The funny thing about Meg was this: she was so lithe I was beginning to believe she was nothing more than a skin bag of organs and bones. Is it wrong for a guy to want a girl who comes with a little extra meat? (Holy hell, insert mental face palm here, I so did not just sound like Xigbar...) I mean, not saying that I can speak for the rest of the Organization (since we all happen to be skinny enough to look like we're missing half our ribs or some vital body organs were donated to Xemnas for science) but an obese significant other shouldn't be ruled out entirely. Take Roxas, for example. He claims he favors blondes but we all know he'd probably have gone out with a female monkey so long as he can make her laugh.

In fact, he's stupid enough to go out with his own cousin so long so he can make her laugh.


He was stupid enough. Now he's too emo, or too damn forgetful, to realize he would have done something like that in the first place.

Of course, the burden is on us who do remember, which is ironic considering the fact I don't remember much of anything to begin with. Except my sister was named Adelaide, Belle is a literary snob that reads ridiculous but apparently very poignant poetry, Mulan is a transvestite, Elizabeth has an infatuation with sharp, pointy objects of mass destruction, Ariel has a hollow gap where her brains are supposed to be (and apparently wears a size sea), and Demyx is gay.

Other than that though, I must say I come up blank.

(Which is not to be confused with saying I shoot blanks, which is another thing entirely.)

Then again, not like I would know.

"So, do you usually feel the innate and dire urge to kill things?" Megara implored from in front of me as she lead the way to the underground arena.

"Mostly," I answered absent mindedly. I was still trying to knock Roxas out of my head (and given all the past sexual innuendo, I almost reiterated: knock Roxas up, which would be news to me because I wasn't aware I swung that way.) "They haven't really invented pills for that yet. Though apparently Xemnas is working on them."

"Who's Xemnas?" Megara questioned, sauntering over a cobblestone bridge that loomed precariously over a bubbling pit of green, liquefied snot.

"...My Daddy..." I dead panned, trying not to smirk at my own lame attempt at humor, for I did not feel like getting into a three hour long dissertation as to why I lived in a castle with ten other males that wasn't a fraternity house.

"Oh, you're father's a doctor?"

And, well, I shouldn't have laughed but I did. I mean, Megara sounded so genuinely interested, and the thought of Xemnas as a physician is almost too much to bare.

'I'm sorry, sir, but you appear to have stage four terminal brain cancer. You'll be dead in six months.' Pause. 'Isn't that exciting? I can't wait for you to join my evil diabolical league of the undead! You even get to change your name and add a totally unnecessary 'x' to it! Now whatdya say I take you to my office so you can sign some legal papers?'

Leave it to Xemnas to sales pitch the afterlife.

Oh the conversations he and Burning Brains would have.

Eventually Meg lead me up to a massive underground coliseum, which was pretty reminiscent of the one Demyx was currently getting his butt kicked in except that this one had a much...more emo...feel. Everything was dark, dank, and delectably eerie. Kind of like Vexen's bed room. Or Larxene's torture chamber.

I guess you could say the whole layout was also intimidating, but I don't get intimidated. Except around possibly Belle, who has the ability to bring me to my knees in a matter of seconds. (My internally bleeding knees, at that.) So did Megara, for that matter, but that was more of willing, groveling, begging sort of thing. I think there are some planets that refer to it as 'proposing.'

(...And I'll be damned if I'm gonna cough up two month's salary for a stupid shiny rock that really has no relevance to a future life of matrimony except as a guilt tactic to convince men to spend obscene amounts of money in order to prove their love to unsuspecting females...)

You don't see them buying us jewelry, now do you?

And before I knew it Meg had lead me up to the vast entry way of the basement coliseum, which reeked of sweat and blood and urine and probably other bodily excrements I don't feel like naming. Use your imagination. It'll help you live longer.

"This is it," she declared, with an unenthusiastic sweep of her hand. "Try to keep your dress on."

"Trench coat," I corrected, stepping inside the coliseum's confines. The ground was appropriately stained in blood, since I guess there were no cross bred mammals running around attempting to keep things in order. There were two homely looking demon minions playing checkers in the bleachers; one skinny and long nosed, like a stringy booger, and the other short and plump, like an asphyxiating coconut.

I kept such internal observations to myself.

"That's Panic and Pain," Megara offered, following my disturbed gaze.

"Hey sista!" one called, petitioning Megara, and waving an appendage in the air. "Who's the fella?"

"Sister?" I reiterated, praying to all things holy that they were not spawned from the same womb. Can you imagine the genetic repercussions? She may pop out babies that looked like multi colored fruit baskets.

"We're familiar," Meg breezed, not willing to partake in the details.

"Adopted?" I suggested hopefully.

"Sure, why not?"

The lanky green one scuttled over to where we were situated, nervously wringing his hands as he stood before us and displayed his very irritating eye twitch. I wanted to solve his problem by gorging it out, but that was better left to Larxene. Though she was more skilled in torture dealing with the southern regions of the male anatomy, I'm sure she would be willing to make an exception for a scraggly demon and my corresponding sanity.

"What's he doing here?" the snot colored one implored. "He can't be here. He can't. Hades won't like that. No, no...this is bad, Megara. This is very, very bad."

"Relax Panic, he's just here to sate his blood lust."

"And impress her," I added hopefully. I got nothing as far as response is concerned. Bummer.

"Is he in it for the prize?" the other one—Pain, I presume—called from the checker board. I noticed, with slight dismay and rather gross infatuation, that the checker pieces were various animal skulls, half of which were dipped in blood for a corresponding red color.

"I am not an object to be lusted after," Meg snipped out.

I paused. "You lost me there."

"But but but it doesn't matter if he's in it for the prize, Meg! Hades picks the contestants, you know that!"

"And he purposely picks the weak ones so he can keep me longer," she muttered. "I'm sick of it. I say I get to chose once in awhile."

"Whoa, hey, whoa," I interrupted. "I don't know what the heck you guys are talking about, but I just want to kill something."

All three sets of eyes turned to stare at my dimly.

"Looks like you grabbed yourself a scholar there, sista," Pain grumbled, flicking and animal skull across the bench.

"He's smarter than he looks."

Bloody hell. Enough of this demoting. There weren't any penalties to killing demonic civilians for sport last time I checked.

I ignited my pointer finger and zapped a flame over in Pain's general direction. Almost immediately, his oily little rump ignited in a small inferno and he was left to run around in circles crying, "My rump! My rump! My rump is on fire!"

"Oooooh," Panic shuddered from my feet. "He even has Hades' power! He's not going to like this Meg! You know he's not!"

I solved that problem by promptly kicking Panic across the arena and into the dirt.

Under normal circumstances, I'd keep my benevolency in check, but these were demons I was dealing with, so what does it matter? Besides; I'm a villain, remember? Not a hero.

"Nice shot," Meg drawled out, sauntering over to the sidelines and into a crudely labeled locker room. Confused, I remained outside, and watched as Pain tried to un-ignite his bottom by spitting unsuccessfully over his shoulder. Heh. Who's the scholar now?

I stood there a while longer, waiting for Meg to return, hopefully in lingerie of some kind, but I somehow doubt she went into the locker room to actually change. Perhaps she was fetching a minion for me to kill. Or a Heartless or Nobody they had captive. In that case it would probably be one of Demyx's, for he could never keep track of all his minions, and they were always showing up in odd places when we least expected it.

"Cute. You're drinking again, imagine that," I heard the sardonic voice of Meg leak out. I shuffled from side to side anxiously.

A Heartless that drinks? Well, now, that was something new.

"Busy being emo, I presume?"

"Why do you insist on pestering me with your presence, Megara?"

"Come on Geezer, you've got a competitor. You need to move it. That is, if the arthritis hasn't kicked in."

"I do not find you conceits amusing."

"Really? Cuz I do. I think I'm a riot a minute."

Oh. I am so in lust with this woman. I don't even need to see her to properly lust after her. And how rare is that?

Soon enough, Meg returned, and in her wake there stood a rather grouchy looking old man with an odd fashion statement as far as hair was concerned and very intimidating arm muscles. He had a Jay Leno streak going on and chose to garb himself completely in red, a kick ass samurai sword flanking his back.

The most confusing thing, however, was that he chose to wear sunglasses even though he could only see out of one eye. I found that amusing.

"Nice specs," I drawled, referring to his spectacles, shaded and, as Meg had pointed out earlier, appropriately emo looking.

"Tell me it's not him."

"How many times do I have to say he's smarter than he looks?"

"Oh, gods," I grumbled. "Don't tell me you're a dick too."

Pain and Panic both made baffling noises when they heard themselves being compared to male genitaltilia. Disney characters aren't used to that.

The man's half face, for most of it was covered by his ridiculously over grown collar that looked like it was in an epic quest to conquer his head, scrunched up like a washboard and he then muttered something in another language. I think I heard hints of Japanese.

"Auron, be nice," Megara chided.

He turned to look at her. "...why?"

Ha. Good point.

"Karma?" I suggested meekly.

Auron glared at me with his one eye. Insert a manly grunt her. "Despicable."

"I prefer delectable."

"Boys," Meg broke in, trying to repress her smirk that was dying to come out (no pun intended, what with being in the Underworld and all...gods I'm lame...)

"I suppose we have to go and fetch Hades," Auron grunted in an animalistic sort of way. I wondered momentarily if he was fully done evolving.

"Oh, good ol' Burning Brains?"

Another glare. Another grunt.

"I don't particularly wish for his accompaniment," Auron relayed to an impishly posed Meg, eating up our camaraderie like a drunk ingests alcohol.

"Good, it's settled then," I announced, for I thrive off being difficult. It's one of the few things left that I still enjoy. "I'll be your chaperone."

"Damn Yevon," came another cro-magna huff.

"I thought Yevon wasn't real," Megara teased, pulling one the man's oversized sleeves.

"Habit," was the warranted one word response.

"How come he lets you tease him?" I questioned in passing.

"I remind him of his summoner," she explained with a smile and a wink, though I guess it wasn't much as far as explanations go, because, last time I checked, they were supposed to clear things up, not confuse you more.

"Oh. Well then. Who do I remind you of?" I queried, attempting to pull on Auron's other sleeve only to have him pull away.

"Tidus," he spat, then continued looming forward.

"That a good thing?"

"I have no idea," Meg responded, shrugging so that one of her toga straps drooped lifelessly to her elbow.

Aw. That was hotter than hell.

"Hey! Old man! Wait up!"

"...he really is Tidus..."

I let the matter drop and proceeded to continue, hot on his tail. Eventually he led me down another nondescript canny way that looked just the same as all the others, what with the snot bubbling on either side and the stench being just as revolting. All the Underworld looks the same. I should have consulted mapquest.

I heard Meg's admonishments of Pain and Panic die off in the distance, her beautifully snarky yet melodic voice fading in my ears and we increased our ground into the eerie caverns of despair and melodrama.

"Why couldn't Megara have tagged along?" I whined, not really meaning to, but my age regresses without my consent in times of emotional anguish.

"If you wanted to be in her presence, then you should have stayed."

"Now why would I do that? I'm never going to figure out your weakness if I don't stalk you. Besides, it's what we villains are good at. Stalking and stuff. And killing. We're good at that too."

