Full disclosure here: I was procrastinating working on this year's NaNoWriMo and went digging through old fics to see if there was anything I could salvage, and I remembered that I still had about 15k of this fic that I never published. So uh. It's from 13 years ago, written by 16-year-old Killian, whose writing is far less polished. I skimmed this chapter for spelling errors and inconsistencies, but other than that, it's pretty much untouched. But I wanted to give it to the world! There's more than this; I'll be splitting it into proper chapters over the coming weeks.
Shout out and much love to the 100+ people who still follow this; I hope it brightens up your email notifications! Because nothing says nostalgia like a fic updating for the first time in 12 years :D
Axel was yelling in his ear. Roxas groaned and tried to roll away from the source of the noise. It didn't work.
"Roxas Roxas Roxas, I had a dream!"
"Congratulations," he mumbled sarcastically into his pillow.
"No, you'll be interested in it!"
"If it's some wet dream involving me, then I really don't want to know about it, I promise."
"Oh, you're snarky in the mornings. Snark snark snark. But it's about that past life stuff you're so on about."
Roxas was up immediately. "What?"
"Maybe I won't tell you now."
"Nope. You were being mean to me."
"Axel! This is serious!" He was getting really frustrated now.
"Well...maybe if someone would give me a kiss I'd feel better..."
He rolled his eyes. "You're crazy, you know?"
"Crazy about youuuu!"
"Do you want your kiss or not?"
"Then don't be a moron," he replied, and Roxas couldn't help but laugh as Axel's look changed from one of glee to one of faked sadness. Roxas pulled him close for quick kiss, and then pulled back, waiting for Axel to finally get on with telling him about the dream.
"You might get another if you'll just tell me about this damn dream already."
"Oh, fine then. It was the two of us, and we were in this giant white castle...thing. It was odd. And we had on black robe jacket things, like you described. We were just talking...I didn't catch a lot of it, but you said something about not having hearts, and then I said that we must, or I wouldn't be able to feel like I did."
Roxas stared at him. The dream that Axel had just described seemed so real, like it had actually happened. And then suddenly, he could see it in his mind.
"Axel, we don't have hearts, therefore we can't feel," Dream-Roxas said.
"That's just what Xemnas wants you to believe. We must have hearts or something, or I wouldn't feel like this," Dream-Axel countered. "At least around you. You make me feel like I have a heart."
"Didn't you ever learn math, Roxy? One half plus one half equals one whole."
"Roxas! Hellooooo...you okay there?" Roxas blinked, bringing himself back to reality. Axel was waving a hand in front of his face.
"Yeah...I just spaced for a moment there." He shook his head, trying to shake the last of the sleepiness from himself. He glanced at the digital clock on his bedside table, almost groaning when he saw it blinking 6:23.
"Anyway, I saw your dream. And it was clear. I got the entire conversation...that I was there for at least." Roxas ran a hand through his hair. "You called me Roxy then, too."
"You mentioned Xemnas."
"What? The crazy head of this camp?"
"I got the feeling that he was the head of something in our past life, too. He was in control or something...it was odd," Roxas finished.
"Well, tell me what happened then," Axel said, curiosity getting the better of him.
Roxas did, and Axel stared at him.
"This is confusing," he finally said.
"Tell me about it," Roxas agreed.
"What does it all mean? I wish we got more than snippets."
"I'm trying to figure out what the whole talk about hearts was. It's just...you can't exist without a heart. You'd die. So it would be impossible to not have one."
Axel looked like he was concentrating really hard on remembering something. "Ah! I've got it!" he exclaimed proudly, before poking Roxas.
And they were in another world.
"Fuck. Wow. Didn't mean for that to happen," Axel said. "Just...fuck. We're in that castle."
"I noticed. We're also in the black jackets," Roxas added, and then took a moment to really look at their surroundings.
