Title: Heart in a Box
Characters/Pairing: Vexen/Marluxia
Rating: PG
Warnings: None so far.
Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts is, most obviously, owned by big name companies and not by a girl sitting at a laptop on her bedroom floor.
Summary: The tale of Davy Jones and the chest containing his heart is one that spreads across the boundaries of worlds... Investigation by a scientist and the newest member of Organization XIII can lead to complications.
A/N: First two paragraphs are the prompts written for me by silvestris from LiveJournal. This is for you, darling!
And yes, the title on this one sucks. Live with it.

Heart in a Box

Luxord had come back from his assigned domain one day, telling stories of a figure of legend, a captain sailing the seas, crewing a ship of damned souls. But what made this ghost-story different than so many other was that the captain was no spirit but flesh and blood, and he had no heart. According to the tale, the man had carved out his own heart, hiding it away for safekeeping in a locked chest, leading now a half existence without true feelings, yet plagued by memories of them. Practically one of their own.

Further research could prove to be invaluable to their cause, their resident scientist argued, quite excited at the prospect of investigating the subject further. Now if only that annoying neophyte hadn't offered to come as his bodyguard, claiming an interest in hearts and memories as a poor excuse for ambition and simple-minded curiosity...

X

It was a surprising tale, truth be told. To learn of a man who had willingly put away his heart. It wasn't as if they had never heard of someone who had tried this before, of course not. But it was not a story to dismiss lightly. Several of their members wanted to ignore it, deeming that researching this rumored man would be a waste of time.

Vexen however had taken an interest in what Luxord had said. And so, it wasn't long until he found himself before the Superior.

"Ah, Vexen. As you probably already know, Luxord has, shall I say, dug up some rather interesting news..."

"I know all about it," Vexen responded, nodding. "And I must say, it has intrigued me greatly."

"Yes. I'm sure Luxord has gone on about it in great detail already."

"He seems keen on telling everyone how he would have been able to take this supposedly invincible man down had he not been supposed to report back here," Vexen said, mentally cringing at the thought of some of the more...enthusiastic members of the Organization.

"It's fortunate he didn't, then," Xemnas remarked, turning his gaze from whatever far off point he had been looking at towards Vexen. "I know you like to occupy yourself with your own experiments before other's, but — "

"You would like me to look into this further?"

"I insist."

Vexen looked pleased with himself. Going off world into probable danger wasn't always the first thing he liked to do in his spare time, but he wasn't going to complain. He'd got the mission he'd wanted, and with nothing to it. He would have laughed if he wasn't in Xemnas's presence.

"There is one thing I must add," Xemnas continued, either ignoring or oblivious to Vexen's delight.

"And what is that?"

"You'll be taking our newest associate, Number Eleven."

"What?" This had been unexpected. Quite unexpected. If this new Nobody was not a scientist, then there was little point in letting him tag along. He would only serve as a nuisance, Vexen was sure of it. "And why is this, Xemnas?"

"He has expressed a desire to look into the situation as well," Xemnas answered. "I don't believe he will be any sort of hindrance."

"Xemnas, sir," Vexen started, playing his respect card right away, "if he does not have any experience in the art of — "

"He is a quick learner, so far as I can tell. Which is another reason, Vexen, that I need your cooperation. I'd like you to keep an eye on him at all times, and assess what you think he is capable of doing for our goal." Xemnas looked Number IV in the eye. "Can you do this?"

"Yes, yes, of course," Vexen murmured, happy plans that had already been starting to form in his head shattering. He nodded at Xemnas. "Is that all?"

"That is all, Number Four. I hope you do not disappoint me with this mission," the Superior said. "You may leave for Port Royal when you see fit."

"Thank you." Vexen walked quickly over to the door, nearly getting a hand on it when Xemnas added thoughtfully,

"And Vexen? Don't bloody the man more than absolutely necessary."

"If you say so, Xemnas."

Well, Vexen mused as he slipped out of the room, at least he didn't say I can't mess with his head in any way.

X

The Nobody in question was waiting down in Vexen's makeshift laboratory, idly browsing through various bottles and accessories that lined the counters. He didn't look up the first time Vexen cleared his throat, though the latter was fairly sure that he had heard him come in.

"You must be Number Eleven," Vexen stated, eyeing the younger man measuredly. "I'd prefer it if you didn't go through my things. If I must take you along with me to Port Royal, I would like to at least have you understand a few of the basic ideas of courtesy."

"Well, they weren't lying when they said you had your knickers permanently in a twist," Number XI replied, unfazed by Vexen's remarks. He spun around, eyes gleaming with a nearly perfected amount of enthusiasm. It was impressive, for a Nobody who hadn't really been a Nobody for all that long yet. "It's a pleasure to meet you."

"You can skip the formalities. Xemnas has informed me that you are to be assisting me on my current assignment." Vexen paused, gaze fixed on the other's quiet grin. "You may address me as Vexen, or sir. I'm sure we'll get along beautifully if you don't even bother trying to talk to me at all. So, what is it you're calling yourself?"

