Author's Note: The sequel to DYTR. I'm not too sure where this story is headed, there's an awful lot stuff going on in it. But it is mostly about Axel and Demyx trying to make enough time to work things out while fending off nosey friends, dodging ex's, hiding secrets from each other, and generally coping with the demands of being in a super villain group. And for all of you who asked for it in DYTR and were denied, there will be some lemony goodness, you'll have to be patient though.
Some day soon I hope to have a plot.
Warnings: Axel/Demyx. This is going to jump around from character to character a lot for a while.
Disclaimer: I don't own KH.
Axel sat up, completely disoriented and in a cold sweat. He clasped a trembling hand over his eyes. A nightmare, just a nightmare, fading quickly; already he couldn't quite remember what had been so terrifying.
He flopped back down. The bed rolled and swayed in a sickening motion beneath him.
Oh, that was right. He was in Demyx's room, and Demyx had a waterbed. Made sense actually.
"Axel? You 'kay?" a concerned, sleepy voice asked him. Axel reached out and took the Nocturne' s hand.
"Yeah. I'm fine." He took a deep breath. He was still shaking slightly, though he couldn't imagine what had frightened him so badly.
"You don't have to stay all the way over there you know."
Axel groaned and gratefully rolled over, gently so as not to cause too many waves (Demyx didn't mind the motion, but when the bed moved too much it made the Flurry seasick), and wrapped himself around his lover.
"Bad dream?" Demyx asked, stroking the tangle of red hair.
"Yeah, can't remember what about though," he answered. "Guess I shouldn't have tried Roxas' cooking," he laughed tiredly. Demyx chuckled.
"And he was trying so hard too."
The gentle fingers in his hair were soothing and Axel felt his eyes begin to grow heavy again. He could sense the musician drifting off again as well.
"You're fine Axel."
"Yeah I know, but is this okay?" Axel was still getting used to cuddling. It had not been a large part of his intimate experiences until recently. Unlike his previous partner, Demyx didn't mind, liked even, the extra heat Axel tended to generate.
A faint snore was the only answer.
Axel smiled and tucked the shorter man's head beneath his chin. If anything Demyx snuggled closer, mumbling something about toast.
"Dummy," he murmured affectionately, and his eyes slid shut.
Axel tried, and failed, to suppress a yawn.
"What's the matter firebug? Somethin' keeping you up late at night?"
"Put a lid on it cardsharp," Axel growled. "And stop grinning at me like that!"
"How can you tell if he's been up late or not?" Roxas asked, "He's always like this in the morning."
"Little dude's got point Luxord. Number VIII's never been a morning person."
"What is this? Annoy Axel day?"
"No, mate. It's a new sport we've invented."
"Didn't your 'mummy' ever tell you not play with fire?"
"As if we'd listen," Xigbar laughed.
"We call it 'Axel baiting'."
"Et tu, Roxas?
"You shouldn't have dissed my ice cream."
"Why not? It's your fault I didn't get any sleep last night."
Xigbar wolf whistled. Roxas glared at him.
"How is it my fault?" he asked turning back to Axel.
"Your ice cream gave me nightmares."
There was a contemptuous sniff from Marluxia, "I told you all that sea salt ice cream was bad idea."
Roxas shot the Graceful Assassin the nastiest of all nasty glares.
"I'm not sure it was the sea salt," Axel said before Roxas could say something that would get him in trouble. "It might have been the pepper that did it."
There was one of those pauses where no one could quite believe what they had just heard.
Finally Luxord ventured, "You mean pepper ice cream?"
"Yes," said Axel.
"But you like pepper Axel," Roxas protested.
"I didn't say it was bad, it just gave me nightmares."
"How is that different from bad?"
Marluxia had a look of fascinated disgust. "Where in the World That Never Was did you get pepper ice cream?"
"I made it."
Xigbar held up a hand. "Wait a tick, Axel are you saying that Key-dude over here made pepper ice cream and you ate it?"
"Yes, Xigbar, that is exactly what I'm saying."
Marluxia looked back and forth between VII and XIII. "Is it possible for you two to be any more bizarre?" he asked.
"We could try," Axel grinned.
"Why pepper? Why were you making ice cream anyway?" the Assassin asked.
