in a cheeky grin.
"What happened to you?!" Xion screamed in a high-pitched gasp.
"Yeah, what happened to you, Roxy?" Axel said through his clenching teeth.
Roxas motioned for his friends to take their seats, with himself in-between. He inhaled. Xion leaned closer, and expected his story to begin. To her surprise, he just held his hand out to show her the most beautiful flowers she'd ever seen. White daises…
Axel smacked his hand to his forehead. "It took you all of—whatever you've been through just to get six daisies?!"
"T-There for you, Xi," Roxas stuttered slightly, which was strange because his eyes were blazing with confidence. His small smile grew exponentially, seeing her take the present and smile equally as big. "They're to help you feel better, you know? With your shoulder injury, and Saïx always bullying you…"
Xion hugged the flowers to her chested and sighed happily, dazed in bliss.
Axel, on the other hand, found this hilarious. He smirked, then snickered, then just laughed. "Well it's good to have you back, Buddy!" he exclaimed slamming his arm over the boy's shoulder. With Roxas's new scent wafting, Axel jumped back, completely disgusted. "Roxas, you stink! I'm out! See you after you're clean!" with that, Axel rushed off the clock tower.
Maybe I should have showered first?
"Don't mind him, Roxas," Xion said sweetly and put her arms around the boy, careful not to damage her precious daisies. Snuggling into his shoulder, she smiled. Yes, he did smell like the inside of a portable bathroom, but she stayed strong!
Over her shoulder, the Key of Destiny had the same goofy grin when he decided to take on the task. Feeling him hug her back, Xion heard his sly tone.
"Totally worth it."
A.N.) My use for the beach and jungle environment was from what I pictured reading the actual book, Tarzan of the Apes. Have a nice Rokushi Day, everyone!