Far away in The World That Never Was, Zexion was sitting on a couch in an all white room. The room held four white couches, two on each side of the room, and two white coffee tables. The room had three walls, for the fourth was a collection of large, glass windows. Through the windows, one could see the darkness of the world's perpetual night and an unusual, heart shaped moon.
The room was known to the members of Organization XIII as "the Gray Area" and it was a lounge of sorts for them. Zexion turned the page of the large book that he was reading and let out a quiet sigh. A moment later, a dark corridor opened in the northern part of the room and Vexen and a short, teenaged boy with blond hair walked out of it. There was a displeased expression on Vexen's face. Besides them, there was another Nobody in the room. The Nobody had long, blue hair, amber eyes, and a distinct X-shaped scar on his face. "There you are, Vexen. Was your mission successful?" the Nobody said in a monotonous tone. Unlike Vexen, there was no emotion evident on the Nobody's face. It seemed as though this particular Nobody didn't feel the need to imitate human emotion.
"Yes, Saix. Eventually..." Vexen grumbled the last portion. "Good. I will expect to see a report in the morning." "Of course." Vexen walked away from Saix and sat on the couch next to Zexion. When he did so, Zexion looked up from his book at him. "How did the mission go? Did Roxas learn how to conduct reconnaissance?" he said. Vexen sighed and began to massage his temples. "His knowledge of the subject has improved, but it is still lacking. It took so long for him to understand such a simple concept..." Zexion looked over at the teenaged boy, whose name was Roxas.
Roxas was looking around the room silently. There was an indecisive expression on his face, as though he was unsure of where he should be at that moment. Because of his expression and the way he was conducting himself, one might describe the boy as meek and naive. "His intelligence level is significantly below the average for someone of his age," Zexion remarked. "Yes, it's quite unusual." Zexion turned back to Vexen. "Do you suppose that it has something to do with the fact that he can't remember his former life?" "His problems could be caused by a number of things, but I do believe that that is a major element."
"Where did you two go?" Zexion said. "Twilight Town. Where in that world we went, I can't recall." "Did you see anything unusual?" Vexen paused to reflect on the events of his recent mission. "Unless you count Roxas's stupidity, no there was nothing out of the ordinary in that world. Why do you ask? Have you seen something?" The thought of revealing Riley's location crossed Zexion's mind.
It would be so easy to capture her and make her a member of Organization XIII, but she was interesting. Her sword was the thing that was interesting about Riley. Zexion had never seen anything like it and he naturally was curious to find out what it made it so unique. It would be easy to find out once Riley was a member, but Zexion wanted to study her personally, without any interference from the other members. Even the Superior was considered a distraction. Of course, if Zexion was found to be hiding valuable information from the Superior that could possibly hinder the Organization's goals, he would be punished. He would most likely be turned into a Dusk.
As Zexion weighed the pros and cons in his mind, Saix walked over to him. "If you have anything to report, Number VI, then you should say so," he said. Saix was giving Zexion a cold look. A person with a heart would have been persuaded to reveal any secrets that they were hiding if they were being looked upon with an expression as cold as Saix's. "No, I haven't seen anything odd. I was asking Vexen just in case there was something in the world that we had overlooked. That's all," Zexion said. Saix stared at him silently for a moment, appearing to judge what he had said. "Alright. Carry on with your conversation," he replied and he walked away.
Zexion let out a quiet sigh. He looked back at Roxas to see him staring out of the large windows. "Honestly, how can that idiot be one of the keyblade's chosen wielders?" Vexen exclaimed. Vexen's question was one that Zexion often asked himself. "I don't know," he replied. A tall Nobody with spiky red hair, green eyes, and tattoos in the shape of teardrops on his face walked into the gray area and over to Roxas. The two of them seemed to have a amicable conversation with each other before the Nobody with the red hair opened a corridor of darkness and they both walked inside of it. "Though, if Roxas is becoming friends with Axel, I can see how his intelligence is below average," Zexion remarked.