Roxas shrugged kicking his heels against the front of his seat. "I didn't have the money to buy any, and we had all the ingredients." He gave the Assassin a reproachful look. "You where the one who told me to try different flavors."
"When I said that I meant something like…strawberry. Not pepper!"
"I figured pepper went with salt. It's not that weird."
"Sorry little dude, I'm gonna hafta side with Pinky on this one," Xigbar said shaking his head.
"Gratifying as that is Number II, how many times have I told you not to call me that?!"
"Dunno. How many times does this make?" Xigbar said unabashedly to the fuming Assassin.
"Twenty-seven," said Luxord on cue.
In a swirl of darkness, Xemnas appeared in his seat. "Let's make this quick," he said to the Nobodies he'd summoned. "I have new assignments for all of you."
"I thought I was on 'until further notice'," Axel said.
"You still are," the Superior said, his tone carrying that unique harmonic that makes employees everywhere grind their teeth. "However this particular assignment requires a certain flare."
There was an awkward silence as the assembled Nobodies tried to work out what was expected of them.
"Yes Number II?"
"Was that supposed to be a joke?"
"Was what supposed to be a joke?"
"Ah, I see. Never mind."
Marluxia glared at the Paphiopedilum on his potting bench. It had been nearly a year since he'd "acquired" the orchid and it had yet to bloom. He had heard of lesser men waiting ten years for an orchid to bloom, he had never imagined it would apply to him.
He let out a defeated sigh, his finger tenderly stroking the foliage, and carried the Paphiopedilum back to its rightful spot.
"I guess you'll bloom when you're ready," he whispered to the plant. But surely there must be a way to speed up the process, right? He would have liked to make Demyx come down and play his sitar for the plants, but he was still upset with the Melodious Nocturne. He didn't have to go and waterlog him like that did he? And over a fish of all things.
The others didn't understand. They didn't realize just how seriously he took horticulture. Being here in the greenhouse reminded him of what it felt like to have a heart, in a way that wasn't painful. The wonder of watching something grow, to know that he had coaxed such beauty out of something so humble, was something he never grew tired of. Not to mention that, in his opinion, the plants made for better company than some of the other members, as proven by the morning's meeting.
Even so, he half wished Larxene would come and see him, but she had learned long ago to avoid him when he was in a mood. He had yet to give her a reason to believe otherwise.
I suppose I should go find her before I leave, he thought as he checked the timer on the misting system. He frowned as it switched on. Something still wasn't right. There was no help for it; he'd have to get Demyx in to fix it again.
Rotten brat. Just because he happened to be the one to have built the pond was no reason to hog it. Surely a fish-free zone for lotus and water lilies wasn't too much to ask, was it?
Come to think of it, had he ever actually asked? Probably not, or else the water garden would have been enlarged ages ago. The Nocturne could be quite biddable, if one used the correct tone of voice. Unfortunately, since the two were often at odds, Marluxia was rarely in a position to sweet talk the musician.
Of course, there was Naminé. Yes, that would work…
Naminé knocked on the door of Demyx's workshop. When no one answered, she, very cautiously, opened the door a crack. Strains of Chopin greeted her, loud, but not unbearably so, so in she went.
Demyx was leaning over the bench, his brow wrinkled with concentration and the tip of his tongue sticking out of the corner of his mouth. He looked up at the sound of the door closing. His annoyed expression softened when he saw who it was.
"Hey Naminé," he grinned. "What's up?"
The girl smiled and brushed the sawdust off of one of the benches before climbing up.
"Just a little lonely," she admitted. Quite the pair they were she thought, laughing to herself, so desperate for companionship, with only each other to turn to. Although, that shouldn't have been the case anymore. Demyx frowned.
"What are you doing?" she asked, not giving the Nocturne time to question why she was lonely.
"Routing out where the inlay is supposed to go," he answered, still frowning. "What's wrong, Namie? Did something happen?"
Hmm. It didn't look like she was going to be able to evade the question. Demyx was getting to be quite the over-protective big brother.
"Well, sort of," she said reluctantly. "But, I don't know why…" she trailed off.
"You don't know why what?" he persisted.
"Well, I thought it was supposed to be a good thing."
Naminé giggled at Demyx's confused expression. "When someone kisses you, you know, when it's the person you really wanted to do it, it should be a good thing right?"
She watched this sink in.
