An encounter between two incomplete beings. Saïx and Axel.
Author's Note: This takes place sometime during the first Kingdom Hearts, after Sora gets the Keyblade. I've wanted to write something about SaÃ¯x and get inside his head ever since I first saw him in Kingdom Hearts 2. He's a very complex character, and a challenge to write, so I wanted to see what I could do with his thoughts.
Halloweentown was silent this time of night. It was a strange world, its bizarre occupants some of the cheeriest creatures that he had ever seen, despite their dark architecture and strange festivities. SaÃ¯x might have envied them for it. He did not, because he knew that his "envy" would merely be a weak imitation of an emotion which was only a hazy memory. His former life was like a glimpse of a dream, waking up before the story's end. Memories fluttered like flower petals blowing in the wind, shadows darting out from his reaching fingertips, and leaving only the faintest whisper behind. Not that he was dwelling in the past. It seemed that his old life really was only a dream. First he had forgotten his true name, and then the gaps grew even bigger before he wasn't even sure he knew what it meant to be human anymore. To feel, to care, to love and to hate -- he wondered if any of that even truly existed. Or was it beyond his reach, like his memories?
SaÃ¯x closed his eyes for a moment, feeling the wind tousle his long hair and the icy chill that prickled his neck. It held no satisfaction for him. This, this physical feeling, was empty. A mocking glimmer of something much truer, meaningless without the emotions beyond it. But it was a start. It meant he wasn't completely dead. Perhaps that was why, shortly after he first awoke as a Nobody, dazed and uncertain and cold, he took a pin and put holes in both his earlobes, and then stuck a tiny mythril stone on the end of each. Mythril was known to be icy cold to the touch. It meant he always felt something, even if it was just pain. He didn't bleed -- Nobodies never did -- but it hurt like hell, and that was why he liked it.
"It sucks, doesn't it?" SaÃ¯x felt his body tense, as he recognized the voice and the familiar whirl of someone stepping through the Dark Corrider.
"Axel." He didn't like the flame-wielding man. But then, he didn't really like anyone, did he? He did not turn around, but kept alert, in case Axel felt like throwing a chakram into his back.
"It sucks, doesn't it?" Axel repeated. "Not being able to remember who you are, not knowing if what you're feeling is real or if it's just a sick delusion." SaÃ¯x finally turned around to face him, startled that the normally impulsive man could be so certain of his thoughts. Axel was leaning against a large tombstone, his arms crossed and his face serious, the red of his hair clashing with the dull gray of the graveyard. SaÃ¯x liked gray. Colors simply seemed too bright -- too expressive -- for a Nobody, and the fire of Axel's hair seemed like it should not be allowed. Axel was one of those Nobodies who didn't accept the truth, who struggled to find any remaining scraps of emotion so that he wouldn't be completely empty. SaÃ¯x had been like that once, hadn't wanted to believe that this was truly his fate. A being without a heart, a being who shouldn't exist. It was a cruel act of nature, which could not be undone by mankind's silly inventions and useless tinkering. SaÃ¯x would give anything to be one of those silly humans.
"Only fools think they can change their fates by dreams alone," he said aloud, more to himself than to the other man, and Axel raised an eyebrow in question.
"I don't need your platitudes," he replied, the mocking, haughty expression that SaÃ¯x was accustomed to back on his face.
"You can't change who you are."
The red-haired man tapped a gloved finger to his chest. "It's not me who wants to change himself. I know why you slipped away so suddenly at our gathering. Some fresh air, right? Wanted to wallow in the moonlight, didn't you? It's the same for all of us." He pointed at SaÃ¯x. "You can't stop feeling that you can't feel."
"Nonsense," SaÃ¯x said, waving away Number 8's accusation. How dare he call SaÃ¯x wallowing. "I am devoid of feeling. I accept it."
Axel laughed, but it was a hollow laugh -- sharp and cutting as a razorblade. "You never can really accept it. Not unless you totally forget how to be human."
"I'll never forget," SaÃ¯x said firmly, wishing he was as certain as his voice sounded. "You're forgetting what you are, Axel. You think if you talk loud, if you scowl and smirk and laugh, playing through all the charades of human emotion, it will change the truth."
Axel's smile faded, and his green eyes narrowed. They were like acid, piercing and bright.
He took a step closer to SaÃ¯x, his boots making dull echoes against the ground. The moon was full and bright behind him, his hair like fire above his pale skin. There was a time when SaÃ¯x had loved the moon. Now all he felt was an empty remembrance. It was all he felt for anything he had ever loved. He would have hated the nocturnal watcher, if he had been capable of that too. Now he stared at Axel with alert golden eyes that shimmered in the moonlight, ready to call on the darkness for his broadsword, if necessary.
Axel stopped, stretched a hand behind him, and a Dark Portal swirled into existence behind him. He started to walk into the portal, and then paused. He turned his head to look back at the blue-haired man.
"The truth is, SaÃ¯x," he said, barely louder than a whisper, the shadow of a smile on his lips, "I'm not the one playing at charades."