He's down in Vexen's laboratory, a little bloody and little out of his head. Vexen doesn't find he much appreciates it. However, he's fucking busy, so, he supposes, as long as Roxas doesn't touch anything, he can stay. He feels the boy's body heat on his back.

"What is it?" He snaps, fingering the scalpel and considering acquainting it with Roxas' left eye.

The blond doesn't have his gloves on, his hands are tiny and whiter than a sun bleached skull. He lays one on top of Vexen's.

"Can Nobodies bleed to death?" he inquires earnestly.

Vexen turns to look at him and he's met with an impassive face, but riotous blue eyes. He feels something nasty pulling at his face. Roxas' face is splattered with blood; the only question is, is it his own?

"Why do you ask?" He laughs, reaching out to wipe away a blotch from the child's pale face.

Roxas unzips the coat and lets it fall. His body is covered in long bloody streaks that look as if they were caused by fingers.

"If we don't have hearts, it doesn't make sense that we should bleed at all."

The words are trembling and so is Roxas and it only takes one moment more before he snarls, lunging at Vexen for the answers. The academic beats him down with the help of a sedative. Enough to take out a rather large horse.

א

Roxas wakes up groggy and lightheaded and he groans and squirms and he doesn't get anywhere at all. He tries to say something, but his mouth feels sort of a numb and the only thing that comes out is drool.

Vexen's face appears in his line of vision; he holds up a syringe, it's big, full of red…

"I've taken some of your blood. We're going to conduct an experiment. Can Nobodies bleed to death."

Roxas smiles as best he can.

א

"Take off your clothes."

Roxas hops down from his shadowy perch and moves to obey. From beneath a cloak of shadows comes his ivory skin, full of shining youth, too bright for this place. Vexen feels a smile curve his lips, even though he doesn't turn to look. He hears Roxas' approach, bare feet sticking to tile. Then he feels the boy's warmth at his elbow. He holds out a vial of liquid, still not looking, he won't look; he doesn't have to.

"Rub this onto your body."

Roxas takes the liquid and obeys mutely. Vexen listens to sounds, sloppy, wet, sliding. He continues to busy himself, not looking at the boyish beauty behind him.

"All right," Roxas murmurs, setting the empty vial onto the desk. He waits quietly, but his impatience thrums throughout the room. Vexen lets him wait while he makes up a chart in order to record the results of his latest experiment. When he's satisfied that Roxas is twitching enough, he turns in his chair.

"How does it feel on your skin?" he inquires clinically. Roxas frowns at him and shifts on his feet.

"It's cold. Very cold," he adds with a tinge of irritation.

"Good. Did you put any in your hair?"

"You didn't tell me to."

Vexen nods, he hadn't, but he reaches to the side and upturns the vial over his hand, catching the last palmful that remains. He rubs that into Roxas' hair.

"You look lovely," Vexen murmurs, the boy rolls his eyes shyly. "Are you ready to proceed?"

"Of course."

Vexen takes a small box and strikes a match. He desires a smaller flame so that he may take not of its progression. He puts it to Roxas' skin, and it catches immediately, spreading all over.

"How does that feel?" He wonders breathily. He can almost make out Roxas' face in the flames.

"It's…like slugs, all over my body. Warm and slimy."

"Wonderful. Do tell me when it begins to burn."

"Vexen," the boy whines plaintively.

"It's the only way we can know the duration. Otherwise this has been an outstanding success."

"Vexen," the boy repeats.

"Shhh, shh. It's only for a little longer. How long do you think it would take you to defeat Axel if his flames could no longer harm you?"

"Ten minutes…at the most."

"There, see. Wait ten minutes."

There's a slight scent of burning hair, and he wonders which part of Roxas' body it's coming from.

"What are we going to do about Demyx?"

"What about him?" Vexen wonders, no longer interested in the flaming blond. He's preoccupied filling out his charts.

"We have plans to defeat most of the others, should the need arise. Have you overlooked him entirely?"

" Of course not, but he doesn't pose much of a threat. Not against me at least."

He can tell Roxas is frowning again, without even looking.