"The name's Marluxia, Vexen," the man answered, tone still cheerful despite Vexen's aloof instructions.

"Marluxia, yes," Vexen mused, stepping over to the counter and rifling through the items Marluxia had just been going through a minute before. "I think, when we get back, you are going to take some time to reorganize everything in here, Number Eleven."

For merely a second, Vexen swore that he caught a spark of annoyance flicker through Marluxia's expression, but the younger Nobody was still falsely cheerful. Tapping the tabletop thoughtfully, Vexen fished for anything else he had to tell the boy before they set off.

"Now, this mission might be incredibly important to this Organization," he began, "or it might not. Either way, I think full, unyielding cooperation from you—"

"I'll do what I think is necessary, sir," Marluxia cut across him, smirk showing through his polite smile.

Vexen was silent. He really didn't want to get into an argument with this man right now, he really didn't. Sighing softly, he turned to Marluxia, returning the other's fake grin with a slightly unpleasant one. "Tell me, have you gotten the hang of traveling through the portals of darkness yet?"

"Not completely, no—"

"Good. Then this will be something of an experience."

X

It was somewhat disconcerting, sending your body through space and possibly time in all of three seconds. The fact that it was unnaturally dark didn't quite help.

Vexen stepped from the portal with ease, casually brushing the hair from his eyes as he looked around. He had never taken much interest in the worlds the others had been in charge of, but he now realized that doing so would have been a reasonably good idea. Oh well, there was nothing they could do about it now. Why waste time going back when they were already there?

The sounds of a portal closing behind him prompted Vexen to turn around. Marluxia was shuffling over, a slightly disgruntled expression on his face. "That was...interesting," Number XI murmured thoughtfully, blinking. "I didn't feel anything, but I knew something was happening, so..."

"You felt it?" Vexen supplied.

"Precisely."

Vexen had to give him credit, none of the other new recruits had been able to pinpoint that feeling of unevenness that traveling through darkness brought. It was a little odd, having someone with him that might just know what he was talking about. Of course, that could also cause problems as well.

"It's rather dismal here," Marluxia commented offhandedly, peering at the scenery behind the older Nobody. Thick clouds hung overhead, casting darkness over the town's port. Stone buildings and streets managed to make the place look even more somber.

"I'd noticed," Vexen replied curtly. "We should start moving. Ask about town, but don't draw any unnecessary attention to yourself. Can you do that?"

"Of course, Vexen," Marluxia answered, scoffingly. "What do you take me for, an idiot?"

You'd be surprised, Vexen thought. Try taking someone like Axel on a mission.

X

If you hid in the shadows around Port Royal long enough, you'd find that it was quite easy to stumble upon information from the general populace. Rumors spread fast, and there is always someone around to listen to them.

Vexen wasn't one hundred percent sure that letting Marluxia go off by himself for the time being was the smartest thing to do, but what better way was there to gather information than split up? At any rate, if the neophyte did anything undesirable, it'd give Vexen a chance to take out his annoyance on someone.

Hushed voices appeared around the corner behind him, but Vexen took no notice. He had learned several interesting things about this place, chief among them more stories of Davy Jones and the world's apparent lack of Heartless. No Heartless would make their job easier and quicker, and easier and quicker was what the Organization strived for, among other things.

Vexen contemplated searching for Marluxia to see what he had discovered. This consideration with rapidly cut short as screams sounded from the alley just ahead, followed by a muffled thump. The blonde sighed, making his way around barrels and boxes and towards the noise.

"What are you doing?" he asked, sounding weary.

A large, burly man was pressed up against the brick wall of a nearby building, Marluxia standing menacingly over him. Thick vines snaked their way from Marluxia's hands to the man, holding him down and creeping up and around his neck and mouth. Marluxia's didn't look up when Vexen arrived.

"This cretin tried to mug me," Marluxia snarled, as the vines tightened. The trapped man panicked silently, the vines constricting his ability to shout.

"We don't need any unnecessary deaths, Marluxia," Vexen told him chillily. "That's something that I would classify under 'unnecessary attention'."

"He's only losing a little oxygen." When Vexen only continued to stare blankly at him, Marluxia shrugged and loosened his hold. The man fell to the ground, unconscious. "It's not like I had anything to steal, anyway."

"Let it be a lesson to all thieves and muggers who cross our path, yes, yes," Vexen said dryly, resisting the urge to roll his eyes. The younger people were, the easier it appeared to be able to offend them. "More importantly—"

"What have I found? Why, I was just getting to that." Marluxia cleared his throat, following Vexen out of the alleyway. "From those that believe in this Davy Jones, it's said that there's man, a captain of a pirate ship, that knows of a way to find him," Marluxia reported. "And to find that man, then a city called Tortuga is the place to go."

Vexen nodded. It was almost exactly what he had heard. Good interrogative skills on this one, albeit inauspicious interrogative skills. Well, the information matched up, and that was all that mattered. If they wanted to observe Davy Jones, then the most logical course of action would be to go to a man that could take them to him. It was off to Tortuga, then.

TBC...