Finally we get to the meat of the org side of things… some spoilers for Days to come, deviations to begin here. I made Roxas very innocent rather than very Zombie, and it was hard to write. Ha...
"Aww lookit the baby." Voice like element, scratchy and high, he went around her. She wasn't big (not Lexaeus big) so it wasn't a chore. Obvious, perhaps, but not too out of his way. So he didn't mind. She was just between him and the grey, nothing more, nothing less.
He would ignore her, she him, logical and fair for them both.
Though the former had been drilled into him from his earliest days the later was something innate. Innate things were precious, like memories, or so he'd been assured. Not knowing what "precious" meant he simply followed the orders that were not.
It was like so many things here; they were not, the world was not, their hearts were not (though how they were -or weren't- and their hearts were not was what Vexen had called a con-tra-dic-tion) he tagged it under "confusing".
Like "all very young things with little minds within my (AKA Vexen's) jurisdiction" he had been driven to neatly (because messy thoughts were signs of diseased minds, and diseased minds were very bad) categorized his "confusing things". Most were "Meh, don't care". A few were "Do it again and see what happens" especially with the sparkly oil in the lab lingering over the little fire element bit, but shh don't tell Lexeaus that, Number Five had yelled really loud when he caught the younger nobody playing with the fire before...
But there were a surprising many labeled "ask Vexen, Zexion, or Aleaus later".
"What are you, brain dead or something, I'm talking to-"
But he was gone, more than. Walking past, besides, beyond a mere door away.
Half present, the physical half, the one that said "left foot, right foot, balance, head up, eyes open" without words was present. The other half, the part that understood what was seen and compiled it into reaction was busy. Though the eyes were open there was little home, just a note pasted on his forehead, the words etched in a blank expression that read "bother me later" because though bland and grey the world was /wonderful/.
There were parts that moved, and glimpses of a black wide filling yet filled stuff up high that he spied from the corner of his eyes as he walked. That filling but not filled was "up" and the grey was "Down", not floor down but really down! And "Around", grey was around each side too, and it wasn't white! And there was a round toothy thing he thought was a gear that went round and around. Even though the wall it was in was still and doing nothing.
He stopped, stopped to stare. Grey Room and its obligation forgotten. Even as the screechy thing ("What is your problem, freak! Talk when you're spoken too!") was insignifigent. Trying to see cause and clause in that sole bit of motion among the still. After a moment ("Give it a count," Number Six had advised on one of the earliest days, "to thirty, if nothing obvious occurs and it's not for a mission that it probably isn't important and you can ask one of us later") and a count he was content to make a mental note of "ask Aleaus about that latter" and carry on.
Save he wasn't, allowed to carry on. Before he knew why -the how was obvious, hot, small hands, all prickly and pin-prick- he was shoved into a wall and instead of being nice and being helped up, or apologized too, or anything he'd had happened before the smaller-than-Lexeaus-Nobody pushed him near the wall. Pushed and supported, and while not falling was sorta nice breathing was hard.
He really wanted to breathe.
“I said listen to me.”
So he listened, eyes lcoked on the hands that gripped him, trying to squirm out of that pinchy hold.
"LOOK at me!"
So he did, eyes wide, wondering.
Her fingertips small, crooked, and red. Not tomatoe red, or bacon red (a brownish red that was all crackle and cunch), but a glossy hue beyond his experience. He was almost entranced, but the pushing was euqalling hurting and he dind't like that equation's outcome, not a bit.
"S... stp... it..."
Acid green eyes thinned, she smiled, and it was a smile as bitter as her eyes.
"Well, the newbie can speak, wonder of wonders, now you listen to me brat, you may "just be a kid" ut you'll do what I say, got me?" She punctuated the last with a broken glass smile and a shake so the edges ground in, the walls edges, his back, he grimaced.
Talon hands loosed and the pin prickle snap of her touch eased with her grip. He slid to the floor, legs shaking, but stable enough that he could ease down and not just topple. Perched on that treacherous span before boneless collapse and steady he looked at a nothing.
Stepping back, face flicking from malice to sweetness, the she-nobody upped her grin so she flashed her teeth in a facsimile of friendship.
“Good morning Lexaeus.”
Ignoring the insignifigent, the Silent broke his quiet. One word, all inquiry. Though his face was locked into heartless stillness there was a flux to his tone, a flux the youngest wouldn’t have recognized unless he’d heard the rigid edge of cruelty mere moments before.
Wondering at the variable, and the softness he sensed under it, he compared it to acidic crackle that was… her… looking past her, twelve hissed training, she ws twelth, he thirteen, and met those familiar eyes dead on.
His voice shook, only a little and he was starting to stand.
That was fine enough.
A nod, no change. Still, despite the Fifth’s placidity he wagered he’d be treated to a Vexen’s worth of skepticism later. Face crouching into a few more lines, Lexaeus jerked his head. It was all but a name call that motion and break in the expressionless, odd though that he was looking at Her with those extra lines marking his face. The she nobody, number Twelve, hopped back at the mute order not meant to her. It was… like number Five was going to do something bad if she didn’t.
Familiar with bad (all bitter and green and roundish) the thirteenth could feel a little bad via association and assumption. Just a little. A twitch.
She’d get green things in her food for a month, the really bitter ones, if those tight lines meant anything.
Now that the hall wasn’t so crowded, Thirteen was able to scurry after the call, this second name call was a warning, of a break in Lexeaus’ silence.
He’d recalled Vexen saying something, about the world ending, eyes wide he looked for it, found nothing more than Her and Lexeaus and grey everything else. It was that edge expression that told him “time was up” so he skipped a few numbers, sorta called it thirty, and he hurried to catch up after the longer legged Nobody.
