thelectureroom: Mog! (Default)
[personal profile] thelectureroom
Title: The Nobody Virus
Author: hajikurazaki19 and DeadShut
Rating: One for the terrible-and-we-mean-Terrible writing, one for the horribly boring characters, one for the sexism (OMIGAWD THE SEXISM), one for the needless and graphic violence, and one just to let you know that this entire fic is devoid of any entertainment value whatsoever. You have been warned.
Full Name (including any titles): Ryan “Roxas” Hall, Sora O’Reily. (There's a million more, but they're not worth remembering.)
Full Species(es): Scum of the earth.
Hair Color (include adjectives): The quick summary for this part is to say that sometimes hair is same as canon, sometimes it’s something entirely different. There is never any good reason for either.
Eye Color (include adjectives): The most memorable colour is green. Why is it memorable? You’ll see.
Unusual Markings/Colorations/Physical Features: *shrugs*
Special Possessions (if any): Sora has a fancy stick masquerading as the Keyblade in one pocket and seemingly an Idiot Ball in the other, because incompetence like his has to be in tangible form. The story itself also has a weird love/hate relationship with Italy.

Origin: Frank Miller’s Guide to Fanfiction (with a foreword by Alan Moore)
Connections To Canon Characters: Stole their names. And then killed them to hide the evidence.
Special Abilities: Hallucinating others into believing anyone's had character development or changed in any way whatsoever.
Other Annoying Traits: Let’s save you some time and compress the answer down to “Everything not mentioned above.”

I Say/Notes:

Part One
Part Two
Part Three
Part Four
Part Five
Part Six
Part Seven
Part Eight


15: Big Brother

Mog: *from notes* Aqua's been busy, selling her business and waiting at a cafe for phone calls.

Aqua flipped her phone open. "Hello?"

"Is this someone I can talk to?"

Larxene: (as Aqua) You called me, pal, answer that question for yourself.

"Yes."

"Your terrible crime has been taken care of. The lion's been put down. I'm looking for the clouds."

Roxas: (as Aqua) Good job, Mufasa. I’ll give you your next assignment soon.

Aqua laughed. "That was quick. I was under the assumption that he was coming here."

"He changed his mind in Atlantic City."

Axel: Leon had a gambling addiction.

"And?"

"He was going to run. But, he came back." There was a smooth, chilling laugh. "I tricked the lion into biting his hand."

Aqua breathed shallowly. "I heard Seaside Heights is in right now."

"Hmmm."

"I want it to be a sunny day soon."

"And the girl?"

Aqua hummed. "I haven't decided yet."

Terra: What decision is there? Namine's an innocent. STOP USING AQUA'S NAME IN VAIN, FIC!

Aqua hung up the phone. She had noted someone looking at her from across the street.

Xion: Snuffaluffagus is judging you.

She wasn't quite sure if they were to be trusted, because they had been staring for a long time. She smiled and sipped her tea again, when an old man took the seat across from her.

"Hello, Diz," Aqua said lazily.

Roxas: (as Aqua) Still stuck in the fic, I see. Did the writers think up something for you to do yet?

Diz smiled. "Hello…Angelina."

Aqua gasped, but hid it behind another sip of tea.

Xion: Which would cause any normal person to choke, but Aqua's just that rich and powerful even her esophagus follows her every whim!

"I don't know who you're talking about. You must have me confused with somebody else."

"Jerkbutt thinks otherwise."

"Jerkbutt is not here."

Terra: And I'm happy for it! *more confetti*

Diz laughed hoarsely. "That's a shame. He ratted you out to us. Unfortunately, he didn't live long enough for you to find out."

Axel: Shame, he really wanted to see Aqua hate him even more.

Aqua gripped her cup. "Diz…"

"We know you can help us."

Aqua smiled deeply. "You think threatening me is going to work?"

Diz nodded.

Larxene: (as Diz) Pweeeeeeeeeeeeease play ‘Terrorists’ with me? Pwetty pwease?

Aqua placed her cup on the table and shuddered with restraint. "Diz. You tell whoever it is you work for that they should never for one second believe that they have power over me. They will regret it."

Terra: She is a Keyblade Master and don't you forget it!

"Cheeky." Diz whispered. "Jerkbutt told us everything. All your top contacts. Distributors, sellers, packers. All your fronts. And all your friends."

Aqua was silent.

Marluxia: (as Aqua) What friends?

"We hold all the cards."

Roxas: (as Diz) And they're all full houses!
Axel: Holy crow, I just realized that every character in here is even dumber than Wheatley.
Terra: At least he accomplished stuff of his own accord.

Aqua smiled. "Okay then. Think what you want. But, do you really think I would tell Jerkbutt any of that? You'd believe him over hard evidence?"

Diz rubbed the back of his head.

Larxene: Where one of Aqua's lackeys just punched him.

"You're a hard one to track. In fact, if Jerkbutt had kept his mouth shut, we never would have known your whole name, or where you worked. We are masters of the Internet, kind lady.

Roxas: (as DiZ) Despite the fact that I just said we would know jack squat about you if your croney hadn't ratted you out so the Internet had nothing to do with that.

We know everything about you."

Zexion: ...that you put on the Internet, at least.
Lexaeus: What site exactly told you she'd be sitting at a cafe, drinking tea?

Aqua sighed. "That's a shame. Now there's going to be a war."

Roxas: Fic, please stop using that word just because you think it sounds cool. It doesn't make anything more exciting.

Diz stood. "We are not worried about that. We just want Riku."

Aqua turned away. "I'm sorry to deny you your…resources. But, I've got my own Big Brothers. The Heartless are now a problem."

Marluxia: We only wish.

Diz waved her off. "We're ready for you."

Aqua smirked. "Don't be so sure."

As soon as Diz left, and she was sure that she was alone, Aqua dialed a number that she never thought she was going to use again. The phone rang, and she felt the slight flutter of nervous butterflies in her stomach.

Xion: (as Aqua) Please help me, Subway sandwiches! I need your catering in my hour of need!
Mog: *from notes* Big Brother is called in!

Riku had been sitting on the phone with Mick for at least a half an hour, before he hung up furiously. "This is some fucked up shit."

Axel: (as Riku) Abusive parents, innocent murders, rape plot devices— what the hell?!

Sora looked up at him. Kairi was tending to the gash in his face, hoping that it wouldn't scar too badly. To her surprise, the skin had already begun to stitch itself together.

Zexion: The Keyblade gave Sora's epidermis a needle and thread.

"What's wrong?"

"Mick says we need to lay low for now." Riku said. "He caught wind that a war is coming."

Sora jumped. "What? From where?"

Xion: (as Riku) From the Marianas Trench. We'll be fighting a war against some freaky looking fish.

"Aqua."

Kairi turned. "Who's Aqua?"

Xion: (as Riku) The leader of the fishies!
Terra: *sighs* Everyone has to make the water puns.

Riku shuddered. "Uhh…my new employer."

Kairi flushed.

Zexion: I would like to point out that this story's main method of writing conversations consists of only “Name verb. Dialogue.” To the surprise of no one, I don't have a humourous comment to add to this, just noting what a monotonous read it is.

"You said you were done with that! Riku! Did you lie about that?"

Xion: (as Kairi) You said you weren't going to go back to McDonald's! Remember what the greasy food did to your complexion!

Riku looked away. "I…was going to tell you."

Kairi pushed him. "When? When you got your head blown off?"

Roxas: (as Riku) No, after two more times I put you in danger with my lies.

Riku shrugged.

Larxene: (as Riku) Geez, Kairi, chill out.

"It was never a good time. I was just trying to keep my promise to you."

Kairi pushed him again.

Terra: Is this the only way she knows how to express emotions? By shoving people?
Axel: (as Kairi) *flaps wrist* Oh, you meanies!

"And I said I would never ask for repayment. I told you I would never take anything from you if you got it that way. You told me you were done! You fucking liar!"

Lexaeus: Kairi is his oldest friend, yet he's ignored her only wish for three years now.
Terra: Riku becomes more unlikeable by the syllable.
Mog: *from notes* Riku stops Kairi from pushing him and tells her everything's gonna be okay.

He hugged her with all the compassion he could spare, knowing that his mind was so heavily burdened with responsibility.

Marluxia: This is the most uncompassionate compassion I've ever seen.
Xion: Well, it is only the compassion he could spare. He still has 85% of his compassion in reserve.

He knew Kairi would believe him. He knew she would cry for the next couple of hours,

Larxene: *scowl* Cuz she's a GIRL and that's what GIRLS do, right?
Xion: See? Even you're getting annoyed! I told you this fic's sexism was rampant!

and that was going to be the time for him to go out and investigate. Sora would watch her.

"I have to…cool off," Riku whispered.

Kairi nodded, tears rolling down her cheeks. "You're not…?"

Axel: (as Kairi) Going to jump into the Hudson, are you?

"I won't go do…that." Riku said.

Marluxia: (as Riku) I prefer the Hackensack.
Roxas: (as Riku) Or East River.
Larxene: (as Riku) Long Island Sound sounds pretty good.

"I promise." He was lying.

Terra: Aaaaand their friendship dives even further into the ground.
Xion: You guys should have said Riku would jump into the Bronx Kill, it'd be so appropriate for his and Kairi's relationship.

Kairi sniffed and nodded. "Okay." She pulled away from him and let him leave the room. She whole-heartedly believed that Riku was going to leave and cool off and come back. And that nothing was going to happen, and that she was going to be okay, and that they would be safe.

Roxas: I'm sure this paragraph is leading somewhere, and totally isn't setting up a conflict that won't happen.
Mog: *suspicious* You better have suddenly gained clairvoyance and didn't read ahead like you're not supposed to.

Riku opened the door. "Don't open this for anyone. If someone knocks, don't answer, don't come to the door. Don't do anything. Okay?"

Sora nodded and threw a thumbs-up. "Got it."

Axel: Wanna bet how long it takes for him to open the door?
Larxene: Twenty minutes, tops.

Riku eyed Sora and closed the door. He hopped down the rickety stairs and out the front door. The streets were dimly lit as twilight approached. Riku started down the street when a black van suddenly pulled up beside him.

"The fuck?"

Two men hopped out the van and subdued Riku easily,

Roxas: See, this is why we're against the gratuitous swearing. If Riku had actually run away instead of taking the time to curse, he’d be safe right now.
Zexion: That “constant fighting lifestyle” still has yet to be seen.

throwing him into the side and speeding off without so much as a cat to witness.

Xion: Riku should have gone back to where the fight scene was. That crowd is still standing there with doe-eyes.

Riku tumbled in the back of the van, kicked and punching in every direction he could.

"Hold up. Hold up!"

Riku didn't stop. "Let me the fuck go!"

"Jesus!" cried one of the men.

Axel: (as man) There’s a Messiah on the road, look out!

"Calm the fuck down! We're on your side."

Lexaeus: You probably didn't need to kidnap him then.