Okay. So I was a tad pumped up from my previous conversation with Meg, which was the fist positive discussion I have had with a female since I left home. (I just referred to the World That Never Was as my home again. I have to stop doing that.) I mean, Ariel liked me well enough, but I think she would like anything that held the ability to communicate, even the singing broccoli at Beast's Castle.

Now there's a mental image. Ariel. With the singing silverware.

They would never stop...talking.


"So, um, you hang out here for fun?" I ventured, trying to strike up a scintillating conversation, and hopefully catch a whiff of weakness in the process.

"I'm dead."


"Cool. So am I."

Another pause.

"I don't care."

Pause again.

"Well, alright then."

I meandered after Auron in silence, eyeing his samurai sword suspiciously as it waved back and forth in front of me like a pendulum in time to the man's hunkering steps. It was a little intimidating, that is, if I was one for intimidation, which I'm not, so I guess it wasn't really intimidating, now was it?

I watched as the Chronically Depressed One took a swig from a giant brown bottle he kept latched to his side at all times. I thought I heard him mutter something about 'being driven to drink' and this sparked inquiries anew.

"Hey, can I have a swig of that?"

"Hell no."

Some more interspersed silence. Enough time went by to drop the subject. At least until I brought it up again.

"Well why not?"

"Because I'm not wasting my Saki on you."

Oh. Holy Hell. It was alcohol. Actual alcohol.

I could practically hear Roxas' voice screaming inside my head: you need to get your hands on some of that!

"You really are a dick," I threw out aimlessly, fear never being a dominant emotion for me. I don't care how bad ass the guy looked, he was dead like me, after all. What harm could we possibly do each other?

"Why does she insist on always bringing the insolent fools home?"

I paused.

"Excuse me?"

Apparently Auron didn't think there was any need for elaboration. Tough. I did.

"I am not an insolent fool," I argued. There was no way I was going to let this Alzheimer's advocate pull a Belle on me. I was not going to be made inferior again. Especially to some bitter alcoholic dead guy. Even Luxord keeps his liquor in check.

I did not even warrant so much as a full sentence in response.

"And what do you mean by bringing home? Is this some strange family dinner thing?"

"...did she bother to tell you anything?"

I stopped short. "Um. What is there to tell?"

"Tich." And that was all I got. No, really. Just that expelled excuse for an answer. Jerk off. I was going to enjoy burning this guy.

I contemplated stepping on his over grown tent of an overcoat just to be difficult, but I figured I'd save it for the arena. That way Meg could watch.

"So do you think she'd like a beg wedding or a small one?"

"She'd be marrying down either way."


"Alright. Enough of this 'holier than thou' bull crap I've been putting up with at every single planet I've been sent to. Meg was the first person to treat me with any amount of decency, and I'll be damned if I didn't fall for that. And I don't have to restrain myself around you because, guess what? You're not a girl. I can holler and curse and burn you all I want because you seem to have some high fulutent stick up you ass that makes you think you're better than me. Which you're not, by the way. You're definitely not. And excuse me for not moping in dark caverns all day and mourning the loss of the life I once had. And excuse me for trying to get Meg to crack a smile once in awhile, which seems to be more than you're willing to do. I'd rather make love to a woman than a bottle of Saki. But that's just the way I roll. Maybe you samurais are different."

I then paused to inhale. I hadn't delivered a soliloquy that long since Roxas contemplated leaving the Organization. And that was a while ago. My lungs were out of practice. Larxene never let me get that many words out at a time in my defense and nobody else in the Organization cared enough to hear what I had to say anyway. I doubted Auron did, either, but since it involved his knock off summoner I suspected he'd listen. And he did. Which I still can't decide if that was a good or bad thing.

He chose now to whirl around and face me, for the first and last time, on our epic quest to Hades the Hell Lord. I want to say I didn't stumble backward out of surprise, but I did. It was a habitual action, I can't be blamed. That coupled with Auron's impending inertia and any man is liable to buckle in his wake.

"You stupid boys are all the same," he growled, voice a deep timbre of resonance I did not know he was capable of exuding. "Always thinking with your fifth appendage as opposed to your brain. You barely know Megara. You know her name and her waist size, but did you even bother to learn anything more? She's more self destructive than a demolition derby and by gods if she marries anyone other than a certified hero she'll be the cause of her own demise. For her to back pedal and fall in lieu with a self proclaimed villain would destroy what little soul is left within her, and I'll be damned before I let that happen."

I stood there, slack jawed and mouth agape. And what do you say to that? No, really, what do you say to that? It would have even left Roxas speechless. Larxene would have been liable to flip him off, but here's the thing. I have a conscious. Deep, deep, deep down, I like to pretend I have a conscious. And screw you if you don't believe it. Maybe it's true and maybe it's not, but I like to pretend. It's what keeps me going. And I know Roxas had a conscious, and I like to pretend that's why we were friends. So soul or not, that frickin hurt. I'm more than just some villain. Don't group me with pig head Xigbar and heartless Vexen. Don't demote me to some henchman hell bent on world destruction. I'm more than that. And obviously this man, this one eyed man whose friggin' half blind, doesn't see it.

But really Axel, how well do you know Meg?

Roxas, not now man. Really, not now.

You don't, Axel. You don't. Auron's right. You don't know her at all.

Back off. Since when were you the guru on relationships?

You think I wanted to leave Namine?!!

Dude, we just got Namine.

No. You just discovered Namine. Xemnas always had her.

Bloody Hell. I said NOT NOW.

I can not deal with this NOW.

Yeah. That's what you said back then, too.

I looked vehemently at Auron.

"Screw you," I finally exhaled, at a total loss of what else to say.

"Intelligent suitor, as always," Auron mocked condescendingly, voice dripping with satire and deride.

He then whirled around again, his coat swishing over me in the process, and continued onwards into the caverns.

We made the rest of the journey in silence.

I couldn't stop seething and Auron couldn't stop being himself. I was trying desperately to rack my mind for remnants of Roxas, trying to find his voice inside of me like I had unintentionally done before, but I kept coming up blank. Everything was empty and everything was vacant. I could hear absolutely nothing, and it ate away with the most unforgiving resentment. I had him. For three seconds I had him back, however inexplicable that may be. I had him and I lost him. It wasn't just me conversing with myself anymore. It was him. It was bloody him.

And now he's gone.


"Oh, and what do we have here?"

So back on the other plane of reality I sometimes visit, I found myself situated in a vast chamber of stone and cobwebs, as dreary and disgusting looking as all its predecessors. I unintentionally shivered. Burning Brains was seated before me, in some abysmal excuse for a throne I suppose was supposed to strike fear in my non existing heart but failed miserably. I had mindlessly followed Auron all the way here, and now it was confrontation time with the Almighty. I had to fight Auron for some reason or another, and now it embarrasses me greatly to say it was simply for blood lust. If only I could keep my cravings in check. How primeval and animalistic can I be? I'm no better than Xigbar, really. This is demoting.

"He wishes to challenge me," Auron coughed out, each word sounding like it was being torn from his throat against his will. Had I been in fairer spirits, I would have suggested another swig of Saki to remedy that but I kept silent. Things go better that way.

"What? For Meg?"

I snapped to attention.

"I'm sorry, what was that?"

Hades leaned back in his throne and scratched his rather elongated chin with even more elongated fingers. "Ooh, now this is cute. Was he not aware of her contract?"

"Wait, what contract?"

"Megara's; my sweet, sweet little arsonist."

I found Hade's cloying saccharine sickening this time around.

"You weren't so naïve as to think you could just take her," Auron growled, veering at me with his good eye.

"I thought..." Gracious, what did I think? "I thought she could just go where she pleased."

"Yes, and she hangs out in the Underworld because the food is good," Hades mocked, laughing at his own joke, even though nobody else was.

"You mean to tell me you're holding her here against her will?" I snarled, already vamped up and ready to go given last hour's proceedings, and this only furthering my urgency to kill things.

"Don't even try," Auron expelled, seeing my chakrams materialize at my sides. "You can't kill a god."

"Ha. And you can't kill Yunalesca either, ain't that right Auron my boy?"

Auron simmered in the wake of the private joke.

Regardless of Auron's warnings, I hurled a chakram at Hades' head. It seemed to swish through him like blue vapor, and homed back in on my right hand. There wasn't so much as an incision left on the man's complexion.

"I wouldn't try that," Hades retorted with deadly vengeance, and in response he chucked a flame at me, which I non chalantly caught in my left hand.

We could go on like this forever.

"Okay, enough with this mindless chit chat," Hades eventually proclaimed, making over exaggerated hand gestures in front of him, momentarily going from seething to chipper; red to blue. "You came here to fight Auron, not me. And you can't really fight me even if you want to because—and why is that?" Hades feigned a pause, searching for an answer. "Oh, that's right. I'm invincible."

This man liked to perform verbal waltzes around the topic at hand.

"So, anyways. The tournament. Axel versus Auron versus Axel because Auron doesn't really have a choice. You lose, your soul belongs to me. And not your heart, I mean your soul. That thing you probably think you don't have. Yeah. That's mine."

When did he figure out I didn't have a heart? Maybe the undead pyrotechnics gave it away. And if he knows I don't have a heart he knows I'm dead. So he knows I'd be here for eternity. Lovely.

"You win, Megara and you can run off into the sunset and have babies. And I won't hunt them down and pop their little thumb sucking heads off. Which I think is a benevolent gesture on my part, don'tchya agree?"

"...of course..."

"Oh. And Auron, same rules apply for you, too. If I suspect you are not fighting to your full potential, I cut Vinida's life cord. Got that?"

"...who's Vinida?"

"Wakka and Lulu's baby," Auron explained, like I should have known that and needed no further explanation as to who, exactly, Wakka and Lulu actually were.

"Soo-oo no playing fair just so your precious little Meg cakes can leave, kay?"

Auron growled. Typical.

"You can't hold people against their will," I grumbled, still white knuckling my chakrams that were, for the first time, completely rendered useless.

"Um, news flash kiddo. I'm a god. I can do whatever I want."

A spider fell from his left nostril and he sniffed it back up.

"Oh, and by the way. I wouldn't crap where I eat, if I were you. I don't think Namine would advocate you're much different."

I startled at the abrupt turn around.

"I wasn't involved in that."

"Of course you weren't. Now, when do we fight?"

I turned to look at Auron who calmly looked back at me.

It was then that a very startling realization occurred to me, amidst the boiling anger and simmering hatred I currently housed for both participants in this battle. I momentarily wondered, if by chance I did lose to this Auron fellow, and therefore had my non existing soul surrendered to Hades for all time, if anyone from my family of the undead would actually be troubled enough to come and save me. Like, would Xemnas even bother? Would he deem me a necessary asset to his plot of world domination, enough to risk his other brain dead henchmen to come and rescue my sorry butt? Would Larxene—in a bout of untypical benvolency—come to my aid and release me from the Underworld, even if it meant putting her own hypothetical, faux soul on the line?

Would she take care of Squirt?

...was fighting for Meg's freedom worth the risk of Squirt growing up without a decent father figure? Could I really trust the maternal instincts of a sadistic blonde who had a personal torture chamber in her airship? And where do you draw the line of who is worth more?

But Meg was about more than just a good roll in the hay. What Hades was doing here was just flat out wrong. And, well, god or not, they should be made to answer to somebody.

Though, admittedly, I had no idea about the whole fiasco with Namine.

That was best kept to myself until a later date. Or until Roxas decided to mind rape me again with his voice. Stupid little booger. He was never reliable, even when he was sane. 'Um, excuse me, I prefer spontaneous,' he would always say.