Vexen chuckled. "If Roxas continues to spend his time with Axel, he might have no brains left," he added. His remark made a smile appear on Zexion's face. "You accompanied Roxas on a mission two or three days ago, didn't you? How did that go?" Vexen said. "I managed to instruct him on the basis of a mission. It was...satisfactory." "Did it take a while to get the information into his thick skull?" "As long as took you to instruct him on reconnaissance, I'm sure." "Ah." Zexion looked back down at his book. "He was quite impatient to come back to the castle." "Probably so that he could spend the remainder of his time lollygagging with Axel."
Zexion turned the page in his book. There was a pause, as Zexion was hesitating saying what he intended to say. "He...he asked me about Kingdom Hearts, also," he said. Vexen looked at the collection of windows and at the heart shaped moon in the sky. "Did he?" The moon was known to the Nobodies, and others, as Kingdom hearts. It was no ordinary moon and the Organization used it in their ultimate goal.
What their ultimate goal was, no one could say. Not even the members of the Organization knew what their goal was. Only the Superior and a select few knew what the goal entailed. The members were told what their goal was by their Superior and the rest found out in various ways. There was likely to be some piece of information that was hidden from the ordinary members, but they wouldn't know for sure.
"Well," Vexen looked back at Zexion, "it was about time that he learned of our goals. After all, he is a member of the Organization, like us." Zexion stared at the open book in his lap. He hadn't been reading it, but merely moving his eyes along the lines of words on the pages. "Yes, of course," he murmured absentmindedly. Vexen stood up from his seat and stretched his arms. "I'm going to my room. Sleep well, Zexion. I will see you tomorrow," he said. "Yes, see you tomorrow.” Vexen walked out of the Gray Area and down the hallway that held the members' rooms, leaving Zexion alone in the Gray Area. After a few minutes of rereading the same paragraph over and over in his book, he decided that it would be wise of him to follow Vexen's example and go to his room for some rest. He left the Gray Area and went to his room, taking his book with him.
Riley awoke rather early in the morning the next day. She sat up in bed and stayed there a few moments to reflect on how she had slept. Riley came to realise that she hadn't dreamt at all while she slept. All she remembered was going to sleep. This was the second time that this phenomenon had occurred. It was beginning to concern Riley, as she frequently had dreams when she had a heart. She wondered if she would ever have dreams again. Riley got out of bed, got dressed, and left her hotel room, grabbing an apple on the way out.
She walked through the alleyway, Market Street, Tram Common, and checked the Station Plaza, but there were few heartless to be found. "The heartless in this world are really starting to die down. It looks like my job is going to be done soon," Riley thought to herself as she walked through Tram Common. Since she had found almost no heartless during her walk through Twilight Town, Riley thought that it would be better for her to occupy her time doing something else. She thought that waiting for her friends was both boring and unproductive, so she didn't want today to be a repeat of yesterday. Looking back at the previous few days, Riley remembered how fun it was to practice for Struggle, so she decided to go to the Sandlot and practice on her own.
When Riley arrived at the Sandlot, she found that there were already people there. At first, she was going to say hello to them, but something stopped her from doing so. The people who were in the Sandlot were wearing black cloaks, the same that Zexion had been wearing. There were two Nobodies in the Sandlot. One of them was a familiar face to Riley; it was the blond boy from a few days ago. The other Nobody was a complete stranger to Riley and an intimidating one at that. This Nobody was seemed to be twice as tall as the blond boy and burly. He could have easily thrown the boy-or even Riley-to the side with ease. His hair was auburn, but Riley was too far away to see what color his eyes were.
Without a word, the man held his hand out and a dark corridor appeared. The two Nobodies walked into it and the dark corridor disappeared. They never noticed Riley, even though she was standing just a few yards away from them. Riley stood frozen in place for a few moments, waiting for another Nobody to appear from a portal composed of darkness. None came.