Roxas sat folded up on the windowsill, moodily watching the steady drizzle over the city and letting his thoughts wander. It would be nice, he thought if the light of Kingdom Hearts wasn't so cold.
This whole world was cold and it got on his nerves. He didn't know for certain, but he believed that his Somebody must have come from somewhere warm. He imagined a seaside where there was lots of sunshine and water. Granted, he didn't have much to base this on, just his dislike of the cold and the discovery that he was a strong swimmer.
He sighed and watched his breath fog the glass. Maybe he should go find Axel. Lack of faith in his culinary prowess aside, the pyro's twisted sense of humor always cheered him up, and the castle didn't seem so cold when he was around. The only other person who made him feel warm like that was currently the reason he'd felt the need to make his own ice cream. But he wasn't about to tell anyone why.
He yawned and stretched and hopped down. Now where would Axel be? Roxas could think of half a dozen places off the top of his head, each just as likely as the others. He supposed he could ask Zexion to find the Flurry of Dancing Flames, but that meant finding Zexion, which only added another step to the process. So he decided to just work his way down.
Several floors later, Roxas found himself staring at a door. This was the only other place Axel could be and it was his private domain. Not that that deterred Roxas in the slightest. He was the only person with an open invitation to that room. He had thought that Demyx might be added to the list, but the relationship was apparently still too new. He remembered that Larxene had only been allowed in two or three times.
Oddly enough Axel was the one person that Demyx hadn't encouraged to come into his own workshop, but Roxas thought that was understandable since everything in there was highly flammable.
He went inside.
The smell of grease and gasoline filled Roxas's nose. In a way, he thought, it was similar to Demyx's workshop, but instead of wood shaped with water, it was metal being worked with fire. It was amazing what all of Axel's wild energy could do when properly focused.
It was craftsmanship at its finest, and to Roxas's mind much, much cooler.
He found the Flurry in the middle of the garage testing the suspension of his pet project.
Dancing Flames turned to look at his best friend, his face streaked with grease and his wild hair tamed under a bandana.
"Roxas. What has lured you down into my lair?" he greeted the Keybearer with a twisted grin.
Roxas suppressed the urge to roll his eyes at Axel's theatrics. "Nothing much. Just wanted to see what you were destroying to today," the Key said with a slanted smile.
Axel snorted and turned back to what he was doing. With a final tweak he seemed satisfied with his work and sat back on his heels.
"I thought you'd be too busy to come bother me," he answered snidely. "You know, sketching and stuff."
Roxas blushed and turned away.
"What? Did something happen between you and the Lady?" Axel asked, now curious. He raised an eyebrow in sudden comprehension. "Something did happen didn't it? That's why you were making ice cream instead of hitting me up for cash to buy it."
Roxas, snorted. "I just figured you were broke after Larxene made you cough up the dough to replace that pitcher."
Axel visibly winced at the memory. "It was a vase," he grumbled. He'd had that beaten into him. The Savage Nymph had a fondness for cut glass and had quite a collection. Her room sparkled. Sharp edges do that. Axel'd had the misfortune to smash one of her favorite pieces. He gave himself a mental shake.
"Hey don't change the subject! My finances aside, whenever you don't want to think about something you always find some really random distraction, so spit it out."
Roxas pouted he'd been sure bringing up the glass would distract Axel, but he knew when to give.
"Roxas kissed you?" Demyx stared at Naminé thoroughly confused.
"A real kiss" she blushed. She waited for Demyx to get up to speed.
"Ooohhhh," he smirked and then frowned again. "Well, I don't see what the problem is. Unless you didn't want…."
"No I did!" she rushed to clarify, "It's just that he surprised me and well, he, er seems to have been avoiding me ever since," she finished glumly.
Demyx thought for a while and then asked, "Did you kiss back?"
"I-I don't know. I thought I did. I really wasn't expecting it when it happened."
Demyx gently blew the sawdust out of the grooves he'd cut. "I'm not trying to bum ya out, or anything Namie, but it can really throw a guy when he doesn't get the reaction he wants."
"How was I supposed to know how to react to something that's never happened before!" she protested.
"Ah well," he grinned sheepishly, "That's the other side of the argument."
"She didn't seem very impressed," Roxas complained. Axel peered at him over the gas tank of his bike.
"Wanted to wow her, huh?"
Axel reached around to scratch the back of his head with the wrench he was holding.