Riku calmed down, but kept his guard up to the sky.

Roxas: Which wasn't much use down on the ground.

"Who the fuck are you?"

"Fuck man," said the driver.

Larxene: Nice to meet ya, Fuck Man.

"I'm your Big Brother."

Riku stopped. "I don't have a brother."

Xion: (as Riku) Or a family at all, apparently.

"No, hon." Aqua leaned over the passenger side. "He's Big Brother. My security system."

"Aqua?"

"Hi, babe."

Terra: I thought we were done with the endearments!
Marluxia: You'd think the co-authors would take notes of how the other writes the characters.

"What's going on?"

"Initiation." Aqua said. "By the way, Isa, Riku. Riku, Isa."

Zexion: For crying out loud, we lost two cameos only to gain two more!
Xion: Plus, fic Ienzo and fic Isa don't have any relation to Zexion and Saix. This is just confusing now.

Riku croaked. "Hey."

"I heard good things about you, Riku." Isa said. Even in the dim light, Riku could see his hair was dyed a crazy shade of blue.

Terra: The cameos aren't even getting new hair. They're getting lazy.

"The City of Brotherly Love.

Roxas: (as Riku) Aww, I have such fond memories of that show. Man, Joe had a lotta hair at the beginning didn’t he?

At your service."

"Philly?"

Xion: So is Isa west Philadelphia born and raised, on the playground was where he spent most his days?

Aqua nodded solemnly. "Unfortunately I had to bring in…old enemies."

Isa laughed. "You see. Aqua and I had a thing way back when. I totally kicked her ass in a selling game, and she killed half my city."

Terra: (as Isa) Haha! The countless deaths of innocent people are so amusing! Hahaha!

Riku gulped. "Then what the fuck are you doing here?"

Aqua and Isa laughed. "That was a long time ago. We are allies now."

Riku eyed Isa. "But not friends."

Roxas: (as Riku) I'm the only one allowed to be Aqua's bestest best friend! Nobody else!

Isa stopped the van.

Marluxia: By running it into a tree.

"Listen. You don't understand a single thing that goes on here. Our bonds go way back. More than we care to admit. Let's just say we did the blah blah blah and now we have blah."

Xion: Yada yada yada, and all that.

Riku nodded. "So…"

Axel: (as Riku) Anyone wanna go out to eat? I know a place with great salads!
Mog: *from notes* Riku gets branded with a white hot poker.

"Shhh, babe," Aqua crooned. She lifted up his chin, wiping away the tears that had burst from his eyes. She kissed him softly, and, suddenly, it didn't hurt as much.

Xion: Let Mommy-Aqua kiss the boo-boo better!

Isa laughed. "Aqua! I never thought you would have such control."

"Shut up or you'll be buried in bodies."

Terra: (as Aqua) Shut up or I'll run out of terrible comebacks.

Isa laughed harder. "Oh, okay. I'll be good. I'm just here to help you with your…problem.

Larxene: You know, if you played a drinking game for this fic and took a shot every time someone uses an ellipses, you would have died of alcohol poisoning right around here.

Then I'm going back. No harm done. And I'm not staying longer than I need to. I promise.

Axel: Good.

No unnecessary death."

Riku stood up, as soon as the sharp pain subsided to a dull, but powerful throb.

Zexion: By this point even a glance at The Elements of Style would improve this story.
Mog: *from notes* They explain that Riku is now Aqua's slave.
Marluxia: Why couldn't I be making people my slaves? That's so much more interesting than everything else I've done combined.

Isa shivered suddenly. "Can we get inside? I'm cold as fuck."

Larxene: Then you're doing it wrong.
Roxas: Meanwhile Holden Caulfield is running across Route 204 and saying it's icy as hell.
Terra: This entire fic reads like a bad obsession with Catcher in the Rye.

Aqua nodded and they entered a building.

Zexion: Just a building. No further description necessary.

Inside, it was just a plain desk with a young blond man sitting at it.

Lexaeus: Just a desk, not even walls.

He was pushing numbers into a calculator, and a long roll of tape curled around his feet.

"Hayner." Isa said.

Roxas: MOTHER LOVING KITTEN PUNCHER!

"The numbers?"

Hayner sighed. "Twenty."

Xion: *to Roxas* Was Hayner any good at math?
Roxas: I only knew him during summer vacation, but if virtual Olette is anything to be believed he's more the not-so-discreetly-lean-over-and-peek-at-your-test kind of math student.

"That's it?" Isa said. "Eh, that's okay."

Isa leaned over the desk and patted Hayner's head. Hayner beamed with appreciation, and Isa rewarded him with long passionate kiss. Riku leaned back.

Aqua nudged him. "He's okay. He doesn't roll that way.

Xion: Bisexuals don't exist in ficland.
Larxene: Did we just learn that Riku’s a giant homophobe? He’s not even grossed out by the PDA, he’s more “Eww, the gayness is near me! It could be contagious and I won’t like boobies anymore!”

He uses sex for power. That's his leverage."

Zexion: Which is no different from what Riku's done so far, so I don't see why he's so surprised.

"And you don't do the same exact thing?" Isa asked, crossing his arms. "I'm a free spirit. If I want to fuck it, I will."

Roxas: (as Hayner) Oh, gee, thanks! You could have at least waited til I left the room!

Riku shook his head. He looked at Aqua. "You wanted to talk?"

Aqua pushed him into a chair.

Terra: That came sliding in once it realized it was late for its cue.

"Yes, and I don't want you to lie to me. I know you're good at it."

Riku looked at her. "What?"

Larxene: (as Riku) Riku don' und-a-tand big words. Speak smaller, peez.
Mog: *from notes* Talk about looking for the Heartless leader.

Riku shook his head violently, looking from Isa to Aqua. "No! I don't do partners. I work alone."

Lexaeus: For no reason other than your own pride.

Aqua sighed. "Riku, if you're going after the Heartless leader, you are not doing it without backup.

Axel: Even Aqua realizes how useless Kairi and Sora are.

I take care of my employees. Isa's staying with you."

"But…"

Xion: (as Riku) He smells weird, I don't like him!

Isa leaned over Riku, wrapping his arms around his shoulders. "You could always…come with me." He kissed the pulsing brand mark behind his ear. "I'll take better care of you."

Aqua pushed Isa away. "Stop poaching my employees!"

Xion: (as Aqua) This is an Employee Protection Zone!

Isa glared at her. Riku could feel the tension rising and backed away.

Roxas: (as Riku) What is this strange feeling around me? Could it be tension, a way of adding atmosphere and empathy to a story? *flail* Take it away, take it away!
Mog: *from notes* Short argument ensues.

Aqua kept her fierce stance and tough demeanor. But, she knew he was right, and hated herself for being so careless. She should have killed Jerkbutt personally. But she brushed her differences to the side and swallowed her pride.

Zexion: So many emotions mentioned, none of them emulated.

She smiled.

"I'm sorry, Isa. You're right. I need you."

Isa grinned and blushed, anger and hostility vaporizing instantly. "You've still got it.

Roxas: *singing* SHE'S GOT THE LOOK!
Xion: *backup* She's got the look!
Roxas: *singing* What in the world can make a brown-eyed girl turn blue!

I love it when you hold back. It makes you sexy."

"Shut the fuck up."

"Oh. Someone's having a bad week," Isa chided.

Terra: *rubbing forehead* It sure feels like a week.

Riku so badly wanted to punch that fucker in the face. Even though he never had pledged himself to Aqua like that, or even considered trying anything serious, he wanted to protect her from all the evil in the world.

Terra: If Riku considers Isa bantering with Aqua “evil”, his brain would implode if he knew some people grow up in war-torn countries.
Axel: Away with you and your legitimate concerns!

He stepped towards Isa, but Aqua stopped him.

"Don't." She warned. "I deserved it."

Riku ignored her and pushed Isa back. "Fuck you, man."

Axel: Riku needs a new catchphrase. “Fuck you, man” can't work in every situation.
Mog: *from notes* Fight! Fight! Say Uncle! Say Uncle!

Riku fainted. He couldn't take the lack of oxygen. He could only remember the look of horror on Aqua's face as he closed his eyes. Fear engulfed him. Then the vision began.

Xion: Another one? What exactly is triggering these? Sora's had the Keyblade for a few days to a couple of weeks now and this just started happening to him, but Riku touched the Keyblade a few hours ago and now gets the same thing?
Axel: The Keyblade's bored as hell of its own story so it said, “Y'know, I'm just gonna tell you everything you need to know to move this along faster.”

Shift…

Roxas: Marla Shift, to be exact.

"Christopher!" cried a man with a heavy Russian accent. "Take a look at this!"

Terra: (as Totally Vanitas) There are now two characters with the name Christopher! First Cloud, now you!

A young man, maybe in his thirties,

Larxene: Now THAT'S an oxymoron.

rushed over with a look of pure joy on his face. He was so charming, with brown skin that glowed with excitement.

Xion: Aww, does the narrative have a crush?

"Please tell me you figured it out, Victor."

Axel: (as Christopher) Please tell me you figured out why the K in your name is now a C, Viktor.
Mog: *from notes* Quick Keyblade description.

"I think I've cracked it," Victor said. "It's like the super computer. Only it's at least a thousand times faster. Maybe even faster than that."

Lexaeus: That's the general implication when you say “at least”.

"Does it work with any of our equipment?"

Victor shook his head. "I can't get it to communicate with our computer, but it seems to be sending signals to other organic matter. Watch."

Victor pushed the button on the side of metal rod. The clicks and whirs grew louder and a rat in a cage nearby squealed in agony.

Axel: (as rat) NOOO! NOT THE BADFIC! ANYTHING BUT THE BADFIC!

It thrashed about then died. Victor grinned.

Roxas: (as Vanitas) Fantasticheskiy, now we can add animal cruelty onto the list of horribleness this fic has done!

"It can kill without changing the outward appearance."

"Like an invisible bullet," Christopher whispered.

"More like a knife, or some other kind of blade." Victor said just as softly.

Zexion: Oh, come on, the previous sentence had a proper comma. Is it physically impossible for this story to go more than two pages without some spelling or grammar mistake?

Christopher went back to the table and picked up a small cube that was next to the metal rod.

Roxas: No, not the Companion Cube! No one's safe from this fic!

It glowed with an eerie hum, drawing attention to it.

Xion: I'd sure pay attention to a glow that could hum.
Lexaeus: Or a hum that could glow.

"What about this?" Christopher asked. "It's like a…door.

Roxas: If a door was a cube.

That doesn't work without the…"

Terra: Doorknob.

"Key," Victor finished. "What did they call it?"

"The Keyblade."

"It's a weapon."

Christopher shook his head. "It's a tool. It's supposed to get us somewhere."

Victor growled. "It's a weapon."

Terra: Yeah, what’s with that again? Like, information sponge I can follow, but killing machine? Why?
Marluxia: And neither one makes much sense anyway because, need we remind you, it’s a stick.

