Tomorrow will be the first day of school.
New students, new classes. New teachers, new materials (hopefully). A whole new place where no one knew his background, his mistakes, his sins. He could literally build himself a complete new life for the two weeks he'd be living here. But people aren't keen on change, and Zexion hated it the most. He would just have to adapt to this temporary life, and get along with it. But that was where laid the large problem that had wedged itself into his life.
It was obvious that Zexion craved something from that mischievous red-head. But it was hard to allow himself such weakness. To allow himself to be controlled by another person was a no-no. How could he allow such an event to happen again? So he struck up the courage to ignore Axel completely. Sure, he spared a kiss. Sure, it meant a lot. But there was no fucking way he would allow any more slips. It was a final decision. And so when Zexion went to bed that night, he dreamt. Oh, he'd wished it was caring and painless, to allow rest for the next day.
But as the dream began, he knew it was going to be a mess.
He recognized his line of sight as the one he had when he was about six. (Who would forget heights, as it was the most important thing to grow tall in such a short man's life?) Seated at the smooth marble table were himself, a beautiful blond haired woman, and a greying haired man. They had no eyes, no eyebrows. They had mouths that seem to be only folds in their faces as they smiled. Cheeks reddened and faces smoothed out like ceramic, it was terrifying.
Zexion held tightly to the teacup in his gruby hands, eyeing his parents as they smiled at him, sightless. Careless.
"Gentil fils, qu'est-ce qu'il-y-a? » Gentle son, what's wrong?
Zexion gripped his teacup firmly, looking at the contest with mild contempt. The red viscous contents sloshed gently within the beautiful porcelain, blood slowly making rings within the small cup. He gulped heavily, feeling his throat tighten around his saliva and almost choke him. But he knew better than to show it, and sipped the disgusting contents. His mother would scold him for wasting 'tea'.
"Ce n'est rien maman." It's nothing, Mother.
She smiled, sipping her own cup, her face tilting to mimic her eyes looking into the cup before drinking, then turning a fraction as if to 'look' back to her son. The blonde crimped locks flooded around her face, giving her the appearance of a fine wooden elf. The angelic strands seemed to want to float up, the small drafts from around the room picking them up without effort. Zexion breathed out his nose, trying to ignore the smell of incinerated flesh and burning materials.
His eyes flashed to the walls around them, identifying the flames that licked at the drywall and patterns. He witnessed mother's favourite blinds being burned, father's medals being melted into the missing floor. He watched as parts of the walls fell inwards, tumbling into the pit that had been the floor. He quicky studied the table, and found that only three inches from the chair legs did the tiles end. He was trapped here with them. He did not show his worry, for it was all a strange dream after all.
"Zeshion, tu semble distrait. Es-tu certain que rien te dérange?" Zexion, you seem distracted. Are you sure nothing's bothering you?
He gulped gently, looking up to his father. His face, once looking creased and always so cross, appeared to be much calmer and serene. The crookedness of his nose seemed to have been blemished into the smooth expanse of his face, allowing for the loss of his vulture like features. He didn't look as terrifying as he used to.
"Je suis certain papa." I am certain, Father.
Then they both laughed, one like clinking bells, the other like a gruff saw against a log. Zexion allowed small giggles to slip past his lips, joining into the temporary family that he had. He saw the ceiling crumple and fall into the chasm below, barely missing the table and his mother. Zexion then froze, watching as the flames began to climb along their solitary platform and eat slowly away at it. Mother and father seemed to turn to important matters between themselves, talking loudly and cheerfully over the crackling of incoming death. Zexion held tightly to the cup, recalling his comfort song to keep in control.
His body might have changed, but he's still only dreaming.
"Allouette, gentil allouette~..." The familiar voice echoed, calling Zexion's attention into the shadows for naught a moment. It was Axel, sitting on a floating iron chair. His face was once again marred with scars, scabby and red with freshness. Was this an omen? It was too late to really think on it as Father's chair began to tip back, the small area around the left leg slowly crumbling away. He leaned into it, as if he meant to lean back onto his chair in familiar laziness.
Zexion bit into his lip as the inclination sped up the crumbling to the floor and soon his father was slow falling into the pit. The flames jumped up to meet him, and his face and hands began to melt around the suit he wore, as if he was made entirely of wax. He fell, completely gone from sight as he melted away.