Passed and through, the door pushed open squeaked closed, no knobs required. Another hall, Her behind, he amused himself with looking for slits that had that black span form up high, peeping at it from eye corners behind a sheet of muffling their glass.
“I spoke to Saix on your behalf.” The Fifth grumbled. His tone was a mismatch of cause and intent. Coating it from one end of another was “trouble” closely followed by “No (or maybe never again)” with a growly edge that was a “you were late”. Boots clicked, one skipped, though the elder never turned back to check it was easy to tell by the tempo at his footfalls. Your first mission is with Zexion.”
He still wasn’t talking right. His mind was young (unformed, they’d all said it, stabilizing, this was his formative span, whatever that meant). He’d of uttered a quick “sorry”. Sure those words would come out right. But the odd twitch to Five’s shoulders made him scratch this off of “Ask about later” list and pop it onto the top of “Try again.”
So like any new born he played with sound and syllables, blurring the edges a bit.
“N… Na Ehh awns zz noo…”
But it was enough to break silence. “Ienzo… isn’t here anymore. It’s Zexion.”
One whisper, all bitter (and green) and gritty and hard, and dirty, staining, like the dust tucked in the back corner of lab one no matter how much they all swept, came the repetition.
“It’s always Zexion.”
Before the younger could ask, ask anything they were at a door, and that door had knob. Nicely Lexaeus twisted and pulled, ushering him in. And all “ask latters” they all died. The room might be grey, and bland, but the people (so many all in black, most reclined, Nine sprawled sitar in hand) made up for it.
They all turned to him. Different eyes, different shapes, different hair colors, it was blinding. Suddenly he wanted more than anything to turn, turn, run, be away. Lab two with it’s two chairs and two cups and two colors and two peoples (somebody, nobody, it didn’t matter) suddenly didn’t seem so boring after all.
Reaching back, gripping the familiar (sturdy) presence at his back (and a leg to boot, or rather the boot) he whimpered.
And they stared, all still and hush until a blonde (hair yellow, darker, close cropped, he’d heard the words, had them explained, but seeing and hearing were different) bared a span of white blocky things an turned his lips up.
“Morning Thirteen, you play yet?”
“He doesn’t talk yet.” Lexeaus grumbled.
That multitude of words from the bigger nobody summoned a bristling about the smiling one’s face hair. Face all lines and thinning eyes the sitting Nobody did something with his hands. Slips of paper, thicker than sticky notes, flapped and fluttered, not quite flying, but jumping with crisp rustles. First left, than right, then left. He watched, turning his head back and forth, then up and down, then left then up then…
“Luxord!” Snarled the blue topped… haired… man. His was alone, but not in the room. Blue head was framed by black big void up high, only a thin line of invisible keeping him and it from touching. “Enough! Roxas, Thirteen, get over here, you’ve work to do! Come.”
He was big, not Lexeaus big, but almost. He was tall as Lexeaus but thinner about the shoulders. Lexeaus had bigger feet, because the standing by himself Nobody’s feet couldn’t be seen. But you always saw Lexeaus’ feet. Idly comparing, never noticing when he’d slipped up from the second step of thinking all on his own, he wandered up and tried that thing.
That up lift lip thing.
Gold eyes, frozener than Frozen Pride, considered him. Then snapping his fingers, summoning ma-no-la the alone but not made something that wasn’t suddenly be. It wasn’t much, just a rush of cool light, a span of tan, with some white papers stuffed inside.
Carefully he opened the flaps, but unlike every other book he’d seen it was all blank, and lines. Was the writer sick, maybe? Mind thirteen didn’t know what sick was/, it just felt /right to assume that so he did.
He’d of asked too, but those eyes were thin lines like his face. Unlike Lexeaus’ still lined heavy face there was a twitch to the jaw.
“Don’t think... that because you’re special you can skimp on your missions. Read it and head out.”
“Roxas.” The youngest nobody recalled then. “’m Roxas.”
“And I am Saix.” Grumped the blue topped one. “Now sit down, read, be quiet, then when you’re ready /get out/.”
Another rush, cool light, and something long and pointy was pointed, first at him (after a poke and growled “don’t sit /here/!”), then over a ways, to a grey chair. Red was there, a red topped Nobody, and (familiar!) Zexion who was Six and Nobody both as once, and the paper clapper who blu- Saix, called Luxord.
Curious, the red one perked at meeting his gaze. He did the lip upturn thing really really good. Green eyes sparkling, he patted the fluffy span besides him.
“Hey little guy, wanna pop on up?”
Besides him, (familiar) Zexion glared at the new Nobody (Red) and grimaced.
“Mmm..” Remembering bitter (Zexion’s grimaces were always green bitter, they left the taste in his mouth for minutes/) he looked all about. Spotting another (familiar!) Nobody, all lanky and blonde sitting alone he shook his head and “popped” on the chair besides Vexen’s. It was rough, and three legged, and a stool… But it wasn’t. Stools didn’t have grey fluff on their seats at the lab. Vexen sat at a little oversized stool thing. Save the big stool had four legs ,and no sink, or experiments. The big stool was /so big and the only thing on it was a beaker with a coil. The beaker was thick and grey, with a black steaming muck placidly resting inside.
Taking the coil on the beaker, Vexen rose an eyebrow, set it to his lips. Oh he was doing /that/.
Still, at drink’s end number Four set his drink down, offering the redundant. “I was drinking, number Thirteen. That is what I was doing. And what are you supposed to be doing?”
”This.” He set the founder on the desk, keeping it away from the beaker just to be safe, he opened it. Those motions were simple; he’d been playing with folders and paper for forever. Watching with a shaded approval, the Chilly Academic took another draw, mutely willing the caffeine to work faster. “I have paper, am I a writer now?”
Vexen nearly choked to death on his take.