Chapter 5: Sleeping Xion

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Written by: Kanemaki Tomoco
Original Plan: Nomura Tetsuya and Nojima Kazushige
Illustration: Amano Shiro
Translations: Goldpanner
Copyrighted by Disney, Square Enix and Touchstone Pictures. No profits are gained from these unofficial fan translations. 

xxx

Who’s there?

I already know who you are. We meet every night in my dreams, don’t we? I’m always dreaming dreams in which you appear.

You are… me? Me from my human time?

Me? Roxas? Mmm… No, who are you?

xxx

My mind feels sort of foggy.

Roxas shook his head slowly, and sat up in bed.

I remember that I was dreaming, but just like always, I can’t remember what it was about. And, just like always, I don’t feel like I slept properly. I wonder why I can’t remember anything? I wonder if that’s normal. I don’t really know.

Roxas got out of bed, dressed, and left the room.

He entered the lobby like always, but then surprisingly, Luxord called out to him.

“How are you feeling today, Roxas?”

“Like usual….” We don’t talk much normally, so I don’t really know what I should say.

“It seems you and I have a mission together today. I trust you’ll do your best, and so will I.”

“Yeah.” I’m pretty sure this is the first mission I’ve ever had with Luxord.

“Oh yeah, have you heard about Xion?”

At this sudden, unexpected question, Roxas looked up instinctively. About Xion?

“She failed a mission and is sleeping, I hear… Sometimes one does lose the game…”

“Xion…!”

Luxord seemed to be about to continue, but Roxas turned away without giving himself any time to listen, and ran out of the lobby.

This is the second time she’s collapsed. Was she still unwell somehow? I’m uneasy. My chest hurts.

Just then, he was called to a halt. “Where do you think you’re going, Roxas?” Roxas stopped, and turned. It was Saïx.

“To Xion,” he replied, and Saïx narrowed his eyes very slightly.

“What do you plan to do about your mission?”

“I’ll do it.” Of course I will. I know what’s what. But right now…

“Xion is sleeping now. Even if you go, you won’t be able to do a thing for it.”

Roxas didn’t really understand. “Whether I can do anything or not isn’t the question here!” Roxas’ voice raised unthinkingly.

Why would Saïx say something like that? Maybe I can’t do anything other than watch over her, but right now, I want to know how she is. Why doesn’t Saïx understand that? There are so many things I want to say, but the words won’t come out.

“Why are you so concerned about that failure?” asked Saïx in surprise.

“Failure? Are you talking about Xion!” Roxas pressed, glaring at Saïx.

“Whatever happens to that thing has nothing to do with you.”

“Whether it’s got something to do with me or not, I don’t care,” Roxas shot back, and Saïx shook his head slightly.

“Why worry about something that ‘never was’?”

“’Never was’? That’s the same for all of us!” Why doesn’t Saïx understand?

“Xion breaking down is not something you should care about.”

“I’ve had enough! It’s pointless for you to say any more. I’ll do my mission afterwards,” Roxas threw at Saïx, turning his back and running off again.

xxx

Getting his breathing under control, Roxas opened the door to Xion’s room. There was nothing but a bed and a closet in the room, just like Roxas’. But Xion’s room felt colder for some reason, and Roxas shivered. He drew closer to the bed, and called out to the sleeping Xion.

“Xion…”

There was no response. She was sleeping so quietly that Roxas wondered if she was even breathing. He held his hand in front of her mouth, uneasily.

Good, she’s breathing.

Roxas clenched the hand he’d put in front of Xion.

Why did Saïx say those things? Failure… defective failure. Whatever Saïx has towards Xion, it’s clearly different to me. I don’t really understand what he’s thinking.

Roxas thrust his hand into his coat pocket this time, and took out a shell. It was a shell he’d received from Xion. There were still many in his room.

This shell… is a promise. But, when did I make this promise with Xion? I told myself I was going to remember everything properly, but I can’t remember that at all.

