"An old memory came to me while I was sleeping, and I was enjoying reprieve until you came along

SUMMARY: When returning from yet another mission, Axel is feeling a bit weighed down by all that's going on around him. In a moment of fleeting insanity, he decides to go to Demyx and have a talk with his fellow Organization Member. However, their simple meeting turns into a bit more than just chit chat over the proverbial cup of coffee. AkuDemy, Yaoi, Lemon

EDIT: Changed the castle from Castle Oblivion to The Castle That Never Was. I guess I got my castles confused. xD Sorry. (Thanks, Org666, for pointing this out to me)

Notes: Alright, this was originally meant to be a one shot, but since it's grown into a MONSTER of a fic, I've decided to cut it into two parts, this being the first. (I also wanted to post SOMETHING, since I was afraid that after over a month of no updates, people might think I had died or something. I assure you, I haven't, I've just been really, really busy and really, really lazy. I'm sorry. ;; )

Written for a friend of mine who is absolutely obsessed with AkuDemy and all that it entails. So, here you go! snuggles

WARNING: This fic WILL contain graphic sex between two men. If this offends you, please turn back now and go find something more suitable to your tastes. Thank you.

Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts, Kingdom Hearts II, Axel, Demyx, Roxas, or any of the other characters in said games (they are all owned by SquareEnix and Disney) and I make no profit from this story.

Again, this is one of two parts. Enjoy.

The young nobody sighed wearily as he waved his hand and opened a shadowy portal to his left, his other hand running through the red spikes of his hair absently and fingers curling to scratch his scalp. He detested Traverse Town, what with its dingy back alleys, dirty waterways, and abundance of heartless running amuck throughout the dark streets.

To their credit, the creatures, both large and small, ignored him whenever they and the nobody came into contact, for he had no heart for them to take - but that didn't mean they didn't grate on Axel's nerves. The constant scraping, chattering, and fluttering of wings surrounding him wherever he turned had the nobody nearly plucking his blood-red locks right out of his head, and he refused to lie to himself by saying he wasn't thrilled to be returning to Organization XIII's base of operations, The Castle That Never Was.

Arms falling back to his sides, Axel shook his head, mane whipping heavily side to side with the movement, and gave the barren street around him one final disgusted glance. Snorting quietly, he looked away and stepped into the portal, the dark tendrils of energy seeming to collapse in around him as he did so. The cool, stale air of the world between portals hit him full in the face, causing him to release the breath he hadn't realized he'd been holding as he paused, the thumping of his generic Organization boots coming to a halt. He watched as the shadows and coils behind him closed, sealing the way he had come and wiping Traverse Town from view until the next time Axel was forced to return. Ugh, he hated his missions sometimes.

Eyes adjusting quickly to the drop in visibility caused by the portal's disappearance, Axel blinked and rubbed his eyelids, feeling a yawn building in his chest and allowing it to escape, mouth opening wide and arms stretching high over his head. He heard his shoulders crack loudly and groaned, dropping his limbs back down to brush along the side of his coat, another of the Organizations standard articles of clothing. He didn't mind this portion of their dress code, however, for it accented his slim yet muscular frame, and, let's be honest, made him look even sexier than he already did, if that were possible.

Glancing at his feet, he saw lights flickering over the misty floor of the strange dimensional world, appearing as the reflection of the sun over water. This had always mesmerized him, for there was no water to be found here, no matter how hard you searched (and he would know, for Axel had tried many times to discover the origin of the light when he had an hour or so to waste).

He stood rooted to the spot for another moment or two, enjoying the relative silence surrounding him, before moving forward several paces into the endless expanse of mist and darkness, hand rising once more to open yet another portal, this one leading to the bowels of the castle where he would find his and the other Organization member's rooms. Flicking an errant strand of hair out of his emerald gaze, Axel walked through the wavering gateway to home, or something that was close to it. A nobody couldn't be choosey when it came to such things, and he figured he should take what he could get and be happy (as happy as one without a heart could be, anyway).

Passing the swirls of darkness and shadow, the red-head exited the world in between and entered The Castle That Never Was, its blinding white-washed walls assaulting his senses and causing his pupils to contract violently with the change of scenery. "Damn it!" he cried, forcing back the tears of pain which began to form, frustration level rising to dangerous levels. It was a cruel sensation indeed that ran through your every nerve when you made the journey from almost complete darkness to the stark and unblemished reality of the castle - like an unexpected kick to the groin, except with less grunting and clutching of your junk.

It took several seconds for Axel to recover, but the inevitable eventually occurred and his eyesight returned full force, though he still had a few spots floating around his vision. "Whoever decorated this castle is going to get a chakram in the face one of these days." He growled, making his way down the wide hall swiftly. He just wanted to get to his room and rest for a little while, maybe let his mind wander or go completely blank, whichever came first. It didn't matter at that point, all he knew was that he needed to lay down as soon as the chance became available.

"Boots – not the brightest idea for the costumes." He grumbled, stopping to rub his toes into the floor to encourage blood flow. "My feet are killing me from all that walking. Stupid Xemnas and his stupid plans, telling me to go through Traverse Town and search for Roxas even though we both know he isn't there. That jerk is just trying to waste my time." He seethed, wiggling his aching toes before continuing on.

Axel wasn't sure if his superior knew of his plans to defy the Organization, or if the man's incessant habit of sending The Flurry of Dancing Flames on meaningless goose hunts was just a coincidence. Either way, the red-head was tired of spending precious time and energy doing as he was told when he could think of better things to be doing, like cleaning out a chocobo pen or dunking his head in acid.

He sighed, passing the gray patterns adorning the walls without taking notice, mind set on reaching his room and bed without collapsing. Axel's feet carried him through countless pathways, around several sharp corners, and down quite a few stairs and slopes before finally coming to a halt in front of a partially hidden door, situated cleanly within the stark white surface of the wall. Body sagging with exhaustion and relief, he ran his gloved fingers over the door, applying pressure to four areas near its center in a specific order, certain he had been successful when the door vanished, leaving a perfectly rectangular hole where it had once been.

Axel grinned and left the harsh environment of the castle's corridors to enter the blessedly dim confines of his bed room, the black paint coating its interior, comfortable looking mismatched furniture, and broad assortment of clothing, personal items, and garbage littering the floor giving it a much more homely and laid back atmosphere than the rest of the castle. 'Not to mention I get my very own bathroom and closet space.' He mentally grinned, feeling the air surrounding him circulate and settle moments after his arrival, alerting him that his door had reappeared and cut him off from the outside world.

'Now this is more like it.' He thought, shrugging out of his black Organization cloak and tossing it over the side of a nearby plush chair. Allowing another yawn to bubble up and out of his mouth, he slid one hand under his black sleeveless undershirt and scratched at his side absently, steering himself around some of the objects littering his floor as he walked to his bed.

Sitting heavily on the burgundy comforter, Axel bent down and removed his boots, slipping his sock-clothed feet from their depths and wiggling his toes contentedly once they were free of the leather. He then smiled and dropped the boots to the floor, hearing the dull clunk they made as they hit the diamond patterned tiles and feeling an odd sense of satisfaction at the sound. His socks were soon to follow, and he fell back on the mattress with a pleased groan.

Axel crossed his legs lazily and placed his hands behind his head, letting himself relax for the first time that day. 'The superior is such a slave driver.' He grumbled mentally, closing his emerald eyes and turning his head to the side, warm cheek resting against his arm. 'I almost don't blame Roxas for leaving.' His muscles stiffened at that thought, and he let out an annoyed breath.

