(A/N): I have been inspired by multiple talented writers of the Zemyx pairing to take my own crack at it. I would appreciate feedback, especially regarding Zexion's characterization. I hope I haven't mangled anybody's OTP.

Disclaimer: I still only own a single copy of the game.


Demyx knows he should be able to beat him. Axel is fire; Demyx is water. Logically, Demyx should win every time. But the best he's ever able to do against the redhead is a draw.

"Number IX."

Demyx looks up to find Zexion blocking his path. The Cloaked Schemer is regarding his bedraggled state coolly, an open book in his hands. "You look like a drowned rat."

Demyx grins and shrugs, wiping self-consciously at his face, smearing the ash his water has turned to a sooty mess across his cheeks. He turns as he hears footsteps drawing closer, grimacing slightly as Axel approaches with an even stride. The redhead is smirking widely, and Demyx is mildly annoyed at how no evidence of their match can be seen on Axel.

"Number VIII."

Zexion's voice is as toneless as ever, but Axel's smirk only widens as he breezes past them, waving one hand distractedly. "Don't mind me," he grins. He throws a glance over his shoulder before he rounds the corner, his green eyes glinting. "You might wanna practice a bit before our next session, Number IX."

Demyx flushes and crosses his arms, gazing at the floor. He hears rather than sees Zexion close his book, and then his superior is standing in front of him, waiting until Demyx raises his eyes to speak. "You need to get cleaned up," Zexion says blandly. "You smell positively vile." Demyx scowls and breezes past the man.

"Well, hello to you, too," he grumbles.

"That expression looks ridiculous." Demyx pauses and glances back at Zexion. He's not sure if the statement is meant to be taken as fact, or is simply another of Zexion's scathingly sarcastic insults. It's hard to tell sometimes. He exaggerates the scowl, carefully watching his superior's expression. He's not sure, but he thinks he sees Zexion's lips quirk just slightly. It's enough for him.

He leans across the small space between them and lands a quick peck against Zexion's cheek.

The Cloaked Schemer takes a deliberate step back, his visible eye narrowing as he glares at the younger Nobody. "What do you think you're doing, Number IX?" he asks icily. Demyx realizes he's overstepped his bounds; offering Zexion a nervous smile, he hugs his arms around himself.

"Sorry," he mumbles. Zexion glares at him silently for another moment before he turns and walks away, his dark coat rippling in the wake of his movements.

"You're growing on him, kid." Demyx glances over his shoulder to find Axel grinning at him, arms crossed as he lounges against the wall, eyes bright with amusement. Demyx frowns at him.

"How long were you standing there?" Axel shrugs.

"Long enough. I was looking for Roxas." Demyx sighs, running his fingers through his hair tiredly. Roxas. Of course. Axel pushes himself away from the wall, clapping Demyx on the shoulder as he moves past him. "Look at it this way," he says reasonably. "A few months ago he would've just killed you and started searching for another replacement for the Organization." He smirks at Demyx's expression, waving one hand lazily over his shoulder as he strides down the hall.

Demyx's shoulders slump, and he calls up a portal. He needs to get out of his soiled clothing.

Demyx knows why Zexion doesn't want him to kiss him. Kisses imply warmth, affection – feelings. Nobodies aren't supposed to have feelings.

Demyx isn't as foolish as the other members all seem to assume he is – he knows they don't have hearts. He knows they don't have to sleep, or eat, or even breathe, but they cling to what they remember – and maybe Demyx clings a little harder than the others, but he still doesn't believe they're as empty as the Superior insists they are.

If they truly couldn't care, Demyx doubts the Organization would've been formed in the first place. You have to care about something to work for it. If they didn't care, Demyx wouldn't think it would be wrong to sleep with anyone other than Zexion. And Zexion wouldn't be there, waiting calmly when Demyx returned from a mission, eyes trained on the pages of whatever book he happened to be reading.

He doesn't understand why Zexion can't see it. He doesn't understand how something as simple as a kiss can so badly rile the normally imperturbable Schemer. He doesn't understand why he continues to force the issue. But he knows he won't stop.

Because in this one thing, he knows Zexion is wrong.

Demyx encircles a group of Heartless in a geyser of water, fingers flying over the strings of his sitar as he waits for Roxas to finish the last of their enemies. A quick flash of metal and the battle's over, and Demyx's fingers still themselves as the water falls back to the ground.

Roxas sighs loudly, letting Oathkeeper and Oblivion fade away as he pushes his hood back, wiping a sleeve across his forehead. Demyx grins mischievously as he picks a quick melody from the strings, laughing at the Key of Destiny's expression as the younger Nobody finds himself drenched by the sudden cloudburst from a clear sky.

Roxas fixes him with a withering scowl. "Stop that." Demyx's grin only widens as he lets his sitar fade away, shrugging apologetically.

"You looked warm." Roxas's scowl deepens as he turns and calls up a portal.