Roxas left the shell by Xion’s pillow, and left the room, to go back to his mission.

xxx

Axel entered the lobby just before Roxas stepped into a dark corridor. Looks like he’s with Luxord. That’s a rare pairing.

Saïx was watching them leave. Axel called out to him.

“Hey, Saïx. About my mission for today—hey, you in a bad mood?”

Saïx’s face was twisted into a sour expression. “…Bad moods do not exist for Nobodies.”

“Well, yeah, I guess.” They certainly shouldn’t, seeing as we don’t have hearts and all, but when undesirable affairs come about, we show reactions according to the emotions in our memories. In any case, that wrinkle in his already scarred brow is making an appearance.

“Did something happen?”

“Xion has collapsed again.”

Axel frowned. That’s certainly an undesirable affair. “…Was Xion unwell or something?”

“No—it was just working a little too well until now—that defective failure was,” said Saïx, and his face went back to its usual expressionless state.

“…Defective failure, huh…”

I don’t understand why Saïx has such a low opinion of Xion. It’s certainly true that she was defeated by the fake Organisation member—Riku—but, I think that couldn’t be helped, seeing as it’s Riku.

Failing missions is unacceptable, but, I don’t know that she necessarily did that, either. She has the chance to fight him again, and perhaps the mission about that member was something they were unwilling to do.

Maybe Saïx himself shares some responsibility for it, seeing as he is the one in managing it, thought Axel. Saïx has something special in it for Xion…

“That doesn’t matter. Your mission is still to search for Riku.”

“Yep yep.”

“There will be trouble if you don’t hurry up and find him.”

“What I’m looking for won’t be found that easily, you know.”

“Hurry and go.”

“Kaaay,” answered Axel, walking away, but he turned his head to look back at Saïx. “Hey—Our plan’s going smoothly, right?”

“…If you don’t do anything stupid, yes.”

Axel shrugged at Saïx’s warning, and set out for his mission.

xxx

Finishing his mission and heading for the usual spot, he found Roxas still staring vaguely at the sunset as he ate an ice cream.

Narrowing his eyes for a moment against the dazzle of the setting sun, Axel crossed behind Roxas and sat in his place.

Roxas looked at Axel for a second, then went back to staring at the sunset. Then he said, without meeting Axel’s eyes, “About Xion…”

Axel put an arm around his knee, and looked at Roxas. “I heard from Saïx.”

Roxas looked down. “I wonder why Saïx hates Xion…”

Axel jolted slightly. For convenience sometimes we use the expressions ‘like’ and ‘hate’ to refer to things we’re good or bad at dealing with, but even so, the kind of ‘like’ and ‘hate’ that Roxas is talking about doesn’t exist for Nobodies.

“Why, you ask…,” Axel smiled. He couldn’t help it. “You’re always talking like a human, Roxas.”

At those words, Roxas finally turned his gaze on Axel. “This is ‘like a human’ then?” After asking, his gaze wavered, as if he were unsure. Then he looked down, just as if he were depressed. Roxas murmured, “I don’t really understand.”

Looks like for Roxas there’s a hell of a lot he doesn’t understand, Axel thought. There are heaps of things I don’t get either, but I’m better off than Roxas.

Axel lowered the leg he was clasping. “Are you that worried about Xion?”

“She was sleeping so quietly I could almost think she’ll never open her eyes again,” Roxas said in a small voice.

“Well, she’ll probably be okay.” That encouragement is all I can give.

Roxas closes his eyes for a second, then took a breath as if he were about to say something very important. Then the words spilled out. “Saïx called Xion a failure…”

Hearing that, Axel also sucked in a breath. I think maybe Saïx hasn’t been paying attention to Roxas and Xion’s ‘specialness’. Yeah, those two un-Nobody-like Nobodies show emotional reactions that other Nobodies don’t. Abuse them with cold words, and Roxas and Xion react to them—just like they have hearts.