"Why am I thinking about that now?" he asked himself, uncrossing his legs and splaying them on the bed, arms lowering to his sides and hands lying palm down on his slim stomach. 'Every time I think about Roxas turning traitor I just get angry.' He gazed at the ceiling of his room, eyes unfocused as he conversed with himself. 'Well, I guess I'm angry, even though that should be impossible, what with me not having a heart and emotions and all.' Axel blinked slowly. 'With all that's been going on and how I've been…feeling lately…I'm not so sure if Xemnas is right about that. Maybe…maybe Demyx is the one with the right idea. Maybe we do have hearts…'

The red-head squirmed higher on his mattress and rolled onto his stomach, snatching his pillow and burying his face in its center in agitation. Demyx. He was the Organization's ninth member and the only other nobody that Axel would have anything to do with other than Roxas. 'He's not what I'd call stable, though.' He thought, brows furrowing. No, the musician was a bit on the strange side, sliding in and out of moods as quick as if someone had flipped a switch. He could be acting happy and downright ditsy one moment, and then furious, spiteful, and…well…evil the next. It could be quite a shock to someone who wasn't already acquainted with him and his odd behavior.

'Mood swings aside, he's relatively normal and the closest thing to a friend I have around here now.' Axel told himself, dismissing his negative views of Demyx right then and there and forcing his mind to only look at the other nobody's positive aspects. Let's see here, he's energetic, kind (usually), easy to be around (again, usually this was the case), could play an instrument and chase away boredom, and didn't mind if you wanted to have a 'heart to heart' with him.

"He doesn't mind a 'heart to heart' conversation." Axel repeated, turning his head to face the door to his room. "A 'heart to heart.'" He nuzzled further into his pillow, eyes still focused on the barrier between him and the outside hallway. "A 'heart to heart' with Demyx." The more he said it, the less laughable the idea began to sound. Was he really considering dragging himself out of bed, going all through the castle, and bursting into Demyx's room just to talk to the other man?

…Yes. Yes he was.

Moving to his hands and knees, Axel rolled over once again and scooted to the edge of his bed, long legs dangling over the side and feet planted firmly against the cool tiles. Placing his elbows on his knees, he leaned his weight into them and glared at the floor. "I must be out of my mind." He said, hands running through his hair hurriedly and only managing to muss up the already long and overly-puffed tresses. "How is talking to Demyx going to make me feel any better about Roxas leaving? Did Demyx even like Roxas?" He paused, elbows returning to his knees. "Does Demyx even like me?"

He wondered briefly if the water-wielding member of the Organization would take kindly to him just up and strutting into his room, barefoot (like hell he was going to put those damn boots back on), coatless (that wasn't going on again, either), and ready and raring to have a long-winded and not clearly thought out talk about Roxas' sudden departure from their ranks. "He probably wouldn't mind." Axel concluded, getting to his feet. "He's always seemed sociable when I was around him in the past. I just hope he's in one of his cheerful stages today, because I don't want to have to deal with a sour Demyx along with everything else."

Nodding, he traversed the expanse of his room and touched a hand to his door, stepping through as it disappeared and blinking rapidly when the bright surroundings invaded his senses. Not waiting for his eyes to adjust, he walked blindly down the passageway to his right, struggling to remember exactly where Demyx's room was located.

'I think it's up on the next floor.' He tried to pinpoint the exact position from where he was standing, but with a frustrated grunt realized he couldn't. 'Looks like I'll have to run around until I find it.' Nodding his head once for emphasis on his decision, he started forward, wishing that he could just open a portal to the other man's room. This was an impossibility, however, because of the 'portal blocks' Xemnas had placed on all of the Organization member's rooms. "For privacy reasons." He had stated, and left it at that.

Able to see once more, Axel's emerald gaze traveled over the stretch of tile before him, and he shivered slightly at the cold already rushing up his legs, the fact that he wasn't wearing any shoes or socks painfully apparent. He grit his teeth and tried to ignore it as he advanced onward toward another hallway to the side, adamant that what he was experiencing was a hundred times better than stuffing his sore feet back into his leather boots. Still, the idea of getting to the other nobody's room and sitting in a warm chair gave him the incentive to hurry around the corner and down the new corridor, a smile blossoming on his face when he saw a flight of stairs leading up.

Taking the steps two at a time, he clambered up and around the bend, coming out in yet another hall, but this one much closer to his goal. Sprinting now, his feet pattered loudly against the floor as he ran, head whipping from side to side in hopes of spotting Demyx's bedroom door. Seeing as how he hadn't been by to visit the younger man in, well, ever, he wasn't sure where it was. 'If it comes down to me and Demyx playing a game of Marco Polo, I'm going back downstairs.' He growled inwardly, slowing to a trot as he neared the end of the passage.

"Jeez, where the hell is it?" he asked aloud, coming to a stop some seven yards from a dead end, the path splitting into either a right or left turn and leaving only a large, solid, and bleak wall in front of him. Retracing his steps (this time at a meager pace), he concentrated on every square inch of the walls to either side of him, mind set on finding the door to Demyx.

Suddenly, for reasons unknown to even Axel himself, the mundane and simple-sounding task of going upstairs and having a chat with his fellow Organization member had become an epic journey, complete with mind-numbing and physically demanding challenges. So what if any other sane person would laugh themselves hoarse? This was important, damn it, and he refused to slink back to his own room in defeat!

The red-head froze when a dull thud sounded to his left, followed quickly by a muffled "Oops!" Turning sharply, he jogged over and placed his gloved hands on the wall, pinning his ear to its surface and listening intently. From the other side, he could distinctly hear the voice of a certain dirty-blond and what sounded like something heavy being scraped across hard wood, the said object making an odd, hollow plunk as it was (Axel guessed) picked up.

"Oh, I hope I didn't break it." The muffled voice floated through to him, making Axel grin in triumph. He had found Demyx!

"Demyx!" he called loudly, knocking against the wall his with knuckles. "Demyx! It's me, Axel!"

The scraping of clothing and murmurs of "Please be okay!" ended abruptly, and a second later Demyx's confused tone reached the nobody currently smashed against the outside of his bedroom wall.

"Axel?"

"Yeah, it's me! Can I come in?" he asked, pressing closer to the divider between him and a chance to sit down. He really needed to get off his feet.

His question was met with an awkward and lingering silence, and he was about to speak up and explain why exactly he was there ("I was just here to have a random talk with you and maybe share some Organization gossip, I swear!"), when Demyx spoke, cutting him off before he could get the words out.

"Um, sure, I guess." He sounded a bit unsure, but Axel figured it was probably because he had never just shown up out of the blue and asked for entrance into what was supposed to be considered home terrain for the blond inside. If one thought about it, the red-head was pretty much asking to be allowed into Demyx's 20 x 30 foot area of personal space. He would have to tread lightly and carefully if he made it inside.

Axel waited patiently outside for evidence of the other male's movement toward his bedroom door, where he would open a path and allow the taller man in. When nothing of the sort reached his ears, he frowned and shifted his weight, leaning away from the wall with a glare. Another few seconds passed, and his patience started to wear thin.

"Demyx? Are you going to let me in or what?"

"Huh? Oh, yeah!" Demyx said, his footfalls filling the air as he crossed his room, the sounds ending a few feet from Axel's right. Ugh, he had been so close to finding the door on his own!

He raged silently at himself until a rectangular gap in the wall appeared beside him, a familiar face peeking out around the corner and a bright cerulean gaze locating the taller nobody without much effort. He happened to be the only red-haired, black clothed, and living thing in the corridor, after all.

"Sorry, I had forgotten you've never been to see me before." The musician smiled sheepishly. The smile faded quickly, replaced by a look of curiosity as the shorter nobody blinked at his guest and leaned further out of his doorway, grip on the newly formed edges of the wall loosening slightly. Axel noted that Demyx was still wearing his full Organization outfit, which to the red-head was completely absurd – why wear it when you didn't have to? Didn't the 'Melodious Nocturne' have anything more leisurely to parade around in during his free time?

"Why in oblivion are you in your Organization outfit?" he asked, expressing his thoughts in a less-than-polite and straight-to-the-point manner.

"Why are you half-naked outside my door?" Demyx shot back, eyebrows raised in surprise at the sight of a barefoot and coatless Axel standing against the white-washed wall as though he were being arrested – legs faintly splayed and palms flat against the cleanly painted surface. The younger man moved his arm higher on the 'frame' of the door panel and laid his cheek on the uncharacteristically silky material of his sleeve, head tilted to the side in what he supposed could be considered a quirky way, studying Axel with rapt attention.