They were standing on a circular area at the very top of the castle. Altar of Naught floated through his mind before he even tried to grasp at a name for it. Steps twined down the side, probably leading to another section of the castle, but Roxas's focus was on what laid ahead- for now, at least. The castle was made of all white and gray, a stark contrast to the black world around it.
"No wonder these things have hoods," Axel commented as it began to drizzle, pulling the hood up as he spoke.
"Yeah," Roxas said, following suit. His eyes then landed on the moon. It was unlike any moon he had ever seen before. Instead, it took the shape of giant heart, looming over everything and exuding the aura of constant surveillance. "What's up with the moon?"
Roxas pointed at it.
"Oh. Whoa. That's just...that's one hell of a moon."
"It's a heart," Roxas stated unnecessarily, feeling like he needed to clarify.
"I think...I think it's Kingdom Hearts."
And then everything was flying away, and they were falling, literally falling back into their room, with a crash that Roxas hoped didn't wake anyone else up. He was glad that he had been on the bed before this impromptu journey into dreamland, because the idea of falling on hard ground sounded even worse.
"Okay then- let's never do that again."
"Axel, I don't think we really had much of a choice."
"Still, I don't want to end up there again. It's too weird for my tastes."
"You said you had 'got it' before we were transported to the castle. What exactly did you get?"
"With all this weird stuff going on, don't you think it's quite possible that we had, oh, I don't know, magic or something in a past life? It would explain the fire."
"And then it would be quite possible for there to be different sorts of beings, one who could exist without hearts! I see what you mean," Roxas agreed. The whole thing still sounded like a twisted make believe world, perhaps brought on by some sort of joint hallucination, but what other explanation was there? For the time being, he just wanted to get some more sleep, in the limited time he had before the sun rose. "I'm going back to bed."
Surprisingly, Axel agreed without further complaints, merely shooting him a tired grin before he climbed into his own bed.
"Zexy! Hey, Zexion! Wait up!" Demyx called out to the older boy. "Were you going to run off without me again?"
"Of course not," Zexion replied. Demyx swore there was a little bit of sarcasm in his voice, but decided to just shake it off.
"Well, then let's go! We have-" Demyx began, but was cut off when he grabbed for his friend's hand. They were transported back to the mysterious castle, and it felt just as jarring as the previous times. Demyx was never going to get used to this.
"Again?" Zexion asked.
"I didn't mean for it to happen, I swear!" Demyx exclaimed. He paused to take a look at the surroundings. This time, they had landed on a bed, and he took a moment to settle himself into a comfortable seated position. They were obviously in a bedroom of sorts, and Demyx could feel the familiarity of it; he had since they had first arrived.
'This was...this was my room,' he thought to himself.
"Hey, Zexy, I think that this-"
Zexion cut him off with a finger pushing gently against his lips. "Shh. Listen to the memories."
Demyx complied, closing his eyes and just letting memories of a lifetime past flitter through his mind. He kept grasping at them, but try as he might, he couldn't get a hold on any individual one in particular.
They remained in silence for a few minutes, content to just sit in peace. Demyx was enjoying the calm when he felt the bed dip slightly lower next to him, indicating that Zexion was a lot closer than he had been before.
And once again, he felt the older boy's lips on his own, though this time it was gentler, more of a question than an answer. Demyx resisted the urge to snap his eyes open in surprise, and instead tried to focus on what he should do.
Countless thoughts were flying through his head. Should he push Zexion away? No, Zexion was his friend, and he wouldn't want to hurt or offend him in some way. But did that really extend to this situation? Half of his mind was screaming for him to put a stop to this, but the other half - along his body, because the body remembers - was urging him to go with it. This was familiar, this had happened before, countless, countless times that he was trying desperately to remember.
Demyx sided with the half encouraging him to continue.
He hesitantly pressed himself into the kiss, resting his hands lightly on the other boy's shoulders. Zexion took this as a sign of acceptance and pulled Demyx closer, fisting a hand in his hair to ensure that he wouldn't back away. Demyx gave a little happy sigh as Zexion nibbled at his bottom lip and he melted contentedly into the lilac haired boy.