But, I don’t know whether they’re only reacting unconsciously to things from when they were human, or whether this is something special that only happens because Roxas is the Nobody of the Hero…. and I can guess that Xion has some connection to the Hero, too.

Anyway, Saïx doesn’t understand this. If we remember our time as a human, we can have some idea of what emotional reaction we should make even without a heart. It should be a big pain in the ass to worry about doing that.

Furthermore, I wonder if those two aren’t influencing me too much, so to speak, thought Axel. Friends… Promises… Those words are controlling me.

It’s just like my Nobody self is being rejected.

As a member of the Organisation, it’s clearly of a different nature.

“I’m definitely more of a failure than Xion is,” Axel confessed as if to himself, and looked at Roxas. Roxas just stayed looking down, as if lost in thought.

I’m much more of a failure than Roxas and Xion, who are loyal to their missions. No, not just missions—Saïx and I continue to betray the Organisation.

The huge bell on the clock tower rang out the time. A train was running, far away.

“…Maybe Saïx knows something about Xion. The reason why we are special Nobodies,” said Roxas.

Saïx definitely knows. “If you’re really hung up about it, I’ll ask Saïx for you,” Axel sighed.

A smile finally spread on Roxas’ face. “Really?!”

That reaction definitely isn’t very Nobody-like either. Axel shrugged with a wry smile. “Don’t get so happy. Don’t get your hopes up over my asking. I can’t think that guy would answer easily.”

“But, you definitely have more of a chance getting him to tell you than I would,” Roxas said excitedly.

Yeah, Roxas definitely is a special Nobody. And Xion probably is too… “Well that’s true,” Axel hedged, gazing at the sunset. That red, same as always. When I was a human, and since I’ve become a Nobody, that same unchanging red.

“I don’t think Xion will wake soon…,” Roxas muttered.

Yeah, it would be good if she woke up soon. The three of us can talk about what we want to, and laugh, like before. That would be good…

xxx

As soon as he returned to the castle, he went to visit Saïx.

I want to ask Saïx about more than just Xion. Well, to be precise, there are heaps of things I have to speak to Saïx about, but I haven’t been speaking to him lately. It’s warped, thought Axel. Why am I trying to get Saïx to the top of the Organisation, I wonder….

“This is rare, isn’t it.”

“What do you mean?

Saïx turned around in his chair. They were in Saïx’s room, deep in the castle. It could as well have been called his office. There was an enormous amount of data there.

“Lately it’s been rare that you would go out of your way to come to me, that’s what I mean.”

“I have something to ask you, for a change.”

“Hilarious,” said Saïx.

He’s being sarcastic… Joking, in other words.

Saïx had made up his mind not to say such things in front of the other Organisation members. It was something he could only be towards Axel, something special that could only have been born from the relationship Saïx and Axel had had as humans.

“Is it about the failure?”

Axel shrugged. “Mind reader, are we?”

“It’s because you’re simple, see… That hasn’t changed.”

“Simple—you’re a rude bugger,” Axel replied, sitting down on a shelf right opposite Saïx.

“Don’t sit on that.”

Axel swung his foot just like he did when sitting at ‘the usual spot’. “Can’t be helped, ’s not like you have any other chairs.” 

“That’s not the problem. In any case, I don’t intend to speak about the failure.”

“Failure, failure… You don’t have to say it like that, do you?”

“I thought I told you not to get too involved.” Saïx swung his chair, turning his back on Axel. Axel could feel nothing but a will of rejection from that back.

“I’m simply caught up in it. If there’s something, please don’t hide it from me, tell me.” Axel got up off the shelf and put his hand on Saïx’s shoulder from behind, peering into that face.

“Does that mean you’ll tell me everything, without hiding anything?”

Axel’s face twisted, then he smiled just a little. “’Same goes for you,’ you’re saying?”

It sure does feel like lately there are many things we haven’t been telling each other… And, lately I’ve been talking to Roxas and Xion too much.