"Wha- I am NOT half-naked!" the taller male cried, jumping back from his current position and stomping over to the other nobody in a huff, the effect only partially successful since it wasn't accompanied by the loud, echoing thuds of his boots. "At least I look like a normal person! You know, someone with a life outside of his job." He pointed a long finger at Demyx's chest accusingly. "Don't you have any self-respect?"

Demyx pressed his head further into his sleeve, enjoying the cool, smooth texture on his cheek. "Yeah, I do. What does that have to do with running around half-naked?"

"Damn it, Demyx, I'm not half-naked! I'm wearing pants and an undershirt, and that clearly sets me under the category of fully dressed!" Taking a breath and attempting to calm his nerves, Axel shrugged his shoulders in a wide circle, effectively stretching the stiff muscles, then held up his hands as a peaceful request for a time-out to collect himself. Man, he wasn't expecting a chat with Number Nine to be so complicated!

When he was ready, he addressed the blond again, an edge of irritation in his voice.

"What I meant was, don't you have any respect for yourself as an individual? Don't you think that wearing the same clothes as everyone else in the Organization all the time and constantly associating with your work might make it hard for you to set yourself apart? Be your own person?" Demyx stared at him, unmoving, and Axel rolled his eyes. "Why don't you at least lose the jacket and relax once in awhile? You can't spend your whole life on the job."

"I like these clothes." The blond replied in a matter-of-fact tone, one of the strands of hair gelled to regal perfection atop his head wilting under the strain of gravity, giving in soon after and falling to rest among the other thin wisps on the young man's forehead. Axel watched its descent, momentarily lost in a stupor.

"Anyway, what was it you wanted?" Demyx asked, catching the red-head's attention and dragging him back into the here and now. "Like I said, I don't remember you ever visiting me before, so to what do I owe the pleasure?"

"I was hoping you'd let me in and we could have a talk." He said honestly, arms falling back to his sides. "I wanted to speak to someone about…current events in the castle, and you were the only person I could think of who would be the most likely not to slam your door in my face." He paused, thinking that last bit over. "Figuratively speaking, of course."

Demyx's entire demeanor seemed to lighten, an overly dramatic grin almost splitting his face as he stood straighter, hands coming together in front of his chest in an excited fashion. "I would love to talk with you, Axel!" he chirped, bouncing in place. "I've always hoped we could become good friends, just like you and Roxas!" His deep blue eyes widened and he ceased his excited movements, clamping his hands over his mouth as he immediately noticed the other tense and those normally bright emerald orbs become a dull and far more hostile forest green. He started to apologize, but Axel waved it off and looked away, sullen.

A strained hush hung in the air, Demyx grasping feebly for ideas of how to fix the situation. "Do you want to come in now?" the younger man offered lamely, moving out of the way to give Axel room to enter if he was interested. Hopefully he was, for Demyx did in fact want to be closer to the red-haired nobody. He had enjoyed the rare moments when they were together since he had first joined the Organization, and had been searching for an excuse to get near Axel and try to cheer him up since the Organization's thirteenth member, Roxas (Axel's best friend) had left both him and the Organization behind.

Glancing at Demyx and getting an eyeful of his hopeful and downright desperate expression, the elder nobody expelled a lungful of air and shrugged his shoulders exaggeratedly, walking past his 'co-worker' and into the blessedly dim and cool confines of his bedroom. He heard the musician make a strange, happy kind of sound, then the clicking of boots against the wooden floor as Demyx came up behind him, the top of his hair barely reaching Axel's shoulder. He felt his own mood leveling out, the other's mere presence somehow making the situation concerning Roxas seem far less disheartening than it had earlier.

So, happiness truly was infectious, even among those who shouldn't be able to share in its splendor.

He felt the air shift around him as the door to Demyx's room reappeared, sealing them in an almost gloomy darkness. Axel was a bit startled by this, expecting the cheery blond's room to better reflect his personality. He had to admit, though, that it was pleasant in its own way, especially since he could hear some sort of water decoration (like an indoor waterfall) flowing inside the room. He looked up toward the ceiling and noticed the swirling and ever changing patterns of light reflected off water roving over the smooth surface. 'It looks like the in between world.' He thought, passively.

Eyes flicking quickly to his sides, he saw that to his right was the waterfall, set cleanly into the wall and surrounded by stones, the water flowing down and gathering into a small pool in the floor which Axel guessed was connected back into the wall, allowing the fountain's cycle to continue. A few feet away and facing the falls was a navy blue sofa with two matching side chairs, all of which were plush and appeared comfy.

To his left he could see a door leading to an overstuffed walk-in closet, a rather large bookcase placed against the wall, and another chair or two, these a lighter blue than the others, situated on either side of the bookshelves, and, oddly enough, what looked like a toy train set sitting idly on the floor, its tracks running under and around the furniture. He wondered at this, but decided Demyx must just like playing with toy trains, which in all fairness, Axel believed to be fun as well. He would never admit such a thing, however, since society believed you were to outgrow toys by the time you entered adulthood.

Raising his eyes, he saw that pictures adorned the stark white walls, adding color to the otherwise mainly blue and white room. He couldn't make much sense of Demyx's choice of decorative photos, since they were all of forests, mountains, and wide-open landscapes, with a still image of a brook or some other water source thrown in here and there. 'Maybe they're places his other visited before he lost his heart.' He mused, unsure as to whether the blond remembered anything from his past life. If he did, Axel couldn't help but be envious. He wished he could think of something – anything - from his other's life.

Glancing at the floor, he cocked his head at the sight of clothes, wrappers, books, and different types of toys lying haphazardly on the boards. He smiled. 'So, I'm not the only slob in the Organization, eh?' His opinion of the blond nobody was raised a notch, the younger man getting closer to Axel's 'acceptance' level.

The red-head heard the squeak of mattress springs, and turned toward the sound in front of him, seeing the blond situating himself on his bed, the white comforter below him bunching under his weight. Unlike the fire-wielding nobody, Demyx's bed was arranged in the center of the back portion of the room, with two side tables made of a beautifully white-washed wood near the head of the bed (both containing one light blue lamp and an assortment of other odds and ends, like glass sculptures of animals and symbols whose meaning Axel didn't know) and a rack of what looked like magazines leaning against the footboard. There was also an open door – another of the normal wooden variety - behind the bed, leading into the dark recesses of a makeshift bathroom. However, it wasn't any of these features that immediately caught Axel's attention when his cohort flipped on the lamps and illuminated the bed and the area surrounding it, and his amusement became evident to the blond nobody quickly.

With Sitar in hand and a smile on his face, Demyx glanced at the red-head, his expression becoming one of confusion after catching site of Axel's shaking shoulders as he barely contained his laughter. "What's so funny?" he asked, pulling his beloved instrument closer to his chest, fingers strumming the cords unconsciously.

The elder man covered his mouth, body still trembling strangely with mirth as he pointed to the light-colored planks at Demyx's feet. He removed the hand from his face, letting it clasp his stomach, and chuckled loudly, eyes crinkling and waist bending with each intake of breath.

"Y-You," he choked and tried to compose himself, only managing to slow his giggles long enough to finish his sentence. "You have a mote around your bed!"

It was true. There was an honest to goodness mote surrounding the musician's bed. It was embedded in the floorboards and was about a foot wide and half a foot deep, with small pebbles glued around its edges. The length of water wound around the furniture, even going as far as widening near the top of the bed in order to fit the two side tables within the 'safety' of its confines. Apparently to keep Demyx from accidentally stepping into the mote, a sheen of thick glass had been placed overtop the water, the liquid beneath rippling with each quake of the floorboards around it.

The absolute absurdity of it all had Axel doubled over completely, his chest heaving with the force of his laughter and tears forming in his eyes.

Demyx blushed crimson, practically crushing his sitar to himself in his embarrassment. "It's not that funny!" he cried, defending his idea of decoration. "I like my mote, thank you very much. I suppose now you're going to tell me you don't have a lake of fire or something in your room?"