Riley walked into the Sandlot and went over to one of the lockers that was against one of the walls of the surrounding buildings. She opened it and pulled out a blue bat. Sitting next to the locker was a rather large, tan colored ball. Riley curiously picked it up to find that it was rather light and slightly squishy. She tossed up a few times to discover that it didn't take a lot of force to keep it in the air. Riley soon came up with the idea that she could keep it in the air by hitting it with the bat in her hand. She could even make it a game by keeping track of how many times she hit it and trying to beat her score the next time she started to keep the ball in the air again. Riley took out a pencil and a piece of paper that was inside the locker and she set them on one of the benches.
After she wrote down the word "Scores" on the top of the paper, she walked to the center of the Sandlot and began her game. Riley tossed the ball into the air and hit it a few times with the bat in her hand. The ball went flying into the air. Riley ran after it and hit it a few more times to keep it in the air. She repeated this a several more times until she hit the ball in an odd way that caused it to fly almost horizontally to the side. It landed on the ground with a soft thud. Riley recorded a score of fifteen on the piece of paper and began her game again.
Riley's made up game became increasingly enjoyable to her. Her score continued to improve, going from fifteen to almost fifty. When she was on her fifty-fifth hit, Riley hit it in an odd way again and it ricocheted to the side. Riley turned so that she could go after it, but she froze in place. The ball had not hit the ground when she had hit it. Instead, it flew into the arms of an observer. This observer was a familiar face to Riley. He was a Nobody, same as her, and he was the only Nobody whose name Riley knew.
The Nobody that had been watching Riley was Zexion. Riley had no idea how long he had been standing there, but she wasn't frightened by his presence. "How'd I do?" she said to him. "You were able to strike this fifty-five times before I caught it. That's pretty impressive," Zexion replied. There was a small smile on his face as he spoke. Riley walked over to him. "You think you could do better?" she said and she held out her bat for him to take. "I don't know and I don't intend on trying." "Aw, don't be a party pooper. Give it a try!" "I don't want to." Riley lowered her arm and looked at Zexion with an expression comically mimicking sadness.
"You won't play my game? You're making me sad." Riley then covered her face and let out melodramatic sobs. "Nobodies don't have emotions, Riley," Zexion said, beginning to get annoyed. Riley stopped and moved her hands from her face. "Doesn't mean I can't pretend," she replied. "Many Nobodies do pretend to have emotions." "Really?" "Yes, almost all of them in Organization XIII do, although I find it to be a bit vexing at times." Riley swung her bat around a few times in her hand. "Well, if you won't play along, then we'll have to play a different game." "What exactly are you insinuating-?"
Before Zexion could finish, Riley swung her sword upward and knocked the ball out of his hand. Zexion let out a sound of surprise when she did so. The ball flew backwards and Riley ran after it. She cast a magnet spell and the ball was drawn into the spinning vortex. Riley leaped into the air and she whacked the ball back at Zexion with her bat. Before the ball could hit him, Zexion cast a reflect spell on himself. The ball ricocheted off the shield and fell to the ground about a foot away.
"Are you trying to injure me?" Zexion said, slightly annoyed. "No." Riley cast another magnet spell and the ball was drawn back into it. She hit it back at Zexion again and he cast another reflect spell to defend himself. "Stop that!" "If you want me to stop then you should do something about it!" Riley replied with a smile on her face. Riley cast a third magnet spell and she hit the ball back at Zexion.
Instead of casting a reflect spell, Zexion summoned his lexicon and launched the ball back at Riley. She wasn't expecting him to hit the ball back, so she didn't think of dodging it. The ball hit her square in the stomach and caused her to fall flat on her back. Riley's bat flew out of her hand and the wind was knocked out of her. With his lexicon in his hand, Zexion walked over to Riley. A smirk was on his face. "Are you alright?" he said.