"Allouette, je te plumerai. Je te plumerai les yeux, je te plumerai les yeux."
His mother's hair caught fire, lifting up as they turned to cinders. She kept talking as if nothing was wrong and soon her face began to melt, oozing down her chest and arms. Her own chair dipped down, the wax allowing the tiles to completely crumble away. As she fell, terror seized Zexion. He jumped up, trying to find stability on the table, before it too began to sink down. Then, the dream shifted. He was lifted up, up higher into the air. He felt warm arms curl around him, protect him from the flames. He sighed, nuzzling into the comfort before realising it was a person.
He struggled forward, finding that he had a flat surface under his feet and broke out of the embrace. He spun eyes lifting up to meet the sparkling emeralds that glared through him. Axel had saved him. But it was the scars that brought his attention to clarity. Was it real? He reached a hand forward, wanting to feel it for himself. Axel smiled, teeth jagged like those of a wolf.
"Je te plumerai..." He screamed.
Morning had come too soon. The light suddenly struck Zexion's face as he rolled over to hide himself. Demyx clucked his tongue, moving the blinds completely away from the window to reveal the new day.
"C'mon now. Wakey wakey."
Demyx took that as an invitation to rip Zexion's sheets right off him and hunk them into a pile at the foot of his bed. Zexion, in retaliation no less, curled himself around his pillow and deliberately hid his face from the world. But this wouldn't do. Demyx was in charge of being the alarm clock! And alarm clocks wake their trusty roommates. So he went into the bathroom, picked up a small empty trash can and began to fill it with water.
Sensitive ears picking up on pouring liquid, Zexion relaxed and soothed himself. Dropping his guard, he was unaware as Demyx finished and walked back over wearing a grin that split his face. Completely without warning, he tossed the water out of the bucket and right onto Zexion's form. A loud, girlish scream broke free as he jumped from his bed and ran for his life into the bathroom. The door shook on its hinges as noises of pure irritation poured out from behind the thin wood.
"DEMYX!!" It was a wonder why the whole complex of students weren't roused by such noise. But Zexion realised that his time was running short, and he loathed nothing more than being late. Quickly he stripped his sopping cloths and took his shower, soon brushing his teeth as he dressed, rinsing his mouth as he applied face wash, pulling a shirt over his head at the same time as he combed his hair. Zexion had managed to merge different parts of his routine to save time and efficiently use the bathroom in the shortest time possible. It was useful to people who would need the bathroom longer than he would.
"Zexyyy~! Somebody's at the door for you~." Demyx shouted, routinely wearing his boxers as he tuned his electric guitar. Axel just grinned, leaning against the door as he held a note close at hand. Binders and books were cradled in between his elbow and side, allowing him to hold a carefree attitude. Zexion groaned, finishing up with a very light line of mascara on his lower eyelids, fixing a small flick in his hair and leaned out the door. He studied Axel's half hazard attempt at wearing his uniform, and snorted softly in contempt before retreating into the bathroom to finish up. Axel frowned.
"Hey, no hello?" The pout was all the more obvious in the way his voice seemed irritatingly whiny.
"Not for a mongrel like you." He quickly checked his collar, smoothing out any wrinkles that the plastic bag could have created. The new uniform was a bit too big, but then again he was only going to be here for two weeks anyway. Better make do with what you have, right?
"Ouch. Harsh much?"
Demyx took it upon himself to butt in, feeling that the seemingly friendly banter was becoming sharper and less friendly. "S-So Zexion... what's your first class?"
Zexion blinked, broken out from his attempt at another snip at Axel. He fixed his posture, grabbing his school bought bag and shrugging it over his shoulder with perfect synchrony. "Well, I'll apparently be co-teaching with Cloud Strife in Histories of the previous X-wars." (note: X is pronounced Key)
Both the students stared at him for a long moment before bursting out into laughter. Zexion groaned, clapping his palm to his forehead before leaving the two numb-skulls to chortle behind him. Axel soon caught on and charged after him, leaving a now confused Demyx in their wake.
"Hey, hey! We weres just laughing. Take a pill man."
Zexion refused to break pace, and for once he was proud that it took Axel effort to keep up. "Isn't the saying take a chill pill?"
"Psh yeah. But I thought that any drug would calm you down."