Axel wiped his eyes and stood straight, several more chuckles bubbling to the surface before he was able to quiet down. Without thinking, he walked over to the bed to join the blond, stepping over the 'mini-mote' as he dubbed it in order to do so. Plopping heavily on the space nearest the headboard, he wiggled closer to Demyx (who sat nearer the end of the bed) and smiled gently, shaking his head and crossing his arms in front of his chest. "Naw, there's nothing like that. Contrary to popular belief, I'm not as big of a pyro as everyone thinks."

Demyx's eyes widened comically and he gaped, voice dripping with sarcasm as he asked, "Really?"

The elder snorted and smacked the Nocturne's arm in a friendly manner, snickering when the other rubbed the sore area with a soft "Owwww…," then leaned back on his hands to relax.

"Aside from the mote, your room isn't all that bad. I like the waterfall, by the way. Nice touch, there." Axel said, moving to lie on his back and shifting his hands to rest behind his head. "To tell you the truth, I wasn't expecting some of it - like the bookcase, for example - but hey, we can't all be as dumb as we act, right?"

"Hey!" Demyx cried, pausing in his attempts to sooth his abused arm and instead giving Axel a rather surprisingly strong punch in the belly. His eyes narrowed when the red-head gave an 'Oomph!,' and when he shot the shorter male a scathing look Demyx stuck his tongue out angrily at him. "If all you're going to do is make fun of me, you can leave. I hear enough of that from Xigbar, I don't need you coming to my room to start up where he left off."

Pushing himself back up into a sitting position, Axel had the decency to appear remorseful, his hands covering his stomach delicately. "Sorry." He muttered a moment later, eyes settling on anything but Demyx.

There was an awkward silence between them, one which Axel wasn't anywhere near willing to break, so this led the blond nobody to take the initiative. "It's okay, I forgive you." He said, strumming a couple notes on his sitar once more. "Just don't do it again, alright?" His companion nodded his head stiffly, and Demyx smiled, content with the answer.

The gentle twangs of the sitar's strings floated unaccompanied around them, its melody soft and soothing. The fire-wielding nobody felt himself growing calm under their hypnotic qualities, his eyelids drooping and body falling slowly back to the mattress and into his earlier position. Arms folded behind his head once again, he looked to the side, vision blurred as his lids shut further.

He could barely make out the pillow inches in front of him, mind registering the blue-striped pattern adorning the otherwise white sheets and pillow case under the pure-white comforter. 'The man even has a matching bed spread.' Axel said to himself, remembering all too well the mismatch fiasco awaiting him on his own bed. He frowned, then shrugged his shoulders slightly, deciding not to think on it too much. So what if he was a bit of a slob? It gave him character.

He was just about to nod off when Demyx's voice added to the music in the room, his tone quiet and non-abrasive. "I'll be right back." The thrumming of the sitar ended abruptly and a hollow thunk was heard soon after, leading Axel to assume the blond had put the instrument on the floor. Then, the thumping of boots against wood reached him as Demyx moved toward the back of the room, the sounds becoming muffled as the squeak of a wooden door closing filled the red-head's ears.

Axel blinked awake, eyebrows knitting when he heard running water coming from the vicinity of the bathroom. Shooting up on the bed seconds later, he twisted around so fast he could have sworn his back cracked, and stared at the smooth surface of the door, awestruck. What the hell was Demyx thinking? He wouldn't be doing something like taking a shower with the other nobody in the next room, would he? The older man had a miniature panic attack at that point, wondering if he should leave and come back later, or sit there in his uncomfortable state until Demyx returned. The musician had said he'd be right back, so that entailed that he wanted Axel to stay…right?

Still unsure as to what he was expected to do, Axel remained where he was perched atop the blond's comforter, back straight, body rigid, and facing the room's exit. Why was he so damn nervous all of a sudden? It wasn't like the smaller man was walking around nude in front of him, and even if he was, they were both guys, right? He'd seen it all before. So then why did the thought bring an embarrassed blush to his cheeks? Axel snorted angrily. Damn that Demyx and his mysterious bathroom break! Didn't he have any courtesy for his now immensely flustered guest?

The minutes dragged by, Axel becoming more uncomfortable with every tick of the proverbial clock, until, finally, the running water in the bathroom stopped and the swish of a towel being taken off the rack reached his ears. He glanced toward the wooden door, seeing a still fully clothed Demyx step out ('He must have just dunked his head under the shower faucet.' The Flurry reasoned mentally), his hand disappearing behind the wall to his left to flip off the light switch and flood the bathroom with darkness once more. Shutting the door with a click, the shorter male ran the towel he held in his other hand through his hair, which was now damp and, to Axel's surprise, naturally styled.

That's right – Demyx had washed every bit of gel from his hair.

The red-head gaped. This was something he'd never seen before. Ever. A completely gel-less Demyx. A Demyx with exceptionally longer hair than one would have thought, too. He raised an eyebrow, taking in the other's new appearance.

Now water heavy, the blond's mane of hair fell in silky layers along his face and scalp, starting with the shorter locks on the sides of his head, followed by the longer strands (which would normally be defying gravity atop the nobody's head, but were currently falling over the top of his ears and into his eyes), and ending with the slightly puffed tresses flowing down the back of Demyx's head and over his shoulders.

To those not accustomed to seeing him this way, he appeared to be a completely different person. Axel, being one of these people, openly showed his shock, his mouth only snapping shut when the younger man began to chuckle.

"Something wrong, Axel?"

The male in question coughed into his fisted hand and willed the blush on his cheeks to leave, imagining himself viciously attacking whatever part of his inner being had decided to humiliate him in front of his fellow Organization member. He gained control of himself in a matter of seconds, and answered Demyx with (thankfully) a steady voice.

"I'm just not used to seeing you with your hair down." He motioned toward the Nocturne's hair jerkily, then as an afterthought asked, "Why the change, anyway?"

Demyx shrugged, rubbing the towel over his hair one last time before throwing it to the floor near the bathroom door. Hair now significantly puffier, he bent to remove his boots and socks, tossing them against the wall next to the bathroom door, and walked swiftly to his bed, hopping the last foot or so and landing on his belly with a bounce on the comforter to the right of Axel, a large smile on his face. Stretching and rolling onto his back, he pivoted his head to the side to watch his bedmate through twin pools of blue, biting his lip when he recognized the flash of annoyance on the red-head's face as he awaited an answer to his question.

Grinning sheepishly, Demyx spoke, his gloved hands playing absentmindedly with the ends of his Organization coat. "I figured I would be more comfortable if I washed the gel out of my hair, you know?"

Actually, Axel didn't know, seeing as how his hair was naturally spiked and tended to shoot from his scalp in every direction on its own accord, no hair products needed. He chose not to disclose this to the blond, since it wasn't terribly important for anyone but him to know. If the other's wanted to believe he was a master with hair gel and a comb then so be it – he'd pretend it was yet another skill he held over the additional members of the Organization.

While these thought processes raced around his mind, his mouth moved on its own, giving a mere, "Ah." as a sign that he had heard and understood his fellow nobody. This was enough for Demyx, apparently, as his cheesy grin replaced the nervous one residing on his features and he sat up, turning around so his feet dangled off the side of the bed, Axel's own legs close by. To the taller man's surprise, he didn't reach for his forgotten sitar on the floor, instead giving Axel his full attention.

"Okay, Axel, what did you want to speak to me about?"

The older man swung his feet nonchalantly, knocking his heels into the bed frame gently and tilting his head back as his arms fell to lie comfortably atop his thighs. He blinked slowly and released a long breath through his nose, gaze moving back to stare at the wooden floor between his knees for a moment, then shifting to Demyx, stopping just short of meeting those deep blue eyes.

"I-" Wait, what had he wanted to talk about? His mind blanked, leaving him in a state of silent panic. Suddenly, his friendly 'heart-to-heart' with Demyx had become a nerve wracking and unreachable goal, something he now realized he hadn't planned all that well. What the hell had he been thinking? He couldn't possibly pull this off with his dignity in tact!

