This is a 1200-word fic written in 100-word drabbles. It's my idea of Saïx's backstory; that is, who he was before he was Saïx. No pairings.
I. they call you names you call yourself
To the people of the city he is Outcast AÃ¯s who walks the streets at night screaming curses, drowning in prophetic dreams and strange obsessions; he is someone to avoid, to pity, to be wary of.
To the doctors of the hospital, he is Crazy AÃ¯s who hears whispered voices on the wind and in his head, voices that will not be silenced, no matter how many pills they shove down his throat.
To himself he is Mad AÃ¯s, one who has seen the future of his world, of all worlds and suffers alone because no-one else cares to believe.
II. your pain saves us from our own
He dreamed every night from his childhood, dreams of shadows, emptiness, and the tattered sound of hearts ceasing to beat; dreams from which he woke sobbing, screaming, clawing at his head and chest.
In time, his parents turned from him in fear and sadness, leaving him to cold-eyed doctors, letting them sate their hunger to create certainty from the unknown on him. They found no answers to his nightmares, and so merely prescribed useless medications. He laughed, then wept, knowing that they, too, would be soon consumed by their own appetite for darkness. The pills he vomited into the trash.
The moon both consoled and terrified him. He could not sleep at night, so he wandered, staring at the sky. Its eye rested heavy on him, as cold and yellow as his own, and his skin became moon-burned and scarred from his battles with the visions that boiled in his head.
During the day he would lie restlessly in whichever dark corner he had sought refuge, desperate for sleep but unable to allow it to come without a fight. He wished then for the cool glow of the moon, imagining that it might soothe away the ache behind his eyes.
IV. wounds outside mirror those within
He slashed his face with a knife one night in a desperate attempt to excise the dreams from his head, and the resultant cross-shaped wound gave the world another reason to shun him. He found it comforting, a sign that the shards of prophecy warring in his mind were real enough to cut their way through his skin.
By that time, his visions were no longer confined only to sleep - he saw them almost constantly from the corners of his eyes, cruel fragmentary hallucinations of men in bloodstained white coats and endlessly hungry shadowed figures creeping through emptied city streets.
V. cassandra's dilemma
He tried to warn the lord of the land. He approached his shining bastion of scientific research, hands carefully held away from his pockets and as neatly turned out as he was capable of being, desperate to tell them to what their research would lead. He was turned away kindly, with some food and a strained smile. Ansem the Wise did not care for such people, being solidly rooted in the definable world. Prophets and diviners held no place in his land, though they must be tolerated for the sake of their madness, and he would not accept their counsel.
VI. counting coup
The disappearances came as no surprise to him, and if anyone had cared to ask, he could have told them where their family members had gone - into the lowest levels of the castle, into secret rooms full of strange machines and a slowly spreading pool of darkness. He'd been dreaming the future for longer than he could remember, and now was slowly understanding his part in it. It was a mark of special cruelty that the dreams had revealed the method by which they would end, and a mark of his madness that he was prepared to pay the cost.
VII. fate has chosen you for a task
His chance came only after the population of the city had been decimated by the crawling hearteaters that his nightmares told him had been born from the research of those in the castle. He made his way there slowly, trusting in the unwanted knowledge that he could not fail in this one unholy quest. Finding a way to the deepest basements was difficult, but blind luck and a large sword pulled from a crest above a mantelpiece were on his side. At last he stood in a too-familiar hallway; stood, shivering and weeping blindly, knowing that his fate waited nearby.
VIII. wander by mistake
The final door in the corridor stood slightly ajar, and when he touched it, it swung open noiselessly. He expected the room to stink of blood, to be full of research equipment, but there was only a swirling greenredblueblack maw that hurt his eyes to look at. He froze, uncertain - this was not a room he had seen in his dreams. This was somewhere he was not supposed to be - somewhere nobody was supposed to be.
He stumbled backwards, reeling. The starving shadows outside reached out to catch him with quivering talons. He hefted the sword in desperation, suddenly afraid.
IX. finality, the breath of storms
Their claws are cold, slicing gashes in both flesh and soul as he tries to escape, howling in impotent fury. It is too late to discover that he does not want to follow this path. They sink impossible fangs into his chest, shredding away his shirt and skin to reach his heart. He is drowning in pain, still weakly struggling to lift his useless weapon, when they drag him to the floor.
There is a tearing, then a rapturous gibbering that grows louder as the beat of his heart grows softer, further away - distant thunder being swallowed by the storm.
X. the wheel turns too quickly
He falls, his body stretching and warping in the darkness; losing its shape, form, and function. He fights it, finding unknown strength from somewhere deep inside his mind, strength enough to recoil from the void, to hold fast to the human form he took for granted would always be his.
He howls into the nothing, refusing to fade.
Unknown time passes as he holds on for (could it be called?) life, until suddenly there is rain and cold and bare stone under his knees, and a man in a long black coat stands before him, holding out one gloved hand.
XI. follow without compromise
His name is Xemnas, and he calls himself Superior. He says:
"AÃ¯s? He is gone. You are SaÃ¯x. Number seven."
The hollow man rolls the sound of his name in his mouth, considering it. It suits him, he decides. He touches the scar between his eyes, thinner now, just lines rather than heavy gashes. He remembers what he was, but it is distant, lacking reality. He shakes his head.
Something still breathes heavily within him, some remnant of his former madness. He doesn't know how he will walk this path yet, with no unyielding guide to tell him the future.
XII. the hanged man
The first time he sleeps and wakes, with nothing in between but unknowing blackness, he wakes screaming, as AÃ¯s did in childhood. The dreams are gone, and in their place is an empty aching nothing that begs to be filled. When he has woken fully, he begins to laugh.
This is what AÃ¯s wanted all his life. His dreams, all of them, have come true. But he, he is SaÃ¯x, and there is something that he wants /now/, so desperately it brings his lunacy back to him: to feel warmth, to feel moonlight on his skin, to own a heart.