In another part of the vast universe, there was a world caught between the light and the darkness. The world was never supposed to exist and it technically didn't. Floating high above the darkened city of the world was a large, white castle. It was an unusual castle in more ways than one, for it held the members of the enigmatic group known as Organization XIII. The castle contained many rooms, each of them serving their own purpose. Among those rooms, there were bedrooms for each of the Nobodies residing in the castle.
Inside one those rooms, a portal composed of darkness appeared. A Nobody dressed in a black cloak stumbled out of the portal and it closed behind him. The Nobody was Zexion. He let out a pained groan as he walked towards a completely white desk in the corner of the room, leaning against one of the white walls in the room as support. When he got to the desk, he started opening and closing the drawers on the right and left sides of it. "I could've sworn I had put a potion in one of these drawers..." Zexion murmured.
Unbeknownst to him, another Nobody was walking past his room. Since the door to Zexion's room was open, the Nobody was able to see him inside. "There you are, Zexion! Where have you been? I have been looking everywhere for you!" the Nobody scolded. With a slight start, Zexion looked over at the Nobody who had addressed him. This particular Nobody had long, blond hair and green eyes. He appeared to be considerably older than Zexion. He was also wearing a black cloak, like all members of Organization XIII did.
"Hello, Vexen. I can't speak with you at the moment, so if you could wait-" "I most certainly will not wait!" Vexen exclaimed, interrupting Zexion. "What could be so important that..?" Vexen had trailed off when he noticed that blood was dripping out of Zexion's wounds and onto the white desk. "What in the..?" Vexen went over to Zexion and, despite his protests, he pried his hand off of his wounds so he could examine them better. "Ow! Vexen!" Zexion cried as he did so.
The wounds on Zexion's chest and midsection were beginning to clot, but they were still bleeding considerably. When Vexen saw the fairly serious wounds, his expression softened, as though he had cared for Zexion in the past. "Wherever did you acquire these wounds, Zexion?" he said. "I ran into a heartless on my mission. A rather large one, at that," Zexion replied. His statement wasn't truthful but since Nobodies couldn't feel emotion, it appeared as though he wasn't lying.
Vexen was none the wiser. "Well, then be careful on your next mission. I don't want to see you being carried back to the castle the next time around," he said. "I will." Vexen looked at Zexion's wounds for a moment, then he sighed. He dug into his pocket and pulled out a hi-potion. He set it on the desk Zexion was leaning on. "Drink this. As for what I wanted to discuss with you...I suppose it can wait." Vexen left the room and shut the door behind him.
When Vexen was gone, Zexion smiled. "Believe me Vexen, I'll be careful on my next mission," he said. He picked up the hi-potion that Vexen had left for him and drank it. Almost instantly, the wounds healed themselves. The only trace of the wounds being there in the first place were the tears in Zexion's coat. He sighed. "Now I have to repair the tears in my cloak..." he murmured.
Riley's eyes slowly opened and she turned onto her side so she could see the clock that hung on the wall. It read, "8:15" Ordinarily, Riley would have decided to sleep in until after ten o'clock, but she didn't see the point in continuing her dreamless sleep any longer. She sighed and got out of the warm embrace of her blankets. "Well, time to look for more heartless. Not like I have a choice..."
Riley was still in Twilight Town. Since she had no way of leaving the world until Yen Sid sent the train at the end of the week, Riley had to continue her mission. She didn't really want to, but she had no other options. Letting out another sigh, Riley got dressed and left the hotel. Her breakfast consisted of only an apple.
Even though there were most likely more heartless in Twilight Town, Riley stopped searching after she found some in Market Street and in the back alley. She didn't have the motivation to continue searching, so she decided to wait in the Station Plaza for her friends to return from school. It was almost noon, so Riley had to wait a while. She leaned against the brick wall of the Station Plaza and stared at the almost constant sunset.
After what seemed like an eternity, Riley glanced back at the clock tower to find that a little over an hour had passed. She sighed heavily and she laid her head down on the wall. "Is there any particular reason that you're waiting here for your friends instead of doing something else?" a familiar voice said beside Riley. She lifted her head up to see that Zexion was standing next to her, looking out at the sunset. With a start, Riley exclaimed, "Where'd you come from?!"
"If I have to explain that to you at this point, then I'm seriously questioning your intelligence level," Zexion replied calmly. Riley stared at him suspiciously for a moment and when she found that he didn't appear hostile, she resumed her place beside him. "So, what're you doing here? You gonna try to take me to Organization XIII by force again?"
"Do you honestly believe that I'm going to attempt to subdue you again the day after I was severely injured by you?" "...Good point." Riley looked over at Zexion to find he was still staring at the sunset; there was a peaceful look on his face. She took the opportunity to examine him closely, as she couldn't do so before. Zexion appeared to be about the same age as Riley, if not slightly older. Yet, he had the mannerisms of someone years older than him. It almost saddened Riley to think that someone as young as Zexion- or even the blond boy from yesterday, for that matter-was involved with a group as sinister as Organization XIII.
"What's someone as young as you doing with a group like Organization XIII?" Riley said. Zexion smiled slightly. "I might ask you a similar question." He turned his head to look at Riley. "What are you doing here with that peculiar sword of yours when there are clearly heartless inhabiting this world?" Riley let out a sigh which turned into a listless chuckle. "I can't tell you that." She began to trace the cement that was in between the bricks of the wall beneath her with her finger. "I'm afraid that both of our questions are going to be unanswered."