Riley opened her mouth to reply, but all that came out were coughs. She rolled over to her side and tried to get her breathing back to normal. "I didn't hit you that hard." "It was still a pretty good return," Riley choked out. She let out one last cough, then she sat up. "Do you still not want to play my game?" "Seriously?" "C'mon, Zexion! Please?" "Riley-" "Please?!" Zexion sighed heavily and pinched the bridge of his nose in annoyance.
"Alright, fine. What is this game of yours?" he said. Riley sprung to her feet. "Ok, the object of the game is to keep the ball in the air. You want to try to hit it as many times as you can. Since there are two of us, we can alternate. I'll start. Once the ball hits the ground, the game is over. Did you get that?" she blathered rapidly. Surprisingly, or as if to get Riley to be quiet, Zexion replied, "Yes." "Good." Riley picked up her bat, but she quickly realized that Zexion didn't have one. The weapon that he had would make the game difficult to play, for it delivered a more powerful attacks than the bats could.
"Um...Zexion?" "What?" "Do you maybe want one of these?" Riley gestured to the blue bat in her hand. "No. Why? Do you think I need one?" "Well, maybe..." "Then get me one." Riley nodded in understanding and she grabbed him a bat from the locker. She tossed it to Zexion and he caught it with ease. Zexion then examined the foreign weapon he held in his hands. "Alright, here we go!" Riley exclaimed as she threw the ball in the air. She hit the ball up towards Zexion and he retaliated. "Hey, we got a pretty good thing going on!" Riley said. Zexion let out a chuckle in response. Riley hit the ball back into the air and they continued with their game.
The two Nobodies were in the middle of their many games-they had lost count a while ago-when Zexion suddenly stopped. Riley had hit the ball to him, so it landed with a soft thud beside him."Zexion! We were just about to get two hundred!" Riley exclaimed. Zexion didn't reply; he was staring at the entrance to the Sandlot that led to the back alley. "Zexion?" He looked at Riley with an almost saddened expression. "Goodbye, Riley," he said. "Huh?" Riley uttered in confusion.
A mere moment after Zexion had said goodbye, Riley heard a familiar voice call her name. She looked behind her to see Hayner, Pence, and Olette walking towards her. Riley suddenly understood why Zexion had bid her farewell and she turned back to tell him goodbye as well to find that he was gone. The only trace of him being with Riley was his bat; it was lying on the ground where he had stood. Riley was sure that Zexion could still hear her, so she said, "Goodbye, Zexion."
"Hey Riley, were you talking to someone before?" Pence said. Riley lied and replied, "No. Why?" "Olette thought that she had heard something." "I guess it was my imagination," Olette said. "Yeah. There was no one here but me." Hayner quickly spotted the ball that Riley had been hitting into the air. "Looks like you were playing Grandstander," he remarked. "I was?" "Were you trying to keep that ball in the air?" "Yeah." "Then yes." Riley stared at the large ball in newfound wonder. "Huh..." Hayner grabbed the bat that Zexion had been using. "I bet I can hit it more times than you!" he said. "You're on!" Heyner threw the ball into the air and the two of them began their competition.
That night, Riley lay on the bed in her hotel room, staring at the ceiling. She had beat Hayner in Grandstander fairly easily. Riley let out a heavy sight. "Tomorrow's my last full day here...and I still haven't gotten a 'Winner!' stick..." she thought to herself. She suddenly thought of Zexion who-even though they had started out as enemies-had been fairly nice to her. He was the only one who understood what she was going through, for he was a Nobody too. Riley would have to lose him the same way she had lost all the friends she had made in various worlds.
Riley then thought of her master. What would Yen Sid think when he discovered she had lost her heart? He had trusted Riley to stay safe and she had failed him. Riley got an odd feeling in the pit of her stomach, but nothing more. Her body would not show signs of stress as it used to. Riley let out a yawn and she climbed under the covers of her bed. After some tossing and turning, she finally fell into a dreamless sleep.