א

He has the better part of his hand, covered in latex glove, up Roxas' ass. The boy squirms and sighs. He loves it, but the way he looks back at him makes it clear he would rather have Vexen's cock. Roxas keeps waiting for it, as if it's a treat. He's a very good boy, helping with the experiments, and in return he wants to feel Vexen plugged up deep inside him.

Roxas is adorable and pathetic like that. Vexen likes to know he's had such an influence on the boy.

"Ah…Vexen…please." He's begging already?

Vexen spreads his fingers in Roxas' ass and the blond makes a sobbing noise.

"How does it feel, Roxas?" the Academic questions, purring.

"Full…Oh…please…please, Vexen!"

Vexen grins, leaning forward and nibbling on Roxas' shoulder, forcing the boy harder against the table. Roxas loves it. He loves knowing where he stands, where he belongs, whom he belongs to.

"You're a very good boy, Roxas," Vexen commends, fucking him with his hand. "You've come a long way…Remember when we started?"

Roxas had been tight, it had taken a lot of work and effort to ease him to this, and even then it hadn't been comfortable on the boy's part.

"Oh…please, Vexen," the blond asks again. Vexen has no intention of acquiescing to him.

"You want to be fucked, Roxas?"

"Please!"

א

Xigbar takes Roxas like Braig would have taken a woman, that is, without lubrication and expecting things to yield for him. Vexen knows Xigbar isn't that stupid and he's also glad he took the time to get Roxas ready for this.

Vexen prefers to watch and Xigbar prefers to be watched and Roxas does whatever Vexen wants.

The blond is clutching at Xigbar's strong shoulder's moaning and it is a very pretty picture.

When he's done with him, Xigbar leaves Roxas on the examination table and pulls his coat back around his body. He gives Vexen a grin.

"It's good to know you never change, Even," he sneers. "I like this one better than the kid back at the Bastion."

Vexen returns the sentiments. "And your tastes never change either, Braig. Young."

Xigbar laughs and shrugs, then he's gone. Vexen wanders over towards his pet, his cock is hard and heavy between his legs. Roxas knows, Roxas can tell just from the tone of his voice.

"Let me suck you, Vexen," he begs. The academic opens up his clothing and offers his cock to the boy.

א

Sometimes Zexion comes down into the laboratory. He says he likes the way Roxas smells and, more often than not, Vexen lets Roxas play with him. Sometimes Lexaeus is there to watch.

Sometimes Vexen tells Roxas to leave, because he has important things to discuss with Ienzo. Roxas reluctantly obeys. Sometimes Lexaeus goes with him to play.

Sometimes Roxas goes to visit Axel instead.

Roxas likes Axel, he's noisy and fun and that means Roxas has to do less work.

Sometimes, when Axel isn't being quite as funny as he could be, Roxas imagines killing him…because he and Vexen already know that he'll be the one who tries. Axel is fire and Vexen is ice, their destinies entwined. Roxas knows he can take Axel out with or without Vexen's help.

Axel thinks it's weird when he just starts laughing for no reason. He goes to find some Popsicles to put in Roxas' mouth and make him shut up.

א

Roxas squirms, but makes no attempt to free himself. Vexen is…angry.

"Roxas."

"Ah…" the boy moans.

"Answer me."

"Yes?" he whispers.

"You have…"

"Nnn," Roxas whines. "Vexen! I've what?"

Vexen looms in close, his face is as it always is, his eyes are dark and his mouth is a thin line and he's like an emotionless mask. Yet he's angry.

"What do you think you've done?"

Roxas feels the tightness in his throat and looks away. "I've…"

"Yes." Vexen pushes back, leaving him there, alone.

א

Roxas is a little confused and a little bit afraid. Vexen doesn't want him around, so he isn't. But then Vexen is dead. Roxas isn't sure what to do with Vexen dead. He goes through Vexen's lab, looking for something that will tell him what to do…He finds it. One small file specifically labeled 'Roxas'.

There's a certain amount of rage that wells up inside of him after reading it…There's a certain resolution that fires up in his veins.

There's a sickly feeling in the back of his throat and a tightening in his chest.

א

The raindrops are fat and warm, falling in bursts from the heavy sky. He spots Axel as he rounds the corner, but he pretends not to care.

"Roxas…"

He doesn't have time for accusations or conversations.


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