He clenched his hands into fists and set his jaw, grasping frantically for something, anything, that he could use as a subject for light banter – small talk, if you will. Perhaps gossip would work? Yes, gossip. Perfect! He nodded mentally, proud of himself, then his panic returned. He didn't have any gossip material squirreled away for just such an occasion. Damn it all, why did he have to work in an environment where no one had any emotional breakdowns or other such humorous episodes that his/her colleagues could laugh about later at their own convenience?

Demyx watched what, to him, appeared to be one hell of an internal struggle happen within his companion and furrowed his brows in confusion, beginning to worry for the red-head. He was about to say something, when Axel beat him to it, his head turning sharply toward the younger nobody and lips parting to blurt –

"I wanted to ask you what you thought of Kingdom Hearts."

The blond nobody paused and stared, openly surprised at Axel's unexpected question. 'What do I think of Kingdom Hearts?' he asked himself, shifting into a more comfortable position on the comforter and scratching his temple thoughtfully. That was something he had never actually mulled over. Sure, he knew of his superior, Xemnas', plans concerning the almost mythical world, but that didn't mean he put much thought into it and what all it entailed.

He lowered his hands to pick at the material of his pants and met Axel's eyes, immediately catching how the other reluctantly held his gaze. He grinned warmly, hoping it would ease his companion's obvious distress, and answered smoothly. "To be honest, I haven't actually thought much about Kingdom Hearts." Demyx tapped a finger to his chin, looking off to the side and pursing his lips. "I guess I don't mind either way." He concluded, meeting the older man's emerald eyes once again. "I'd love for Xemnas to be right in his assumptions that we'd be able to reclaim our hearts if we gained access to Kingdom Hearts. Don't you feel the same?"

Axel nodded, finding it much easier to talk to the musician when he had such a goofy smile on his face. The fire wielding nobody chuckled lowly, shaking off the last of his embarrassment and anxiety and lying back on the bed, head resting on the pillow near the headboard and arms sitting idly by his sides as his legs moved atop the comforter and bypassed Demyx, coming to a halt to the side of the shorter nobody, ankles crossing in a relaxed manner.

The blond remained where he was, watching Axel curiously as he searched for a comfortable position on the bed. When the other man found the perfect spot and finally stopped his incessant movements, Demyx couldn't help himself as he grinned playfully and asked, "Making yourself at home already?"

The red-head laughed, shooting the younger nobody, who was slowly making his way closer to the top of Axel's 'People I Won't Kill' list, a sly look. "Yes, I suppose I am. Got a problem with that?"

Demyx held up his hands in a mock-defensive manner, succeeding in doing quite a thorough job of acting the frightened bystander. "No, no, of course not, Mr. Axel, sir. I was merely inquiring, merely inquiring."

The two of them snickered, and while Demyx was preoccupied, Axel uncrossed his legs and pushed one of his bare feet into the smaller male's chest, smirking amicably when the other fell back a few inches, catching himself before his back could reach the footboard.

"H-hey!" the blond cried, shoving Axel's foot off his chest and sitting back up, crossing his arms cutely. "Don't do that, your feet stink."

Axel gasped, scandalized. "My feet do not stink!"

"Oh yes they do." Demyx said, pinching his nostrils shut with his index finger and thumb and throwing the larger man a look as though he had smelled something extremely unpleasant. "Like a wet dog who took a romp in some garbage and then slept out in the sun for a few hours."

"Just for that I'm going to kick you again." True to his word, Axel pushed against the Nocturne's loosely-crossed arms roughly, watching him tumble backward with wide eyes and flailing arms. At the last moment, he caught Demyx around the middle with his feet, dragging him back up into his earlier slumped crouch. He stuck his tongue out playfully at the shocked expression on the younger one's face, saying in a smug voice, "See? Now are you going to make fun of me again?"

Demyx huffed and rested his elbows on Axel's lower legs, seeing that the man hadn't moved them yet from their loose grip around his waist. He didn't really mind, since he believed this was a sign the other was getting friendlier with him, something he had a hard time hiding his excitement over. Curling his own legs (which had ended up on the bed with him when he had first fallen back) closer to him, he plucked unconsciously at Axel's standard Organization pants, the leather warm to the touch, and wondered how that could be. 'Must be because of his element.' He mused, for his own clothing and skin was usually cool to the touch, like water in the early grip of spring, so it made sense that the fire nobody would have the opposite problem plaguing him.

The red-head watched Demyx through half lidded eyes as his arms came up to lie on the pillow next to his head, one of his hands scratching at his scalp gently. He felt the pressure on his legs as the blond rested his weight on them, but after a second figured it wasn't bothering him enough to ask the other to stop. In fact, it was kind of…nice…to have someone else nearby, someone to play and joke around with, and, though the water nobody could be irritating and at times downright frustrating, he wasn't really all that bad. He was probably the closest thing to a friend Axel had, now.

The elder man blinked, confused as an odd sensation flowed through his chest at that realization. He really was alone now, wasn't he? He hadn't accepted it until that moment, but for the past few days he had been experiencing what some would call 'depression,' something he was not all too familiar with and couldn't say that he enjoyed. Cocking his head to the side, he let his gaze wander over the room, mind not really taking in what he saw. Maybe being around Demyx would help him cope with the loneliness and rejection he'd been feeling lately, ever since –

Axel visibly flinched and rolled onto his side away from Demyx, legs leaving the Nocturne's sides and resting idly at the end of the bed as his arms curled into his chest and his gaze landed on the wall to the side, its surface barely touched by the soft yellow glow of the bedside lamps. He breathed in deeply, his mood fowling in a matter of seconds and his playful tendencies waning under the hurt of Roxas' abandonment of him and the Organization alike.

He still had a hard time coping with his friend's disappearance, and it both irked and frightened him that he was unable to track down the young keyblade master, no matter how many hours he spent searching. Was the boy so desperate not to be found and returned to Xemnas that he would even hide from Axel, someone who he should know would never force him into such a thing if he felt it put Roxas' life in danger?

Left to his brooding, Axel didn't notice Demyx watching him, concern evident on his face and in the way he patted the red-head's legs to get his attention. When this subtle move was blatantly disregarded, the blond nobody poked his companion's calf, fingers tapping it lightly. Still he was ignored, and his worry mounted as the seconds ticked by, Axel's eyes unblinking as he stared at the wall silently.

Pausing, Demyx considered the other man and his odd behavior, wondering what exactly his superior was thinking about. Then it hit him, something that should have been obvious to him long before, since he had touched upon the subject only a short while earlier. Roxas. It was the mysterious thirteenth member of the Organization that had Axel all worked up.

He now understood Number VIII's distressed demeanor, and felt it was his duty as Axel's friend to pull him out of his stupor and raise his mood back to that of what it normally was – humorous, tactful, and, when necessary, malicious. So, the Melodious Nocturne slid away from the Dancing Flame's legs and off the edge of the mattress, feet pattering softly on the wooden floor as he carefully stepped around his sitar still lying forgotten nearby and clamored back onto the bed, now at Axel's side. Surprisingly, the elder didn't move nor indicate that he knew Demyx was there, an odd reaction (or, lack thereof), that added more anxiety onto the already nervous blond.

Alarmed that he went unnoticed even though he was so close to the other, he reached down and shook the red-head gently, gloved hands feeling warm as they touched the bare skin on the fire nobody's arm. To the younger man's relief, Axel blinked at his touch and rolled over as much as he could in the limited space between them, glancing into Demyx's eyes with an odd expression. Hoping his friend had recovered from his episode, the musician addressed him in a soft voice.

"Were you thinking about…him?" he asked, not wishing to say Roxas' name in case it brought on another unhappy response from the red-head.

Axel swallowed rather loudly and looked away, returning to his slumped position on his side. He suddenly felt angry with himself for how his best friend's actions were upsetting him to the point of depression. He truly hated knowing that he was acting like an abandoned puppy – lost and confused – and the idea that it was obvious to the other members of the Organization left him incensed. (If Demyx caught on to his unease easily, then surely the others did, as well.)