"Well, I'm ready to kick his ass if you are," I offered, testosterone pumping loud enough to be heard in my ears. Then again, that was probably just a substitute for my non existent heartbeat now that I think about it.

Auron made another distasteful noise, and with all the flourish of the resident high school drama whore, he whirled around and began, once again, down the dark caverns to resume his residency at the arena.


"Owwwwie! Axel, that hurt!"

"Well, don't get it my way, Booger."

"I am not a booger!"

I brought down my wooden plank—no, really, I mean an actual wooden plank, no innuendo here, folks—on top of Roxas' hallow head as he laid there sprawled out on the lush ground of the castle's botanical gardens. Marluxia forbid anyone from ever stepping foot inside his precious forest, so of course, Roxas suggested we practice there just for the heck of it. Never mind we could have practiced anywhere, or teleported somewhere where our second lives wouldn't be at stake. He wanted to fence amid the botanicals and I really wasn't up to arguing.

We weren't all that close yet, and I found his audaciousness refreshing. The only time I had ever conversed with someone so allergic to rules was Larxene. Even Xigbar was humbled by the orders of his superiors.

"Like hell you aren't," I teased, digging my foot into his side. He squirmed around accordingly.

"You're gonna give me grass stains you jerk!"

"...grass stains? Roxas, please. You sound like a girl. Come to think of it, you fight like one too."

"Do not," he muttered stubbornly, leaping up and brushing himself off. "At the very least I fight like a transvestite."



"Ya know, a guy that—"

"Yes, yes, Roxas, I know what a transvestite is," I clarified, raising my hands in front of me to ward his explanation off. "I just don't see how you think that's better than being called a girl."

"Technically a transvestite is still a guy, right? He just dresses like a girl."

I stood there, the wooden practice sword dangling lifelessly at my side. This was the first time I ever caught wind of the fact Roxas was clinically insane.

"So, then, by that regard, I'm still a guy."


"Oh, come on, you can't tell me these trench coats don't look like friggin' dresses!"

"Roxas, man, I really have no words right now."

He let out a pent up sigh. "Nobody ever does."

He then took a swing at my head. No, not my abdomen, not my knees. My head.

"You spastic freak!" I hollered. "You can't just take a swing at someone's skull like that!"

"...says who?" Roxas questioned, face the epitome of five year old innocence. The kid nearly decapitated me and now he looked as contrite as a toddler who just broke his mother's five hundred year old china vase.

"Says...says...I dunno! You just don't do that!"

My partner's nose scrunched up like a slinky.

"There's rules to fighting?"

I paused.

"Well...yeah...I guess..."

"Um, why?"

I had to think on that one. Why are there rules to war?

"That's stupid," the runt continued to chide, taking another non chalant whack at my chest. I parried with my wooden sword, dodging his quick succession of swings that barely grazed my skin. "I mean, who really listens to the rules anyway?" He continued to pound away at my countenance like nothing was wrong. Words just kept spilling out of his mouth and he just kept hacking away at my frame. "I say you do what you have to in order to win. Simple as that." I was now breaking out in a thin film of sweat. I was not accustomed to fighting with a sword. I usually utilized my twin chakrams. The wooden planks were for this new kid's benefit. Little did I know, he didn't need much slack as far as handicaps were concerned. That runt could have taken down Xemnas blindfolded if he had half the mind too.

"Fine," I dismissed through clenched teeth. I summoned my weapons of choice and pinned Roxas' lanky little neck in between the blades which I effortlessly wedged into the trunk of a nearby tree. "Rules be damned."

"Heyyyy," my rival whined. "You can't do that!"

"Says who?"

Roxas continued to squirm and fidget underneath the blades of my pinwheels. He looked like a writhing little worm in the beak of a bird, trying to wiggle its way out of an untimely demise. It was amusing.

"And now," I teased, summoning a small flame in the palm of my outstretched hand. "For the grand finale."

Of course I wasn't really going to burn the little bugger. I had no intentions to. But I suppose he didn't know that. He just eyed the fire with those bulging blue crystals he tries to pass off for eyes, one appropriately twitching in response.

And then, all of the sudden, out of nowhere, he was gripping two keyblades and had chucked my chakrams half way across the garden.

In about three point five seconds, I was the lone recipient of two blades piercing through my coat and having me pinned about ten feet high in an adjacent tree, which Roxas somehow monkey climbed with me in tow and managed to nail to the trunk.

He was left looking up at me, smirk adorning his features, which were ever changing, and said merrily, "Tee hee. I win."

It was the first time I realized Roxas was stronger than me.

He was stronger than any of us, really.

This little, pale, scrawny teenager could officially kick our butts to another galaxy if persuaded to.

He was a nuclear missile disguised as a tug boat.

It was then I figured we'd better become friends, because this was one kid I didn't want to piss off.

That and I found his insanity amusing, his disregard for rules charming, and his mentality refreshing. And previously I found his loyalty unmatchable but that characteristic got shipped straight to hell in a wonderfully ornate hand basket.

"Take a tip from the new kid and don't play by the rules."

And yes. He had to tell me that.

I considered myself brainwashed. You should too. That was the only reason I used to be so submissive. Then I started on a daily dose of Larxene and Roxas and things changed.

Damn Booger.

I miss those days.


Auron looked at though he had swallowed his own weight in urine. What little of his face I could see was contorted in disgust rivaling that of one made while constipated. Not that I look in the mirror while suffering from such ailments to analyze my visage, but I have a pretty decent imagination and it can conjure up things accordingly.

I stood across from the cloak swamped man, he standing ready with his samurai sword and me with my chakrams, and tried desperately to keep my body temperature down so as not to spontaneously combust at the thought of Hades holding dominion over an unwilling Meg. Turning into a human inferno would not help me win the battle. But it would make for some really flashy pyrotechnics.

"Okay boys," Hades drawled from his seat in the far off bleachers. Panic and Pain were at his feet, the checkers game abandoned at the promise of blood shed, and Megara sat rigidly at his side, eyes sending me eighteen million messages at once, one of them probably being 'sorry I didn't tell you.'

Well, it's not like she's using me. I would have done this willingly.

Yeah, but she didn't know that.

I swear to all that is holy Roxas, your timing officially sucks.

But I didn't mean that. I would talk to him when ever, where ever. And that pea brain knew that. So I don't see why he insisted on being so inconsistent all the time.

He was gone before I could repent of my mental outburst. Typical.

"Pray. Now." Auron petitioned from across the circular plane.

I cocked my head in confusion.

"To what?"

Apparently my previously posed inquisition, while very deep and very amusing at the same time, did nothing for my fellow grave mate, for he seemed intent on delivering my hindquarters to me on a silver platter.

And if this fight were taking place at Beast's Castle that platter would be singing.

At any rate.

Now, not to self promote, but I like to think I'm a pretty decent fighter, especially when provoked, which I most certainly was now. Roxas beat me a couple—okay, all—of the times but that's only because he was the frickin keyblade-master-chosen-one and all I had going for me was some war paint and a gross infatuation with fire.

But when Auron leapt at me—the man practically flew—I knew I was doomed. I always got that 'don't mess with me' vibe from him, but my self image wouldn't let me admit it. And now it was too late to take it all back. Not only could Auron probably have Fed Ex-ed my corpse into the next millennium on one of his bad days, I had significantly pissed the guy off beforehand. Oh, and he was intoxicated. God only knows on how much. One would think being inebriated on Saki would slow his reaction time, but he seemed all the more fired up and ready to go. That thing was like his Special Juice. I think he had it laced with amphetamines.

So he hacked and I reflected. I can't get any more blunt than that.

And here I was, thinking I would waltz in there and save the day. If Roxas were still flanking my side, I would have. Well, we would have. But I would have gotten the girl.

I had gross delusions of grandeur that this would be an easy victory and Hades would be forced to eat his own turd at my mercy. Perhaps Larxene would be hiding off in the shadows to witness my triumph as well. (Though, speaking of which, I hadn't heard any strange little feminine sounds going bump in the night. I wonder where she was.)

Then Auron pulled out the magic. Thunderaga this Wateraga that. I dunno. I was never any good at magic besides my given element. I tried to counter attack, especially when he got to Blizzaraga, but found I was not agile enough. I couldn't even get my arm up to cast a measly spit fire. This man was owning me. How demoting.

I swear, he was about three seconds away from disemboweling me and playing jump rope with my spinal cord when I heard the all too familiar sounds of a particular comrade floating in from behind me.

"Oooooh, Axel, you're gonna have boo boos tomorrow!"

Bloody hell.

"D...Demyx?" I grunted from underneath the deadly sheen of Auron's weapon.

I was unable to turn around and get a good look at him.

"Hi! I just finished up in Phil's tournament."

Oh. Gods. Why does he think that I care?

"I won."

At this, I think my brain broke. No, really. It was audible.

After inadvertently gagging on a bit of myself, I stumbled to my knees mid parry and found Auron bringing the hilt of his sword down hard on my right shoulder.


"Yeah. This bathrobe armor you gave me is really something!"

I was not capable of making eye contact at the moment, which was just fine with me because I didn't need the image of Demyx in Saix's pink fluffy bathrobe temporarily blinding me while I was trying to fight.

Auron brought his knee up hard into my gut. I could have sworn I heard ribs crack.

"Well, I'll leave you to your fighting. I just came down here to use the bathroom. Did you ever find it?"

He expected me to answer him. Like, with directions. After taking a hit to the gut.

"Squat and piddle wherever you please," I choked out. "The whole place reeks like an outhouse."

I imagined Demyx made one of his infamous queer faces at this, one that said 'Oh. My. Gosh. You totally did not just, like, suggest I do that.' Then I heard his voice of affirmation.

"Um. Okay. Ew?"

I dodged another hit to my opposite shoulder.

"I need my privacy, so if you don't mind, I'm going to go...literally...over by the stairs."

"Demyx," I breathed, trying to grope the air for breath. "I. Don't. Care."

"Pifft. Fine. Be that way. See if I care." A dramatic sigh. "Okay, well, if you need me, you know where I'll be." And he left.

What was that all about?

Didn't matter. Auron was now currently taking a shot at my skull.

I threw myself on the ground to avoid impending brain trauma, and was slightly disconcerted that I could now see up Auron's lame excuse for a man dress. I crawled around on the pavement a little longer, making a complete fool out of myself in front of Megara, for this particular member of the undead was literally bringing me to my knees (and no proposing was involved) when I once again found myself the lone recipient of the poignant echoes of Roxas as they permeated my cranium.

Axel. You're disappointing me.

Now what?

Be nice, Axel. Be nice. But how could he expect me to be nice when I was fighting for my non-life, or soul, or whatever. Meg was in the balance here. Meg.

Lemme put it to you in a way you can understand, Roxas. Chicks. Chicks are watching.

It would probably serve you better if they weren't.

Well, apparently I was being graced with emo Roxas at the moment, post melodramatic phase.

Are you here to mentally molest me or do you have something important to say?

(Yes. Our tension was highly evident now. This was where we left off. This voltage. This velocity. This simmering, scaling anger.)

What did I tell you in the gardens?

I raked my mind for a plausible recollection. So far, I got nothing. And I questioned him about it accordingly, but it was too late, he was already gone.

What the hell, man?

Being cryptic and emo, as usual.