“Hey, Saïx…”

Saïx glanced up at Axel, then he brushed Axel’s hand off his shoulder. “Xion does not qualify as an Organisation member.”

Saïx’ low-spoken words and rejecting manner made Axel move his body away.

She doesn’t qualify as an Organisation member…? “What do you mean?” he asked, but Saïx didn’t even turn.

“Just look at it. I won’t say any more than that.”

For Saïx to say that, he probably doesn’t intend to tell me any more. Axel stared at Saïx’ back. The two of us have definitely changed since those times.

“…I wonder which of us it was that changed,” muttered Axel, and Saïx’ shoulders trembled for just a second. Without waiting for an answer, Axel left the room.

xxx

Axel headed towards the lobby a little earlier than usual the next morning, and waited in the hallway for Roxas. Here, Saïx won’t get in my way.

By and by, Roxas came walking towards the lobby with a sleepy face, just like always.

“Hey, Roxas.”

Hearing the call, a happy expression flickered across Roxas’ face for a moment, and he rushed over.

“Did you find out anything about Xion?” he asked, forcefully.

Axel nodded. “I asked Saïx.”

“Really?! So did he know something about Xion after all?”

Roxas expression is so full of hope. But… “No—He didn’t know anything,” Axel stammered. I slept on what to tell Roxas, and I decided to lie. After all, if I told him exactly what Saïx said, he’d only have more questions.

Roxas hung his head. “Oh, really…”

The depressed figure he cut made Axel keep talking, unthinking. “But, he said he may as well take back what he said about her being a failure. As soon as she’s working fine again, anyway.” A lie is a lie, I guess, thought Axel, inwardly clucking his tongue, and said, “That’s why until Xion wakes up, you have to do your best to do her part too.”

Roxas’ expression changed to a smile, and Axel’s guilt grew even bigger. Anxiety flickered, as he wondered if he would have to lie even more after this.

“Got it! Thank you, Axel,” Roxas said happily, and headed to the lobby with a spring in his step.

“Sorry, Roxas…,” Axel muttered unconsciously, scratching his head as he watched Roxas go.

xxx

That day, Roxas was ordered to exterminate Heartless on a world he was visiting for the first time. He came down on a small island.

“This is Neverland…,” Roxas murmured, looking around himself. Pretty much everything he could see was blue. It wasn’t just the blue of the sky. It was the blue of the sea.

There was this weird smell, so Roxas sniffed as hard as he could. This smell. I can hear seabirds calling from far away.

Roxas began to walk. He saw a shadowy figure before him, and rushed to conceal himself behind a rock.

“Smee! Hurry up with that digging!!”

“Aye-aye, Captain Hook!”

Poking his head out to gauge the situation, Roxas saw the slightly fat, big-nosed old man that had been called Smee stab a shovel into the ground. Beside him stood a man with a superb moustache and a hat. It seemed that he was named Hook for some reason.

“We won’t be mistaken this time! There should be treasure hidden right here!” Hook was clutching a handful of old scraps of paper.

“The last place we tried was a miss, to be sure… But how lucky was it to find all these treasure maps at once!” said Smee, digging a hole. It seemed that Hook was holding treasure maps.

“Heh heh heh… Some blockhead out there must have dropped them. Well, Smee! Keep digging!”

“Aye-aye, sir!”

Smee dug on, flinging soil, and then… he stopped moving. “Captain! Captain! It’s here!”

“What?!”

Smee thrust a wooden chest high into the air. It was a treasure chest.

“Heh heh heh heh. Well then, I wonder what kind of treasure is inside?” Hook opened the treasure chest, but—it was empty. “Blast! Another miss!!”

“Now, now, Captain. There are still plenty of treasure maps. If we search again with another map…”

“Uwurgle… Blast! If we don’t hurry and find it, someone else may snatch it away first!” There was a strange atmosphere. “I won’t hand over the treasure to anyone!” Hook stamped his feet.

