Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts or any of the characters related.
The hallways were entirely empty. Such things were expected since it was late in the evening. Zexion had probably chosen this time to go because Marluxia was likely to be resting. Then again, they may be arguing, but it wouldn't explain why The Cloaked Schemer was in the gardens; if he was fighting with his flowery co-member, he would not have sought him but rather run into him accidentally.
The large doors made you jump when you opened them due to their loud creaking. It happened time and time again as you ascended the castle. You'd never been to Marluxia's gardens; if you tried teleporting there, you might end up in his bed or something just as horrifying. It was better to walk and eliminate such risks.
At last, the final door loomed before you. With a grunt of effort, you pulled it open. It was even harder to shut behind you, but thankfully, this particular entrance was silent. Why it was so, you had no idea; why weren't the other doors just as quiet?
An Eden of red roses stretched out before you, thorny vines twisting up the walls and around any object present. You gingerly stretched out a hand and touched the soft petals of the one closest to you. It was no wonder Zexion preferred these roses above all; there could not have been a rose so fine in any other land.
The aroma was intoxicating. How anyone could leave was a mystery, but as it was, you would do the same, so there must be a way. Kingdom Hearts shone through the glass ceiling, lighting up the area with a blue tint. A small waterfall cascaded into a pool nearby, and you had to admire Marluxia's womanly touch. Wait...
Your legs carried you closer to the middle. Moving slowly, you took the time to admire each part of this work of art. At last you came to a stop before the pond, leaning forward and gazing into the rippling depths. A maiden stared back at you, her eyes shimmering with amazement. Yet another image appeared beside her- a burly young man with a shining silver mane and glorious aquamarine irises. You started, yelping and turning around.
Two hands gripped your shoulders and held you fast while a pair of eyebrows lowered into a warning glare. "Xevia, what are you doing here?" came a low growl from Zexion's lips.
"Uhh...looking for you? If you recall, you invited me to join you in your midnight adventures to Marluxia's garden." You threw him a quick, innocent grin. He frowned and released you.
"Mmm, yes, I do remember. Keep quiet, though; if he hears us, it is not going to be pretty. He caught Demyx here once...why do you think the kid is so screwed up?"
"Marly likes his roses, I guess."
"This place is his pride and glory."
" But couldn't he just...regrow it if something happened to it? I mean, the guy sprouts flower petals with every movement!"
"I'd imagine it took some planning and care for it before it became like this..."
"And here you are, stealing rose petals for your bath." He gave you a wicked grin in response. It was the first time you'd seen him look even relatively evil. There was probably a deep joy he took in stealing particularly from Marluxia.
"And here you are, following me and participating in such activities."
"Hey, I was a thief for a living...and a murderer. I'm not pretending to be some sort of saint, am I?" You quirked an eyebrow.
"I don't know...you always seem to be up to something," he said with amusement. An awkward silence fell, and you found yourself rocking back and forth on your feet and looking around.
"So...what now?" He frowned at this, also looking around as though trying to figure it out himself.
"We could head back, I suppose."
"Aw, come on; I just got here! It's lovely. Let's not waste it."
"You are so female," he grumbled.
"I'm going to pretend you didn't just say that, and invite you to take a seat upon this rock." You took the one next to the stone you were imitating and gave said surface a pat with your hand. Zexion sighed and obeyed. "This night reminds me of the evening Xemnas and I shared in the Hall of Empty Melodies."
"The one with all of the wine?"
"The very same. Except...we don't have wine."
"And we're not dancing."
"We could be," you suggested teasingly. He shot a glare your way.
"I don't dance."
"What?" you gasped incredulously. "Zexion, everyone can dance. You just have to let-"
"I didn't say I couldn't," he interrupted. "I said I don't. There is a difference."
"So you can dance? Well now you have to show me." You stood up and offered your hands for him to take. As to be expected, the young man merely glowered. "Zexion! Please?"
"Provide to me one reason I should dance with you."