Once again, it was over all too soon, but this kiss was infinitely more satisfying and meaningful than the last. Zexion was staring at him, a rare smile on his face. Demyx couldn't help but grin. There was no need for words in this moment. He reached out pull Zexion closer for a hug - because lord knows Demyx loves hugs - and was instead met with a shockingly bright flash of memory.
He saw himself sitting on the edge of the roof of the castle, strumming absentmindedly at a sitar. Dream-Demyx was gazing into the distance, not staring at anything in particular. A light rain drizzled around them.
"Demyx," Dream-Zexion said as he entered the rooftop. "What are you doing out here?"
"Thinking. It's pretty up here and no one bothers me." A sigh. "Did you know that most of the Organization thinks I'm basically mindless and that I don't think? But I do. I just do it where no one will laugh at me."
"And yet you let me find you."
"Yeah. I don't think you're like the rest of them. You won't laugh, right?"
"...No. No, I won't," Dream-Zexion said, sitting down on the edge next to Dream-Demyx. "What are you thinking about?"
"Emotions. Life. Everything. The Superior tells us that we can't feel, and yet everything we do is because of a drive for something. Could we really put so much effort into something if we couldn't feel?" Another sigh. "We have half a heart, right? That's still something and I think that we can feel, just not as strongly as if we had our complete heart."
Dream-Zexion stared intently at Dream-Demyx, finally saying "You're probably right, and if any of the other members actually thought about it like that, we'd have a much happier Organization."
Dream-Demyx faintly smiled at Dream-Zexion, saying "I've always wondered...if Nobodies each have half a heart, would it be like they had a whole one if they were with another?"
His dream self squeaked in surprise as Dream-Zexion placed a light kiss on his lips.
"Do you feel whole now?"
Demyx blinked as he was brought back to reality (well, they were still sitting on a bed in an unknown castle and donning black coats, but...) and glanced at Zexion for some sign that he had seen the same memory.
Zexion was impossible to read most of the time, and this was no different. Demyx sighed in annoyance, and asked "Did you see that?"
"Yes," was the quiet reply that he received.
Zexion didn't say anything, though Demyx could tell he was thinking about it. Due to his concentration on understanding the memory, he wasn't hiding his emotions, and Demyx smiled slightly as he watched a myriad of them flitter across Zexion's face.
"I don't know," Zexion finally said, unhappily. "This is all so confusing."
"You don't like not knowing what's going on, do you?"
"No, I really don't. This is completely different than anything I've ever experienced before."
"Same for me! And I don't know if I like it or not. But," Demyx began shyly. "I don't really mind you kissing me out of the blue like that."
His bout of courage was rewarded with a pretty blush spreading itself across Zexion's cheeks.
Demyx grinned. "Are you going to be embarrassed about it now? Because you really don't have to be! I liked it and you can do it again if you want!"
"Demyx. Shut up," Zexion said, though there was no anger behind the words, which was proven by Zexion pulling Demyx close again. He was about to kiss him again when they found themselves transported back to camp.
Demyx could have sworn he heard Zexion swear under his breath, but that wasn't possible...right? He was going to question him, only to have the noise of someone walking into the clearing interrupt him..
"Getting a little frisky there?" Axel asked, smirking. Roxas appeared to be holding in a laugh. Demyx glared up at his so called "friends". They should be nicer and pretend they weren't interrupting a totally awkward situation.
Zexion pulled himself to his feet, extending a hand to help Demyx up. "In case you've forgotten, I am a counselor and I could get you two in trouble for your interesting activities."
"Doesn't being a counselor kind of prohibit you from being romantically involved with the campers?" Axel shot back.
Zexion threw his hands up in annoyance. "If you'll excuse me, I have an activity to oversee."
"What is it then, oh great counselor?" Axel asked, knowing full well that Zexion was too frazzled at the moment to remember.