The older man's actions told Demyx he had been correct in his assumption, and he immediately began to wonder what he could do or say to make Axel feel better. Being a nobody (and having only been around his fellow nobodies), he didn't have much practice in what could be called 'human affection,' or even something as simple as how to console another. Desperately thinking back to his past missions and stolen glimpses of 'normal' people in their everyday lives, he remembered a certain scene in which a young woman embraced her friend, who was distraught over something that had happened in her family.

Hoping this was the correct course of action to take, he braced himself for any negative responses that may come from his friend and slowly leaned in, halting in the air as he hovered mere inches above Axel, whose eyes were now closed as he attempted to feign disinterest in continuing their conversation. Steeling himself, the musician closed the gap between them, one arm sliding hesitantly around the red-head's upper body while the other wiggled through the small space between Axel's head and the pillow, both coming to rest upon the flame-handler's crossed arms in an awkward yet effective hug.

While his hands were occupied, he laid his head on the other's shoulder softly, hoping that not only he was doing it correctly but that it helped his fellow nobody. In all honesty, he liked the closeness this human interaction brought, and admitted that the feel of Axel's warm skin against his cool cheek was satisfying in its own way. When the body in his embrace jumped at the contact, he held his breath and snuggled closer, being sure to keep his legs off to the side so the older male didn't expect some sort of fowl play at hand. 'Please don't be angry with me.' He pleaded, though he knew Axel would never receive the message.

After the immediate surprise at being held dissipated, Axel's muscles instead stiffened in shock. Was…was Demyx…hugging him? His eyelids flew open and he stared, wide eyed, at the wall in front of him, acute hearing picking up the sounds of the blond's breathing and the hairs on his arm and neck prickling as the expelled air rushed over them. His mind, following the rest of his body's example, screeched to a halt, frozen in fascination as to how this conversation scenario was playing out.

Unsure as to what he was supposed to do (since he had never been placed in such a situation before), Axel lay still, forcing himself to ignore the instinct to turn his head and glance at the other man who was resting against his arm as though he belonged there. In the span of a few tense seconds, he decided he would keep quiet and see what Demyx would do next. At least that way he didn't run the risk of making a fool of himself.

Axel put his plan into action, and soon the heavy silence filling the room unnerved the blond still pressed gently against his upper back and side, causing him to shift abruptly and lessen his grip around his superior, though he didn't pull completely away. The red-head felt the other's cerulean gaze on his face and looked to the pillow under him, unwilling to see the confusion and flash of fear on Demyx's face.

'Wait.' He furrowed his brow. 'Fear? Why is he afraid?' Axel chanced another glance at his fellow nobody and discovered that the expression hadn't disappeared, but had actually grown more noticeable. Worried at this reaction, he momentarily forgot about his unease at the musician's awkward show of affection and parted his lips, ready to speak, when he was interrupted by a now visibly nervous Demyx.

"I-I'm sorry, Axel. I was just trying to make you feel better about Ro…about whatever made you act this way."

The Nocturne released his friend and sat back, giving the man room to climb to his elbows and prop himself up against the headboard. Their eyes locked and the younger of the two looked away sheepishly, pulling his legs closer to himself and playing idly with his hands as he leaned his shoulder against the headboard for support. He refused to look at anything but Axel's elbow, which sat perched atop the pillow in a leisurely manner, and even when the fire wielder began to address him, all he could manage was a quick flick of his eyes halfway up his superior's torso before his nerves got the better of him and sent his gaze spiraling back toward the mattress.

"You...were trying to make me feel better about Roxas leaving?"

Demyx looked up at the question, this time hesitating at Axel's clothed collarbone and remaining there. He felt his cheeks burn with a blush and silently cursed his obvious embarrassment. 'Why did I have to do that? I should have known he would take it badly; no one in the Organization believes in emotions and empathy. He must think I have an ulterior motive.' The blond frowned, and stuttered out a quiet retort, fuming internally all the while.

"Yeah. I…well, you see…I…" Biting his tongue, the younger man shifted his weight, feigning discomfort to gain more time to think. Scrambling to meet the red-head's gaze and only managing to stare at the tattoos adorning his cheeks, he opened his mouth again, intent on getting some sort of coherent answer to escape and ease his superior's mind.

"I did want to make you feel better, since it's hard seeing you walking around upset over losing someone important to you." Axel didn't reply, so he hardened his resolve and pushed on, hoping with all his might his explanation would smooth over this whole incident and allow them to turn back on the path of friendship. "So I did…that…since I've seen humans doing it whenever someone they know is suffering from…um…you know," he fought to think of the word, clumsily trampling over it's pronunciation in his haste to end this line of conversation, "de-depressin."

Finished, Demyx tightened his jaw and swallowed roughly, wishing the heat would leave his face. His mind wandered (much to his frustration) and he almost missed the pool of bright red that settled under those twin tattoos on the other's cheeks. Mouth dropping open slightly in astonishment, he focused on the blush washing over the fire nobody's own cheeks, stunned at what he was seeing. Never, in his entire time with the Organization, had he seen Axel (or anyone else for that matter) show such clear signs of embarrassment. In fact, before just this moment, he wasn't even sure if any of his peers had the ability to flush so heatedly.

The Nocturne smiled to himself, content that he wasn't the only one who experienced such humanistic phenomena.

Axel, on the other hand, was not so happy with the discovery. He hated being reminded of how easily his emotions (what few he admitted to having) were shown to the rest of the world, and willed them away, the thought crossing his mind that if he truly didn't have feelings or whatnot, he wouldn't be having this problem with Roxas in the first place. If one couldn't feel, then one didn't have to worry about caring for others. This, of course, came in handy when those others left you alone and refused to come back, no matter how much they meant to you or vice versa.

Mood slipping back to gloomy at mach speed, the older nobody pressed his back firmly against the headboard and turned his head away from Demyx, a scowl pulling at his lips. "It's alright." He finally said, hearing his companion slide closer and come to rest beside him on the bed, back hitting the wood next to Axel's and upper arm rubbing against his innocently. "Thanks for trying to help me. I appreciate the effort."

"No problem." Demyx replied, smiling warmly. It faded, however, when his friend continued to glower at the wall and ignore his presence entirely. Consciously keeping his bottom lip from forming a pout, he bumped his arm into Axel's lightly, grinning hugely when the other finally looked at him.

Surprised at the over zealous attempt by the blond to lighten his mood (again), the older male watched him mutely, an infantile smirk soon reaching his own lips at the sight. He met Demyx's gaze, noting how the shorter man returned his small amount of enthusiasm ten-fold, and realized his sulk was no match for the Nocturne's doggedness. Sorrowful expression melting away, he grinned cheekily and flicked an errant lock of crimson hair away from his face as he leaned heavily into the white-washed wood of the headboard at his back. "So, anymore humanistic devises you care to use on me or was the hug your best bet?"

Gasping in a highly fake offended tone, Demyx put his hands on his hips and elbowed Axel in the side in mock anger. "Was my hug not good enough for you? You're such a taker, Axel! I give and I give and you just keep soaking it up like some giant higher-functioning-nobody-shaped sponge without giving any thought as to my feelings!"

"What about them?" the flame-wielder asked, a wily edge to his voice. "I thought you were helping me out of the goodness of your 'heart,' not to get anything in return. Don't tell me you're that shallow, Demyx."

While doing an amazing rendition of a gold fish deprived of oxygen, the blond managed to stumble out a retort.

"I-I didn't mean it like that Axel, hones-"

Cutting him off mid apology, the elder organization member burst into a fit of laughter, unthinkingly pulling the other across his leg and against his chest in a clumsy (and slightly painful) hug. "Jeez, Demyx, I was just teasing you." He said, shoulders still shaking with mirth. "I swear, you're far too quick to apologize."

The musician gagged as he was smashed into the warm, solid form of his companion's torso, the wind being knocked from him in the process and his mouth (which had still been in the middle of communicating his remorse to Axel) filled with the black material of the taller nobody's undershirt. Spitting the cloth from his lips and tilting his head back, he managed to look up into the taller man's face, eyes undoubtedly wide and arms trapped at his sides from Axel's embrace. "Uhn?" he answered intelligently, expression contorting into one of bewilderment at the highly unexpected action.

