Oh boy Ch.22 is here! Thanks everyone who still keeps up with this story! Hope you enjoy this next chapter!
Waking up early as he normally did, Saix made his way to the Grey Room, but when he reached there he saw it was empty. No other members were sitting there, Axel himself wasn't even in the room. Saix would have questioned if something had happened, if he had not seen the small piece of paper taped to the window.
It read 'Operations Closed For Vacation' in large lettering. There wasn't much else to think about it other than now he had to decide how he would spend the day. He assumed he would be free unless Axel came along to interrupt him from an actual day of relaxing. There were many things he thought he could do, but he found himself at an indecisive spot. Finding the best way to clear his thoughts was a quiet walk, he exited the Grey Room and started to make his way around the castle.
A walk was what he needed, just a way to help him wake up, but he knew it was not a solid choice for the entirety of the day. Eventually he would need to find something else to apply himself too, but he still wasn't too sure what that would be yet. He knew he could spend his day in the library or another area just doing whatever research he pleased, but he already did enough of that when he was normally working.
"There has to be something…" Saix muttered as he rounded the corner of one hallway.
Along the way he stopped to ponder some more, feeling more indecisive than he had before. Eventually he heard footsteps coming from the direction he had just walked. Turning to look he saw none other than Roxas approaching him.
"Ah Roxas, good to see you this morning."
"Hey Saix. So what's this all about a vacation? I don't understand…"
"I understand you still have yet to recall your memories, but you don't recall anything about what a vacation is?"
Roxas shook his head. "No. Am I supposed to do anything on vacation? Like what is my job?"
Saix chuckled silently to himself at Roxas's naive questions. "There is no job to do during vacation. You are free from doing what you normally do and have the chance to relax doing more pleasurable or entertaining things."
"Like what? What are you doing on your vacation?"
"Unfortunately I haven't figured that part out yet. There was a thought to train or do research but for myself I found that too much like what I would normally do when not on vacation."
"So you're supposed to do other things that what you normally do?"
"That is the general statement but I suppose if you really want to keep up on certain daily things then you may do so," Saix replied.
"I think I get it now… I guess I gotta figure out what I want to do then…" Roxas hummed thoughtfully as he stared down at the floor.
"Well if I have yet to find anything later on, maybe there could be something we could do together," Saix suggested.
"Oh? Well okay, but I think I should find what I wanna do, since that is what vacations are all about apparently."
Saix found himself to be chuckling again at Roxas. "If you say so. Then I as well shall find something for myself."
"Can we still meet for ice cream later?" Roxas asked.
"Of course, that doesn't have to change because of a vacation."
"Okay good. Just wanted to check. See you later Saix," Roxas said as he started back on his walk.
Now left alone once more, Saix turned to the nearest window and stared outside that The World That Never Was. The dark vast world before him was still a huge mysterious place to all of them. They would only go down there to the world itself if there was some urgent Heartless problem, but even then those urgent calls were not very frequent.
That still left the world itself to be full of those mysteries, all unanswered. A dark world that never saw sunshine and was full of empty streets and cities with no one to live there. Half the time it would rain out there and the other half was just a dry and eerie endless night. Truly a place that Saix was sure no one could ever understand.
With his mind now wandering to the wonders of the world he had spent so many years in, yet never truly spent them in the world, he decided to head out there. He wasn't sure what the purpose of it would be other than exploring but it would be something to kill time on his day off.
"Maybe there will be something worthwhile in the end," Saix thought to himself as he summoned up a portal to take him down to the world itself.
Once down there he began his walk down the dark alleyways. The lights and neon signs flickers brightly down at him, only adding to the questions of how this world worked. Or perhaps what was this world years ago? Saix really had no idea, but he kept these thoughts stored just in case he did end up discovering anything.
But what he did not expect was to catch a glimpse of something or maybe someone in the far distance. Saix blinked, unsure if he had even seen anything at all or if his mind was just playing tricks on him. He started to move forward, wondering if he had seen anything at all.
When he got closer to where he had thought something was, he once again caught something moving in the corner of his eye.
Something was definitely here and it was most likely watching him.
"Who goes there?" Saix asked aloud. "If you think it is wise to sneak from the shadows, then you will be sadly mistaken."
There was some faint shuffling and then moving again from one of the darkened alleyways. Slowly someone was coming into view and Saix was ready to summon his claymore at a moment's notice. He stood his ground though, giving the benefit of the doubt that he would not have to resort to fighting to deal with whatever was coming his way.
When he saw the figure step out of the shadows he thought it was one of his own members from the Organization for they wore the cloak. But upon looking further as the person came into the dim light of the neon signs, he saw the hair was much lighter than any one round other than Xemnas. But he never left the castle as far as Saix knew and there was also the fact that the body shape did not match.
