"Smile at me like that again and I swear I will end you."

Demyx smiled anyway, far more innocently than a Nobody should be able to. "What? What's your problem? I told you this is going to be a fun mission!"

Axel sighed. "First, I don't think there's any such thing as a 'fun' mission. Second, the more you look forward to a shared mission, the less I should look forward to it. I got that memorized a long time ago."

"Do you ever 'remember' or 'learn' anything? You've always 'got it memorized'! You're really hot on that phrase, aren't you? The heartless romance of the century, Axel and 'Got it memorized?' -"

Axel gritted his teeth. "Demyx?"

"Yeah?"

"'Run! Run away!'" Axel deliberately made his voice higher, almost squeaky, and jumped at Demyx with an expression he figured was a pretty good imitation of terror. Demyx started involuntarily before recovering himself and glaring daggers at the redhead.

"That wasn't funny. Not even once."

"Heh, my catchphrase kicks your catchphrase's butt and you're jealous." Now Axel was the one smiling, though he certainly didn't look innocent.

"It's not a catchphrase!" Demyx insisted indignantly.

"It's what you yell whenever there's a chance of a fight, doesn't that make it a catchphrase? What world are we going to this time, anyhow?"

"What, you mean you haven't got it memorized yet?" Demyx rushed on before Axel could protest. "It's called New Orleans. I've been there before, on a scouting mission, and it's fantastic - just fantastic. I'd have stayed there forever if I could. I love that place."

"You c-"

Demyx continued blithely, ignoring Axel's sputtering. "If it's possible for a world to have a heart made of pure music, New Orleans does. Does that sound crazy to you?"

"Demyx...every word that comes out of your mouth sounds crazy to me, got it memorized?" Axel ignored the musician's wounded look with practiced ease. "Does the place at least have good food?"

Demyx nodded enthusiastically. "Oh, yeah! The best!"

"Then this might not be a complete waste. It's not like the mission's going to succeed with you along." Satisfied that he'd put the lesser Nobody in his place, Axel gestured, and a dark portal opened to their destination. "After you."

"You're my Superior. You should go first." Damn, but Demyx's hurt look was convincing.

Axel strode towards the portal, muttering all the way. "The Superior must hate me, making me go on missions like this...sure you already know your way around, you can barely remember HOLY SH-!"

Every muscle in Demyx's body had gone tense when Axel screamed. He's already through - something on the other side... He took a few deep breaths to steady himself, closed his eyes - and followed him.


In the next chapter: Stuff happens.

The one and only Author's Note, including a spoiler for the next chapter:

This came to me in a dream. I had a vision of Axel and Demyx huddled on the roof of a house in rising floodwaters; Axel was freaking out and Demyx was trying to calm him down while still playing his sitar. Where are they? Why is it flooding? Why, they must be in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina. What are they doing in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina? Well, they must have been sent there on a mission, and had utterly piss-poor luck as far as timing was concerned.

Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts and all its characters belong to Square Enix and Disney. If you think a poor college student might own Kingdom Hearts or any of the characters therein, there's something wrong with you. If I did, I'd never worry about tuition costs again. I'd be rollin' in it!