"Spoken like a true ditz." Axel jabbed, humor spilling from his retort like water over the falls.

"Oh shut up." Demyx grumbled, diverting his gaze and raising one arm to settle on the red-head's chest as he pushed himself away uncomfortably. "I was caught off guard, that's all."

Axel rolled his eyes and tightened his grip, taking a moment to puzzle over the conflicting sensation of his warmed gloves over the musician's chilly coat before dragging the blond back to his chest (which also coincidentally brought Demyx's smooth cheek against his superior's clothed collar bone) and freed one arm, raising it to chin level as he grinned triumphantly. "I guess this'll catch you off guard, too." The questioning look this received was too priceless for words, and the flame-wielding nobody chortled devilishly as he proceeded to give Demyx the mother of all noogies.

"Ah! Gah! Damn it, Axel, stop!" The Nocturne grunted, trying with all his might to escape the other's death grip around his shoulders and his merciless attack on his unprotected scalp. "You're-You're mussing my hair!"

"What do you mean 'mussing your hair?' The Flurry asked, doubling his efforts and enjoying Demyx's squirms immensely. "Any semblance of styling it had was already destroyed by your shower escapades and subsequent towel drying."

"That may be so," the blond ground out, face growing red from his excursions, "but that doesn't mean you're not making it worse!"

Axel paused, knuckles held loosely above the younger's head as he pretended to contemplate this bit of information. "True." He finally admitted, shrugging exaggeratedly before pulling Demyx into his lap and resuming his torture of his subordinate with renewed vigor and a toothy grin.

Though the new position eased the pressure of Axel's knee digging into his side, it also granted the older male better access to the musician's head, which turned out to be the hellish turn of events the younger thought it to be. Now that he wasn't straining in the least, the crimson-haired male rubbed the joint of his knuckles into Demyx's scalp relentlessly, sending the entrapped nobody into a fit of frustrated and borderline-painful swears (something Axel found more endearing than threatening).

Finally happy with his work, The Flurry stopped and released the younger man from his hold, chuckling when the blond practically threw himself from him in his haste to flee any further attacks on his person. Taking in the flushed face, piercing gaze, and heavily panting chest of the water-wielding member of the organization, Axel smiled smugly and leaned back, spreading his legs a little wider to offer Demyx more room to move about. Again, he didn't object when the other's hands found their way to his knees to steady himself; instead, he brought his legs up a little higher, allowing his companion a more relaxed hold.

Demyx huffed with irritation and raised one hand to massage his sore head daintily, an odd cross between a pout and frown adorning his reddened face as he glared at his superior. "What was that for?!" he demanded, other hand tightening into a fist and lying stiffly on Axel's knees while his legs were thrown haphazardly in front of him on the comforter, ready to react at the first sign of movement from his assailant and block any further attacks.

"Nothing much." The fire nobody shrugged indifferently, reaching back to fluff the pillow behind him. "I suppose it was simply to see you get riled up – which, by the way, is as entertaining as I imagined it would be."

"So, let me get this straight; you gave me a knuckle burn because you felt the need to amuse yourself?"

"Yep."

The two young men watched each other quietly, one deciding which method of revenge he would use while the other waited and planned for the anticipated retribution. Seconds ticked by without a hint of movement, then, as if in slow motion, Axel caught the steady bend in the musician's waist as he leaned forward, the action accompanied by the curl in his legs as they shifted beneath him to support his weight, and the progress of his outstretched arm and splayed fingers as his gloved hand approached its target – something to the side of the elder nobody.

"What do you think you're do-" The red-head's amused tone died in his throat and was replaced with a sharp cry as the soft cushion behind him suddenly disappeared, causing his upper back and head to come crashing down painfully into the headboard. "Ouch! What the hell?!" he managed to squeeze out between clenched teeth, scrambling to sit up again and freezing when his eyes adjusted to the menacing figure above him, the pillow it was brandishing almost appearing as a deadly weapon under the circumstances.

"Uh...Demyx?" Axel croaked, voice cracking abnormally. He had to confess, the vision of the Nocturne looming over him, his expression twisted into one of absolute triumph as he raised the pillow above his head with the light from the bedside lamps casting bizarre shadows on his face and coat, was a fearful one. The blond grinned in a very berserker-Saix like fashion, offering the elder a glance of what a heartless sees before it's smashed under one's boot – utter doom.

Without further ado, the blue and white-striped pillow came barreling down on the defenseless man, his pleas for mercy falling on deaf ears.

"Ah! Jesus, Demyx! Ow! Stop it!" the dull smacks of cloth on flesh met both their ears, but neither paid too much attention, seeing as the smaller male was focused on the task at hand of pummeling Axel into the mattress with the use of a soft and unorthodox instrument of torture, and the larger male was focused on covering his ass (figuratively speaking).

"Say it!" the musician shouted, jaw clenched and eyes narrowed in concentration.

"Ouch! Say what?!" Axel rolled onto his stomach and covered his head, awed by how powerful the blows now raining down on his back and hands were. 'When did Demyx get so damn strong? This actually hurts!'

"That you're sorry for giving me a noogie and messing with my gorgeous locks of hair that are far silkier than yours!"

The prone male sat up at that, facing his attacker and shooting him an astounded look as he raised his arms to protect his face from the oncoming pillow. "W-What? I'm not going to say that!" Honestly, what was his colleague thinking? Not only would it be highly embarrassing to say something so inherently dumb and flat-out untrue (his hair was much silkier than Demyx's), it was also a mouthful.

The younger of the two raised himself higher on his knees, feeling the soft sheets caress the tops of his bare feet as he did so, and grinned down at his companion unpleasantly. "You will if you want to make it out of here without some sort of pillow-induced rashes. Now say it!" he punctuated his point with a harsh strike to Axel's forearms. "'Demyx, I'm sorry for giving you a noogie and messing with your gorgeous locks of hair that are far silkier than mine.'"

Vocalizing his mild state of pain with each smack of cloth against skin, the Flurry blinked his eyes out of reflex as the breeze caused from the action hit him full in the face and tried to get his thoughts in order long enough to answer. This was beginning to get tiring, but if he went for Demyx now, the younger man was sure to try and stop him – and he'd much rather get hit with a pillow than the flustered male's fist. "Alright – OUCH! – alright!" he conceded, moving further away until he hit the wooden obstacle behind him. "I'll say it!"

"All of it?" his aggressor asked, pausing momentarily and giving Axel some space. "You have to say the whole thing! Got it memorized, or do I have to repeat it for you?"

Glaring angrily, the fire-wielder grabbed one end of the bedding accessory as it came down on his head for another blow and held it tightly with both gloved hands. "Hey! No stealing my lines you little-" he was cut off when his earlier fears were proven justified, his already abused scalp suffering a shockingly powerful smack from Demyx. "Gah! Stop hitting me!"

"SAY IT!"

"ALRIGHT!" Axel yelled, pulling the pillow from the other's grip and forcing him back with a rough push to his chest. His fellow

organization member flailed and fell backwards to the comforter below, bouncing slightly from the impact. Breathing deeply, the red-head crushed the fluffy material into the mattress and clambered to his knees, using his hands and the bed beneath him for support as he addressed Demyx, face equally as red as the smaller man's had been after the aforementioned noogie. "Demyx," he droned mechanically, "I'm sorry for giving you a noogie and messing with your gorgeous locks of hair that are far silkier than mine."

"Good." The Nocturne said, sitting up and crossing his legs in front of him, choosing to ignore the sarcasm added near the end of the apology. "I'm glad you see the error of your ways."

Axel snorted indignantly and sat back on his heels, holding the pillow to his chest in order to keep it from finding its way back into the other's hands. No way was he going to let THAT fiasco happen again. 'I've probably already got a few soft tissue bruises forming from the first attack.' He mentally grumbled, fuming silently. How was he going to explain those away? He'd be damned if he admitted (almost) getting his ass kicked by Demyx, of all people. Especially with a pillow. Yeah, he'd best leave that part out, or replace 'pillow' with 'heat sensing laser gun' or something awesome and believable like that.