But as soon as they stepped closer, he knew who it was. Long silver hair now pulled back into a ponytail, and a rather serious expression covered his face. Saix knew it either had to be Riku or his replica, but Saix wasn't about to ask as he still respected the choice that the replica find his own way to be his own person. Saix had a feeling though that this was not Riku based on how the boy was wearing his hair now, but he thought better to save the questions for a later moment.
"Just needed to make sure that you were alone," the boy replied quietly. "Didn't think it would be good to have anyone else see me."
"And just what was it that you were doing here?" Saix asked. Even if he was on vacation he still had to keep and eye out for any trouble no matter what. He wasn't about to let the castle get any surprise attack or anything else of the matter.
"Investigating. It's just me though… the one who isn't Riku."
"Ah, have you decided on a name for yourself yet?"
He nodded. "Yeah. Going by Ace now."
"Ace?" Saix asked.
"Yup far different then 'Riku'... plus I think it's cool," the boy, known now as Ace, said before shrugging slightly.
"Well I am happy that you are finding your place as your own person," Saix said as he nodded, "But what brings you to this world? It isn't safe for you to be here. There must be more than just investigating."
"It's just what I'm doing to kill time and stuff. Namine is doing all the work and…" Ace trailed off quickly, looking upset before he averted his eyes.
"I won't speak of anything that happens here. You have my word that I will keep it a secret just like before."
"Yeah I believe you, but I'd still have to talk to the others about it. You know… to be safe and stuff…"
"I understand, but do be aware while I am glad you and the others got out safely from Castle Oblivion, I won't be able to do anything if I am requested to find you again. I fear that Xemnas still wants to know where Namine has disappeared to," Saix said calmly, thinking it was best to leave out the fact he was being called back to Castle Oblivion soon. He highly doubted that any of them were still there, but while he wanted to hope for their safety at the same time if Axel found out what he was doing he would surely get into more trouble than he wanted.
"Yeah… I get it. But I did want to say thanks again… for giving me a chance to figure out myself. I really don't know where I would be otherwise."
"I'm glad that you're finding your way. I wish the circumstances were better to discuss them though."
"Isn't there anything you could do though? Like… I don't know… I want to talk more and stuff, but it's risky I know."
Saix stared at Ace and he could see the look in his eyes, he already knew that Ace was thankful to him, and no doubt in some form admired him. He was the only Organization member to show him kindness. Not even Vexen who was the creator of the Replica Program showed him and kind of care or consideration, he only wanted results for his experiments. It was not something that Saix agreed with at all especially how he saw Ace had been developing by himself.
Walking closer, Saix placed a hand on Ace's arm. "It would be risky yes, but if we can find a way we could make it work. It all depends on the where and the when considering I do have work to attend to most days."
"Well where would be the best spot?"
"I would say this world as it is already heavy in darkness and it would be hard to tell if it is a person here or just another dark entity. But at the same time Axel or any other member could grow suspicious of me heading out here for unexplained reasons."
"What about Twilight Town?"
"It's a place a few of us will go on missions and also is where I meet up with my friends," Saix replied softly, the thought of friends being just something that was casual to him now.
"With Sora's Nobody and the keyblade girl right?" Ace asked, giving a long and serious look.
"You would be correct," Saix replied with a nod.
"So… what do we do then?"
"I'm not sure yet. I think I would need to mull over the thoughts some more before giving any final decision. Until then I would advise to keep away until I know we can set up something safe."
Ace sighed before giving his only little nod. "Right… I take it you'll come and find me then?"
"I'll try to as it is safer that way."
"Okay… sorry to take up your time today," Ace said as he shuffled back. "I should be getting back to the others anyways."
"I understand, but it was nice to see you again, Ace," Saix said as he offered a smile.
"Same to you. I'll see you some other time I guess…"
With that Ace snuck back into the shadows and it was like he was never there at all. Now that he was alone again, Saix made his way back to The Castle that Never Was, needing to still find something else to occupy his mind for the remainder of the day.
Though the thoughts still swirled around in his head, making it harder to focus on anything else. No matter what he tried thinking he kept jumping back to his short encounter. Unexpected, it still gave him some reassurance that Namine and the others were safe. What they were doing he didn't know, and he wasn't sure if Ace would ever be allowed to tell. There was an unsettling feeling in the back of his head that everything was connected, but putting the pieces together would be far more dangerous than just pondering the 'what if' of it.
He would have to leave it be for the time being, not until he knew it would be safe. So until then he would have to do other things to get his mind off of the tricky subject matter. Evemtually he settled on some light reading to pass the remainder of the day until he headed out to Twilight Town for his daily ice cream meeting.
It wasn't all too long thankfully before Roxas showed up and sat down next to him. "Hey Saix."
"Hello Roxas, and how was your vacation day?"
"I think it went good," Roxas said before starting to explain just what it was that happened during the day.
"Well," Saix started once Roxas finished. "Sounds like your day was productive at least. I do wonder about those children though, they always seem to be out and about."
"Is that a bad thing?"
"Not necessarily. If it is their summer vacation it's fine, but I can't recall when that would be off hand."