"How many times did you try?" he asked.
"What'da you mean?" Roxas asked with a slight frown.
"How many times did you kiss her, silly?"
"Just the one time?"
Roxas glared, not liking Axel's incredulous tone.
"What's that supposed to mean?" he demanded.
"Roxas, Roxas, Roxas," Axel grinned waving a hand dramatically. "Practice makes perfect, you know."
"Sure. It's just like anything else. The more you do it the better you get. Got it memorized?"
Roxas stared at the redhead not entirely sure what to make of the advice. On the one hand the thought kissing Naminé more often was nice. On the other…
"I dunno Axel. Thinking of it as practice, well…it just doesn't seem right." Another thought struck him. "And it's not very practical either."
It was Axel's turn to look confused. "What do you mean 'practical'?"
"I mean I don't get many chances dummy. It's not easy sneaking a kiss past Marluxia."
Comprehension flooded Axel's face. "Ah," he said. "Didn't think of that. I get it now. You gotta make'em count."
"Exactly," Roxas said with a shrug. He let his gaze settle on a rack of wheels. "So you see my dilemma."
"Not really," the Flurry said dismissively. "Just practice with someone else."
Roxas snorted with contempt. "Oh really? Who? You?"
"Sure, why not?"
"Be serious Axel," the Key sighed.
"I am," the pyro insisted.
"No," he said flatly.
Roxas felt his lip curl in a sneer as he held up a hand and started counting off reasons.
"One, you're my best friend. That makes it weird. Two, you're a guy. That makes it really weird. Three, right now you reek. And four, it would be cheating, for both of us. That makes it wrong."
"Without Hearts, Nobodies lack morality," Axel said dramatically.
"Was that supposed to be Xemnas?"
"Pretty good huh?"
"No. It was pretty bad."
Axel made a face.
"And anyway, whatever he says, I know, I know right from wrong. And it would be wrong," Roxas finished.
"It's not cheating if it's just practice," Axel insisted. The Key of Destiny sighed and lay back on bench he was sitting on, heedless of the tools and springs beneath him.
"Gee Roxas, from the way you're acting, you'd think you didn't want to kiss me."
"Didn't I just say that?"
"No," the Flurry's face was suddenly hovering over his. "All you did was give me a bunch of reasons why we shouldn't, none of which, I might add, hold any water. You never said you didn't want to."
Roxas stared right back unfazed. "Speaking of water, just how would you explain it to Demyx?"
"The same way I explained it to you. Just practice," Axel smirked. "And you still haven't said you don't want to."
"You really stink, Axel," Roxas said wrinkling his nose.
"That wasn't a 'no'."
"I'm not kissing anyone who smells like an transmission fire."
"But if I take a shower it'd be okay?"
Roxas frowned. "Why do you want to kiss me so bad?"
"Why are you having such a hard time saying no?"
"Answer my question first!" the Key demanded impatiently.
"Alright," Axel suddenly turned serious. "I don't trust anyone else to teach you how to kiss. I don't trust anyone else not to hurt you and Naminé."
A smile tugged Roxas' lips at Axel's protectiveness. Still he couldn't resist the temptation to tease.
"Demyx wouldn't hurt us," he said mildly. Green eyes narrowed at him.
"Demyx is not kissing you," the Flurry said warningly. Roxas' face broke into a full grin.
"Ah-ha! So it's only 'practice' if you do it, but if Demyx does it, it is cheating!"
Axel glared at him and then moved away. Roxas sat up still grinning.
"That's a nice little double standard you've got there," he smirked.
"It your turn," Axel snapped, pretending to fuss with something on his bike.
Roxas slid off the bench thinking hard. He was pretty certain that he had said no, he wouldn't kiss the Flurry of Dancing Flames. But then Axel had altered the question ever so slightly, from "will" to "want", confusing him. That was a very Axel thing to do.
He had never really ever thought about kissing before, he'd thought it just happened when it was supposed to. Being told that you had to practice to be good at it stole some of the magic.
He really didn't want to hurt Naminé. The problem was, and he was sure Axel knew this, he wouldn't know if was really cheating or not until he tried it, and he did want to impress her the next chance he got.
Oh! If only it wasn't so difficult to get her alone!