Christopher placed the panels on the Keyblade back in place. "It seems that we are at a disagreement, Dr. Vanitas. Perhaps we should take a break."

Victor tensed. "Yes. Let's rest for now. We shall go back tomorrow."

Larxene: Oh goody! There was just too much being accomplished, we needed a break from all that.

Christopher locked the Keyblade in a vault that was lined with lead. It was 1948, and there was a constant fear of radioactivity.

Marluxia: Whereas in 2015 we no longer care about it.

He rubbed his temples and climbed out of his underground laboratory. Victor Vanitas climbed out soon afterwards, still grumbling under his breath.

Terra: (as Vanitas) Russian, friggin' Russian. Couldn't have been Italian or Spanish or any one of the Romance languages. Noooo, that would be relevant. Had to go for a Slavonic language instead.

Christopher Xehanort

Axel: Rolls right off the tongue, don't it?

and Victor Vanitas, the top scientists of the 1940's, both with impeccable credentials, and enlisted by the United States Government to crack the secrets of the Keyblade and bring the world into an age of Enlightenment.

Marluxia: …And? That sentence didn't have a proper conclusion. If you wanted to say “They were the top scientists hired by the government to enlighten and all that” then you needed to cut out that conjunction and put in a “were”.

"I want to go talk to the…beings." Christopher said. "They might be able to give us a clue as to what these tools are for."

Zexion: I'd personally prefer answers over vague clues.

Victor nodded, and they made their way through a compound that was guarded with the highest fences and biggest guns of the day. They nodded to the two scientists as they entered a completely sterile building.

Terra: ...the fences and guns nodded...?

They dressed up in suits and helmets and entered a white room, where one of the last of the otherworldly beings was lying on a table.

It was struggling to breathe, and its eyes bulged. Christopher leaned over the table, smiling his most charming smile, willing the being before him to answer his question directly. No riddles or unintelligible languages.

Larxene: Any of that crap and Chris'll make sure the thing won't have to struggle to breath anymore.

"Please help me," Christopher whispered. "I need you to tell me what the Keyblade is for."

Xion: (as Christopher) I need help on my science homework!

The being wheezed and looked at him with unbounded intelligence. "It's your transport."

Axel: Oh yeah, and the otherworldly aliens speak perfect English. Realism, remember?

"To where?" Christopher asked urgently. "Where does it take us?"

Roxas: Springfield?

"To the one place where you belong."

Marluxia: Hell?

Christopher tried not to growl. "But where is that?"

Axel: (as alien) *wheezing* The Leave-Me-the-Hell-Alone City.

"You have to find out." The being wheezed again. "The Keyblade will give you everything you need. Push the button.

Terra: *breathlessly* Push the button, Frank.

It will take you to the Kingdom."

Xion: The Magic Kingdom?
Mog: *from notes* And then there's a fire!

Shift…

Victor Vanitas and Christopher Xehanort sat before a panel of Senators.

Xion: Were they nine old men, perhaps?
Roxas: This fic isn't clever enough for references like that.

Their hands were neatly folded in front of them, and they looked cold and calculated. Victor huffed softly.

"They will never understand," he whispered. His Russian accent was less heavy. Time had passed. "They are too simple. They won't get it."

Axel: Words that’ll be repeated to you if you dare criticize this little piece of art here.

Christopher nodded. "I know, but we must secure our funds, or we will never be able to move forward. We are so close."

Xion: (as Christopher) Just forty more dollars and we can finally own the super-ultra-special-awesome edition of Star Wars!
Mog: *from notes* The Senators are not happy with the amount they want and then there's more Keyblade descriptions!

Victor smirked. "I made another one. Similar in design. Not as powerful, but much more sophisticated than any weapon today. I call it…the X-Blade."

Roxas: (as Vanitas) I ripped off the name from a video game much more creative than anything I could come up with, hope you don't mind.

The Senators grumbled to each other. "We are not interested in any theories that you may have."

Victor frowned. "What's that supposed to mean?"

Terra: (as Senator) We. Are not. Interested- that means we don't care. In any theories- that's thoughts. You *points* meaning you. May have.

The Senator stood. "We have evidence that you have been passing information back to Russia."

Christopher stood, slamming his hands on the table. "That is a ridiculous claim! You are making assumptions because he is not American."

Axel: No, they're making assumptions because they have evidence. Even if it's crap evidence, they have something.

"Dr. Xehanort, take your seat!"

"You are breaking the rules of the Constitution!"

"Xehanort!" cried the Senator. "Sit down!"

"My name is Christopher!"

Xion: (as Cloud) My name is Christopher! I was in this fic first, I called dibs!

"Xehanort!"

Christopher resisted the police that swarmed in.

Roxas: Whoa, authorities!
Lexaeus: But the wrong kind. A regular police force couldn't possibly make it to the hearing this fast, so they'd either be security guards for the building or bodyguards for the senators.

Victor tried to help his friend, but he, too, was forced down. The X-Blade was ripped from his hand, and he snarled at the man who took it.

"Give it back!" Victor yelled.

Axel: (as Vanitas) Give it back, you meanies! That was my birthday present!

The X-Blade whirred and the gears clicking together gave off a smell of burning metal.

Victor panicked. "Let it go! It can't take it!"

The officer smirked at him and ignored him as he turned around.

Larxene: (as officer) Heh heh, I'll be really smug before I die.

The X-Blade's whining grew louder and louder until it suddenly released a burst of energy that vaporized the wood tables and chairs and threw the people on the edges of the room back. The closest people had been completely disintegrated and all that was left were piles of ashes.

Marluxia: Vanitas was saved by wearing his Plot-Proof jacket.
Mog: *from notes* Some hints that Christopher 2 is connected with the Key/X-blade (this is getting a bit confusing) before the Senators give them the thumbs up.

Shift…

Christopher sat in an office, twiddling his thumbs. Based on the way he was dressed, it had to have been the late nineties.

Zexion: Sure, now we get vague. Every other vision has been amazingly coherent but this point in time Riku couldn't possibly pinpoint despite living through it.

The walls around were covered in diagrams of stars and universes.

He hadn't aged a day.

Terra: He's immortal now?
Xion: Awesome. We haven't made nearly enough Baccano! references to make me happy.

A door at the end of a hallway opened and a man in his early twenties headed down the hallway with a look of pure hatred on his face. His hair was frizzed, like he had fought someone.

Xion: He and Ms. Frizzle had a falling out.

"What?" the man snapped at Christopher.

"Dr. Sebastian Hoffman?"

Axel: What, not Seifer Hoffman?
Mog: I'm pretty sure this is Saix’s original name.
Axel: OH COME ON!

The man nodded, still stern. "What do you want?"

"I heard you are at the head of the Astrology and Astrophysics fields."

"Yeah." Sebastian said.

Christopher stood up. "I want your help."

"With what?"

"Mapping the universe."

Sebastian's eye lit up.

Lexaeus: But only the one eye.

He suddenly was overcome with an intense look of awe. He looked like a man who had an obsession or an addiction that could never be cured or abated by anything other than the item of his obsession.

Terra: Yes, that's an obsession or an addiction in a nutshell, fic. Thanks for the definition.
Mog: *from notes* He says okay and then Riku wakes up.

"I didn't kill him did I?" Isa growled. "Because that would be a huge waste of my time."

Marluxia: But with him dead that would salvage some of ours.

"Shut up!" Aqua screamed. "Riku?"

Riku groaned again and sat up. He was rubbing his temples when the sudden flashes of what he had just seen came back to him. He was startled, and he vomited.

Roxas: Wow, don't ever sneak up on Riku and scare him.

"Fuck, man." Isa cried.

Xion: Aww, look, he does care.
Zexion: Commas. Use them.

Riku trembled. "We are all going to die…"

Both Aqua and Isa's faces hardened. "That's not a joke."

Terra: If it is, it's about as funny as all the other jokes this fic has had.

Riku looked at them. "I'm not joking…" His heart fluttered. "I need to get back."

Marluxia: (as Riku) We’ve had enough unhelpful cryptic foreshadowing for one day, I have to go hang out with Sora again and pretend he’s at all vital to this plot.

Aqua helped him to his feet. "Okay, you can go back. We can regroup later."

As they dropped Riku off back in Hell's Kitchen, Aqua wished sorely that she could talk to Riku alone. She didn't trust Isa for one second,

Axel: So calling him in was a great move on her part.

and she wanted to let Riku in on what kind of information she sat on.

Xion: She had all kinds of secrets in her back pockets.
Larxene: I'll say she does. Admit it, gamers, you made her jump up and down a lot to get those ribbons out of the way.
Mog: *from notes* Then there's some backstory that we'll hear again later.

"Riku."

Riku turned. "What?"

Aqua opened her mouth, but closed it quickly. "Be safe."

Riku was slightly surprised by her statement, but he took it to heart.

Terra: Like you took Kairi's interests to heart?

"Have a good night."

Aqua nodded. And Isa drove her away.

Zexion: Fragmented sentences aren’t stylistic when you use them all the time.

They were silent, but Aqua had many other things on her mind.

Xion: (as Aqua) What's on the to-do list tomorrow? Hmm... “Help others”, “kick Unversed butt”, “hang out with friends”, “kick butt when people insult said friends.” Just another regular day, then.
Terra: *smile*
Larxene: Instead, her to-do list just has Riku's name written over and over and over again.
Terra: *frown*
Axel: With a list of kinks to experiment with on the side.
Terra: *dies a little bit inside*

Riku trudged up the stairs, and knocked on the door weakly. As he waited for Sora to completely ignore his instructions,

Lexaeus: I can see why he trusted him to look after Kairi.
Roxas: I knew that earlier paragraph of angst was pointless.
Mog: You did read ahead! You broke the rules! Just for that, no more summaries for any of this chapter.
Axel: How is that a punishment?
Mog: Oh, you'll see.

the glare of the fluorescents bounced off the door knob, and it looked like there were numbers floating near the tiny halo. Just for a second. Riku shook his head and entered the room without a word.

Sora was about to ask him something, but a sudden rush of exhaustion washed over him, and thoughts about a woman he had never seen floated in his mind's eye. She was beautiful, with blue highlights laced through black hair. He felt a strong urge to do something to or for that woman, but he closed his eyes and cleared his mind.

He wasn't sure, but he thought that he just peeked into Riku's thoughts.

Axel: Meanwhile, all Riku can suddenly think of is what Kairi looks like naked.
Terra: If I have to see... stuff about my best friend, so does he!

Roxas flopped on the couch in the den, too tired to move any farther into the massive underground compound.

Larxene: (as Roxas) Ew, icky work!

Every muscle ached, and the stench of blood was permanently burned into his nostrils. He had wrecked havoc and utter devastation on his single street.