At that moment, for just a second, a black fog hazed around Hook. What is that?

“Captain, sir?” called Smee, anxiously. It seemed he had noticed somehow, too. As if lured by the fog, Heartless appeared.

“Wargh!! Darn it! Heartless again!! Run, Smee!!”

“Yikes! A-aye-aye, sir!”

Smee and Hook came running towards where Roxas was hidden. Then, they ran right past, without noticing him.

It looks like I can defeat those Heartless without being found by those guys now. Roxas ran at the Heartless hanging around the treasure chest, and swung the Keyblade down.

xxx

A dream—yes, I’m dreaming. I definitely know this is a dream. So, relax?

xxx

If that’s what is happening, if I follow those guys, it looks like I’ll definitely be able to see Heartless.

Having defeated the Heartless, Roxas started walking in the direction Hook and Smee had taken. Just then, something tiny and sparkling appeared right before Roxas’ eyes.

“Wah?!”

The little thing was a winged woman about the size of his palm—Tinker Bell. Tinker Bell seemed about to escape, but after staring hard at Roxas’ face, she started flying round and round for some reason instead. By and by, she stopped right in front of his eyes again.

“What…?”

Tinker Bell was gesturing wildly, as if trying to tell Roxas something. She spread both her arms wide, pointing at a ship floating on the sea.

“Are you telling me to go to that ship?” Roxas asked, and Tinker Bell nodded. However, Roxas had no means of getting out to the ocean. It seemed he couldn’t open a dark corridor either. “At that distance, I can’t get to the ship unless I could fly through the air or something…,” Roxas muttered unconsciously, and Tinker Bell started moving again.

“Hm?” Tinker Bell flew round and round Roxas, scattering dust made of light. “Wh-what is this? Sparkling…?”

Tinker Bell was pointing again, motioning to the bewildered Roxas.

That way looks like… a dead end. “You’re telling me to just jump off?!”

Tinker Bell nodded.

“You can’t mean… I can fly too?”

Tinker Bell nodded again in return.

“Got it. I trust you.”

Roxas stepped quietly up to the edge of a cliff. He dropped like a stone—and the instant he thought as much, his body floated lazily upwards. He could move freely.

“I flew! I’m, I’m flying!”

It was a strange sensation. A little similar to the sensation he’d had looking at the ocean just before—but a little different. It should be the first time he’d ever flown in the air, but it felt as though it weren’t.

Roxas span around once in the air, then came to a standstill. The glittering dust sparkled around him.

xxx

You can definitely fly, I have faith!

Who was it who told me that?

If we keep believing, we’ll definitely meet again.

Who was it who promised me that?

Ah, I can hear the sound of waves.

Where is that sound coming from…?

I want to talk to you soon. See you, and talk to you. Then I can tell you so many things. But. But tell who?

Who am I thinking I want to talk to…?

xxx

Just as always, I wasn’t able to find any information relating to news of Riku. I haven’t even been able to find rumours. It’s nough to make me wonder if maybe he’s already gone somewhere we can’t go. Is there any point to keeping up this idle searching?

Thinking such things, Axel finished up his investigation a little early, and headed for the usual spot. He should have been a bit early, but Roxas was already sitting there.

“You already finished your mission for today?”

“Yeah.”

Roxas’ expression is weirdly cheery. Is it just cause of this morning’s exchange?

“Listen, Axel. Today, I flew.”

Roxas was sounding a little crazy. “What do you mean?” Axel asked, critically.

“I don’t really understand it really well but I was flying in the air.”

Roxas is pretty worked up, and I don’t really understand, but for now I’d better answer. “…That’s pretty awesome.” I sure haven’t ever flown in the air before—but, Roxas’ expression is full of life, enough to be strange, speaking about it.

“It felt so good, I just wanted to talk about it.” Roxas gazed out into the distance, his fringe moving in the wind. “Flying in the sky gave me this kind of familiar—… that kind of feeling.”