Then again she might be okay with it. She had gotten that all-important first kiss, and there was the slightly disturbing possibility that she might think it was cute if Axel kissed him, assuming she found out. It was possible that she might consider it a win-win situation all round.
He doubted Demyx would think so. The musician was still holding out on Axel for some reason. It wouldn't take much to convince him that Axel only had a passing interest in him, and Roxas did not want to be that last straw. But whom else would he let get that close to him? Certainly none of the others, the situation was weird enough for him as it was.
That Axel even suggested it…well, actually that wasn't too weird for Axel. He was always giving him "advice" on how to move things along with Naminé. Showing him little tricks to get closer to her, most of which he was no where near bold enough to try, especially the ones that involved actually touching her. He wasn't entirely certain where the boundaries were, and didn't want to risk getting a prismacolor in the eye.
And then there was the thought of kissing another guy. The idea no longer held the revulsion for him it once did, due in part to Naminé's influence and partly because he'd gotten used to seeing Axel and Demyx together, but it wasn't on his "to do" list either.
But again, the desire to impress Naminé bubbled up in his mind. He really wanted to give her the same slightly dizzy, melty sensation she gave him, and he had seen Axel kiss before. Judging from Larxene's and Demyx's reactions, the Flurry knew what he was doing.
Maybe if he asked first, Demyx would be okay with it.
His train of thought was derailed when Axel suddenly started to sing, rather loudly, some annoying game show theme.
"Sorry," Roxas said rubbing he forehead. "I was just thinking."
"Well?" Axel asked folding his arms impatiently.
"I guess I wouldn't want anyone else but you to teach me, I mean only because it's so hard her away from flower power."
Axel smirked. "Of course."
"But Axel, it might, well, Demyx…he'd get the wrong idea…"
"Mmm," was Axel's only response as he inspected the spokes in the rear wheel.
Demyx had turned out to be bright enough to pay attention to what Axel actually said, and not simply interpret it as what he wanted to hear. Despite the number of times he'd been reassured by the Flurry that this wasn't a fling he wasn't completely convinced yet. Roxas knew Axel was running out of ideas as to how to gain that trust, and it was frustrating him to no end.
"Well now that you know he will do it, maybe you just need to give him another opportunity," Demyx said.
Naminé sighed. "That's not very easy."
"Oh right, Marluxia," Demyx thought for a moment. "Well, we could try and set one up."
The witch looked up. "How?"
"Well, Superior handed out new missions this morning. I wasn't there, but he almost always sends Marluxia. Thinks he's reliable or something like that."
"But he almost always sends Roxas too," she pointed out.
"Yeah but he gets shorter missions than the rest of us, and he usually has someone else with him, so it's like half the time it takes for Marluxia to do a solo mission."
Naminé's eyes lit up. "So…"
"Right!" Demyx grinned. "You just write him a little invite, for when he gets back." He winked at her. "I'll even deliver it for you."
Naminé began to scribble on her sketchpad.
"Do you want me to teach you or not Roxas?" Axel finally asked.
Roxas rubbed his temple. "I guess so," he said. "But really, you need a shower."
"All right, all right. You coming?"
"You want a lesson right? I figure we could we could get in a beginner's course before we have to leave."
Roxas gave him a slightly horrified look.
"I mean after I get out of the shower, idiot. Get your mind out of the gutter."
Roxas rallied fairly well, "Huh, like there's room for anyone else with you in it."
"That's right it's my gutter," the Flurry said.
"Well, you look and smell like you spend all of your time there," Roxas said holding his nose dramatically.
Axel laughed a little. "I wonder what Xemnas would do if I showed up to a meeting like this."
"He'd have Demyx drench you is what," Roxas snickered.
"He didn't get a summons this morning," Axel said thoughtfully.
"Superior must not have had jobs for all of us then," Roxas shrugged. Axel gave him a wicked grin.
"Actually, I think it had something to do with Larxene being permanently taken off laundry duty. You wouldn't have anything to do with that, would you Roxy?"
Roxas expression darkened exponentially. "And what if I did?" he said in a dangerous voice.
"Oh nothing," Axel smirked. "Incidentally, did you ever get your underpants back?"
The Flurry ducked just in time to avoid the strike raid.
To be continued…
If you want to know what Larxene did with Roxas' underwear the whole story is in The Nymph, the Witch, and Agitator.
Incedently there will be a heavy R/N sub plot.