Terra: I still don’t understand why they’re doing that. Are they collecting bodies for use in experiment? Are they ever going to do this again?
Mog: *grumpy* I’m not telling.
Xion: *sweetly* Mooooog…?
Mog: *turns away*
Xion: Adorable lil moogle that everyone loves? Can you tell me if Roxas or Axel do their one job ever again?
Mog: …notheyneverdo.
Xion: Thank you.

He had first been beaten by Sora. His nose broken and his pride bruised.

Roxas: And it was glorious and I hope it happens to you again really soon.

How could a complete novice beat him in hand to hand combat?

Zexion: Convenience?

Had he not trained his ass off for hours? Had he not destroyed the man responsible for stealing Xion's innocence?

Lexaeus: I'm beginning to understand why Lily as a character is never allowed to have her own arc. She's only here to be an extension of Ryan's story, just a prop for him to use.
Axel: Makes sense for why the fic constantly goes “OH NO FEEL BAD FOR WHAT DIDN’T HAPPEN TO ROXAS!”

Had he not been God? Even if it was for just a second?

How could he have lost so easily?

He stabbed himself mentally,

Marluxia: Now try the same action again, this time physically.

and was dimly aware that his nose was bleeding again. His nose had been broken.

Lexaeus: Yes, you said so above. Despite how needlessly long these paragraphs are, we can remember what was stated a few seconds ago.

Smashed with a force much greater than he had initially thought. And though it had almost immediately begun to heal itself, the only thing that had actually been fixed was the position of his nose. It still hurt like a motherfucker, and would spontaneously bleed.

After being humiliated, Roxas had killed every person he came into contact with. Men, women, children, babies.

Zexion: *going through checklist* Rape for drama's sake— check. Women there only to look pretty— check. And now the needless death of children. Check. Just one more tallymark and this story will officially be scum.
Roxas: It’s only the first time I’ve ever taken another human’s life. We don’t need to see the emotional repercussions of that. Sora already had that moment, it'd just be showing off if I had my own reaction scene.

And he felt no guilt. After reading a few more chapters of The Human Mind, the book Zexion had given him, he realized that guilt was the poor man's self mutilation.

Terra: Most consider it to be what shows that you're still human, but what the hey, we don't need likeable characters in this story!
Zexion: I’d like to point out that Roxas’ oh so controversial essay accused all of humanity for being unoriginal and without a thought of their own. Yet here he sits letting a book tell him how to think. Ryan Hall is a special sort of hypocrite.

He was above that, and therefore, erased all seeds of guilt that had ever been planted.

Marluxia: Hey!

He was a selfish, ruthless human being, but he had been God for a majority of the day. But, there was still that nagging feeling in the back of his mind. Sora had beaten him. Did that prove the original Keyblade's power? Or was that just luck?

Axel: IS THIS WHAT WE'VE BEEN SKIPPING? JUST WORDS THROWN EVERYWHERE AS THE SAME THING IS SAID OVER AND OVER AGAIN?
Mog: Told you it was punishment.

Axel stumbled in the door about an hour after Roxas had given up for the day. He was shitfaced drunk. He grinned stupidly and flopped across from Roxas.

"You look like shit."

"I feel like shit."

Axel lit a cigarette. "How'd it go?" He blew a sloppy smoke ring.

Axel: I resent that! I make awesome smoke rings!

"I killed people…a lot of people." Roxas muttered. "I just couldn't help myself. It was never ending."

Roxas: THEN JUST STOP KILLING PEOPLE AND GET A BRAIN!

"Sounds like you had a rough first day." Axel said. "That's too bad."

"How about you?"

Axel smiled and flipped the TV on. "Just wait."

The reporter was standing in front of a building, holding her microphone just out of frame.

Xion: *headtilt* Why? Just... why?
Roxas: I think we're supposed to imagine this as a close-up shot and her microphone is being held under her chin, but it would help the description to be less vague on such a simple sentence.
Xion: Because I'm imagining a medium shot and she has her elbow locked at 90 degrees just so she can stiff-arm the microphone out of frame.

She was smiling and she looked excited for something.

Axel laughed. "I called and said that a Senator Coolidge was going walk out of that hotel with a prostitute. I said to wait until the ten o'clock news to start before turning the cameras on. And look, there he is."

Axel: We must really suck at our jobs. (as news station) Ordered chaos? Ehh, I don't care about tha—Whoa, possible sex scandal from an unreliable source! We gotta cover that shit LIVE!

The camera followed Senator Coolidge and a woman, who was not a prostitute, but was his new publicist. They exited the hotel together, smiling and talking excitedly.

Larxene: (as woman) I feel like today is a new day! I'm going to make the most of my life from now on!
Marluxia: (as Senator) I know exactly what you mean! Nothing can stop us, not even this cheap plot point I can hear coming towards us from a mile off!

Roxas squinted. "I don't…"

"Shhhhh." Axel whispered. "Wait for it…"

Terra: ...They're not...

The camera still followed the Senator.

"Wait for it…"

Zexion: *gets checklist ready* Oh, they are.

Roxas was about to look away, when an explosion that nearly took the TV off the wall blew the entire block across the street. The rubble flew everywhere, and the only thing that could be heard was the frantic screaming of people, and the sickening crunch of concrete on metal and glass on pavement. The sound was deafening, and the buildings along the entire city block crumbled and crashed in all sorts of directions, smashing buildings as far as ten blocks away.

Axel: I also told the news station it would be dramatically convenient if they could film live and they said “Sure, everyone else is doing it, sounds like a blast!”

"Holy shit!"

Axel laughed himself to tears, holding a detonator in his hands. "That'll learn them! Ha Ha! Did you see that, Roxas? What a fucking show!"

Xion: Eh, it's no Mythbusters in terms of blowing stuff up, but it'll do.

Roxas couldn't believe what he was seeing. It wasn't long before a helicopter got the whole picture,

Axel: Oh yeah, and I also told them to bring in the helicopter for the senator's scandal. Just cuz.

and a huge crater was blown in the middle of the city. It was horrifying, a spitting image of the Twin Tower's devastation nearly a decade ago.

Roxas: Exploitive, much?
Larxene: Great. The one actual act of terrorism we do and we rip off another act of terrorism.
Lexaeus: Why do we hate conformists?

The fires, the papers, the bodies. The only thing missing was the plane.

Terra: And the emotional resonance. But nice to know you can throw the real deaths of many people into your fanfic willy-nilly.
Zexion: “Using a real life tragedy for transparent emotional manipulation?” Check. We'll be in the next handbasket to Hell.

"Xaldin wouldn't let me have his Boeing," Axel said, reading his mind.

Axel: I'm realistically telepathic.

"That would have made it. Isn't it magnificent?"

"Just like a painting." Roxas muttered.

It wasn't long before Axel's phone rang. He flipped it open and listened for a brief second. He pushed a button, and the sound of Xehanort's voice filled the room.

"Absolutely magnificent, Axel. Breath taking." Xehanort said. Axel beamed. "But, Roxas, I was missing you. I didn't see anything about you on the news.

Axel: (as Xehanort) So that’s one more failure to add to the list. You’re O-for-two now.
Roxas: Yet most of the Org. spends their free time talking about how awesome I am. Gary Stu much?

Though the Internet flared up. YouTube, MySpace, Twitter.

Larxene: Now that just sounds silly! Who uses MySpace anymore?

You fought remarkably well. I'm just not sure who got more attention from the world."

"Axel," Roxas whispered.

"Well done, you two." Xehanort said. Roxas could just imagine the look of joy on his face. "You deserve a well needed rest, but you are not finished. I expect you up bright any early tomorrow."

Xion: *thinks* Saix did tell Roxas that they planned to kill the Senator so they could get into the government, right?
Lexaeus: Yes, although that's far from how American law works. The 17th Amendment states there would either be an election or a temporary replacement for the resigned Senator as decided by the state's executive authority. And I highly doubt a collection of self-titled "nobodies"— which includes an AWOL soldier, a British citizen, teenagers, and a convicted serial killer— would be chosen.
Xion: Exactly! Wouldn't it make more sense that, while he's in office, they kidnap him, brainwash him, and then have him do their bidding?
Marluxia: There's a certain Game Boy Advance game that had an idea like that. The name strangely escapes me right now.

"Yessir," Axel hiccupped.

Larxene: He’d choked on another crappy smoke ring.

"And, Roxas." Xehanort warned. "I want to see you first thing on TV. Send a message to your girlfriend. I'm sure that should be proper motivation."

Terra: (as Xehanort) Talking to her at all would be a refreshing change of pace. Do you two even know each other, let alone love each other?

Roxas nodded, fully aware that Xehanort could not see him.

"Goodnight."

"Goodnight." Axel and Roxas said in unison.

Axel hung up the phone. He stood up and stretched. He remained silent as he left the den and headed to his room. Roxas didn't move. His body still ached from his rigorous treachery. He wanted to go to his room and shower and slip into bed, but it already felt too empty without Xion lying next to him.

He already missed her.

Roxas: No, fic. No. You can't make Ryan seem sympathetic after he just admitted to happily murdering children and babies. He is lower than bedrock.
Xion: That may be why he's the worst character in here: the story itself seems so confused on where it stands with him. Is he supposed to be a victim of circumstances that finally broke or just a jerk that was crazy from the beginning? We just don’t know.
Mog: *suddenly bursts into tears*
Roxas: Whoa, what—
Mog: *still crying* I'm sorry! No one should be subjected to this fic unedited! I'm a horrible kupo! Punish me, take away my Oreos, anything to let me feel the pain you’ve suffered!
Terra: Deep breaths, little buddy, deep breaths.
Mog: *sniffles* Okay. I’m better now, I’ll go back to my notes-saying.

Hawaii was at least five hours behind New York, but it certainly felt like more than that. Zexion was exhausted as he stepped off the plane.

Axel: It's amazing how far a two-year-old student visa can get you!

He ignored the beautiful women that tried to give him ceremonial leis, as it was common in Hawaii for tourists to receive those kinds of gifts.

Zexion: Heaven forbid I be compared to a filthy commoner. Then I couldn’t go on about how not-really-smart I am.

He remained silent the whole ride to the hotel, not wanting to engage in any kind of conversation. As soon as he thought about Kairi, everything else took a back seat.

Xion: Yeah, pretty much how it works for Sora too.
Mog: *from notes* Xion asks about Zexion’s plans outside of moping.

"And then I'm going to go out into the field while you enjoy a vacation."

Xion glanced at him, feeling like Zexion was purposely attacking her with that tone. He sounded so impassive. And it made her sad to see that a human being, especially one so young, could be so…heartless.

Axel: I SEE WHAT YOU DID THERE!

This thought did two things for Xion. The first thing that instantly sprang to mind was the fact that she did not like Zexion.

Roxas: Considering you’ve only known him for a few hours, and considering what happened to you yesterday, this shouldn’t be a surprise.
Xion: That and, frankly, he’s an asshat.
Zexion: Thank you for voicing what I've thought from page one.

He was too cold. Too reluctant to let anyone or anything into his mind.