Nice to know amnesia hasn't changed you. Though apparently death did.

The gardens. Axel, think about the gardens. What did Roxas tell you?

His mouth was always running, like diarrhea. How could he expect me to remember it all? He told me countless things in those gardens, most having to do with Marluxia's impending sexuality. 'But then again,' he'd muse out loud. 'Just because a man wears pink and has a gross infatuation with flowers doesn't automatically make him a flamingly homosexual gay lord, right?'

No. I don't think that was the piece of advice he wanted me to remember.

'Besides Axel, aren't flames your thing?'

It's a wonder I never fried him before he started intentionally pissing me off.

"Submit!" Auron growled for good measure, bringing me back to reality. Or whatever form of it I was currently in. This man had a thing with sporadically shouting out one word warnings and battle cries. I momentarily wondered if he had Turrets.

His most recent delivery to my gut sent my spiraling out of control into a far off wall, made completely out of comfortable stone and rock, and I think I felt my spine realign as each vertebrae individually cracked into its new position.

I think my spleen just took up temporary residency next to my pancreas.

Take a tip from the New Kid and don't play by the rules.

It would help if there were rules to break, kiddo.

Then again, I suppose I could always make them.


"Did I ever tell you," I breathed out heavy, voice laden with gasps and pants, "That I'm a proud member of the MADD community?"

This threw Auron off guard. He was so surprised by my random exclamation, he stood there dumbfounded for at least a nanosecond.

Ha. No one word replies for that.

"I'm sorry," he feigned. "But what?"

"MADD," I repeated, trying to catch my breath that was intent on running away from me in great leaps and bounds. I steadied my tremulous frame against the surface of the rocks. "Mothers Against Drunk..." and then I paused. Drunk what? I knew Roxas was always preaching alcoholic abstinence while on OURS, for he was like a DARE spokesperson incarnate, especially when it came to seat belts and aerial acrobatics, and practically founded the second Prohibition while taken up temporary residency in Castle Oblivion, but Auron wasn't exactly...driving. In fact, Auron wasn't doing much of anything. Except standing there slack jawed and gaping at me.

It's one thing to get beaten physically. But mentally, too? Hell, my wits are all I have. I can't lose both, much less in one shot. Much less to someone inebriated, at that.

"Mothers Against Drunk Dying," I articulated headily.

Again. Curse words in Japanese.

"Well, you're dead, aren't you?"

Auron nodded affirmatively, still shell shocked, I presume.

" shouldn't drink..." I finished lamely.

Yeah. Go ahead. Look at me funny now. I know where I'm going with this.

"What is he getting at?" I heard Hades mutter to Pain or Panic. Or Meg.

"And, well, you know why you shouldn't drink?"

Auron sneered. I'll take that as an invitation to elaborate.

"Because I don't play by the rules."

Okay. Science lesson, folks. I like fire. Fire makes things go boom. Especially flammable things. Auron likes alcohol. Alcohol is flammable. Therefore alcohol goes boom.

And last time I checked, there was no written rule about exploding your opponent's beverage.

So take notes, kids. Don't drink and die and you won't get fried.

Hm. Catchy.

And so off I went. Shot flames out of my fingertips, the sparks dancing across the air that was practically throbbing with tension, and then finding themselves lodged within Auron's Saki casket/bottle/cache/whatever as it slowly began to smolder and burn.

Alarmed, he dropped the bottle. It therefore exploded.

I smirked accordingly as the smoke and fumes danced around the room, still too thick to see through yet substantial enough for some much needed dramatic effect. I was expecting to be greeted with a charred version of everyone's favorite emo-tastic samurai, glasses proverbially broken and shattered, hanging limply from one ear, as he glared at me with his good eye and taught me some more foreign words in eastern languages.

But of course, I got no such thing.

Auron was standing there alright, a little worse for wear, but still standing, only he wasn't glaring so much as he was seething, his eye wasn't stabbing so much as it was impaling, and I honestly thought that if looks could kill I would have keeled over than and there and been digging six feet under pushing up daisies or rat corpses or whatever else Hades kept down here in the fertilizer.

And so, while I am pretty sure I succeeded in depleting the majority of his HP, there's this thing called OverDrive on his planet I was unfamiliar with and I think I had inadvertently just triggered it.

I cringed in the wake of the impending destruction.

"Ooh, that color's not healthy!" I heard an all too familiar voice call. One that was not located inside my head that only I could hear (read : Roxas.)

Auron flicked a glare over his shoulder.

There stood Demyx, refreshed and replenished in ways I didn't want to know about, with his hands placed calmly in the pocket's of Saix's pink fluffy bathroom ripped straight from the realm of Candy Land meets Victoria's Secret.

He then performed a small eye twitch, something I'm not used to seeing on Demyx, and craned his neck back in confusion.

"Hey man, you weren't actually going to hurt him, were you?"

I paused.

He was staring directly at Auron.

Was he...worried?

"Demyx," I reminded him hastily, sensing the danger in the air. "I treat you like crap. Don't stick up for me."

Because it will probably get you killed. Again.

"I was going to do what I had to," Auron replied, devoid of emotion, except for maybe a tinge of vindication. "But I can't say I wouldn't enjoy it."

Then Demyx attempted a snarl.

"Oh no you didn't!"

Oh. Gods.

"Demyx, don't get involved," I called out, half way between annoyance and gratitude. "You're just gonna get hurt—"

"Nobody messes with my friends!"


He then began to charge. Head first. Like a ram. Brilliant.

"Don't worry Axel!" he called out, picking up speed. "I'm wearing your special armor!"

Well. I had never felt more like a dick than I did right then. There was Demyx, putting his second life on the line all for my sake, and thinking he was safe because I had tricked him into wearing a ridiculously feminine undergarment so he could go get his butt whipped upstairs in a tournament I had no intentions of him actually winning.

I'm going to hell. Eventually.

"Wait!" Megara cried out, standing up in her seat. Hades immediately extracted a long, boney hand deprived of calcium and other natural supplements to try and tame her. But Meg was never one to be tamed. "Axel has to be the one—"

And she was cut off by a ground shattering water spell Demyx called forth from the realm of oblivion.

It shook the air and it shook the earth and it shook my bones. Either Demyx was really hyped up or he didn't fully relieve himself, because I had never seen so much water materialize in such a short span of time, even while in Atlantica.

I then was graced with the hellish hybrid pairing of Ariel and Demyx and momentarily wondered if that companionship was plausible. It was either bloody brilliant or the prelude to the apocalypse. I'd find out later.

Auron was thrown off guard, and I like to pretend it was because of my alcoholic pyrotechnics but in reality I think it was because someone donning pink fuzz had just managed to summon a tsunami out of his butt.

The samurai, now dripping and sputtering and gasping, lay sprawled on the floor in the aftermath of the tidal wave, sword strewn helplessly to the side, as he tried unsuccessfully to stand up and managed to fall rather unpoetically on his butt.

I then got another inexplicable urge to pair up my past comrades, this time being the aforementioned Auron and Fa Mulan. One was dead and the other was bisexual. It could get interesting.

It was then Auron slumped over, defeated.

"Take that!" Demyx chided, hopping up and down like a hispanic jumping bean. "I win! I win! I win!" The chanting was relentless, and I was once again reminded why we like to make fun of him so.

I couldn't really hold back my smile of jubilation either.

Technically, I guess I should have been demoted, but someone had just referred to me as friend. Oh; and I got the girl.

I think.

Speaking of which, in the words of Jack Sparrow: "Where is the said lassy?"

"Congrats," Hades leered, Megara now tied up in an odd contortion of smoky tendrils that wrapped themselves around her torso and mouth. "Demyx, is it? You're the winner."

"Yeah, yeah I know," he panted breathlessly. "Go me! Right?"

The leering continued. I was becoming uneasy.

"Demyx, I don't think this is a good thing."

I was exceedingly unnerved about seeing Meg bound (even though she claimed handcuffs weren't on her kinky list) but I chose not to give the god of the underworld the satisfaction of seeing my emotions play out on my face. Besides, I'm not supposed to have any anyway.

"Wait, what? I'm confused."

"The deal was for Axel to defeat Auron!" Pain pipped in, pudgy legs swaying to and fro. "Not you."

"Aw hell," I breathed, rubbing my temples in dismay. "Demyx, you screwed it up again."

"Um, sorry?" he suggested. "I defeated the bad guy, though. So that's good, right?"

"No you dip stick, he's the bad guy!"

I jabbed a finger at a maliciously snarling Hades.

"Really?" Demyx questioned. "Wait. Then who did I just kill?"

"He's already dead," I muttered. "Don't worry about it."

"Oh. Okay. If you say so. So when do you get your chick?"

Bloody. Friggin'. Hell.

"I don't," I dead panned. "Apparently you don't either."

"Wasn't the deal," Hades offered helpfully.

Auron was beginning to sputter incoherent things in Japanese from behind me. He gurgled, reached for his Saki, took a habitual slug even though nothing was there, and passed out again. Typical.

Don't play by the rules.

"Ya know what?" I finally exploded. Demyx jumped next to me. Apparently my proclamation had startled him. "This is stupid. We're leaving." I paused. "With her."

"...can we do that?" Demyx asked.

"I don't care."

And that was that. I marched right up to Hades throne of doom or whatever stupid name he calls it and latched onto Meg's anorexic little wrist. I could feel the tendons poking through her skin, and I wondered what she had been eating all these years. No wonder she was so skinny.

Hades predictably turned a rather vibrant hue of crimson.

Megara stumbled along behind me for about three seconds before I finally decided it would be better if I just lopped her over my shoulder—and now I know Larxene wasn't present because she would never allow a fellow female to be carried in such a helpless manner without depriving me of my testicles—and began to do what all good heroes do when faced with the option of running or fighting.

Running. Of course.

But it was methodical running. So I get bonus points for eccentricity, right?

Hades sputtered and spit and foamed and then the fire came.

Demyx, wide eyed and alert, and probably pumping with lethal amounts of adrenaline, promptly stood in between me and the undead god, more courageous than I had ever seen him be, and let out a very masculine, 'Ieeeeee! Run! Run away!' before turning around and high tailing it out of the coliseum ahead of me.

You have gotta be crapping me.

"Just so you know," I called out breathlessly, hot on his tail, "that totally negates every thing you just did for me."

"I don't like fire!" he whined, picking up his bathrobe at the waist so as to run faster.

"And I don't like you," I snarled. "We can't die, what the hell are you afraid of?"

"Boo boos!" he wailed.

I figured it best I not comment at that particular moment.

Hades was now...floating...behind us on some sort of ethereal like substance, black and icky and gooey and all kinds of fun grossness. We dodged more hurtling fire balls and spit flames that I would have ricocheted had I not had a damsel in distress over my boney shoulder.

Eventually we made it to the stairs were Demyx took the time to actually step over his home made puddle (and point it out, not less. We're running for our lives and the kid takes the time to indicate where he piddled. Mercy.) and tore up the stairs two at a time, quite a feat given the fact we were both in outfits not made for dexterity and I had extra baggage in my arms.

Back into the realm of daylight, we both dove simultaneously for The Darkness, but not before Hades ignited an ornate painted side emblem dangerously close to the gas tank.

Curse Saix and his artistic urges. Who puts highly flammable paint next to the bloody gas tank? I mean, really.

Are we sure this guy was a flippin' scientist?