Axel and Zexion are waiting when they step out of the darkness – the Flurry of Dancing Flames immediately steps forward, grinning widely at the dripping Roxas. "You're wet," he announces cheerfully. Roxas rolls his eyes.

"How observant, Axel," he mutters, trying to brush past the man. Smirking, Axel wraps his arms around Roxas, ignoring the blond's heated protests. Demyx watches them silently, a small grin on his face. He wonders if they even realize how much that simple act gives away.

Roxas would've smashed a Keyblade into anybody else's face for such an act. And Axel wouldn't have wrapped his arms around anyone but Roxas. Roxas is still struggling, but he's not really trying to get away – Axel is carefully drying the water out of Roxas's clothes and hair, smiling as the blond relaxes into his hold just the tiniest bit.

Demyx's eyes move past them to Zexion, who is still seated. The Schemer looks up briefly from his book, his eyes locking with Demyx's own, before he gives a slight nod and returns his attention to the passage he's marked with his finger.

Roxas shoves Axel away and straightens his coat, scowling at the redhead's bright laughter. Growling something about having to see the Superior, Roxas stalks away. Axel fixes Demyx and Zexion with a cocky grin as he throws himself onto the couch adjacent to the Schemer's chair.

"How'd you manage to get that by him?" he asks, lifting an eyebrow at the Melodious Nocturne. Demyx shrugs.

"He looked warm," he smiles, moving to perch on Zexion's armrest. Axel chuckles and trains his eyes on the ceiling. Demyx tries to peek at what Zexion is reading, but the language is stale and boring, and he quickly loses interest. Almost as if reading his mind, Zexion idly strokes the blond's thigh, ignoring the pleased flush that spreads across Demyx's face.

Catching sight of Demyx's expression, Axel hoists himself off of the couch with a smirk. "Well, this is boring," he announces to no one in particular. "I'll see you guys later."

"The fine art of subtlety continues to elude you, Number VIII," Zexion says mildly. Demyx can't speak – Zexion's fingers are teasing their way up his leg, and his tongue is sticking to the roof of his mouth. Axel pauses in the doorway, quirking an eyebrow at their superior.

"Would you prefer I stay?" he asks, grinning. The look Zexion fixes him with has the redhead bolting from the room, laughing loudly as he disappears down the hall. Sighing, Zexion sets his book aside, pulling the younger Nobody into his lap. Demyx smiles and trails his fingers through Zexion's hair, glancing at the empty doorway.

"He's changed," Demyx comments, breath hitching as Zexion presses warm lips to neck, fingers unzipping Demyx's coat at a deliberately unhurried pace.

"How so?" Zexion inquires, pushing Demyx's coat off his shoulders as he continues to bite gently at Demyx's exposed collarbone. Demyx lets his head fall back with a breathy moan, fingers tightening in Zexion's hair. Zexion nuzzles the blond's jaw, still peeling Demyx's coat off of him. "Answer me, Demyx."

Demyx laughs lightly, leaning down to nip playfully at Zexion's ear. "Since Roxas arrived," he murmurs. "They've both changed." He helps Zexion push his coat off, letting it bunch against the back of the chair as Zexion wraps his arms around Demyx's waist and pulls his hips forward.

He doesn't know how to explain it any better than that – Axel has softened. His words are still as sharp and biting as ever, but his manner is much more subdued, especially when he's around Roxas. And Roxas – Roxas has learned to trust, as much as a Nobody can. Demyx can no more picture Axel without Roxas than he can picture himself without Zexion. And he doesn't know when it happened.

Leaning down, he hesitates, darting a tongue over his lips before he tries to kiss Zexion. The older man catches his chin, his eyes narrowing as he speaks one word of warning: "Demyx." Sighing, Demyx ducks his head to the side, biting at Zexion's neck. He feels Zexion relax underneath him before he slides his hands under Demyx's shirt, pushing the cloth up to expose Demyx's stomach.

Demyx wraps his arms around Zexion's neck, holding him tightly as he squeezes his eyes shut. He's not asking for much. He doesn't understand why Zexion can't give it to him.

Demyx thinks he understands why he can't win against Axel. He's watching the Flurry of Dancing Flames pester Roxas, the younger Nobody growling in irritation but doing nothing to shove the other away. For a moment, Demyx catches the expression of perfect contentment on Axel's face before it's replaced by the redhead's customary smirk as he dodges a half-hearted punch from Roxas.

Axel always wins because he wants to win. Demyx doesn't enjoy fighting, but it is one of the few things Axel takes pleasure from. Fighting and being with Roxas. Demyx will never be able to win because he doesn't want to win. No matter how much he trains, no matter that water should overcome fire – he'll never do better than a draw because he doesn't want to fight.

He wonders if Axel already knows this. It's hard to tell with the redhead. There are days Demyx thinks he has the other Nobody completely figured out, and then there are days he doubts even Axel understands himself. The only time he seems completely sure is on the battlefield. Or here, annoying the hell out of his blond friend.