Xion: Yet I totally want other people browsing through my brain.

He would not share his thoughts, or give any indication that he even enjoyed or tolerated her presence. He was a stone. A schemer. A Nobody.

Zexion: Capitalizing it still doesn't make it true.

The second thing that came to her, was that Zexion was incredibly and undoubtedly lonely. She could only imagine how intense that feeling was, churning away at his guts, making him want to wither and die. She had seen how the others interacted with each other, talking, touching and moving around one another like well known friends.

Roxas: So... Basically she just walks around and psychoanalyzes everyone else?
Xion: It's fun being a walking plot device, you should give it a try someday.

But Zexion was the only one who did not speak with the same inflections, nor did he smile, or wink, or give any kind of emotion, which only added to her first thought. There was only that undying loyalty to Xehanort. And that seemed to be the only thing that could invoke a response.

Zexion left Xion to her own room and fell onto his bed. He groaned impatiently as he sat up, sighing deeply and removing his shirt.

Larxene: Faaaaaaaan service! Really baaaaaad fan service!
Mog: *from notes* Then he has a party with the stewardess and then chapter's over! Congrats, kupo, you survived the first half of the story!
Larxene: That doesn’t make me feel better. It’s like “Hey, good job on surviving your arms getting chopped off! Now it’s time for your legs!”
Mog: If it helps make things more fun, you can take a look at the fic's summary.

A realistic portrayal.

Zexion: Retelling. The word you’re looking for is retelling.

The world is a dark place, full of manipulative people with evil intentions.

Axel: Hoped you enjoyed that one sentence, folks! Cuz that’s all this story is: just premise, no plot!

Sometimes, the innocent get stripped of their innocence in order to fulfill the agenda of the powerful. Sora is the innocent. Roxas is the powerful.

Larxene: I WAS PROMISED RUN-INS WITH THE DEVIL FROM THE EXORCIST! WHY HAS THIS NOT HAPPENED YET?
Roxas: How are we ever going to have the willpower to make it through a dozen more chapters of this?
Mog: …you could take a break, kupo…
Roxas: We always take breaks.
Mog: Yeah, but I meant a long one. Like, a chapter long one. A chapter where I do the comments for you guys.
Terra: You’re completely serious right now, aren’t you?
Mog: Yeah! I’m funny! I can do it! But if you guys really want to stay…
(…he says to a now empty room.)
Mog: Yay! *plunks fuzzy bottom on desk top* Wow, there’s so much room on this side.

16: The Rock Star

Xehanort was ecstatic, for he had never flown across the Atlantic Ocean before.

Mog: (as Xehanort) Squeeeeeeeee!

Below him was an endless blue, an eternal sapphire, the gem Mother Earth was given by the universe. It brought out the poet in him.

Mog: Xehanort accidentally swallowed a poet once.

He was also excited, for he had never been to Italy before, and he had always wanted to see Venice…which is where he was meeting his associate.

"This is great, isn't it?" he mused enthusiastically out loud to Xaldin, who was sitting next to him on the plane

Mog: It would be very hard to talk to him if Xaldin was on a plane to Alaska.

with the same blank expression he always had.

Mog: With the same awesomely-awesome sideburns he always had.

Xaldin gave a grunt and a nod.

"Oh, phooey," said Xehanort. "You never really have any fun, do you?"

Mog: He seemed to be enjoying himself when talking to the Beast.

"Sometimes, sir," said Xaldin in his soft, yet deep, voice. "You tend to be rather annoying."
Xehanort burst into laughter and patted his bodyguard on the shoulder. They had been on the plane all day, so it was natural for Xaldin to be a little cranky.

Mog: Aww, I know how he feels. My poor ears always pop when I'm in planes. Oh. *from notes* In Italy now!

"Why," pouted Xaldin. "Of all places for you two scary-smart geniuses to meet up, did he have to pick Venice?"

Mog: I like Venice. The canals are pretty. Ooh, fun fact! Did you know Hamburg actually has more canals than Venice? It's true!

"It's such a beautiful town, though," replied Xehanort, indignant.

Mog: I think Venice has a big enough population and historical significance to be considered a city. In fact, in old Europe you could call them cities as long as they had a cathedral in 'em!

"And we're not even there yet. This is the town of Tessera, north of Venice. It's a four-mile walk for you and I."

Xaldin groaned.

Mog: Aw, cheer up, kupo, it's healthy!

"Now, now!" said Xehanort. "I've had enough of this attitude of yours. I'm only asking for one day to meet with him, and that's it. Stop being such a child."

There was quiet amongst them for a moment, and Xaldin broke it by saying, "Y'know, it's night-time here, or it will be in a couple of hours or so."

"Shut up, smartass."

They grinned at each other and began to walk.

Mog: *thinks* I don't get it. Oh well, everyone likes different humour.

Lexaeus awoke in his small tent at dawn, his bladder about to burst with piss.

Mog: Interesting introduction.

He hurriedly crawled out of his peculiar-smelling sleeping bag, and ran out of his tent barefoot, holding his crotch as if that would stop his painful need to urinate. He found a healthy-looking tree and soaked it with his pee out of spite.

Mog: Poor tree.

When he was done, he looked back towards his campsite.

He had arrived here, in a small forest near the Delaware River, yesterday. There were no towns for six or seven miles in any direction, but he was only a couple yards away from the river.

Mog: If it's just him, why did he seem to go so far away to pee?

His van was parked under the camouflage of some shrubbery and low trees. His tent and campfire, however, were in a nice clearing with less plants and more earth. The fire, at the moment, was dying down a bit.

Mog: You shouldn't leave fires burning while you're asleep, kupo, it's very dangerous. I know, I watched Bambi just last night.

He began to pick up twigs, and built a pyramid-like structure, which began to burn efficiently. He smiled at the blaze, savoring the way the embers licked up the thinner sticks, snapping them, destroying them, reducing them to dust. There was nothing that could stop fire;

Mog: Fire extinguishers can.

on occasion, even water itself burned.

Mog: Actually, that's because there'd be something on the water, so even though it looks like water's burning, it actually isn't. Water can evaporate, though.

Pleased with his handiwork, he sat down on the lawn chair he had set up for himself, opened the cooler beside it, and cracked open a small can of V8.

Mog: Yum yum product placement!

As he sipped, he thought of his childhood.

Mog: *wiggles* Wavy flashback transition time!

My God, those had been the days. Ten-years-old, ambitious, kind, courteous…and while other kids were wasting their time on such trivial activities like playing stickball or wall-ball, Alex Curtis

Mog: Neato, that’s an anagram of Axel’s name. They even have similar backstories! I’m sure if the other guys were here they’d call that unoriginal, but I find it a happy fluke.

had been making penny bombs. Ever since being three-years-old and seeing his first fireworks display for a Fourth of July parade, Alex had been infatuated with pyrotechnics.

Mog: I figured Lexaeus would be more into geology.

In high school, he had learned many things in his Chemistry class, and soon he was working in the dangerous craft of making bombs.

Mog: ...This got uncomfortable.

This had been acknowledged by his peers, who were all fond of him, and he was given nicknames such as "Firebug" and "Pyro" and whatnot. Lexaeus had loved those nicknames, wore them with pride, even marked them on his school papers.

Mog: Oh, sort of like how Calvin signed his papers "Calvin, Boy of Destiny?" That was cute.

Once he had graduated, Lexaeus Curtis

Mog: Changed his name sometime before that.

applied for a job at a couple of firework-manufacturers, but they turned him down for the position he had asked for (a very high position) because he lacked college education.

Mog: That just proves how important education is. Stay in school, kids.

Deciding to perhaps go to school to become a chemist, he took a tour of one university, where he met fellow pyromaniac Lea Conrad.

Mog: Ooh! I know who this is!

The two took a liking to each other instantly,

Mog: *thinks* I don't remember them even sharing a scene together in Chain of Memories.

and soon opened up their own small fireworks company, selling spectacular products and making quite a hefty sum of cash every Fourth of July.

Mog: They were always closed on New Year's Eve.

Unfortunately, bigger companies began to mimic their formerly-unique displays, and the two were beginning to run out of business.

Mog: And this is why you should never plagiarize. It's just plain mean.

Thankfully, their talents caught the attention of Chris Xehanort, and they joined the Organization. Lexaeus had joined first, and started the group off with Xigbar, Vexen, and Xaldin, and together the five of them began to recruit.

Mog: Could he really join the group if it hadn't been started yet? And if Axel was there from the get-go why didn’t he join? Maybe his favourite number is eight and he jumped on that position when it opened up. *from notes* The terrorists come joining one by one, hoorah, hoorah.

Best get a move on, he thought suddenly. He doused the fire,

Mog: He should have peed on that.

grabbed his backpack from the tent, and made his way to the bank of the Delaware, where his raft waited for him.

Mog: He's going to sail off to the other worlds!

He got aboard, and began to paddle down the beautiful river that cut through many cliffs and forests in the spot where Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York met. Clouds of gray inhabited the sky, craving to cover the sun.

It was a nice day to plan a massacre.

Mog: Not such a nice day to plan a picnic.

"Wake up."

"Riku…"

"Wake up, Sora."

"Lemme lone."

"Wake up!"

Mog: *singing (or moreso squeaking)* Wake up, get outta bed, drag a comb across your head...

Sora opened his eyes groggily, stretching in the hotel bed he was sharing with Kairi…or had been sharing with Kairi. She was now standing in the bathroom, the only place in the hotel room that had its lights on, doing her hair. She was fully-dressed.

Riku stood next to Sora's bed, looking anxious.

"Today's the big day," he said. "Are you ready?"

"Shit!" yelled Sora, pushing the blankets off of him and standing up.

Mog: *continuing singing* Then looking up you notice you are late...

"I'm sorry, Riku, I totally forgot…today's the day we…"

"Kidnap Demyx, yes."

Mog: Aww, they've started finishing each other's sentences. They really are becoming friends.

Sora's eyes wandered to the corner of the room, where two men in black dress shirts were lurking in the shadows. Heart dropping, thinking of the many horrific people he had come to hear of these past few days,

Mog: You've seen a few bad people too.

he pulled out the Keyblade and pointed it at the strangers.

Mog: (as Sora) I'll poke you with my magic stick! Don't think I won't!

"Sora, relax," soothed Riku. "It's just Don and Goofy."

"Oh." Sora pocketed the blade. "Sorry, guys! Good to see you!"

Mog: (as Sora) Sorry I didn't recognize you. I just haven't seen enough of you to remember your faces yet. It's okay, I'm sure we'll be best friends soon.

Mick's two bodyguards smiled and gave curt nods. Kairi came out of the bathroom, looking beautiful as ever. Sora was now the only one in the room not dressed or properly groomed.

Mog: You did just wake up, I don't think anyone'll be mad at you.

Muttering in embarrassment, he walked into the bathroom and began to get tidied up. When he was done, he looked at himself in the mirror. It was quite an interesting get-up that he had been given to wear, with a flowered shirt underneath a black jacket that reminded him of clothes big Hollywood stars wore.