"Wait, Demyx, what are you doing?" I cried as my comrade catapulted in after me. "You have your own ship!"

"I do?" he asked. "Oh, I do!"

I don't have time for this.

I threw Meg, however unfairly, into the shot gun seat and immediately dove for the leather clad cockpit where I could lift The Darkness into orbit before we exploded in a vast display of octane gas.

Or Demyx could just decide now would be a wonderfully magnificent time to use his death given powers and douse the stuff out.

Which he did. But only after Megara screamed bloody murder at him once the smoky ties evaporated now that she was out of the clutches of Hades and was able to utilize her vocal chords.

I like her more with each passing minute.

"Daddy!" I heard a voice call out from the bathroom spa. "What's going on?"

"Nothing Squirtie," came my frazzled reply. "Daddy's is just illegally kidnapping somebody."


He then resumed playing with his bubbles or bath salts or Polly Pockets or whatever else Saix had hidden in there.

I looked to my left to see Demyx concentrating on extinguishing the now smoldering paint encircling the gas tank. It worked. He got it out. He also managed to stow away on my (borrowed) ship. I would have opened the emergency hatch and ejected him, but he had just saved our lives, well, those of us who weren't already dead, so I decided I'd better let him tag along—at least until we get back to Castle Oblivion and I could prove my heterosexuality (and hopefully get Meg inducted into the Organization; she had experience with dead people right?)

We flew off into the vast expanse of the galaxy without so much as a look over our shoulders (though Demyx sniffed a little as he contemplated the fate of his Heart Throb.)

"Demyx, we'll just send Lexaeus down here. He'll get the ship back. Trust me."

"...but Lexaeus forgets to put the seat down!" he whined.

There was no helping this kid.

I moved on.

After about fifteen minutes of blasting Saix's infamous air conditioner to try and tame my frazzled nerves, I looked over to see how Meg was holding up, to find her pale faced and wide eyed, clutching her sides like she was in the midst of repressing vomit.

"You don't get air sick, do you?" I teased, faultily assuming she was wound up from our near (second) death experience.

She just looked at me.

"Bathroom is down the hall and to the left," I directed quickly. "It's gold and smells like roses. Oh, and my kid is a sea horse."

She just nodded and complied.

This left me to turn to a now sound asleep Demyx, curled up in the fetal position in one of the back guest seats (also leather bound) characteristically sucking his thumb and snoring.

I inwardly groaned and flopped back, exhausted, oh so terribly terribly exhausted, into the driver's seat, plopping my feet haphazardly on the dashboard and craning my neck back to stare absent mindedly at the ceiling.

So lemme get this straight. I now had a stolen Greek Goddess puking up her organs in my undead henchmen's golden bathroom, my illigetimate sea horse son trying not to asphyxiate in the juccuzi tub, a thumb sucking faerie sleeping peacefully next to me while curled into himself, and an unannounced visit from a certain sadistic blonde bound to stop by any time now.

Yeah. I'd say I was doing good.

I rubbed my temples and tried to plot the corrdinates to The World That Never Was without the aid of a map. It's a man thing. Also a Roxas thing. He never asked for directions. It rubbed off on me.

Speaking of which, what was that all about?

I guess asking Xemnas about it was inevidable. I could not successfully take a shower until I knew hearing Roxas' voice in my head wouldn't permeat my mind at the most inopportune moments. And so far, he had come pretty close.

It was then I spotted a sticky note—no, really, a bloody sticky note—tacked on to the side of Saix's manual joy stick (please insert a snicker here, I'm too tired to perform the actual action) that read in Xemnas' unmistakable girly, loopy hand writing: MEET ME IN HALLOWEEN TOWN.

Wait. What?

Hasn't this guy ever heard of teleportation? Oh; that's right. He doesn't know where I am. And didn't Xigbar say something about him wanting to see me?


This is all I needed. As if my life situation right now wasn't complicated enough already.

As if irony was slapping me in the face, I heard the teleport whir open behind me.

"Okay. So, like, I don't do the shopping thing," came the only feminine voice of the Organization (that was awake at the current moment, anyway. Demyx had his thumb in his mouth.) "But I just think Splat needs some toys or something, right? I mean, he's like a kid and stuff. So I robbed some shops at Traverse Town. I didn't kill anybody, so don't worry. I did threaten too, though. It was refreshing. Anyway. Where is the little booger?"

I listlessly turned around in my seat to face a rather emphatic Larxene, hair fingers spiking with electric energy and eyes dancing with hidden moon beams.

She looked radiant.

She looked happy.

I paused, taking this odd spectacle in, and then watched as her brow furrowed slightly at my countenance.

"Why do you look like I just killed your dog?"

"I'm hearing voices," I stated honestly. "Oh, and I just kidnapped someone."

"Cool. Can I torture them?"


"Splat's gotta learn somewhere."

"Squirt," I corrected. "His name is Squirt."

"Yeah. Well, whatever," Larxene began, slightly abashed, something she doesn't show often. "I'll get it right eventually."

"And oh my gosh, are you actually sweating?"

I paused.

"Do I reek that bad?"

"No, but your make up is running, Man Whore."

I checked in the rear view mirror. Aw hell. It was.

"No, no, I'm not sweating," I lied. "I was crying. Crying because I missed you so much."

I was served a glare in response. But I think she was smiling underneath it.

It was then that I heard Meg heave another gut hurlting wretch from the bathroom.

"What was that?" Larxene questioned, pixie nose scrunching up in disdain. "Is Splat sick? I can rob a convenience store and get him some Tylenol."

"I don't think sea horses take Tylenol," I mused out loud.

"Hm," Larxene thought to herself, taking the matter to heart (or not) as her arms drooped slightly with the effort. "But honestly Axel, what is that?"

I smirked. Uncontrollably.

I needed to present this to her right.

"Um. Well, you remember how this whole thing started?"

"Yeah," Larxene began guardedly. "You're gay."

I could almost feel her walls go up. It was unsettling.

"Well apparently I'm not."

At this, I received absolutely no change in facial features from Larxene.

She just silently walked down the hall, poked her head into the bathroom, and beheld Megara, keeled over Saix's toilet, upchucking her latest meal as she clawed at her reedy, semi-starved sides.

I was expecting a wry comment of some sort.

'Well Axel, looks like you got yourself a real award winner there, pal.'

Or some tesogerone infused sex joke.

'So how much does she charge?'

But all I got was: "She's beautiful."

I think I stopped breathing for a minute.

"Larxene, she's chucking her organs up."

My static dead pan was lost on her as our conversation flat lined.

She lifelessly dropped the toys at the foot of the door, closing it gently behind her.

"This isn't what you wanted?" I teased, wanting to revel in this moment, rub it in her face, torment her and torture her and watch her squirm. "Oh, wait, of course not," I forged on, oblivious as usual to the inner workings of the female mind. "Then you couldn't make fun of me anymore. I see how it is."

Still, nothing. Just...blankness. Placidness. Emptiness.

She looked numb.

Without another word, she summoned up a portal.

"Xemnas wants you in Halloween Town," Larxene said gently, so low in volume I scarcely heard her.

"Yeah," I muttered, awkwardness seeping in. "Why is that?"

"I dunno," she admitted. "Who does?"

"Apparently not us."

Larxene looked as though she was ready to open her mouth and say something, and then she spotted Demyx sleeping baby style on one of the guest seats towards the back of the cabin. Her face contorted, ever so slightly, into one of slight amusement, riddled with an overwhelming sadness I couldn't quite place. Not yet, anyway.

"He, um, stowed away," I explained, scratching the back of my neck.

"I can see that," she confirmed evenly, regardless of whatever was floating through her head at the current moment. For her to admit defeat, especially infront of me, well, now there's a fate worse than death. And I didn't expect it to happen anytime soon.

We stood there, each in our respective silences, staring blankly at a thumb sucking Demyx, as the portal fizzed and crackled behind us.

"Do you hate me?" Larxene asked abruptly.

I startled.

"I'm sorry, what?"

"Me. Do you hate me?"

I stood there. And. Well. I stood there.

"You lost me."

"Do you hate me?" Larxene asked, more sharp and cutting this time, like razor blades were searing from her very words. Her eyes were pleading for an answer and I wasn't sure I could give her one.

"Larxene," I began, soft. Mitigated. "...I...I'm not capable of it."

Brilliant Axel. Brilliant. And you wonder why you were single for so long.

"Yeah. I figured you'd say something like that," she confessed, turning to go. "But that means..." she trailed off, words drifting on the air over the static and the noise and the humming engine. "That means you're not capable of loving me, either."

And with that, she was gone.


Author's Notes

AHAHAHAH! The chapter is finished! It is finally finished! Months in the making and it is now complete! W00T! And...and what's this? Fourty five reviews? Oh! Thank you! Thank you so much! I feel so loved! You people are amazing. Really, you are. You take so much time to tell me what you think. You have no idea how much it helps.

And now, I must address something I found rather humerous: this story is no where near over! Ha! I guess people were assuming that since Axel finally found a Disney girl the tale would be wrapping up, which it most definitely is not, I can assure you, and he still has numerous more planets to venture to and numerous more girls to hit on! And, well, the plot must thicken! (As if that were not clearly evident given the fact I spontaneously decided to stick Roxas in his head...quite literally.) I smell some Larxel jealousy? Do I?

Hee hee.

Yeah, I'm rather giddy at the prospect of wrapping this fourty something page chapter up. I've been itching for an update myself.

And so next is Halloween Town. Obviously.

And did I really stick Meg, Squirt, Demyx, Axel, and Larxene in the same ship?

I that legal? (And it's Saix's ship, no less.)

So much for following cliché story lines. Ha.

Also, I couldn't resist putting in the innuendo tha perhaps Demyx is the stronger of the two. He beats Auron, not Axel. Ha ha. Why must Demyx always be portrayed as a wimp? (Well, not that my rendition of him helps any, I left the kid sucking his thumb, after all.) But I wanted to show case Demyx as perhaps a decent, if not better fighter, than Axel (though probably not Roxas) and see how that played out. It was my feeble apology to his creators for abusing their pixelized child so. Also, I still do plan on writing a complimentary Demyx piece one of these days to repent of my sins for making fun of him for so long. But it's just so...easy. I can't help it.

Oh, and the Marluxia comment made in this chapter was taken from an KH icon I found on live journal some time back, though the creator's name escapes me at the moment and I can't seem to locate it again. If anyone knows who made that icon, lemme know, and I'll be glad to give credit where credit is due.

And I have but one thing to say concerning Roxas' inner monologue: zjkhskjdhfslkjhslkjdh. It came out much lamer than I intended it to be. A tad too melodramatic. But then again, that's what Roxas was like before leaving the Organization. He has the balls to go up to his best friend and mope, 'no one would miss me.' So, Roxas being a touch too theatrical really isn't that out of line for him.

Also; I've got, like, eight different subplots running through my head right now. I need to stop being so prolific.

Oh, side note! Next is Halloween Town (obviously.) But Vixen has a slight problem. I don't actually own the movie Nightmare Before Christmas (blasphemy, I know) and have only seen it once, that once taking place about ten years ago. Does anyone know of a plot summary I can find, or some YouTube clips? I usually do character research before writing a new chapter, because I am just that big of a dork. However, I lack the necessary DVD to do said research. Hm. Conundrums.