"Summer vacation is something children get after months of school… best way to say it is this, imagine a day like today but for several weeks."
"Several weeks?! That sounds insane! It took me forever to figure what to do just for today."
Saix laughed lightly. "I can understand, but eventually you get into a groove and find activities to do during that time. Especially… when you have the friends to spend it with."
"Is that what you used to do? Before you were a Nobody?"
Saix hummed as he stared off into the sunset, letting some of the memories trickle in. "Yes… I just haven't given them much thought in a long while."
"Oh… I'm sorry."
"It's all right, Roxas. You didn't know, so no harm done," Saix replied before he mentally pushed away the days of what once was.
"Hey, guys. How did I know you'd be here?" Both turned to see Xion enter the area and take her usual seat next to Roxas.
"Hey Xion, did you end up going anywhere?" Roxas asked.
"No… why? Did you guys go somewhere without me?"
"I was around Twilight Town, but I didn't ask Saix yet what he was up to."
"I didn't do much else. I had gone on a walk and then went to do some reading." Saix had thought to mention at least running into a friend, but he knew that the two would question him on just who he had seen. Once again he wanted to try and keep things as safe as he could so he had to avoid as much confrontation on the subject as possible.
"A walk sounds peaceful," Xion commented. "Maybe next time we get a vacation I'll have to try that."
"We won't probably get another for a while, work resumes as usual tomorrow."
"I can hope though," Xion added.
Saix hummed again, mulling over his thoughts. Everything was brought back to what Axel had said to him the other day. Like the first time he had left for Castle Oblivion, he let Roxas know to be courteous. Now Xion was here too, but in the end it was all the same. He wanted them to at least know so there would be no need to worry, not that Nobodies really worried anyway.
"While work does continue tomorrow, I won't be sticking around for a while."
"Huh? What do you mean?" Roxas asked.
"I've got a special mission that I am to go out on."
Xion looked at Saix, a little curiosity in her eyes. "Can you tell us where?"
"I would like to but…" He would have probably told them like he told Roxas the first time, but with how things had been changing with Axel, he feared it would be unwise. No doubt if he told them Axel would somehow find out and wouldn't approve of such things. The last thing he wanted was for Roxas and Xion to be harmed while he was away.
"It would be better if it remained a secret. I'm sorry… but perhaps once I return I can better explain myself."
"Oh?" Xion looked a little confused now. "I guess that makes sense."
"I just want to inform you I won't be around much, don't let Axel know that I told you though. You know… how he can be with things like this."
Now it was Roxas's turn to hum in agreement. "Yeah… we know."
"But I trust in the both of you that you can make it through."
"Glad to see you still have faith in us!" Roxas laughed and Xion joined in shortly after. Even Saix chuckled softly at Roxas's sudden statement. It would be an nice thing to remember before he left for a while.
By the time Saix returned to the castle, it was later than he originally thought, but on the other hand he saw Axel waiting for him just as he expected. Axel was glaring with those golden eyes as Saix approached, his arms crossed and an annoyed scowl molded into his face.
"You sure took your sweet ass time."
"It was my vacation was it not? Am I not free to enjoy a day of relaxation?"
"It's not enjoyable for me when I gotta waste time waiting for you when you're wasting your own time with the zombie and puppet," Axel scoffed.
"Again… My vacation is the keyword here."
"Whatever. You're just wasting away your time trying to get attached to them," Axel grumbled before turning the other way. "You've changed…"
With a huff of annoyance, Axel marched off… and Saix let him go without a word said otherwise. But the thoughts were swirling in his head. The 'You've changed.' echoing back and forth in his mind. With benign alone he let out a sigh, trying to find something to understand. But it was late and he couldn't wrap his head all around it, so he headed off to his room.
Roxas's Diary Entry: Day 118
Today was my first vacation ever. I didn't know what to do with it. Saix
said to do things that you don't normally do but they gotta be entertaining or relaxing or something like that… whatever all that really means, but all I like is having ice cream with my friends… so that's what I ended up doing.
Saix leaves tomorrow for some kind of mission. Which reminds me… I still haven't given him the WINNER stick yet.
Secret Report: Saix
Somehow there is always a way I end up thinking about the past when I talk to Roxas and Xion. They always ask just the right questions that bring back those old memories I thought I had forgotten. It is strange though to think upon them now compared to when I first became a Nobody. It's not as bad thinking back yet at the same time there is an emptiness to thinking on them.
The memories are always those with Axel… when we were once Isa and Lea. Those memories are the ones always stored away in the reassess of my mind. One would think that thinking upon past memories would be better shared with Axel himself, but the last time we were on the clock tower together was far too long ago. That connection has faded and I fear I no longer will be able to salvage it. I want to… but still just the same as every other time I write about this… I just don't know how.
Axel told me today that I had changed… but I don't see much change in me at all. If anything it is you Axel who has changed, but you fail to see it through whatever curtain you hide behind.