"Well, you didn't have to join Organization XIII. You have amazing abilities. You could have done what I did and fought back," Riley said. "I didn't have much say in the matter," Zexion replied. "So what if you're a Nobody? You could always hide in a quiet world like this." "Riley-" "You don't even have to stay in Organization XIII. They can't force you to." Zexion gave her a seemingly sympathetic smile.
"They can and they will, Riley," he said. Riley's mouth was open, as she was about to give Zexion another reason why he shouldn't stay in Organization XIII, but she quickly shut it. "Have you ever seen a Nobody that isn't humanoid? A Dusk, for example." "No." "Considering your current situation, you will eventually. They are Nobodies like myself, but their bodies and minds have been distorted to the point that they are similar to heartless," Zexion explained. "R-Really?" "Yes. If I disobey my superior, then he could turn me into one of them. Or worse."
Riley almost felt saddened by Zexion's response. "Zexion..." Almost as if he didn't want to see Riley's artificially saddened expression, Zexion looked back at the sunset. "It isn't as bad you would think. My duties in the Organization aren't dangerous ones," he assured Riley. "You still didn't have to join." "As I said before, I didn't have a choice." "But..." "I'm one of the founding members of Organization XIII, Riley. I helped to create it." Riley's eyes widened in surprise.
"B-But you're so young!" "I'm well aware of that." "How many founding members are there?" "Six in all." Even though Riley was fairly relieved that Zexion wasn't the only founding member in Organization XIII, she was still puzzled on how such a large group of people could lose their hearts at once and become humanoid Nobodies. Riley opened her mouth to ask Zexion, but she thought that the question would be a bit too personal, so she looked back at the sunset instead.
After a while, Riley grew to be quite bored and her curiosity was getting the better of her. "Hey, Zexion...Can I ask you something?" She looked over at Zexion, but to her surprise, he was no longer standing beside her. "Zexion?" Riley looked to the other side of her and behind her, but she saw no sign of the Nobody. "He must've left. But why did he go so suddenly? He could've said goodbye..." Riley said to herself.
A moment after Riley had ceased wondering why Zexion had departed without saying goodbye to her, she heard a train pull into the station. Riley looked up at the glass doors of the station to see Seifer's gang walk out of the open doors of the train. They walked through the station doors and down the steps. Each of them was wearing a school uniform. When Rai and Fuu saw Riley, they avoided her gaze. Seifer avoided her gaze as well, but he gave her a simple "hey." Riley said a simple greeting to him as well and they walked out of the Station Plaza.
About twenty more people-all of them teenagers-came out of the train station. Their faces were new to Riley. The last people to exit the train station were Hayner, Pence, and Olette. Even though Riley could feel no emotions, she managed to put a smile on her face so that she wouldn't worry her friends. "Hey, Riley," Hayner said when he saw her. "Hi, guys." "Were you waiting for us?" Olette said. "Yeah, I didn't have anything else to do." Riley found it disturbing that she could lie so easily to people she considered her friends.
"Wanna go practice for Struggle?" Pence said. "Yeah." "Ok. We'll meet you in the Sandlot." "Cool." Hayner, Pence, and Olette walked out of the Station Plaza and towards their homes where they would presumably change out of their school uniforms. Riley watched them walk with a sense of envy. She couldn't feel it, but she knew that she would be if she could. Hayner, Pence, and Olette knew nothing of what she was going through. They never had to face danger in their daily lives, nor did they have to go from place to place and never have any friends. This sense of envy passed quickly and Riley left the Station Plaza so she could meet her friends at the Sandlot.
The practice went well; in fact, Riley ended up teaching Hayner a few moves. Riley walked back to her hotel and as she was about to go inside the building, she thought she saw a figure moving in her room. The curtains in the window moved, as though someone had passed by it. Yet when she went to her room, there was no one there. Riley quickly disregarded what she had believed to have seen in her window, as she could no longer feel the fear associated with an unwanted visitor hiding in her closet. She set her sword on her bed and she walked over to the window.
Riley's hotel faced the clock tower, so she could see it well through the window. She thought it looked quite beautiful with the world's almost perpetual sunset behind it. As Riley admired the clock tower and the sunset behind it, she thought she saw people sitting on top of it. She couldn't be sure, as they simply looked like black dots. The dots were proven to be only birds, for they flew off the clock tower. The thought then occurred to her that she could have been having ice cream up there with her friends the entire time she had been in Twilight Town. Riley resolved to convince her friends to do so in the morning. Riley walked over to her bag so that she could change into her pajamas and she found something unusual on it.
Sitting on the top of her bag was a note. It was from a notepad and it appeared to have been placed on her bag ever so gently and precisely. Riley picked up the note and read what was on it. Written on the note were two words. They were written in blue ink and the handwriting was neat, but rushed, as though the person who wrote them had been used to writing large amounts of text. The note read, "Good bye." At first, Riley had no idea why the note was so short and brief or who it was from, then she remembered what she had said at the train station. The note was worthy of a smile, for it was from Zexion and he had remembered to say good bye.