And so onto the vast array of cookies that have gotten mildew given the obscene amounts of time that have passed since the last update. I hope nobody is allergic to...mildew.

o-o-o COOKIES o-o-o

(Gives RinRan a bucket of sugar wafers to go with their bucket of win.) HA! YOUR REVIEW! "...It's Axel-anorexic, smirking, crazy, psychotic, femme undertoned, possibly gay Axel!" Oh gosh, that was amazing. (With a capital A. Ha.) Your review made my day. And I am so glad you liked it!

(Hands teridragon some chocolate mints.) Aw! Thank you for utilizing the adjective awesome to describe my chicken scratch! It means a lot to me!

(Gives Rin a sugar cookie.) Thank you so much for your review, and I am greatful you are feeling better. I'm hanging in there, which, in reality, is all one can ever hope for. XD

(Gives MafiaQueen some fudge cookies laced with painkillers.) Anastasia! Oh, the fun I would have with writing Dimitri! I should break the Disney wall and stick them in a chapter anyway. Ha. The urge to write as Dimitri, everyone's favorite blundering scam artist, is too strong to ignore. But I guess I'll have to. I hope you start feeling better, because sickness sucks.

(Hands Goblin Queen Of The Opera some playbills and a couple sugar wafers.) A fav! Oh, I am honored! Thank you! And yes, three cheers for sadomasochistic tendancies. Ha ha. I should have him meet the 'Brothers.' That would That would be just wow.

(Tosses panda-eyes some yummy yummy fudge cake.) I'm converting someone to Larxel! Hee hee. And you liked Larxie's laugh! W00T! Major LOLZ to the Akuroku comment. I rant about that in zeowynda's cookies, I believe. (My, that sentence sounded strange.) I'm so glad I have the ability to make you laugh! XD!

(Gives Queen Sparkle some luminescent Keebler cookies.) Yeah, I down play Demyx's IQ in this fiction just a little bit. Ha. I couldn't help myself. I'll write one with him having some semblance of intelligence one day. But as for now, Demyx running around in a pink fluffy bathrobe under the misconception that it is indeed armor is too funny to be ignored. I do love the kid, but I can't resist teasing him. But this is an Axel story, so I'm allowed. Aw, you've read it multiple times! You have no idea how honored I am that you do that! Thank you! I'm glad I can make you laugh!

(Hands DiZEnchanted some very enchanted SUGAR COOKIES with LOTS OF SPRINKLES.) Ooh, my first cookie request! And, ohmigosh, your list was the highlight of my week. Nah. Scratch that. Month. It helps me so much when people point out what they like, thank you for taking the time to do so. I appreciate it! And even more happily, you pointed out all the things I tried extra hard to make stand out, so that made me gaboodles of happy. Character development and flashbacks especially. I'm glad they're half as fun to read as they are to write.

(Dumps a truckload of chocolate chips on zeowynda's head.) Oh my dear, dear zeowynda. How your words make me warm and tingly inside. Almost like a Kodak moment for my organs. (Okay, that was officially weird. But you're my friend, so I'm allowed to be weird when writing this. Heh.) And the length of your review almost made me fall out of my chair. Such happiness for Vixen! And your list. I love lists. Let's see: yes, no AkuRoku or whatever it's called. I don't get where that came from. Where DID that come from? Anyone know? I don't. Obviously. And I also do not understand why an Axel fangirl would want to dream about a gay Axel. That always confused me. That and their age difference. That confused me, why is borderline pedophilia attractive and all of the sudden unbelievably sexy? I don't have a problem with homosexuality, but Roxas is, like, a kid. Which I guess is the raw definition of yaoi but whatever. I don't want Axel with Roxas because I want Axel with me. Suffice it to say that. AND OMGSH I DON'T KNOW WHY ROXAS IS SO ANGSTY AND EMO ALL THE TIME. I had to find a way to portray that in my fiction somehow, but now that you mention all those other one liners from the game, it DOES make more sense. Sora's Nobody should be more...Soraish. Yes. Yes he should. HAHA: GOT IT MEMORIZED. I HATE that line. And I promised I'd put it in here, so now I have to. But regardless, I still think it's lame. And I want to smack Axel across the face every time he says it. Which is all the time. So, yeah. SQUEE DISNEY GIRLS. Yes, and they all pwn. That's the best part. Except for maybe Ariel, which I thank you for giving me your honest opinion concerning her lack of maturity. I did make her a tad too young. Okay okay. Way too young. But it was all for the sake of humor, right? Right? (Looks around nervously.) At any rate, yes, Disney characters are part of Kingdom Hearts. If they weren't, it would be Final Fantasy. (My logic astounds me.)

(Smacks Aurdox upside the head and then promptly hands her an ice pack and some strawberry cookies.) DON'T SAY YOU'RE A HORRIBLE PERSON! Because you're not! I am honored you read my story to begin with! (Hugs.) And you are so nice in your review! I am even more honored you deemed me worthy of one! (Smiles.) And LOLZ to the Demyx line! I couldn't resist. It just...popped out. Like a baby in the neonatal intensive care unit. Ooh, do I get points for eccentric similies? Do I? Ha ha. You're so loyal, reading my story on your Aunt's computer! It makes me warm and tingly inside! (And you even recommended it to your friends! Can an author ask for anything more? (Thinks.) No. No they can not.)

(Hands Jag Wired some scrumptious oatmeal cookies and season one of the TV show JAG. WOW! Vixen is so funny!) Aw! I got and oh em gee AND I am one of the three you regularly watch? EEP! I feel special! Why thank you! (Hugs.) (Then does a happy dance.) I'll spare you the verbal rendition of my happy dance, but I'm sure you can use your imagination. XD.


(Gives EscapedSacrifice some crepe wrapped fruit.) I got a W00T! To this I can say: W00T! Ha, happiness ensues! I am glad you lubbers it!

(Tackles Crimson Crescent and hands her a bag of chocolate.) LOLZ: high school format romance fics! I agree, I have nothing against them, but I'm out of high school, and I would rather never go back. So I enjoy an out of school romance just as much as you. Hee hee. And YAY! You appreciate the twenty pages! (I take a while to upload, but I do a page dump when I do, ha ha.) This chapter is somewhere close to fourty, probably fifty with the cookies. So you shall enjoy! THE AXEL DEMYX LINE! I'm a bad, bad person. I should not have wrote that. But I did. And I think everyone is happier for it. (Except for maybe Axel. Dodges chakram) Aw! An alert AND fav? You are too kind! (Hugs.)

(Glomps Cheerful-Pessimist and gives her a truck load of sugar loaded sweets.) And that is the best problem ever: "...While reading the story I found so much I wanted to comment on but was stopped by my urge to find out what happened next..." YAY! And I am sorry I made your parents temporarily doubt your sanity. But it was worth it for Atlantica, right? And Squrit! Yeah, he's totally gonna grow up to be a punk rawk bad ass sea horse. Hell bent on world domination, at that. He could have his own spin off fic. That would be interesting. LOLZ to Ariel! That was way too much fun to write to be considered legal. And Larxel: " destruction of the worlds comes to mind..." INDEED. And what does water do to fire, C.Press? "MAKES IT WET!"

(Petitions God to have the heavens part open so He can therefore bombard Cursiveismything with a plethora of heavenly sent goods. Among them are Organization plushies.) You are too kind to me, woman. But I love you dearly for it. (Even though I hate cursive, ha ha.) And I love converting people! (Totally not meant to sound religious, LOLZ.) And all of the characters have personality...except Xaldin. (Oh, but I have something planned for him, I do! But I can't tell you yet, because it's a surprise! Mwa ha ha!) Thank you for taking the time to compliment me! I appreciate it! Like, you have no idea. Tee hee.

(Hands Minnet some lovely orange soda and tangerine cookies. Felt like going citrus today.) LOL LOL LOL LOL LOL! You watched Beauty and the Beast and thought of Axel and Belle in the courtyard! I AM SO HONORED! I almost fell out of my chair! And your INTERNALLY BLEEDING KNEES! Ha ha ha ha! Axel would be proud, my dear. Axel would be proud. (Hugs.) And Demyx whining people to death! Classic! And I can't believe you liked the hair dryer thing, because I feared that was utterly and unforgivably lame. But apparently not, so W00T! And yes, MegXAxel. Quick, let's think up a hybrid name that puts Akuroku to shame! MAXEL. Or...AXEG. Yes, AXEG it is. Most definitely. Tee hee; have a spectacular day yourself!

(Glomps KittyCat—more commonly known as Sam—and hands her an entire candy store just because I can.) Axel and his peeing crisis! This makes me think of Crisis Core, and Zack having a bladder control problem. (FFVII side comment, incase you haven't played it, LOL.) You're so sweet! YAY!

(Totally tackles Espeakus and completely forgets to feed her cookies because she is too elated to see her again.) kjdkfgksjfdsalkdjsalkjdalkwdsj! ESPEAKUS! Where have you been dear? WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? I MISS YOU! I MISS YOU SO MUCH! TIMES TENS TO THE FIFTEENTH POWER! AHAHAHAHAHAH! (Asphxiates and dies.) Hm, that was counter productive. At any rate. You are so benevolent. Your opening paragraph just oozes with benevolency-ish-ness. (Yes that's totally a word. Look it up.) And, oh my gosh, YOUR BLATANT ARIEL HATRED! LOLZ!!! Eric The Stupid. I have to write that one down. Oh, wait, I just did. And you know Demyx and Ariel have a thing going on in secret, you just know it. AND LOLZ: Meg and Axel both desperately need to eat! They are rather emaciated looking, no? Like they both come from some remote village of a third world country. And have no fear, I have a plot engraved in my head that there is little to be done to change. I had this pairing set up all along, including the ending which I will not endulge in because I'm evil and demonic. Mwa ha ha. And omgsh, I hate the revamped Cloud, too. Not the original one, for in the original FFVII game Cloud was uberly awesome, albeit a tad insane and a whole lot of emo, but not completely. Now he's drowned in torrents of angst, what with the Advent Children addition and the Kingdom Hearts remake, and I just want to whack Squeenix ontop of the head for destroying a character that said things like, 'let's mosey on down there!' before the final confrontation with Sephiroth. I can't picture New Gen Cloud doing that. Actually, I can't picture New Gen Cloud doing much of anything besides moping and feeling sorry for himself, which perturbs me greatly. But anyway. THIS STORY IS NOWHERE NEAR OVER. And your thoughts concerning some children never leaving the nest amused me greatly. Don't ever change. I would be sad. And, aw, your compliments are so NICE. You must have extra NICENESS surging through your veins or something. Oh, and yes, I have attempted my own original stories many a time, but I just never mention them, for they are deserving of a fate worse than death. Or a fate involving endless re-runs of Beverly Hill 90210. Yes. Yes they are. Snow White and Larxene. Learning to live with seven to twelve relatively difficult men. They'd have marvelous sleep overs, don't ya think? (AMEN TO THE CLOUD COMMENT ONCE AGAIN.) The Goddess of the Pen? Can I have your internet babies, please? You are just that awesome.

(Hugs Erik to the point of asphyxiation and then promptly resuscitates him so he can eat his cookies.) OMGSH. Larxene X Demyx! And by Admiral, no less! I had no idea! (Admiral, stop being so humble. Roar.) Insert snickers here: you don't think the story will end up a Maxel. Or Axeg. Mwa ha ha ha. The suspense builds. (Cue dramatic underscore.) Oh, and thank you for your well wishes. They mean the worlds to me. I mean, world. They mean the world to me. I've been playing Kingdom Hearts for too long. GAH.