Familiar… That’s the first time I’ve ever heard Roxas use that word.

Then Roxas said, “Xion… I wonder when she’ll wake up…,” and his excitement finally faded.

xxx

Who is calling me?

xxx

“Wahh?!”

That was Roxas there. But the one who was calling me… wasn’t Roxas, was it.

“….M-morning. Xion.”

“M-morning…”

When she’d opened her eyes and sat up, Xion had seen Roxas before her.

“Um… you woke up so quickly, you surprised me.”

“S-sorry…,” Xion apologised, looking away. She then saw the sea shells. “…You left these here for me, didn’t you.” She picked one up, and held it to her ear. Yeah… It feels like I was hearing it constantly, the sound of waves. Maybe it was coming from these?

“Can you hear it?”

“Yeah… I can hear the sound of waves.” I wonder why. When I hear the sound of waves, why do I get this strange feeling. Xion opened the eyes she had closed for a moment, and asked Roxas, “How long was I asleep?”

“About twenty days, I think.”

“That long?” That’s a little surprising. To have slept for that long… And on top of that, why was I sleeping…? No, I don’t really remember if I collapsed. The last memory I have is—Oh yeah, I was thinking about how I can’t lose. I can’t lose to Riku. But I wonder why I fainted?

“Yeah… You weren’t waking up, and Axel and I were worried.”

“I’m sorry for worrying you…” Roxas and Axel being worried about me makes my chest squeeze painfully, much more than the fact that I was sleeping for so long.

 “We aren’t meant to have hearts, so I wonder how we can feel like this…,” she murmured. I’m not meant to have a heart, so why does it hurt like this? But, there’s definitely no answer to that.

She looked up. “Hey, I just remembered. What about your mission for today?” she asked Roxas.

“Huh? I was planning to go after this, but…”

“I want to go with you,” she said, clearly. Roxas frowned, troubled.

“Don’t you think you should rest a little longer?”

That may be a worry… But, I want to hurry up and get moving. “It’s okay. Hey, take me with you.”

Roxas hesitated for a moment, then accepted Xion’s plea. “Okay, I got it.”

Xion jumped right out of bed.

xxx

Let’s persuade Saïx together, they decided together, and so Roxas and Xion called out and stopped Saïx just before he entered the lobby.

“Saïx!”

“So you’ve finally woken up,” said Saïx, glancing at Xion. Xion looked up at Saïx. She took a small breath, and said, “I want to go out with Roxas on his mission. It’s okay if the two of us do, right, Saïx?”

Saïx missed a beat, as if thinking for a moment about Xion’s words. “It’s better if you don’t move around quite yet.”

That’s… not what I imagined he’d say. He’s probably not actually worried or anything like that, but it does feel as if he’s concerned about me physically.

Just as they were lost as to what to say, Axel appeared. “Oh, so you’ve finally woken up, Xion.”

“Good morning, Axel.” Xion smiled at Axel. Axel will definitely help us.

“Today, Axel, you and Roxas are scheduled to go together. Your companion hasn’t been put on the schedule.” It seemed that Saïx was also happy that Axel had arrived.

“I want to go too,” complained Xion, desperately. “I want to stretch my muscles.”

A moment of silence descended upon them, then, Axel opened his mouth. “What if I act as the guardian of these minors?” he said, trying to smooth things over. But, Saïx stayed silent even in the face of those words.

Axel and Saïx looked at each other. It felt as if they were glaring at each other a little, and Xion was anxious.

“I see. Do as you like,” Saïx folded, and went into the lobby straight away. The three of them watched his retreating back, then looked at each other, smiling.

It must be the first time the three of us have gone on a mission together.

xxx

The place they had headed to for their mission was Twilight Town. The usual town, where their usual spot was.

“Hee hee… It’s kind of fun, having a mission the three of us,” Xion smiled.

Roxas returned her smile. “It’s the first time isn’t it? The three of us, I mean.”