Ignoring Roxas's indignant shout, Axel reaches out and wraps his arms around the younger Nobody, pulling the boy back to lean against his chest. Demyx spies that fleeting expression on Axel's face again as Roxas huffs and relaxes into the embrace, leaning his head back against Axel's shoulder.

Standing, Demyx slips out of the room without them noticing. He can't keep the gentle smile from his lips. Wandering through the halls of the castle with no destination in mind, Demyx finds himself standing in the Proof of Existence. As he studies the glowing stones, he hears someone enter behind him.


Demyx closes his eyes at Zexion's voice. He's not sure he wants to see the Cloaked Schemer now.


He hears his superior catch his breath – he'd probably been on the verge of saying something when Demyx interrupted him. There is a short silence, and Demyx can feel Zexion studying him. "What?"

"You know what this room's for, right?" He glances over his shoulder at the older Nobody. Zexion is regarding him with a confused air.

"Of course," he says, his tone neutral. "What does that have to do with anything?"

Demyx turns away from him. He doesn't know how to phrase what he wants to say. They're Nobodies. They're nothing. When they die, there won't even be a body to lay to rest. This room will be the only proof they had ever been here.

And he wants more than a cold stone to remember Zexion by.

He rubs a hand tiredly against his temple. How can he explain that he wants to be able to remember the feel of Zexion's lips against his own? He knows it would be a lie, but would it be so wrong for Zexion to let him feel cherished just once?

"It's funny, isn't it?" he asks softly. Zexion has come to stand beside him, studying him passively as he waits for Demyx to sort through his thoughts. "We're the most fleeting beings in the worlds, you know that, Zexion? The lesser Nobodies fade all the time. What happens if we don't finish Kingdom Hearts in time? What if the Superior's right, and we won't have a next life? Is this really all we have left?" He sweeps an arm across the room, face falling as he studies the neat stones glowing back at him.

"What's wrong, Demyx?"

Demyx turns away from the unusual expression on Zexion's face. He almost wants to call it concern. "That expression looks ridiculous on you," he mutters, feeling small and vindictive as soon as the words leave his mouth. There is an endless second of silence before Demyx turns back, features twisting in what should be remorse. "Zexion, I'm sorry, I didn't –"

Zexion grabs his upper arms and backs him into the wall; Demyx winces as his head collides painfully with the unyielding surface. "Demyx…" Zexion's voice is quiet, calm, but Demyx can feel the Schemer shaking slightly as he raises his head and brings his lips close to the blond's. "Are you sure you want this?" he asks quietly, his breath ghosting over Demyx's mouth. "Even if it doesn't mean anything? Even if it's a lie?"

Demyx nods jerkily, his mouth dry. "Yes," he whispers, sagging against the wall. "Please, Zexion…" Zexion hesitates another second before he closes the gap and presses his mouth to Demyx's.

Demyx lets his eyes flutter closed as Zexion kisses him, the older Nobody's arms lifting to wrap tentatively around Demyx's shoulders. Not sure what to do, Demyx rests his hands against Zexion's waist. When Zexion steps back, Demyx swears there is a small light in the Schemer's eyes he's never seen before, but Zexion only runs his thumb against Demyx's jaw before he turns away from him.

"Xemnas was looking for you." Demyx nods, and Zexion summons a portal and vanishes.

Demyx's back hits the wall and he crumbles to the floor, groaning. Striding through the steam, Axel comes to stand over him, grinning. "You're never gonna be much a fighter, Dem," he laughs, offering a hand to the blond. Grimacing, Demyx pulls himself up, shaking a fine layer of ash from his coat.

Axel is dripping, his long hair falling down around his face, but with a quick snap, he's completely dry again. Demyx can't help but envy that ability. Rubbing a hand sheepishly across his cheek, he smiles.

He knows he'll never be a fighter – his nonexistent heart will never be in it. But he thinks he can live with that. Axel's eyes light up as Roxas enters the sparse room, and Demyx moves away as the two fall into their usual biting banter. He wanders the halls aimlessly, heading in the general direction of his room.

"Number IX."

Demyx grins when he glances up to find the Cloaked Schemer blocking his way. Zexion is regarding him coolly, arms crossed over his chest and head tilted to the side. "I would appreciate it if, from here on out, you would make a point of bathing after sparring practice," he says evenly. Demyx's grin widens as he closes the distance between them. Zexion holds up a hand to stall him, and Demyx frowns at him. Zexion raises an eyebrow at him. "You smell positively vile."

Shaking his head, Demyx leans forward and presses his lips to Zexion's, smiling when the Schemer wraps his arms around Demyx's neck and pulls him closer. He doesn't care what the Superior says – he knows this means something. And he thinks, deep down, Zexion does, too.

After all, he only asked his superior for one kiss. Zexion's the one who keeps coming back for more.