The snide comment was briefly ignored as the two made their way into the school's center, leaving the dormitories to jump across gardens, walkways and shops to arrive to the classroom buildings. They were forced to weave through endless white halls to reach their destinations, and it didn't take long for Zexion to orientate himself to find his classroom effortlessly. He turned to say his farewells to Axel, before being cut off by said partner as he entered the classroom. Confused, he followed him inside as Axel took his seat. Students were slowly filing in for the day's lesson, giving them plenty of time to talk.
He only hummed, rolling over to lean his sharp chin onto his palm. "Mm, yes?"
Zexion felt agitated, growling softly in response. "Why are you here?"
Axel only chuckled, leaning back into his chair and forcing them up onto two legs. Allowing himself to calm down, Zexion leaned in closer, using his glare as an intimidation factor. Axel wasn't fazed.
"Axel, I know for a fact that history would be the utmost boring class you could ever attend. Why in the name of mother Gaia would you be here?"
"I just wanna see you teach, teach." I swear, if he doesn't stop being so damn cocky right now I'll-
The bell shrilly rang, causing unaware students to rush into their classes before teachers closed the doors on them. Cloud stormed in along with the other students, almost completely blending in before walking over to the desk to identify himself. Zexion bowed, charcoal eyes locked onto the Mako look-alikes. Cloud nodded in turn, golden hair bouncing slightly with the change of angle. How did he get it to defy gravity like that..?
The class settled, eyes darting between themselves and the stranger at the front. They understood by his size and uniform that he was one of them, but they'd never seen him before. Who was this new stranger?
"Good morning." Cloud's voice was so strong but silent that it took half the class by surprise as those at the very front returned his greeting. Zexion echoed, waiting for Cloud to introduce the situation to his liking. And thankfully, Axel had settled himself into his seat.
"Today, I will be having my last class with all of you." He paused for a moment as students make grunts and unpleased noises, continuing once the majority had died down. "For the next two weeks, our guest speaker shall be taking over. He comes from the country of Alte Roit, and has braved the most recent war known on our planet. As a survivor to the many terrors we've learned in class, he's the best reference around your age that we've got." During his speech, it was very notable that the whole class not only got silent, but stilled completely and watched Zexion like some alien being. It was an understatement to say he was uncomfortable.
"So please, show him so respect, be kind, and don't prod him too heavily on personal memories. Just imagine what you'd feel if you were in his shoes." And without further ado, Cloud guided Zexion to the black board, showed him the drawer where the chalk and erasers rested, and left the classroom completely. Zexion gripping a brush very strongly, swiping the board with effort as the room remained a catacomb of silence. He heard a cough, the drop of a pencil. Someone tapping their fingers in erratic rhythms on their desk. He steadied himself, breathing in and writing his full name on the board.
He duly recalled the Exam he had to take to get into this school, simply because they didn't want just any person running amuck within their walls. Besides, it was his shot at learning from a different curriculum as he served as a historical purpose. What non sense. It seemed to comfort him, seeing his name on the eerie green board. He shook his hand, flinging the dust to the side as he turned to study the class again.
He couldn't help allow his eyes drift over to Axel, and he internally cringed. The boy was curled up in his seat, an odd but remarkably pained expression pulled onto his face. He felt it better not to dwell much on that, and examined the rest of the class. All seemed uneasy, eyes darting as if they were all suddenly rats trapped in a cage. Zexion felt a twinge of regret; he did not come here to bother students. He also knew how important a close up on his life was. After all, history books and boring seminar videos could only do so much.
"Greetings class, my name, as many of you already know, is Zexion Genkaku. I am merely sixteen years old, and I have lost my parents to a tragic fire. This fire occurred during the third raid by Zanarkand, and over a third of the population perished." Already the grave-like stillness in the room seemed to be fitting to his descriptions. But he did not linger long on the details; he wanted a small synopsis to show them he meant business. He wasn't their friend.
"I was then swept up into impossibly frightening events that have changed my life forever. As an orphan, we had very little chance of achieving good carriers and schooling. I was one of the lucky ones; our orphanage had French schooling, which helped us learn to read and write. But we did not have food or beds, and so we had to pillage our homes, or what remained of them, for survival." When he heard a small sniffing sound, the tell-tale sign of tears, he knew that today, his first day here, would be the longest yet.