“Hey hey, this isn’t a game,” Axel reproached them, jokingly.

That’s right—missions aren’t games. “I know. I just want to make sure I can move properly,” said Xion, and Axel’s expression turned serious.

“Don’t push yourself too hard.”

Xion nodded. “Okay.” I won’t push myself. If I were to faint again, it would be totally useless. But if I’m with Axel and Roxas, it will definitely be okay. If anything happens to me those two will help me, I have faith.

“Our mission is to put down a giant Heartless—Looks like a pretty tough Heartless, yanno,” said Axel, scratching his head.

“Yeah—But thanks to that, we can narrow down the places it will appear. Maybe at the vacant lot, or in front of the station, I’m thinking,” guessed Roxas.

“That’s true,” Xion agreed. There are big spaces at the tram plaza and in front of the haunted mansion, too, but with huge Heartless, generally if we check those two places first, the odds of finding it there are high.

“Let’s hurry and finish, so we can go have some ice cream.” Roxas started walking

“Since we’re in Twilight Town, we can eat as soon as we’re done, can’t we,” said Xion, chasing after him.

“Yeah, that’s true, but… Don’t be careless,” Axel warned their backs as he followed behind.

“Axel is such a worry-wart, isn’t he.”

“Worry-wart—Maybe that’s cause you two worry me far too much.”

Xion and Roxas looked at each other, and laughed.

“So, where are you two heading off to anyway?”

“Station plaza,” Roxas replied.

“Because?”

“No matter what we do, we have to head back to the tram plaza to buy the ice cream, right?” Roxas explained.

“Huh?” Axel tilted his head.

“So, if we start with the station plaza, which is far away from the tram plaza, it’ll be easier later. Or that’s what I was thinking.”

“Roxas, you’re so smart!”

“Really…?”

Xion thought that Axel didn’t really seem to understand very well. But, the reason doesn’t really matter. Just the fact of being on a mission in this town all together is pretty fun.

But—the instant she set foot into the station plaza. The world—span. It span round and round and went black.

Is something happening? What’s wrong? I don’t understand.

–It’s a promise.

Who are you?

–It’s my precious charm, so you have to bring it back to me.

Charm…? Is that, these shells…?

–Xion!

I can hear Roxas’ voice. What on earth is happening?

xxx

Just before Xion fainted onto the ground, Axel caught her.

“Xion!” Roxas yelled, panicked. At that moment, something howled behind him.

It was the target Heartless. Roxas turned. Behind him, Axel picked Xion up. “Leave Xion to me,” he yelled.

Roxas nodded. “Got it.” His keyblade appeared in his hand, and he headed for the Heartless.

Keeping an eye on it, Axel dashed towards the corner of the station, a safe blind spot to the monster, holding Xion.

“Xion!” he called, after gently putting her down, but Xion didn’t react.

I was careless. I don’t have a clear answer as to why Xion faints so often in the first place. Why was she allowed to go on a mission in this condition? The thoughts floated up along with regret. Other than his warning not to get involved, Saïx has pretty much indicated that he doesn’t intend to offer more information regarding Xion. In that case, I’ll just have to find out on my own…

Just then, Xion stirred in his arms.

“Xion?”

At almost the exact same time, Axel could see Roxas dealing the last blow to the giant Heartless. A heart floated up from its’ body, and was swallowed into the air.

And then—

“Sora…,” Xion murmured.

Axel couldn’t believe his ears. Sora…? Why would Xion know that name?

“Xion!”

Right afterwards, Roxas came running over, and peered into Xion’s face.

“It’s okay. She’s not injured.”

“But…!”

Silencing Roxas, who still seemed worried, Axel stood up with Xion in his arms.

“Let’s RTC,” he said in a strong voice to Roxas, and began walking.

xxx

Upon returning, the castle was as silent as the grave. Axel walked through the hallways, carrying Xion. Roxas walked beside him, pressing in close.