"Because you didn't switch with Axel on vacation, and I had to put up with his torturous idea of romantic attempts." He mulled this over for a minute, and you flashed him a huge grin. "Puh-leeeeeeaaaaaaaaase?" Heaving a huge sigh, the young man slowly rose to his feet and took your hands in his. One was placed on his shoulder, the other was held away from your bodies.
"Fine; but only because I pitied you."
"Good enough for me!" you replied happily as he whirled you across the floor.
"The obsession women have with dancing...it's almost always so intimate though."
"Well sheesh, Zexion, don't make it awkward or anything," you drawled while sending him a dirty look.
"My apologies; I just have not danced with anyone for quite some time, and...well..." His voice faded, more than likely drowned by his memories. Flitting across the garden in The Cloaked Schemer's arms was not as horrific as you might have thought. In fact, it was rather relaxing.
"Thank you for being willing to share a room with me. I appreciate it." He shrugged.
"It hasn't been that poor of an experience. You make me smile; that is not something easily accomplished. Your childish behavior is most amusing."
"Oh thanks, I guess."
"No, I'm being serious. You're not as bad as some people make you out to be. You're someone worth defending." You blinked in surprise as a warmth spread through your body.
"Aw, thank you, Zexion! I'm truly touched. I've enjoyed your company as well. If we're stuck here forever and make no progress toward our goal, that's okay with me. I'm more than content. I have a pretty awesome companion." You grinned and threw him a wink.
His eyes suddenly became narrowed with seriousness as he searched your face thoughtfully. You, however, took no notice as you scanned the scenery dreamily. A white dove glided into the twisted branches of a willow tree, cooing softly.
"I've always wondered what it would feel like to fly; to have wind beneath your wings and to soar across the open sky. But then you have to pause and question 'do birds fantasize about being able to walk as we do?' Perhaps they see our walking abilities as being free; it would be so much easier to catch prey that way, would it not?"
You turned back to him with a soft smile, which faltered shortly after. Zexion was not looking at you as though he were thinking the same thing; he was gazing at you as though he were contemplating something. You frowned and cocked you head.
"Everything all right?" you questioned, to which he also frowned and slowly nodded. Slowly, your feet had stopped moving. As the two of you stood still in the garden, near silence stretched onward, only broken by the crashing of the waterfall. "Zexion?"
"Would you feel uncomfortable if I told you that I-"
"Are you lovebirds having a good time?" came a cool voice from a few feet away, cutting you short. Startled, the two of you split apart, whirling toward the speaker. Marluxia was illuminated in the light of Kingdom Hearts, smiling and sniffing a rose he had delicately plucked from a nearby bush.
"Oh shit!" you whispered hoarsely before you were pushed forward by a forceful hand. Immediately, you began running for the exit, hearing Zexion hot on your tail. Close by, you saw a separate you climbing the tree, and another Zexion halting at the roots and whipping around in preparation for a fight. When you glanced down at your own feet, they were not visible.
In surprise, you came to a halt, panic overbearing your body. The man behind you tried to hurry you forward, but you gave a small whimper and shook your head. Swiftly, you were lifted off the ground and into camouflaged arms. You could not see your carrier at all.
"Zexion," you whispered warily.
"Relax, Xevia. You should know by now that I control illusion. Marluxia won't be able to see us, but he is able to hear us. So keep your mouth shut." The door came nearer as he approached it rapidly. Before anything else took place that would be threatening, he went through it and into a portal that returned the two of you to the room.
Placed back on your feet, you clutched your chest and collapsed onto the bed, breathing heavily. Zexion disappeared into the bathroom, more than likely storing the rose petals he'd collected. When he returned, he gave you a frown.
"I think it best we don't try that again. You shall remain here when I make trips to his garden."
"Agreed," you replied breathlessly, leaning your head back on your pillow and trying to clear your mind of the cluttered thoughts bouncing around like squirrels on coffee.