Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or any of the characters associated with it.
"How much do you want to bet that now that we're back from vacation, Xemnas has about a billion things for us to do around here?"
"I know I have to reprogram the database; Demyx and somebody else were messing around with it and managed to crash the system. It's deplorable! Morons..." Your eyes popped and you looked away, trying not to appear too suspicious; come on, you hadn't meant to press the delete button on the hard drive.
"Who knows what's in store for me?"
"More than likely, you'll be assigned to a mission or two."
"And if I'm lucky, it won't be with Larxene or Xigbar."
"Yeah, sure; whatever."
"You're such an enthusiast, Zexion. Thank you for brightening my day." You sighed dropped onto the bed, turning your gaze to the ceiling. To be honest, you weren't in any hurry to find out what was on your agenda. Your vacation hadn't really been a vacation at all, thanks to Axel. He'd muddled your mind and made it hard to think clearly.
What had happened with Saïx was even more of a mystery. He hadn't shown any recognition that anything had happened, making you wonder if you had dreamed it. Perhaps you had.
As for the situation regarding your journal, Zexion had outsmarted you. Knowing that you would attempt to steal the book back and burn it beyond recognition, he had placed it under high security. It included lasers and required proof of identification. It was a bit of a pathetic way to show off his money. It was either that, or a stupid charade of humor.
"Xevia, you're needed at The Altar of Naught," alerted your roommate.
"What? How did you...oh...you have a notification on your computer. Great...it's probably stupid Xemnas." You sat up with a grunt before heaving yourself to your feet. "I suppose I shouldn't keep him waiting then."
"More than likely not," was his simple reply. With a sigh, you opened a portal around you, disappearing into blackness. Not minutes later, you were facing the mostly vacant Kingdom Hearts. A glance around told you that whoever had summoned you had not arrived as of yet. Grumbling, you hugged yourself against the cold and ignored the wind whipping at your hair. More than likely, it was going to be storming momentarily. Xemnas had better make it fast.
The view was quite beautiful, you had to admit. It was no wonder that power-hungry lunatic spent most of his time on the platform, gazing at his creation. Surprisingly, you found yourself fingering the small locket Demyx had given you back in your old life. With a bit of prying, you had it open; the sweet sounds of his sitar filled the empty air.
"You came...I half expected you to decline my invitation," said a voice smoothly. With a gasp, you shut the locket and whirled around. There had been no indication of anyone's approach; no teleportation, and no footsteps. Shadows greeted your eyes from a mysterious hood. In any case, this wasn't Xemnas.
"Well, I had nothing else to do. Zexion certainly wasn't going to let me stay. Knowing him, he'd make comments every two minutes about how I'm holding you up."
"Zexion allowed you to come see me? I was under the impression that he currently despised me." Your eyes widened at the sudden recognition of this voice.
"Who did you think it was?" With a swift motion, he removed his hood and took a few steps closer. "_(Name)_, I would have thought you'd know my voice well enough that I would not have to speak my title."
"Yeah...heh...you'd think," you chuckled. "What did you need?"
"I need to talk to you."
"What about?" you questioned defensively. "There's not much to say, is there? How can you explain your provocation? You have persistently acted like you knew me from before, you've kissed me...you've even tried to take advantage of me! Am I supposed to take this lightly?"
"I've been trying to tell you the truth since you arrived. Just stop trying to interrupt me. Got it memorized?"
"And what is the truth, Axel? That it was your personal mission from your other to make me happy?" you growled, shifting backward to get away from him.
"Are you not happy? Did he depress you?"
"No; I just can't do this. It's him I loved. I cannot just pick up where I left off with him. I am not your heart; I'm his. It just won't work."
"Try it, Xevia. Just try to forget anything you know about me...please." He closed the distance between the two of you and grabbed your upper arms gently. You choked and looked around rapidly for an escape. If only there was a way to turn back time so could stay in the room and be smart enough not to arrive upon invitation.
He released your arms, but you soon found a blindfold over your eyes. It wasn't extremely tight; to make you more comfortable, you supposed. He clearly wasn't taking you hostage. Just as you were about to ask what it was for, a pair of lips pressed gently against yours.
Muscles twitching in surprise, you put your hands on his chest to push him away upon instinct, but then decided to give his request a try. Closing your eyes, you took a deep breath and cleared your mind. Slowly, a tingling worked its way from your head to your toes, and you found yourself kissing back this incredibly familiar stranger.
His arms wrapped around your waist, pulling you against him and making your breath pick up. He didn't push it though; it was a simply innocent kiss, destined to go no further. When he pulled away, you smiled lightly.
"You're right...it's just like him. I can't even tell the difference, except...it's not," you whispered sadly. Gently, Axel removed the blindfold and took your hands. His eyes were burning into yours with intense depth.
"_(Name)_...it is me. I was never cloned...this is my original self."
"What?" you breathed. "If that's even true, why didn't you tell me from the beginning?"
"I wanted to see if perhaps you had moved on...if you could be happy without me. But I had to be selfish; I couldn't take waiting in the wings anymore. I had to pursue you. I put on the mask in order to give you a chance to decline; I still wanted to let you have the opportunity to claim independence. Recently, however, I've found it's been killing me not to tell you. Since you didn't give me that chance on vacation, I had to invite you here."
"It's unbelievable. To even think that you'd been alive all that time...and I was looking for so long..." You released his hands and turned around slowly.
"I'm sorry I didn't tell you sooner."
"You were correct though; Axel...as much as I love you, I don't know if...I waited for so long, that...I'm so confused."
"What's confusing? I'm here...you wanted me, didn't you?" There was a pressing urge in his tone now. Of course, he would think you were rejecting him. It's understandable that he would be somewhat irritated.
"Yes...I did. I need time, though. Like I said, I can't just pick up...my brain needs to sort things. Excuse me." You turned and pushed past him, rushing for the stairs. It was a race back to your room, your legs carrying you through the doorway and to your bed, where you collapsed and finally stopped to breathe. Zexion eyed you warily, but you ignored him, and he returned to his work.
It wasn't long before you were getting up and snatching a fresh pair of clothes and a new robe. You turned into the bedroom and closed the door behind you. The bath took forever to fill, of course, considering how large of a tub it was. Before you climbed in, you grabbed a towel and took a glance at the rose petals. Oh what the hell?
You grabbed the jar and dumped the contents onto the still water. At last, you climbed in, letting the sweet aroma fill your senses and cloud your mind. The water was relaxing to say the least; it had to be nearly an hour you were in there, enjoying the fact that the candles had lit instantly when you'd flipped the light switch. It was a nice touch; Zexion had good taste.
When you got out, you jumped into a pair of ripped jeans and a simple camisole. After that came your average organization garb. Steam rolled out of the bathroom when you opened the door, and you somewhat expected Zexion to comment, but the room was actually vacant. With a frown, you turned toward the computer, surprised to find a tracking map pulled up with Marluxia highlighted.
"Hmm...maybe Zexion's planning on killing him tonight," you said to yourself in amusement. Leaning over, you clicked on your roommate's name, finding his little red dot on the castle gardens on the thirteenth floor. Sighing, you dropped your old garments in the hamper and headed for the door. Time to see what Old Sniffy was up to...