Xion’s face was a limpid white. It was worrisome.

“So in the end it fainted again, the defective failure.”

There’s only one person who’d say something like that. Roxas turned in rage. “That’s no way to speak about someone…!” he said, accusingly.

He lunged, and Axel, still holding Xion, restrained him. “Silence,” Axel shot at Saïx, without even turning around.

I’ve never heard Axel speak in that cold voice.

Saïx said nothing in return.

Roxas glared at Saïx for a moment, then chased after Axel, who had started walking briskly away.

“Axel!”

“What.”

“…Was it okay to have said that?”

“What do you mean.”

Axel’s tone is a little lower than usual. “I mean… you and Saïx are usually pretty close, aren’t you?”

“Close, whatever. You’re the one who went and flared up in the first place.”

“Yeah, but…” It feels like some sort of mistake, for there to be a distance between Axel and Saïx like the one Saïx has between Xion and I. And even so…

“Look, open the door,” Axel said, stopping in front of Xion’s door, and indicating with his chin.

“Ah, yeah—”

Axel hurried to open the door, and there was Xion’s room, just as it was when they had left that morning. Axel gently lay Xion down on the bed.

Xion stirred a little. “Mm…”

It looks like she’s not unconscious.

Axel was staring hard at Xion.

Words slipped unthinkingly out of Roxas’ mouth. “…Axel, are you worried about Xion too?”

Axel looked at Roxas, slightly surprised. “Of course,” he replied in that low voice, the atmosphere since he had seen Saïx—the scary atmosphere—unchanged.

“Something feels weird.”

“What do you mean?”

Even asked, I don’t think I can explain what I’m feeling now very well at all. What do I do… “You hate troublesome things, right, Axel?” continued Roxas. That’s not exactly how I meant the words to feel—but, I can’t explain it right.

As he searched for words to continue with, Axel began to speak this time. “Well, Roxas—why do the three of us eat ice cream together every day in that place?”

“….Huh?” I don’t really get what he’s trying to say.

“I have no use in doing that either, do I? If you think about it, it’s troublesome, right?”

Certainly, if you think about it like that, it does sound troublesome. But… rather than troublesome of it, it’s fun to eat ice cream the three of us, so… so, that’s why we go there. But, I wonder why it’s fun?

“Do you want me to tell you?”

Roxas looked at Axel, and waited for his answer.

“It’s because we are best friends.”

That’s not what I was expecting him to say. Once, Axel said that he didn’t have a best friend. But, we’re best friends, that’s…

“Get that memorised, good and proper. We’re best friends.”

“Oh, okay… you’re right…”

Seeing a smile playing on Axel’s lips, Roxas began to smile too. Just then, they heard a small laugh. “Hee hee…” It was Xion, awake.

“Thank you… Axel,” said Xion, still lying on the bed. Axel scratched his head, seeming a little self-conscious.

“Are you okay now?”

Xion nodded, seeing Roxas’ worried state. “Just a little dizzy. I’m sorry for worrying you,” she replied.

“Don’t scare us like that, yeah?” Axel said, sounding tired.

“Okay,” Xion replied.

“Just take it easy for today,” Axel continued.

“Got it,” Xion said, obeying mildly.

“…The two of you, thank you.” A smile was on her lips. Axel and Roxas exchanged glances.

Surely—in this condition, she may take a while yet to recover, but it will be okay.

xxx

The white room was a little like the rooms in Castle Oblivion.

It was the first time she’d turned to her sketchbook since arriving at the mansion. Naminé drew slowly in the sketchbook. First she’d drawn a golden-haired boy wearing black. Then she’d drawn a red-haired youth. And then one more—a black-haired girl.

Naminé stopped drawing as she went to fill in the girl’s face.

She—Yes, since when did I know she was there?

I realised recently that she is a special Nobody. But I don’t really know much more than that. What on earth is she?

xxx

Continue to Chapter 6: Tell a Lie

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