(Gives Bug Of Twylyte some Star Bursts, because we're running out of cookies.) Your family is reminiscent of a bunch of half dead, heartless, diabolical villains hell bent on world domination? AWESOME. Can you please adopt me? Ha, thank you so much for your kind words. They make me feel invincible. And...epic? AW MI GOSH I'M HONORED!!!! (Bows at Twylyte's feet.)

(Takes a running leap into Serenities xiii's arms and then shoves multiple cookies down her throat in pure jubilation.) GREASE! WEEEE! How are you? (Does a happy dance.) I'm thrilled to be your drug dealer, as far as fanfiction crack is concerned. Only you won't suffer withdrawal symptoms or cold sweats if I don't update for a couple months. LOLZ. Tee hee. Roxas. I adore Roxas. (Or 'that damn little booger' as Axel so affectionately calls him.) I tried to stick him in this chapter, but it was the emo version. Oh well, he's still a dork wad in the flashbacks. HAHA! Hope made you a Larxel fan! HAHA! She is very persuasive with her logic, I must say. And, SQUEE, I threw you off guard! Isn't it fun to be unpredictable sometimes? Oh and: heh, foreshadowing. And that is all I will say. XP

(Hands Xemagirl two thousand chocolate chips.) W00T! You like my story! And yes, I must lurk on deviantart now! I usually do, but I've never really looked at the literature posted on the site. Thanks for you screen name, I'll be sure to check you out!

(Leaps into Splat's arms and spoon feeds her copious amounts of Jolly Ranchers.) HAHAHA! Yes, you DID call it! I've had this planned all along, and then you mentioned it, and I had to keep my mouth shut ( is evil...) but it's all good because think of the surprise! And yes. Meg or Mulan. Hm. Why don't we just throw one big Disney character orgy and call it a day? That would make Walt turn over in his grave. Not that Home On The Range didn't, but still. AND MAJOR LOLZ TO AURON AND MEG. I totally did not remember you said that until after I was done writing the chapter. Though I gave them more of a protector/guardian bond but still. I always thought those two would get along. (Ha; Demyx. I want to feed him cookies. With multi colored sprinkles.) Yes, Jesse McCartney saying 'booty' doesn't work in my mind either. He's much more akin to wanting a girl's soul than booty. Zombie eater. I always knew there was something wrong with that kid. At any rate. HORRAH I APPARENTLY SUCCEEDED IN WRITING MEG! That means a lot coming from you since you are, like, the official Disney guru of the world. (I almost said the states but then I remembered you live in Canada.) THIS STORY IS NOT OVER! LOLZ. EVERYBODY KEEPS THINKING THAT! Yes, Axel has many more worlds to visit. I'm not gonna let him off the hook that easily. And how could I forget about Adelaide? And sdjhiudshfskjfdhslkjdh "Jack's got stretchy bone going on in his face, there." CLASSIC. "Hell? That's about five miles from here." Oh Splat. You're a genius. You really are. Pinocchio? Now I have to go watch the movie again, if only to divulge in the deep, dark subplots laced within my ancient VHS tape. Perhaps there's a hidden political statement. (HA: the songs made me want to set myself on fire! Priceless!) And what's this? Two one shots? How did I miss these? I must go read them! I must!

(Hands Hope her own Candy Planet, since it's bigger than her usual truck load of sugar infested sweets.) "...I find myself loathing you with the burning passion of a million heads identical to that of Hades!..." Best. Line. Ever. Heh. I'm going to quote that to my children. At bed time. Just because I'm sadistic. Anyhow! VHS addicted munchkin! I hear ya, sista. Meg was my role model too. Her, Jasmine, and Ariel were always the ones with the most spunk to them, don't ya think? Esmerelda was amazing, but she was never a Disney princess (or in any of the KH games, for that matter.) And Jane from Tarzan is always good for a laugh. Falling for strange, ape like men in loincloths. And then trying to teach him English. (You would think if he really were raised by animals, he would have jumped her from behind in three seconds flat, as most apes do, but somehow he managed to maintain enough discipline to attend classes with said exploration guru for reasons they never explained.) Anyhow. Digression. It's fun. I KNEW YOU'D LIKE THAT ROXAS LINE! "'re gonna end up with a blond..." Tee hee hee. Suspension builds. (Oh, and gluing one's self to the computer is not good, for unless you have a bed pan within your proximity, nature will be calling sooner or later.) I WANT TO SEE XEMNAS PRAISING HIS GOD OF LUNACY! Consider it done! Oh, the fun I will have! (Laughs diabolically.) Heh: the snickers bar. Half eaten, at that. And of course I pimped your vids. They're freakishly amazingish awesomness. All bottled up in a computer screen. One day my monitor will be liable to explode from the sheer amounts of win that are contained within your videos. Indeed.

(Hands raiko some yummy vanilla popsicles.) SQUEE! I made you like Axel even more! I'm honored! (Bobs with glee.) And yes, the movie of Hercules was amazing, was it not? And I am so happy you enjoy the flashbacks! They are such a joy to write, and I put more thought into them than I should, so it's wonderful to hear that it's not all in vain. Oh, and when did Demyx enter a tournament with a bathrobe? It was totally armor. You must have missed that line (wink wink.) Heh; Meg and Larxene. Now THERE'S a cat fight you don't wanna miss. If only Megara weren't out of commission when Larxie entered the ship. It would be like an episode from Jerry Springer.

(Gives Nightshroud a bucket of hot fudge. No ice cream, just fudge. Because fudge is the good stuff.) LOL! Don't give up hope on Larxel yet! You never know what's going on inside the sporadic and sometimes hazardous mind of Vixen! Maybe he'll go back to Atlantica and end up with Ursula. Or Destiny Islands and court Pluto! Yes, that is my OTP right there. Pluto and Axel. Commonly known as Paxel. (OMG, that's an anti depressant! Though that may be Paxil. But whatever. Close enough.)

(Hands Reading Chick a gift card for Borders, which happens to coincidentally have a café inside which serves gaboodles of cookies.) You saved my story on your laptop? OH MY GOSH! That's...that's so flattering! I don't know what to say. Really, I don't. I'm glad I can cheer you up when you are blue. Reading about undead pyromaniacs trying to prove their heterosexuality to a bunch of princesses never ceases to make me smirk either. Heh. I am so glad you enjoy it. AND HORRAH! You like how I write Larxene! I DID NOT FAIL! (Does a happy dance.) And you even commended me on my conversational tactics! Wow. Can I have your children? (...Even though that would never work out, assuming you are a girl by the suffix of 'chick' at the end of your screen name. Oh well, we can have internet babies!...) Oh, and this, this right here, this made my night: "...What you said about borderline illegal pairings on your profile? You belong to the group of authors that makes crack pairings possible..." SQUEEEEE!

(Glomps Mousewolf and hands her a Nerds Rope.) Thank God you seem to think I did Hades right. That was the most intimidating factor of this chapter (aside from the cookies.) You have no idea how many times I watched Hercules trying to get his personality right. I think I inadvertently melted to the couch given the vast amounts of time I sat on it staring at everybody's favorite blue undead god of the underworld.

(Hands Shizuka a multi colored sprinkle cookie with extra sugar topping.) SQUEE. You are too kind! I am glad to hear you think my idea imaginative, for I atleast attempt to trod down the unbeaten path. I usually trip and fall somewhere along the way but once in a while I barf up something people seem to like. And it makes me all warm and happy and tingly inside! Aw! The YouTube cutscene! Axel just stood there like a dolt. 'A female? What's that? I'm always paired up with underage boys!' Heh. I did not just say that. (Oh but I did.) AND OH MY GOSH. You thanked me for taking the time to thank you! That's really sweet! I feel invincible right now, just thought you should know. (And by the way, do you happen to have a fanfiction account? You weren't logged in when you left your lovely review, but I noticed you utilized some very pretty words and was wondering if perhaps you penned some stories of your own? I would love to check them out!)

(Hands Angel's Archer some puffy white marshmallows because they are similar to puffy white clouds. Cuz you're an angel. Get it? Funny? Okay. Never mind.) "...Yes Dutch. I come from the land of cows, cheese and wooden shoes..." THAT STATEMENT WAS FULL OF WIN! I was laughing uncontrollably for seven hours straight. They needed to take me to the hospital because my sides split open. I required seventy nine stitches. On each side. And some on my jaw, because it hit the ground. Yup. HA: the 'is it that obvious' line! I still, to this day, have no idea what inspired that. I probably never will. Maybe it's better that way. (And you should write your own story! I'd read it!)

(Is put in traction from ChaoticDarling's previous tackle glomp, so was rendered incapable of buying any goodies to feed her. Hence she proffers her with Hospital Food. Yum yum yum.) LOL! Everyone loved that Demyx line! He's like one giant plushie, all I want to do it tie him up in my basement and feed him cookies. Or perhaps frolic through a field of tulips while holding his hand. Or play hop scotch. Yes. These are the things I can see Demyx doing. And YAY! You like my feeble attempt at detail with sporadically placed humor! (Grins.) Thank you for your concern. :)

(Gives Childhood Aspiration 100,000,000 cookies for loyally reviewing all my recent fics.) "...Oh My Gosh! You have no idea how long I've been waiting for this update! ...Well, you can probably guess...about since I read your last chapter. Duh, right?" That was hilarious! Hee. Made me smile. And thank you for always reviewing every piece of chicken scratch I try to pass off as writing. It means a lot to me (you reviews, not my chicken scratch.) At any rate: mwa ha ha! My gay Demyx moment! I have a feeling I'll be taking that one to the grave. And then some. (And SQUEE! You picked up the movie lines! They're in there largely due to the fact I always watch the corresponding movie before writing the appropriate chapter, so all those sayings are fresh in my mind as opposed to covered in an inch thick layer of dust from my grammar school days.) And hurrah! I passed the effectively-writing-as-Meg-test and didn't fail! W00T! Enjoy your 100,000,000 cookies, dear!

(Glomps Story Weaver, and is so busy glomping forgets to bring the cookies.) Mind games with Demyx are no different than mind games with a rock! HA HA HA! You're funny! And yes, I had Meg picked out for a long time. Tee hee. I always thought they'd mesh well together. Oh, and this time Demyx pwned Hades! Well, sorta. Technically he pwned Auron but whatever. Axel lost. Ha ha. I'm sadistic. Larxene is beginning to rub off on me. (Oh, here, I found a cookie in my pocket! It's oatmeal raisin. Yum.)

(Hands Media Maiden some Nobody Chow from Petmart.) Still have Demyx tied up with a toaster cord, I see. I hope he is fairing well. I hear he's quite the excellent cook, so perhaps you should tie him up in the kitchen as opposed to the basement. Get some slave labor out of it. I'll let you borrow Larxene's whip. Heh. You're right. Acting psychotic is fun.

