Director's Cut: 03 – Toothy Grin.
Characters: Axel, Lexaeus. Zexion, Larxene, Marluxia, Vexen.
Summary: During world-hopping, a brief but much-needed break is taken.
Director's Cut 03 : Wonderland – Toothy Grin.
“We need to stop.”
Marluxia’s voice was hoarse, his expression haggard. Lexaeus, too, looked pale and faintly pinched. Zexion immediately stopped, eyes briefly lingering on Marluxia before snapping back to Lexaeus. “Of course,” he said immediately, stepping in close. “You should have said something…”
Lexaeus grunted wordlessly and looked away from him, shrugging. “Slight fatigue, that’s all.”
“We really can’t stop here, right? You guys are joking.” Axel looked around with understandable paranoia. “This is suicide. Where the hell would we hide, behind the giant goddamn mushrooms?”
“Just a short rest,” Zexion snapped, eyes narrowing slightly. “You’d be begging the same if you’d misplaced your coat.”
“Misplaced,” Larxene snorted in disgust, but fell silent, chewing her lip as she looked around. The hairs on the back of her neck still crawled and the horrifying ache in the pit of her stomach remained along with the lingering feeling of time slowing to a crawl and nearly stopping… “He might be right behind us.”
“We’ve gone through five worlds already,” Vexen, silent and staring until now, finally spoke. “We’ll go through five more in a moment. Let them rest.”
Axel threw his hands up in disgust and moved to kick over an acorn that was as tall as his knees. “Fine, fine! I was the voice of reason here, you know. Where the hell are we?”
“Where is anyone?”
Everyone spun, weapons appearing in all hands able to summon them. Marluxia and Lexaeus raised their fists in defensive positions, moving to stand behind those who had weapons.
A smile formed in midair directly in front of Zexion’s face. “My, my, you certainly know the truth about knowledge, don’t you?”
“Who are you!” Zexion lashed out at the smile in sheer instinct. The trap designed to catch and hold simply passed right through it.
“Who am I? What a silly question. How can you know me if you don’t know yourself?”
The smile solidified, followed by a pair of green-yellow eyes and a striped body. It was a cat. Or at least it looked like one.
“What the hell,” Axel finally said and raised a chakram to throw.
“I wouldn’t,” the cat rolled over onto his back in midair and crossed his forelegs. “I don’t fetch.”
Zexion stared long and hard at the cat. “We’re hallucinating,” he finally said.
“Oh, you would
know about that, wouldn’t you?” The cat purred. Zexion fought down a grimace and turned his back on the cat.
“We’re experiencing a mass hallucination.” He kept his voice firm.
“Either that or this is the weirdest fucking world ever,” Larxene was still staring at the oddly-colored cat. “Can we go now?”
“Oh, stay for tea. I’m told it’s grand at the Queen’s court,” the cat sat up and looked at them now.
“I’d rather not.” Marluxia straightened quickly. “Come on, I’m feeling well enough. Let’s go.”
“Wait, shouldn’t we… you know…” Axel gestured towards the still-grinning cat, who had taken off its head and was attempting to stand on it, like a ball.
“Who’ll believe that mad thing?” Zexion snorted and held up a hand, tearing into the fabric of the Darkness. “Go now before something truly bad happens.”
The cat watched them go, the smile remaining long after the body had faded away. “Well, more’s the pity, but I’m sure all’s well that ends well. Of course, if it doesn’t end well, then it doesn’t end well, does it? Or is that that it never ends? Never-ending, ever-ceasing…”
With no one else to bother, even the smile faded away.