Mog: Flowered shirts and black jackets sound kinda gaudy.

He came out, and Riku wolf-whistled mockingly.

"Fuck you," said Sora, smiling. Riku laughed heartily, missing the seductive wink Kairi gave to Sora. Sora blushed.

Once he had sobered up, Riku asked Don, "Do you have the ID's?"

"Yes, they're right here…"

Sora was given a plastic-encased identification card.

"My name is 'Jon Gunner'?" he asked, incredulous. "Nobody in their right mind is going to believe this name is genuine."

"They better," said Goofy, handing another ID to Kairi. "Because Mr. Gunner is a big-shot music critic who is currently locked in a closet back in D.C. You look a helluva lot like him, though, so it all flows wonderfully."

Mog: That sure was lucky. They find a guy that not only looks like Sora but was also in the city they were in at the time! That's once in a lifetime stuff right there.

"Ah. Does the critic frequently wear clothing like this?"

"He's a douche, so yes."

Mog: I know lots of nice people that wear flowered shirts.

"Oh, wonderful…"

Mog: Not for him at the moment, poor guy.

Don went over the list of supplies they were to be using throughout this operation, which included a small wireless microphone that Sora would be placing in the assigned location, a couple canisters of tear gas, and, for each of them, a small handgun. Sora turned the weapon over in his hands, not liking the feel of it; unlike the Keyblade, which was a piece of technology wrapped in enigma and unknown intentions, the pistol's use was as clear as day: assassination, murder, destruction.

Mog: Sora's used the Keyblade for one of these already. I personally think the Keyblade's scarier because I don't know what it does. It could be reading my thoughts right now! (pause) *shudder* Now I'm afraid to say anything bad about it.

Sora assumed that the wielder's heart must have to be as cold as the metal barrel in order to use it properly.

Mog: Just cuz you have it doesn’t mean ya gotta use it. Everyone keeps complaining that the story forgets stuff all the time, maybe it’ll forget about you having a pistol too.

Again, he was plagued by thoughts of guilt.

"Now," said Riku. "Are you all ready for the off? Because I have one final revelation to tell you before anything happens.

Mog: Everything else has been plans so far, so I'd call it the "first revelation" if I were him.

"Guys, I am not going to help out with this hit."

Sora's mouth dropped open, and saw his expression mirrored by his three other companions.

"Riku!" shrieked Kairi. "What the fuck are you talking about?"

Mog: I don't like it when Kairi swears. Kairi's cute, she gave me a lollipop once when I was having a bad day.

"Lately, things have been going on with me." He turned to Sora. "Things going on in my head. And I think that fucking Keyblade is behind it, Sora, I really do. I'm thinking I might have…touched one before.

Mog: Yup. In Mick's house. I remember because Axel made a joke about that scene.

I'm seeing things that aren't quite right, and it's getting worse, taking a hold over me. If I were to go with you guys, there could be the risk of me harming you or harming the entire operation."

Mog: Good for you for putting the others first, Riku. That's a very smart move.

"B-but-" began Sora.

Mog: (as Sora) But this was supposed to be our first date! Who even cares that you confessed your fears about going crazy and having hallucinations? Cuz I sure don't, no siree Bob!

Riku interrupted firmly, "Relax, man. I trust you guys on this one. Kairi, you're the strongest girl I've ever met.

Mog: I'm sure if Xion were here she'd remark on that. *pause* I miss her.

Sora, you have impressed me time and time again,

Mog: (as Riku) Killing a bystander and accidentally using your own body as a bribe. I’m super impressed.

and after facing that masked guy out in the streets, I have no doubt in my mind that you're able to carry this mission off successfully. Don and Goofy will be right there with you. But I have to stay out. I'll be tending to…other matters. So no worries."

Sora grabbed his stomach, which felt as though someone had dropped a hot ball of lead into it, and moaned. How could Riku sit this one out?

Mog: For all the good reasons he just told you.

Wasn't…well, wasn't Riku their leader?

Mog: Not officially, anyway.

This would be like going to a parent-teacher conference…without a parent.

Mog: I don't know of many parent-teacher conferences that involve kidnapping singers. *thinks* Or that involve the kid, for that matter. It's "parent-teacher", not "parent-kid-teacher".

Riku put a comforting hand on his friend's shoulder and said, "You can do this, Sora. I fucking know you can, okay?

Mog: That would sound sweeter without the swear word.

Keep Kairi safe. Stick with Don and Goof'.

Mog: Who now has an apostrophe instead of a Y in his name.

And, most importantly, listen. Listen closely, to everything.

Mog: Demyx has good lyrics.

You can do this."

Sora croaked, "I feel like everything's about to change forever."

Mog: Riku's only gone for the night, Sora, this isn't high school graduation.

Riku sighed and brushed his bangs out of his face.

"So do I."

Mog: (as Riku) I'm getting a haircut while I'm gone, too. My bangs will be changed forever.

Once his friends were gone, Riku walked around the city for a while, trying to take his mind off of things.

Mog: (as Riku) Why can't I figure out what the end of Inception meant? Was it a dream or not? I can't take my mind off it!

That seemed to be the problem now: his mind. He was never much of a thinker, more of a doer, so these intruding thoughts were starting to get to him. He tried desperately to take his mind off of it. Perhaps he could try and get laid…

Mog: Or read a book.

but sex without Aqua seemed somewhat disloyal.

She's not your girlfriend.

Yeah, but still.

Mog: (as Riku) Ahh! The voices in my head! They're back!

Instead of getting laid, however, Riku found himself taking a bus to God knew where,

Mog: That place sounds cool.

sitting beside a peculiar-looking young man in a tuxedo.

Mog: What's so peculiar about a tuxedo?

"Getting married?" Riku asked politely.

Mog: (as Riku) Howdy, stranger! Usually I like to be antisocial but I’m feelin’ lonely tonight so I’m gonna be your buddy for the next few minutes!

The man blinked, as if he were awakening from a trance, and laughed when what was said had clicked.

"Married? Oh, no," chuckled the young man. "I'm just a slave to appearances. Furthermore, I have to meet with some big people."

"Big people?"

"Very big," confirmed the dressed man, nodding. "Bigger than one would think."

Mog: Giants!

"It's awful hard to do so nowadays, thinking," muttered Riku.

Mog: Hey, that's what fic!Zexion said too! What a small world!

The man gave an expression of pity before saying, "Now, thinking's not so tough. I myself love to do it all the time.""Yeah, well, I doubt you get intrusive thoughts.

Mog: Or paragraph indentures.

Or, at least, the intrusive thoughts I am getting."

Mog: This stranger is so kind to listen to what Riku has to say. It's awfully hard to find those people, but they're so great when you do.

"Baloney.

Mog: I LOVE BALONEY!

Intrusive thoughts or not, we are all in control of our own minds.

Mog: (as man) I have full power over my medulla oblongata.

Sure, there are some thoughts that may seem intrusive and annoying, but those are merely ideas struggling to get recognition. The best way to get rid of such annoying thoughts is to simply acknowledge their existence and move on."

Mog: (as man) Don't analyze them for meaning, just forget they ever happened and life will be dandy! That's the healthy thing to do!

Riku raised his eyebrows, utterly moved by this man's words.

Mog: His words were powering the bus.

"Acknowledge their existence and move on," Riku repeated in a low voice as he mused. "Sometimes it seems hard to do so. Sometimes I feel small. Sometimes I feel like nothing matters."

Mog: You should ask your friends for hugs when that happens. That always cheers me up.

The man smiled and said, "What matters is that we people are happy with our lives.

Mog: Um... examples, please, kupo? Don't you remember your high school English class? When you make a point you have to back it up. You're gonna get a bad score on this essay.

Humanity is such a small speck on the timeline of the universe, and it would be wise to not fret over a mere speck…wouldn't you agree?

Mog: Um... yes? But doesn’t that kinda turn into ignorance and denial?

You seem like the kind of guy who wants to save the world from every last evil that lurks within its dark corners. I can assure you now, friend, that you can never perform such a task."

Mog: Not without a flashlight.

"But I want to so badly…I feel obligated to…"

"Well, why should you? To be remembered for a period of time, and then forgotten?

Mog: That doesn't seem like a good way to cheer Riku up.

Concern yourself only with what matters most to you: your life. You cannot see the past,

Mog: You can remember it, though.

you will not see the future, so live in the present. And contribute to society with whatever you can. And if you live long enough to hear whatever answers there are to this enigma of life, than good for you. If not…I don't think you'll be around to care very much."

Mog: ...Is this speech uplifting or cynical? I'm very confuzzled.

"Hm."

The bus stopped. The man stood up.

Mog: Flag on the moon. How'd it get there?

"Now, if you'll excuse me, I have a meeting with some people."

"Big people."

"Very big people."

Mog: They Might be Giants, for all you know.

The man was halfway off the bus when Riku called, "Wait! I never got your name!"
The man turned and smiled heartily.

"My dear friend, you should already know! Has it really not occurred to you yet? My name is D-"

Mog: Nice to meet you, D. You're my favorite letter of the alphabet.

"Oi!" said the rather unpleasant bus driver. "Gerroff the bus! I've gots four more stops this afternoon."

Mog: (as busdriver) Oi! I don't want yer plot points on my bus. Get outta here!

The well-dressed man gave Riku an apologetic smile, then bowed and made his way off the bus.

Mog: Wait a minute, who’s name begins with D? It can’t be Demyx, it can’t be DiZ, it probably isn’t Dilan because he’s introduced later. So… *thinks* Did… did Walt Disney himself just cameo?

Riku watched the eccentric man walk down the road and disappear from sight within the constant flowing rivers of people that ran on the sidewalks of Manhattan.

Mog: Is Lexaeus gonna go rafting through them?

As the bus started again, Riku considered what he had just been told.

Acknowledge and move on.

Acknowledge and move on.

He pulled out a spare pen in his pocket, and began to write something on his arm, mindlessly and instinctively.

It was only about thirty seconds later that Riku realized he was subconsciously writing numbers.

Mog: Wow, Axel was right. This IS Knowing! I actually kinda liked that movie.


Xehanort and Xaldin were sitting in front of a café in Venice, sipping on delicious coffees and watching the gondolas float through the canals that cut into this beautiful city like aquatic daggers.

Mog: There's that poet again. Xehanort should have really chosen a different calling. *from notes* More city talk.

He was too entranced by the beauty of this place that he almost didn't notice when a shady man in a black leather trench coat walked over and sat down at the table the two Organization Members were sharing.

Mog: (as man) Hey, guys! What's up? I'm a new character about to be introduced!

The man was wearing shades on his tan and wrinkly face. Streaks of white dashed through his dark hair. His overall build was strong and athletic; he looked like the personification of a rock that just wouldn't budge.

Mog: *more singing/squeaking* I am a rock... I am an iiiiiislaaand!