(Tackle hugs DarkPhantom and hands 'em a nice chocolate Easter bunny, even though it is nowhere near Easter.) I UPDATED FLAMING SHADOWS! YES! YES I DID! (Points to updated profile.) See? See? See? HAPPY DANCE TIME! Whoa. Adrenaline rush. LOLZ: is it that obvious?! Heh. I'm so happy that didn't come off as lame. That's always my fear when writing comedy, and you never know if something is lame until after you post it. Funny how that works. AND MAJOR LOLZ TO I-Am-God-Axel. Ha! Ingenious. I just may have to write that one down. (And I think I forgot Axel was wearing a pink bathrobe at one point, which made Demyx pointing it out all that much more amusing.) The chemistry between Meg and Axel is definitely some fun octane gas to play with. I enjoy it immensely, I do. OMGH! Blond and blonde! I never knew that! (Crap, I think I did it again in this chapter, too.) But, wow. HAHA, no, Roxas was not insinuating Axel was gay...though, come to think of it, if he did do that, it would be hilarious. Perhaps I should leave the typo in. Ha. Kidding. My attempts at foreshadowing fail. But my YouTube recs do not. Mwa ha ha. And yes, on deviantart, there is fanart to a corresponding fanfic for Demyx X Dancer Nobody. I don't know what it's called, sadly, otherwise I would forward the information to you. Wow, you're a self proclaimed book worm and you STILL like my stuff? I am flattered. (I almost wrote flattened, which would have been something else entirely.) XD

(Hands rarofdoom some blueberry cookies.) Meg IS a lot like Larxene, isn't she? I never really noticed that. I just pictured her getting along with Axel well. Hm. And YAY Demyx! He was in a lot of scene in this chapter! Glad you like my story! Thankies!

(Hugs Golden Memories and hands her sparkly golden cookies which are not edible but fun to look at just the same.) It takes me a couple weeks to reply to all my reviews. Why? Because I procrastinate. I'll type the chapter up in a couple of days, but then I have to sit down and do the cookies. I'm always torn between offering speedy updates or taking the extra time to thank people, and I find my time better spent thanking people. What was Nintendo's slogan for all their games? Late but great? Something like that. I dunno. Anyway. Tee hee. HA. Hades vs. Axel sarcasm battle! I pitted him against Auron, does that suffice? (And he gets his butt whipped...heh.) I'm so glad my flashbacks are a hit. They're my favorite to write. I love writing psychotic not-yet-emo Roxas. Because he just kicks arse. Mwa ha ha. I honestly have no idea where these, well, ideas come from. The initital idea for this story was proposed by my brother (the first intelligent thing to come out of his mouth in eighteen years.) But the rest just kind of vomits itself out on my keyboard. I have an ending planned out, I just need to get there. And usually in the process of getting there I pick up seven different subplots along the way. (And TI calculators are a pain! I, too, can not add two and two. (But apparently I can spell them.) Anyhow, I can totally see Zexion trying to fornicate with one, can't you?) Thank you so very much for the hug!

(Hugs Admiral to death and then resuscitates her so she can repeat the spectacle eight times over.) You really are one of the kindest people I've ever met. I had no idea you checked my profile regularly. And I am so touched that you take the time to worry about me and make sure I'm doing alright. Please, for the sake of the world, have about eight million babies so America can be run over by your kindness. Those eight million babies will grow up not only to be magnificent writers such as yourself, but they will obtain world peace and discover a cure for cancer while they are at it. Why? Because they will be nice. And nice people do these things. Yup. OH MY GOSH. Your Larxene X Demyx piece! Erik just told me about that! GAAAAH! I must go read it! Immediately if not sooner. Indeed. (Yummy Larxene Demyx goodness. Heaven!) Speaking of heaven, "...That one scene... I swear, the AkuRoku fans and the Larxel fans all crapped bricks over that thing, and for entirely different reasons..." Um, okay, hilarious much? That was so comical I think my next door neighbors heard me laughing at that one. I've been shying away from watching the cutscenes (except for that one Larxel one...heh) because I was holding onto the false hope that the game would be imported to the states. I doubt it ever will be, so perhaps it is time for Vixen to go YouTube it and watch the smexy-ness that is Zexion in 3-D. I need inspiration for Lethal Starlight anyway. Wait, what's this? AXEL DOESN'T DIE? So that's what Erik meant! OMGSH! He, like, doesn't die! Like, yay! (Totally did not know this.) I need to go read the manga. Like, now! SQUEE! Thank you for your eternal understanding and plentiful generosity. It's people like you that keep me going. ;)

(Hands therubynightmare some freshly baked sugar cookies.) Fight sarcasm with sarcasm. Brilliant. And then you add Larxene in there and things are liable to explode. (And poor Demyx, caught in the middle of it all. At least he has his thumb to keep him company.) And three cheers for Hades! Thanks for your review!

(Gives mynameisriku a platter with coconut cookies topped with copious amounts of SKITTLES.) LOL! I was wondering if anyone was going to comment on my abrupt termination of the flashback. I wrote myself, once again, into a brick wall, and needed to make a quick escape. So, kudos to you. You picked out the part where Vixen got confused! There's usually one of those moments in every chapter. Though I wrote this chapter so long ago I can't even remember when I got confused. Oh well, I'm sure it'll be evident. LOL. And Hades is someone you just love to hate, right? I hear ya. (Snickers.) Cross breeding mammals. That was random. I don't know what convoluted recess of my mind I pulled that out from. Probably somewhere towards the back. I dunno. Hee hee. Thanks for the review!

(Hands Nocturnal Equine some random caffeinated beverage from Starbucks, plus five and a half early Christmas cookies, because they were on sale, and anything on sale in Starbucks is about normal price in the real world. So I could afford it.) You're so kind. And I wish I could think of something to say that could suffice in the wake of your consideration but sometimes words fail me and I opt to just blink in rapid succession. I am so fortunate to have readers like you. (Smiles.) Aw, thank you for telling me I actually posses a small semblance of talent. It means the world to me. And, yes, sometimes to do randomly burst out laughing. But that's a really bad thing to do in the hospital, because then they assume you escaped from the mental ward and call security. And...oh my gosh...THIS STORY IS NOWHERE NEAR OVER! You poor people! Did you really think I would leave you hanging? Like, I wouldn't finish up all those subplots I've got lurking around? Eeep—blasphemy!

(Hugs SonChan too tightly and she consequently chokes on her chocolate chip cookies. Luckily, Vixen is certified in First Aid and is able to perform the Heimlich Maneuver without breaking any ribs.) SQUEE! I made it to your profile! Oh how honored am I! (Bows before the great SonChan.) Thank you thank you thank you! And you even take the time to care about my well being! AW! You deserve more cookies. Nah, scratch that. You deserve a cake. An entire frickin' cake. All to yourself. And it's a special cake. It has no calories! (Oooooh!) Anyway, ha ha. The Great Ninja Master Of Characterization! That just made my life worth living! "...and even Demyx, in his tweaked semi-gayness..." HAHAHAHA! That is the best way to put it, right there. Just wow. You're hilarious, did ya know that? Here, have a bucket of win.

(Gives Anthrax-Pretzels some cyanide cookies, just because she seems to have a thing with lacing her foods with various poisions.) Wow. My lame attempt at humor is...lame. Yes, and OMGSH. SUBTEXT! Say what now? Can I do that? Is that legal? Quick, call the cops! EEP! And YAY, Demyx appears in this chapter! Tee hee, thanks for the review!

(Leaps into Padfoot's arms and presents her with a large assortment of cheesecakes.) OMGSH! You got your friends to read my story too? AND THEY ACTUALLY LIKED IT!!!?? AND THEY READ CHAPTERS IN THEIR FREE TIME?!!! AND THEY RIGHT DOWN MY QUOTES? I AM SO HONORED! Here, they must have cookies too! (Pours sugar wafers down upon not-so-sharp and Queen Sparkle's heads.) And thank you very much for your well wishes concerning my health. I truly do appreciate it.

(Gives Constance Greene some Valium because she's about ready to self implode.) OH MY GOSH WOMAN! YOU DIDN'T WRITE A REVIEW! YOU WROTE A FRIGGIN NOVEL! I LOVE YOU! MARRY ME! I don't even know where to begin. Like, AHAH! That was the best high of the evening! A Constance review! And now anything I write in response will look like Axel piddle in comparison. (Yes, Axel piddle. On the dead souls. More specifically his grandma.) Do you have any idea how fun your reviews are to read? Never before have I been so entertained while receiving such honest insight. You should become a critic. But your critiques would probably be more entertaining than the actual work you are critiquing. EEP. Maybe you should stop reviewing my work! It pales in comparison to your reviews! (And...all your compliments I need to thank you for...where do I start? No, really, where do I start?) OMGSH, I did not fail at writing Demyx? YAY! And sdkjhfskjhdfslkjdh if you made me fan art I'd be your slave for all eternity and then some. AND I'd give you a kidney! Well, if you ever needed one. If you didn't I doubt you'd want, like, three. Maybe you could sell it. On the black market or something. You can make some good money that way. "...[It's almost if I'm playing the game or watching the movie (of course, they wouldn't put in such snazzy, witty and rich dialogue)..." Best. Compliment. Ever. I will officially be floating on air for the next three weeks. Like, you have no idea. (LOL, and good luck erasing your brain.) HA: na na na Meg you can't kick me—OW! I should put that in there. Yes. Yes I should. And Larxene kicks Sora? Twice? Oh, I need to watch the rest of these clips. I stopped because I was hoping they'd import the game but I doubt they ever will. So I may as well go spoil myself. (Just like I did with Heavenly Sword...Lord knows I will never be the proud owner of a PS3. Contrary to popular opinion, starving artists do like to eat.) Thank you times ten to the billionth power for leaving such a long review. You have NO idea how happy that made me. I am thrilled my version of Demyx is plausible in your eyes. I think I'm beginning to develop a full blown crush on that kid. Explanation unknown. I just am. Must be the mullet. Yes. Only Demyx could pull a mullet off. (Thinks of Axel with a mullet.) SHIVER. SEE? Only Demyx. Indeed.

(Hands XitaTheUnlucky a four leaf clover and a leprechaun for luck. Because I am lame.) HA! I love how I pulled you away from an intirely sane story to read this! That just makes me giggle. And—eep—sorry the Demyx hi-I-am-quasi-gay line disturbed you! It was totally a one time joke not meant to carry any subtext whatsoever. And HORRAH! You liked the Maxel conversation! WEE! "...or at least he thinks its mud... I do have big dogs..." I was rendered incapable of maintaining a healthy supply of oxygen after that comment. Like, you have no idea. WIN WIN WIN!

(Stares slack jawed at Zaz9-zaa0. Is rendered incapable of closing lower mandible due to the vast amount of shock coursing through veins.) YOU'RE the mastermind behind Pax Versus in the FFXII fandom? I NEVER KNEW THIS. I just figured it out, like, ten seconds ago, and am now in a traumatic state of stupor knowing you somehow managed to find pleasure in reading my pathetic attempts at chicken scratch when you yourself should be published five times over. I...How...What...Who...Um...THIS MAKES NO SENSE. Pax Versus floored me with it's literacy, so much so I was unable to piece together a coherent, substantial review because even my praise looked lame when compared to the aforementioned story's wake. And now I find you've been reading MY stuff, and actually deriving ENJOYMENT from it...and...and...and...Vixen has no words. I'm speechless. What do I say to this? Well, first I must ask you one thing: where did you learn how to write like that? My gosh woman! You have mad writing skillz, like whoa. I felt so dinky in comparison. I still do. And to know you actually enjoy my story, given your vast amounts of talent and ability to probably pen anything I've done ten times better, means more to me truck loads of chocolate fudge! Yes. Yes it does. If you'll excuse me, I need to go pass out now.