Picturing the separate scenes in his head and envisioning the different reactions he'd receive from his fellow nobodies, he congratulated himself. 'Axel, you are too good.'

While Member Eight stewed and hugged the pillow to himself, Demyx figured it was high time he checked to see what damage had been caused to his hair by Axel's furious knuckle bashing. He flinched, hoping he didn't have any scalp burns or loose hair follicles. Unknown to his colleagues, the water-wielder held his image in high esteem, realizing that he and only he was able to prove that the Organization had any sense at all, fashion or otherwise. This was extremely important to him, and thus, the state of his legendary locks could not be in the danger zone, or the 'code red' zone, as all the cool people (i.e. him) called it.

Running his gloved fingers through his damp hair, the Nocturne 'tested the waters' so to speak, tugging lightly on his drooping mane and wincing when a few sharp stabs of pain raced through his scalp at the pressure. Bringing his hand back to chest level, he glanced down, noticing immediately a few stray strands of dirty blond hair clinging to the leather of his gloves. Lips forming a frustrated pout, he dove back in for another run-through, coming back with fewer tresses wrapped around his fingers, but they were there none the less.

Great. Just perfect. Anymore assaults on his scalp would result in more lost hair, and if this kept up, he'd go bald in his early age. Axel, that bastard, had knowingly started him on the road to hair loss. He would pay dearly for this.

Thoughts growing malicious, the musician was about to act on them (most likely by stealing back his earlier weapon, or just outright snatching his forgotten sitar from the floor and using it to drench the red-head in waves of 'revenge water.' Or bash him over the head with it. One or the other.) when, out of nowhere, the Flurry managed to save himself from a watery/sitar-whacking induced grave by doing something completely out of character.

Maybe it was guilt or maybe it was because he had a feeling some type of painful vengeance was looming over him, but whatever the reason, Axel dropped the pillow to his side, scooted over to the younger male, and patted his hair down in an almost affectionate manner.

"Sorry about the hair, kid." He chuckled, mood heightened by his former self-offered praise. "I'm sure it'll be fine, as long as you steer clear from any more noogies and remember not to over-gel it."

Stunned at the action (and that Axel dared mock his gel usage), he sat stock still, but managed to defend his hair-product honor. "I do not over-gel my hair. The amount I use is just perfect, unlike yours."

"You love my hair and you know it. Hell, how could you not? It practically demands your attention."

"Yeah, just like a gummie-ship wreck. It's horrifying, but you can't manage to look away."

The red-head scoffed and wound his arm around Demyx's neck and shoulders. "I'd be careful, if I were you. Wouldn't want to find yourself at my mercy again, would you?" He wasn't completely serious, but he was interested in seeing how his companion reacted to the threat. Needless to say, the elder was a bit surprised to see such an intense death glare sent his way.

"Touch my hair again, and you'll lose something that's important to you. I'll leave your imagination to fill in just what that 'something' is." The Nocturne replied, shrugging the arm from his shoulders and crossing his own in front of his chest in a defiant manner. There, he was sure he had asserted himself accordingly and proven that he, too, was a dangerous member of Organization XIII.

The fingertip suddenly digging into the side of his head shattered his confidence, and Demyx glared at his superior, who had one of the dumbest and yet maniacal looks on his face the smaller male had ever seen. 'He's purposely provoking me!' the blond thought, anger bubbling to the surface and causing his skin to gain a less than healthy crimson-glow. 'They're always treating me like I'm weaker than them! I can fight and I can fight well, and it's about time I started proving it!'

Mind made up, he dove for his sitar on the floor, intent on using it to turn Axel into a startling likeness to a drowned rat, when his progress was impeded by an equally gloved hand that shot out to stop him from reaching his goal. Cerulean eyes met emerald green, and invisible electricity prickled between the two as they prepared for yet another battle, this time over who would take control of Demyx's sitar.

"I already know what you're planning, 'Nocturne,' and believe me, it's not going to happen." Axel began, goading the other man into a confrontation and doing what he did best – fuel the fire. "We're both well aware of who is the superior here, and, in turn, who is stronger, so I'd advise against calling your puddles of water into this." Grinning at the affronted expression dawning on the musician's face, he went on to brag, "You see, I'd defeat them so quickly, it would simply be a waste of your energy and mine."

"That's where you're wrong, 'Flurry.'" Demyx answered, eyes narrowing. "My clones are more than mere puddles and I can prove it to you. All you have to do is let me grab my sitar and then we can see which of us is truly stronger."

The elder held his raucous laughter back, only allowing a few breathless chuckles to escape his lips as he asked in a mocking tone, "Really? That's all I have to do? Wow, if you had told me earlier, I would have let you throw as much water at me as you wished! At least then this pathetic struggle would be over and I could go on with my day."

"Pathetic struggle, huh?" the water-wielder asked, leaning closer to his companion. "Then why were you so out of breath and frustrated after I beat you down with my pillow?" He returned Axel's smug grin from before, adding his own flare to the physical announcement of superiority. "You'd think after accepting your defeat you'd lose some of that cockiness."

The Flurry blanched, grip momentarily loosening around Number Nine's wrist (the action quickly registering with the other, though he made no move to take advantage of it), and gaping in surprise at the blunt comment. "Accepting my…?"

"Your defeat, yes." The fingers on his wrist tightened once more when he finished the red-head's question, signaling an end to the rather humorous shock written across that slightly pointed face. Demyx pouted internally at its disappearance, promising himself he would somehow get to see that expression again soon, one way or the other.

"For your information," Axel deadpanned, pulling the younger man closer and offering him a scowl that promised death if he were to ever mention the subject again, "I said that crap to get you away from me and to stop smacking me in the head, because it was starting to give me one hell of a headache."

"No wonder, considering all the blood that was rushing to your head as you ducked and rolled around to protect yourself."

"Oh screw you!" The Flurry cried, pushing his palms into the blond's chest with enough force to send him sprawling backward. "I wasn't anymore flushed than you were!" He released a sound akin to a squawk when his fellow organization member sprung up and all but flew at him, his smaller form colliding with the superior's and sending them both tumbling to the crumpled sheets behind Axel. The older male let out an 'oomph' as the additional weight on his chest caused air to escape his lungs, leaving him wheezing and panting to refill them.

"You're not as great as you think you are, Axel!" Demyx shouted, fists curling into the other's shirt and sharp tone making his companion flinch. "I'm just as great a fighter as you are, and it's high time you accepted that!" The younger male breathed deeply, trying to calm himself from his short rant. This conversation had taken a turn for the worst! Instead of getting closer to Axel (emotionally, anyway, since he couldn't get much closer than he already was at the moment, physically speaking), he had ended up getting into one skirmish after another with him.

Huffing in agitation, the musician thought back to what (if anything) had gone right tonight. 'There was that hugging thing.' he recalled slowly. That had gone over pretty well. Hell, Axel had even seemed thankful for the gesture. Maybe he should try that again in hopes of rescuing what was left of their mangled newly-formed friendship.

Glancing down at the other man, he blinked at the irritation so blatantly showing in his features. 'Maybe not.' He concluded.

Alright then, if hugging wasn't going to work, what else was there? There had to be something he could do! 'Something more drastic than hugging, perhaps?' he asked himself, straining to think back to his time among humans. 'What else is there?'

Gradually, a scene unfolded in his head, one containing a human couple in front of a small jewelry shop located in one of the more populated cities on a nearby world. The two had hugged, yes, but he remembered another action which followed, something that, to him, seemed a bit odd, but they had looked so happy he hadn't been able to tear his eyes from them. Wondering if what he had seen would help him in his current situation, he leaned down and pressed his lips lightly to the older nobody's, eyes open and locked with Axel's to gauge the man's reaction.

Unfortunately, it wasn't exactly what he had been hoping for.

TBC

So, liking it so far? This is my first time writing Axel and Demyx (or anyone from KH, for that matter) so I'm hoping I did an okay job of keeping them in character. If not...sorry. o.o

Next part will be coming up at some point. I just have to start it. xD

Until then, PLEASE REVIEW!