"My dear friend," cried Xehanort. "It's been too long!"

"Very true," spoke the shady-looking man. His English was incredibly broken with a heavy Russian accent.

Mog: But in the vision wasn't his English getting better?

"But, then again, it has not been long enough. I still have that sense of dread when I look at your disgusting face."

Xehanort barked laughter, and clasped a hand onto Victor Vanitas' back.

Mog: *sad face at his lack of ability to do this*

Vanitas himself was chuckling, revealing a mouth full of gold and silver teeth. The man's appearance unnerved Xaldin, but seeing the Superior's comfort around this peculiar-looking person calmed his anxiety.

Mog: "Peculiar" is being used a lot lately. And I still don't know what it looks like.

"My Lord, where are my manners?" Xehanort scolded himself. "Victor, this is my own personal guard and associate, Xaldin. Xaldin, this is Victor Vanitas, one of the first men in the world to reconstruct a sufficient Keyblade."

Mog: But not Keyblade like you're thinking of, it's the "key" that looks like an X!

"It is an honor, sir," said Xaldin quietly, shaking Vanitas' hand.

"Honor? Ha!" Vanitas snorted. "I haven't heard such respect in a long time."

"Damn shame, too, because you certainly deserve it," piped up Xehanort. "Ooo, Xaldin, here comes our coffee!"

Mog: *looks up a few paragraphs* But you already had your coffee. I'll just mark that one down for him. *flutters to Zexion's book and makes note*

A pretty brunette waitress came out of the café with a tray of beverages in hand. He placed two coffees on the table.

Mog: *makes another note in Zexion's book*

"Grazie," said Xehanort, and felt giddy when the Italian word rolled off his tongue.

Mog: ...Is there another Xehanort or Xemnas I don't know about? I thought I was all caught up on the series.

"Prego." The waitress turned with a smile and left.

"You did not order me a coffee?" asked Vanitas.

Mog: You can buy your own if you want it that badly, kupo.

"Victor, please. Almost all of your teeth are gone already. Coffee most certainly would not help your hygiene."

"Same old Christopher," muttered Victor. "Hard to tell whether his head is in the Heavens of Ambition, or merely up his own asshole."

"Same old Victor. Playing the part of the comedian, yet never obliging to give us a smile."

Mog: He’s Edward Blake!

"Why would you want to see me smile? I thought my teeth were bad."

"They are bad. Hideous, even. But that's why I love them."

Xaldin cleared his throat and interjected. "Why don't we talk about why we're here?"

Mog: Thank you for stopping the small talk, Xaldin. I was getting a bit bored there.

"Oh, of course, thank you, Xaldin…Anyways, Victor, I have been working on an operation with twelve of the most brilliant men and women to ever walk on the soils of America."

Mog: If it's the "twelve" shouldn't it be "woman" since Xion's not included?

"That says nothing," Vanitas snorted again.

Mog: That's everyone elses' complaint with the dialogue as well.

"Well, I chose them to work with me, so that should say something.

Mog: (as Xehanort) Like that I'm a very equal opportunities employer.

Anyways, we have one of our guys dealing in the U.S.'s black market to get some weapons. The usual stuff; machine guns, hand grenades, rocket launchers, explosives, mines, and anything that can be smuggled from the military."

Mog: (As Xehanort) If you ever need a literal ton of trail mix, I'm your man!

Vanitas whistled. "You building an army, friend?"

Mog: Of zombies! I'll never get sick of that joke.

"Precisely," said Xehanort, leaning over his coffee and giving his old colleague a smirk.
Vanitas raised his eyebrows in surprise.

"You are building an army?" he asked.

Mog: That sure is what he meant be 'precisely' yep.

"Yes. Our operations are none of your concern, I'm afraid, but I do believe I need weapons other than your everyday shit.

Mog: Poo does not make good ammo.

Weapons of a special kind." He put emphasis on this last part.

Vanitas blinked, clearly in shock over what he was hearing.

Mog: Ooh, take over for the others! *clears throat* "So clearly it had to be pointed out to us." That was my Zexion impression. Pretty good, huh?

He shook his head like a dog shaking off water after a bath,

Mog: His neck must have hurt after that. Dogs shake a lot after baths.

and then his metallic grin resurfaced.

Mog: Complete with his gold teeth.

"I have just what you're looking for."

They brought the coffees with them, not bothering to pay.

Mog: Meanies.

Gods don't pay, thought Xehanort merrily.

Mog: Gods can probably form their own coffee at will so they probably don't need to go to shops for them either.

Victor Vanitas lead them to an alleyway between two colorful buildings. Beyond this alleyway was a canal, and the cement of the ground beneath them was wet. This was not the ideal place to get a tan,

Mog: Most alleyways aren't.

or to stay dry; it was dark and moist. The atmosphere was not unlike that of being in a sewer.

Mog: Except for the sky above them and the not being smelly thing.

On the side of one of the buildings that made up the alleyway was a wooden door. Vanitas opened it and lead them inside his apartment.

Mog: (as Vanitas) May as well give you guys the tour while I’m here. So here’s where I keep the pizza box and, hey where’d the napkin go?

"Apartment" was not a proper term for this kind of living condition. The word "hive" or "dam" would come to mind to any sane person who saw it.

Mog: Aww, bees and beavers are adorable!

Garbage and spare parts of God knows how many pieces of various technology piled up in mountains across the floor.

Mog: Then Xehanort should know how many pieces there are. If Gods don't pay for coffee, they can count computer parts.

Upon seeing it, Xehanort said cheerfully to Xaldin, "This is rather cozy, isn't it?"

Mog: (as Xehanort) Have I mentioned yet how weirdly not like Xemnas or Master Xehanort I am yet? Cuz I don't think anyone’s noticed, kupo.

Xaldin, used to his superior's natural glee, grunted in false assent.

Mog: I'm still having trouble picturing a happy Xehanort/Xemnas. I try and I just see a big question mark in my head.

"Welcome to my paradise," said Vanitas happily. "I know it's a bit of a mess, but…y'know…ever since those fuckers deported me, life's been hard.

Mog: (as Vanitas) And I was feeling too down to make life better for myself. That's the healthiest thing to do!

America has much opportunity, though it lacks the intelligence to acknowledge how fortunate of an empire it is.

Mog: All those universities are just for show.

But that's besides the point. What do you need, specifically?"

"First of all," said Xehanort in a strictly-business tone that Xaldin enjoyed hearing, however rare it was. "I would very much like a weapon for myself."

"A Keyblade?" asked Vanitas. Xaldin felt his heart beat faster with excitement; the Keyblade-weapons had always infatuated him.

Mog: Can't your boss friend just give you one too, kupo? I mean, he gave Roxas two just cuz he liked the new guy lots, Xaldin should at least get three.

"No," said Xehanort. "Not a Keyblade. I fear that Keyblades are starting to become too common…another wielder was seen recently. I want something similar, but not too similar."

Vanitas smiled. "I've got just the thing."

The Russian demolished some piles of electronics, knocking them over like Godzilla knocked over the buildings of Tokyo.

Mog: Rawwr! Eek, save me! NOMNOMNOM! No more caffeine for you. (That's a tough reference to do by yourself.)

Once Vanitas' back was turned, Xehanort looked over at Xaldin and gave him a small wink. Xaldin nodded at this signal, slightly tensing up.

Good boy, thought Xehanort.

Mog: Good doggy!

Vanitas turned with what looked like two long, slender, plastic cylinders in his hands.

"What are those?" asked Xehanort with a child-like curiosity.

Larxene: *pops into the room* Sex toys!
Mog: Out!
Larxene: *laughs and leaves*

"These," said Vanitas, beaming proudly. "Are apart of a set of weapons that I like to call the Ethereal Blades.

Mog: (as Vanitas) They're like lightsabers, they're cool!

The Blades are not extraterrestrial like the Keyblade, of course, but are just as miraculous as them in battle. The Ethereal Blades are producers and conductors of strong heat and radiation. The plastic tubing is to keep this deadly mix contained, and also to provide an infrared visual that makes the Blades turn crimson. Observe."

He took the Blades one in each hand, and moved a sliding trigger up the plastic tube. The Ethereal Blades began to glow red. Xehanort felt his mouth drop into a gape.

Mog: He should give glo-sticks a try.

"Incredible, isn't it?" said Vanitas, grinning.

Mog: (as Vanitas) I'm gonna win the science fair with these!

He twirled the Blades in his fingers. "The devices contain a small amount of computer-programming, which gives them the ability to detect human flesh and reduce the amount of radiation and conducted heat on and around whatever part of the Blades the user is grasping.

Mog: Technobabble! As long as you say it, it can happen!

The rest, however, is as hot as molten rock, able to cut through anything like a butter knife cuts through butter."

Mog: (as Vanitas) As long as the butter wasn't sitting in the fridge. Then you gotta kinda scrape at it.

"My God…" croaked Xehanort. "Why haven't you sold these designs yet?"

Vanitas turned the Ethereal Blades down, and dropped them on the floor roughly; Xehanort winced at this infuriating mistreatment of such beautiful instruments of destruction.

"Well," Vanitas explained as he picked up a half a bottle of whiskey from seemingly nowhere. "Such inventions are hard to smuggle from one country to another. Everyone would want their hands on it, would they not? That's why I keep most of my devices in a safe next to my fridge.

Mog: (as Vanitas) I used to keep them in my fridge but then one night while half asleep I made myself a rapier an’ brass knuckle sandwhich, and decided to go for something safer.

But that doesn't mean I don't do my fair share of business from time to time. A local…associate of mine makes deals with me once in a while. In fact, he keeps tabs on me all the time. He'll even know you're here to see me."

Xehanort froze. "What do you mean?"

"What, do I have to spell it out for you?" asked Vanitas, chuckling.

Mog: O-H-N-O.

"There's a mob near here that's employed me. I even told them you were coming today. They'd probably be happy to meet you."

Mog: (as Vanitas) We can have a tea party, it'll be so much fun!

"You told someone I was here?" hissed Xehanort, aghast. Xaldin stared at the Superior, alarmed. People knowing about the Organization's business was not good, not good at all.

Mog: Then why are Roxas and Axel making as much trouble as possible?

"Yeah," said Vanitas, frowning. "So what? Look, you can have the weapons, okay? But my boss is gonna want to check you out before he lets you go anywhere. That alright?"

Mog: (as Vanitas) Is it okee-dokee if I suddenly switch to using lots of slang?

Xehanort said grimly, "Yes, Victor. That's quite alright."

"Splendid."

Vanitas lifted his head and closed his eyes as he took another swig from the glass bottle of whiskey.

Mog: (as Vanitas) Ah, that's a good vice. I'm sure taking my eyes off these two assassins is a smart move. I'm a scientist, I know all!

Xehanort looked at Xaldin and nodded. Xaldin nodded right back at him, eyes clouded with panic.