"Swimming!" Demyx piped up helpfully. "And we have to run because Zexy forgot his swimming stuff at the cabin. Bye guys!"
This time when he grabbed Zexion's hand, they weren't transported out of the camp. So Demyx pulled him along out of the clearing and towards Affinity Cabin, leaving Axel and Roxas behind and staring.
Despite the calm, collected, and nearly emotionless expression on his face, Zexion's mind was abuzz with thoughts and feelings. He had never been faced with such a complex or confusing experience in his life. Granted, he was only nineteen, so there wasn't too much that he had faced, but this was still quite confusing.
It wasn't just everything that had happened, either. Oh, no. The flashbacks and trips to that odd castle and the snippets of memories were just the beginning of his problems.
Most of these problems focused around Demyx, who was currently happily dragging him towards their cabin. It was at this moment that Zexion noticed their intertwined hands.
That was number one on his constantly growing list of problems: his relationship with Demyx.
He hadn't even known the hyperactive blond two weeks ago, and now everything that was happening was centered on him.
He'd obviously had some sort of relationship with Demyx in their past life. Zexion was drawn to him without even meaning to be. He'd never had close friends before- he'd been a bit of a loner through high school - and had been quite content to stay that way, but Demyx had managed to crack through the barriers he had put up.
This frightened Zexion more than he wanted to admit. He was nervous about scaring him away; despite how he'd originally tried to do that very thing, it was now far from his mind, and he didn't quite know what he'd do if Demyx became angry at him for anything.
"Zexy? Hello, anyone in there?" Demyx asked, interrupting his thoughts and poking him on the forehead. "You're spacing out and we're at the cabin now. You have to get your stuff!"
Zexion brushed Demyx's hand away. "I'm still not swimming. How many times do I have to repeat this?"
"I don't know...probably until you actually give in and get in the lake!"
He sighed, walking into the cabin and heading to their now shared room. Zexion knew he had swimming supplies packed somewhere. Maybe if he at least brought them, Demyx would lay off the swimming thing for awhile.
"I think you've forgotten that I'm a counselor and thus, I have responsibilities. I'm supposed to make sure no one drowns and such."
"And what better way than to actually be in the water so that you can be close by to save them!"
"Demyx, I'm not swimming. End of conversation."
He didn't like the look that Demyx was giving him.
"You can't swim, can you?"
Zexion froze, halfway through picking up a pair of swim trunks. He could feel a blush settling itself on his cheeks and he glared at it. He'd never blushed before he'd met Demyx, and now it was like he couldn't stop!
"No, I can swim, I just don't like to."
"Don't be shy! I'll teach you, don't worry!"
"Didn't I just say that I can swim?" There, now he'd gathered all of his swimming stuff up and packed it into a small duffel bag.
"But I don't believe you!"
Zexion realized that he was going to have to try a different tactic.
"Demyx," he said, almost purring, as he slunk over to the younger boy. "I really don't want to swim."
Demyx flushed at the close, almost seductive, contact. "Um. But I want you to!"
"I don't really mind you kissing me out of the blue like that."
'Oh, really now? Well, we'll just see about that,' Zexion thought to himself before pulling Demyx closer for a kiss. He could feel himself smiling at the younger boy's compliance, and took this as an invitation. Zexion was just running on auto right now, have no past experience to draw on. But Demyx seemed to be enjoying it, so he was just going to continue.
Demyx let out a quiet "oof" as Zexion pushed him backwards onto the bed, and Zexion had a sudden flash of memory, a vision of a similar situation in times past. His tongue darted out to lick tentatively at Demyx's lower lip, earning him a slight happy sigh. Zexion pulled back at this point, causing Demyx to whimper slightly.
"I'm not swimming today," Zexion stated, unable to help the faint smile that settled on his face at Demyx's dazed look.
"Oh, uh, okay," he replied, looking quite out of it.
Zexion broke out into a full smile at this, almost laughing. He gave into the urge to trail a finger lightly over Demyx's features, causing the boy to blush.
"Zexy...what are you doing?"
"Giving into temptation for once," he replied. "You really make me lower my defenses, did you know that?"
"Not enough to actually swim though," Demyx said, pouting. "Hey, wait! You're not yelling at me for calling you Zexy anymore!"
"Do you want me to?"
"No! I like it. You're sexy, Zexy," Demyx said, laughing. "Sexyyyy Zexy."
Damn his cheeks for betraying him once again. Stupid blush.
Zexion pushed himself up and off of the bed, offering a hand to help Demyx up. He took it, grinning, and grabbed Zexion's duffel from where it had fallen on the floor.
"We're going to be late," Zexion said, glancing at the clock on his bedside table.
"Then let's go already!" Demyx then ran out of the room and Zexion followed close behind, shaking his head.
Just as they were arriving at the lake, Zexion remembered something very important about that day. It was Saturday. Saturday meant swimming with not only Demyx, but Axel and Roxas as well. And the red head was smirking as he and Demyx rushed into the area.
"Zexion and Demyx, how nice of you to join us," Tifa said, glaring. "Would you mind explaining why you were late?"
Zexion cringed, not liking the tone in Tifa's voice. She was probably going to lecture him for not being a good influence as a counselor.
"I...left something that I needed in my room," he answered lamely.
He swore he heard Axel mutter "I bet he was looking for it in Demyx's mouth" to Roxas, and made a mental note to find the pyro after swimming to yell at him.
Tifa shook her head in disbelief, but moved onto Demyx anyway. "And why were you late?"
Zexion was well aware that Demyx was the worst liar ever, so he stepped in to help. "I asked him to help me look, because he, uh, reorganized everything in the room," he said. Huh, apparently he'd lost his ability to lie somewhere along the way as well. He blamed Demyx.
"Oh, that's right, I forgot that you two share a room now. Has Demyx flooded this one yet?" Tifa asked.
Axel started cracking up. Everyone else was just kind of staring at them, not quite sure how to react to the whole situation.
"I have not flooded it," Demyx whined.
Roxas started laughing as well, which apparently inspired the entire group to start as well. Tifa rolled her eyes.
"Everyone get in the lake. We're doing partner exercises today, so everyone grab one!" she announced.
Demyx made a move to head towards the lake and Zexion was planning on following when Tifa stopped the two.
"Alright you two, I want a real explanation for why you were late. Zexion, you're a counselor. You should be a good role model for the rest of the campers, and that includes showing up on time. As for you, Demyx, you've always been one of the best in this activity and I haven't had any problems with you besides when you flooded your room."
"I did forget something in my room, and it took awhile for me to find it," Zexion countered. It was true; he just didn't need to include the making out with Demyx part.
"What did you forget, your ability to lie? Because you definitely didn't find it."
"It was my fault!" Demyx said suddenly, flailing his arms around. "I was being obnoxious and distracting and I hid Zexy's swim stuff!"
Tifa stared at Demyx, confusion evident on her features, before she began to smile.
"Well, since you both insist on covering for the other, there's not much else I can do. Just don't be late again, okay?" she said, completely devoid of any anger whatsoever.
"But Demyx, since you were late, you now have no partner. Seeing as you obviously need extra supervision, you will have a counselor working with you today."
Zexion didn't like where this was going.
"And Zexion, to show what a good influence you are to the other campers, I think that you'd be a perfect partner for Demyx," Tifa finished.
Oh, damn it. Demyx was grinning. Tifa was smirking. And Zexion was not happy.
"I guess that's fair," Demyx said. "We'll behave really well for the rest of the day, don't worry!"
"I'm sure you will," Tifa said.
"Come on Zexy, let's go get changed!" Demyx exclaimed, already pulling him along toward the changing rooms.
"Don't call me that," Zexion said lamely, knowing that Tifa was definitely laughing at the two of them.