Vanitas removed the bottle from his mouth right before Xaldin raised his trusty silenced pistol and blew the Russian away.

Mog: He didn't fire at him, just blew really, really hard like Vanitas was the candles on a birthday cake.

Sora was nervous.

Dressed in douche bag clothing, wearing shades, stomach empty from the lack of breakfast or lunch,

Mog: That's your own fault, Sora. You should always eat breakfast, it's the most important meal of the day!

walking by himself amongst strangers, he was incredibly uncomfortable. Wanting a reassurance that everyone was still okay and outside in Goofy's van, Sora pressed the tiny Bluetooth-like device plugged in his ear and asked:

"Are you guys still alright?"

Mog: Oh, so that's where the paragraph indent from earlier ran off to.

Don replied, "Yes, Sora. Stop worrying about us. We don't need you to fuck this up by being nervous. Just get going."

"Yessir."

He clicked off the Bluetooth

Mog: Registered trademark.

and walked down the backstage hall of Quentin Arena, where thousands of people were flocking to see Demyx live.

Mog: They should go to their seats instead of being backstage.

Sora had slickly gotten backstage by showing the false pass to the security out front, and was now wandering, looking for Demyx's room. He had been told that right now, Demyx was running late due to traffic, so Sora could easily slip in and out…hopefully.

He eventually found a door labeled "Star Room".

Mog: It's where they keep all the prop stars.

Sora raised his fist to knock, then realized that performing such an act would be absurd in a situation like this, so he merely opened the door.

The Star Room was devoid of people, but full of many things nonetheless. Mirrors, costumes, things of that sort. Sora admired this, and had an urge to start trying things on and posing in front of the mirror.

Mog: ...

Then he pictured the faces of the audience would have if he were to walk out on that stage instead of Demyx, and start doing poses in one of the many frilly outfits in this room. This thought made him laugh heartily.

Mog: Someone else should have been doing this part. Sora's not taking it seriously enough.

The piece in his ear vibrated.

Mog: (as Sora) Owwie, my eardream! Why did I ever think that was a good idea?

He pressed the button on the side and spoke, "Hello?"

"Sora," said Goofy urgently. "You need to get out of there. Right now. Demyx has just arrived and for some reason has brought a god-damned group of bodyguards. I've no idea why,

Mog: Being a celebrity might have something to do with it. *from notes* He plants a bug and scoots back to the van outside.

The interior of the back of the van was dark because of the lack of windows, but a bunch of screens provided quite a bright light. At these screens, sitting in an office chair, was Don. He spun in the chair and sighed with relief at the sight of Sora. Goofy was in the driver's seat, and he, too, was clearly relieved to see Sora unharmed.

Mog: Insert Zexion impression here.

Kairi hugged him. "Thank God. I got so worried when I saw those guys with Demyx."

Sora blushed, but maintained his cool (for once), "Hey, it wasn't that big of a deal. I've been through worse."

Mog: (as Sora) Like having my home world destroyed, fighting a possessed version of my friend, being separated from my friends, losing a year of my life because of altered memories, and having bad guys use me for their own plans.

Kairi looked up at him and smiled. He smiled back.

Don said, "Alright, Kairi. Time for your mission. Infiltrate the arena by using your fake ticket. Look around until you find a refreshment vendor. Then…" He smiled. "Bring us all back some hot dogs. Can you perform this task?"

Kairi laughed. "Sure, Donald."

"Get out of my van, you ginger punk."

Mog: I'm kinda feeling uncomfortable that the one thing Kairi gets to do is get food for the men. Moving on!

Laughing, Kairi jumped out of the van and closed the door behind her. Sora watched her go,

Mog: Even though there's no windows.

heart racing. God, how she excited him…how she was like a beam of light that he could not stop looking at despite the pain.

Mog: There's an unhealthy relationship.

He wondered when they could have a relationship, if ever, beyond their lives as Mick's agents.

Mog: Relationships don't mean just love-love. You can have a relationship with your friends, with your parents, with your coworkers, even a relationship with your enemies.

Even after she was gone, Sora stared at the door after her. The room seemed much darker without her in here.

Don cleared his throat loudly. Sora turned.

"You love her, don't you?" asked Don, a small smile playing on his lips.

"Wha-?" Sora began, taken aback. "Wh…No, of course not…"

"Save it, alright? I know love when I see it.

Mog: "Then you don't know what love is." That's my Roxas impression! *from notes* So then Don goes into a really verbose warning on how love is really awesome but really awful at the same time? Cuz other people will turn your happiness into saddiness because happy isn't allowed? I think is what he meant?

"It's him," said Don, rolling over to the speaker and turning it up. "It's Demyx."

Sora's heart leapt as he listened.

"Look, Luxord, I don't have time for this. The Superior wants you here, now, otherwise you're dead. For real this time, man. Do you even know what we've been through the last couple of days? Some serious shit."

Mog: (as Demyx) I got a sunburn at Seaside Heights, lost the bowling game, and one of my guitar strings broke! I need a hug!

"He's on the phone with someone," whispered Goofy, who had clambered back to listen. Sora nodded.

"Oh," said Demyx, voice loud and mocking. "You think I can just tell you what's been happening so you don't have to come back to New York?

Mog: It would be a good use of exposition.

If you don't get back here in a day or two, my ass is grass. Stop dickin' around, man, or we're both screwed."

Sora looked at Don, mouth agape. This kind of talk was extremely eerie, the kind of talk that a man fearing for his life would be using.

Mog: Or someone about to be fired. I've heard them talk like that too.

"Look, Luxord-Look. We've all gotten our monthly assignments again, and mine was to look you the fuck up and get you back here ASAP. We're not that high-ranking in this shit, man, and lately we've both been slackin' off…you think the Superior won't pop us both without hesitation, you fucking asshole?

Mog: (as Demyx) We're just balloons and bubblewrap to him!

Or even worse…get Marluxia to do us in? That pink-haired motherfucker concerns me. Please, get the fuck back here. Okay. Okay. Alright, see you."

No more noise. Demyx had left the room.

"Son of a bitch," whispered Goofy. "You were right, kid."

Mog: It WAS just a crummy commercial!

Don called up Kairi and told her to come back out to the van while they pursued Demyx.
"Wait, what?" asked Sora, incredulous. "We're going after him here? Now?"

Mog: Yeparoo, that’s the plan.

"If not now, then when?" asked Don. Sora saw he and Goofy were both carrying machine pistols and were now loading them up with clips of bullets. He felt his heart sink, but still took out his own pistol.

This is war, he thought miserably.

Mog: *sqeaking* To the riiiiiight! To the leeeeeft! We will fiiiiight! To the de-eath!

They got out of the van and walked to the arena again. Don and Goofy played their parts as Sora's bodyguards wonderfully, and soon they were backstage again. It was rather quiet back here, near-empty except for a group of approaching men in black. In the center was a man clothed dramatically in blue, holding a large guitar.

Mog: And Axel will buy THIS with Larxene’s munny—

It was him. Demyx. The rock star and mercenary who had assisted in the kidnapping of Sora's parents. And he was coming straight towards them.

"The bodyguards," hissed Sora to his two comrades. "What do we do?"

Don and Goofy looked at each other grimly.

Mog: (as both) Cheese Whiz, we didn't think famous people would have bodyguards!

"Oi!" shouted one of Demyx's guards rudely. "Who the fuck are you three, and why are you here?"

Mog: (as guard) I just got off my bus driving shift and don't wanna hafta deal with trespassers OI!

The replies of Don and Goofy were certainly not any more polite than this man was; the bullets of the machine pistols riddled the stranger and he fell backwards, dead as a doornail.

Mog: ...

The others took out their own guns, but they were no match for Mick's professional agents, and soon the room was covered in blood, gun smoke filling the air.

Mog: ...

Arms covering his face, guitar on the floor, Demyx stood amongst the carnage, clearly terrified.

Don moved forward quickly and put a potato sack over the rock star's head. The three of them escorted him out of the building and hurriedly into the van, where Kairi waited.

Sora felt as proud as ever, and suddenly much more hopeful than he had even been on this entire adventure. They had done it; they had gotten him.

Mog: *in a voice squeakier than usual* You didn't do anything! I just watched two cartoon characters I grew up with kill people without a care in the world! I'm very sad now! And I don't like being sad!

Diz walked merrily into Club Heartless, the place of massacre that the pink-haired stranger had so wonderfully delivered. Diz could almost feel the ghosts of this place moaning and groaning, and he enjoyed it very much.

Mog: (as Diz) Hot diggitty dog, half my staff is in the morgue.

Owning a club where a massacre took place…another check on the bucket list. He smiled happily.

Mog: "As opposed to sarcastically." Did I sound like Terra?

Only one person sat in the Club, for Diz's men had put him here. The person was sitting by himself at a booth. His face was covered with shadow.

Mog: Oooooh, mysterious plot poooooiiint...

Diz happily took a seat across the table from him.

Mog: (as Diz) Hi, buddy, how ya doin'? Wanna play Go Fish?

"Hello, son," said Diz, beaming. "It's nice to finally meet you."

"Likewise, sir." A pause. "And thank you."

"No need for thanks, m'dear boy! I should be thanking you. You told us valuable information about our enemies.

Mog: Oh, I don't remember this from the notes. *reads*

The least I could do was get my smarter men to help bring you back. I must say, I've heard of near-death experiences many times before, but the fact that my people could revive you so easily with modern-day technology…it baffles me. I may be old, but I didn't think I was that outdated!"

Mog: *keeps reading*

The man in shadows laughed.

"All levity aside…look, I know you have your enemies, you have your grudges. But that's all taking a backseat once you're working for me. Okay? The Heartless are on the brink of war with many people. We have too many enemies. But, I tell you, we shall not fall. I think you, m'boy, can be quite an asset. Now that my tech-wizards have gotten you up and running again,

Mog: *keeps reading*

something I thought would be impossible, I think it's time you've repaid the debt. Will you shake with me?"

A cold, metallic hand came from the shadows and shook Diz's old, spotty hand.

Mog: *keeps reading*

"Welcome to the Heartless," said Diz. "I do believe with you, we can cook up some real trouble. And, for your new position, I think you need to get reacquainted with an old friend."

Mog: *keeps reading*

Diz produced a small handgun from his pocket and put in on the table.

Metal plates covered his face in patches, smiling as if he had never been happier in his strange and psychotic life, Pete McLean took the pistol back into his hands and felt complete again.

Mog: ...Well that's just plain silly, kupo.
(Meanwhile, down the hall from the lecture theatre, Aqua and Ven are playing cards when suddenly Terra runs up and grabs the both of them in a hug.)
Terra: I love you guys!
Ven: Okay, seriously, this is the fifth time you’ve done this. What’s going on? We’re getting worried.
Terra: I can’t tell you. Just… Just remember that you’re amazing. *leaves*
Aqua: I think I know where he's going. I’m not even going to ask.
(She and Ven return to their card game.)
[to be continued…]
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