Disclaimer: I kind of like these, actually. It's an easy place to start writing the notes at the top of a chapter. Oh, uh... Kingdom Hearts and all it's characters do not belong to me. I, however, belong to me... hm. What shall I do with this intriguing new information...

Author's notes: OTL OTL OTL I could grovel until my knees get torn off and my throat ruptures, but I'm sure you won't want to hear that. So here is my excuse: Writer's block. Big time. Bad case. Very depressing. I hope I still have readers... Anyway, I actually kind of like this chapter. I really, really like Xemnas. I have no idea why. In all honesty, he should annoy the crap out of me. But I just think he's way cool. Awesome bad guy. (Actually, in canon KH2, he was kind of lame. He appeared halfway through and didn't reappear until the end of the game. And has very generic motives. But I think he's awesome anyway.) And I think Saïx is just too cool too. Perfect bitch for Xemnas. So I love love LOVE XemSaïx. Expect some of that in the future.

Please forgive me for the horrible delay...


Sora had never heard that name before. He didn't exactly make a habit of associating with criminals, though (Riku and Axel excused, seeing as Axel didn't exactly mean to do what he did and Riku didn't do anything in the first place). So, of course, as the loving friend and ex-boyfriend he was, he insisted on meeting this friend. Riku wasn't too happy about that. He kept fiddling nervously with his hair and attempting to sway Sora away from this decision all the way home. Nothing worked. In fact, it probably bolstered Sora's determination to see this so-called friend and make sure he wasn't too dangerous.

When Sora marched through Riku's front door, stomped into his living room and noticed the man lounging on the couch, the first thing he thought was "Dangerous."

Grey hair. Not nice, moonlit-silver like Riku's, but not exactly an old, dusty gray, either. It was a powerful kind of gray. And it contrasted oddly with his dark skin. Golden orbs gleamed with dry amusement at Sora from under gray bangs. Muscles that could have easily snapped someone's neck bulged under the man's sweatshirt. Xemnas's body was draped over the couch in a lazy, yet somehow arrogant and still sexy way, and one thumb was clicking a button on the remote at random intervals. The channels on the TV switched in response, giving everyone an odd contrast of laugh tracks, then somebody sobbing on an obscure drama, then a crowd cheering.

After an odd, uncomfortable pause where Sora's and Xemnas's gazes met, Riku wandered into the room and smiled uneasily.

"Hi, Xemnas, I'm home." he said, a forced note of cheerfulness in his voice.

Xemnas's golden eyes shifted to Riku, but nothing else besides his thumb moved. "Hello, Riku." His deep voice sent shivers down Sora's spine. It felt smooth like slime would. "Who is this?"

"Uh, this is..." Riku stuttered a bit, but finally couldn't avoid the introductions. "This is Sora." he admitted grudgingly, finally. Sora gave him an odd look. "Sora, meet Xemnas."

"Honored." Xemnas said smoothly, his eyes fixing on Sora again. He felt like those eyes were divesting him of every article of clothing on his body.

"Yeah." Sora agreed, not entirely truthful.

"So, Sora, don't you have to be getting home?" Riku asked pointedly. Sora gave him an odd look.

"Why would I--?"

"Yes, you do. We'll talk tomorrow okay, bye!" Riku interrupted firmly, pushing his ex out the door and slamming it in Sora's face. Xemnas watched through those glittering golden eyes of his, mouth curved in a amused half-smile.

"Eager to get him out of my presence?" he asked. Riku turned a sullen glare on him.

"He's innocent. You know it. I know you know it. As soon as he starts getting buddy-buddy with you, you'll corrupt him. Don't think I don't know you that well, Xemnas." Riku spat.

"That isn't very friendly, is it, Riku?" Xemnas said.

"Well, we aren't really friends, are we?" Riku asked, hesitantly. "What we have isn't really a friendship..."

Xemnas's eyes moved back to the TV. "What would you call it then?"

"I'd call it masochistic." Riku muttered, flopping on the couch next to Xemnas. "I'd also call it... survival." he added softly. His only reply was a baritone chuckle.

Sora wasn't surprised to hear the phone ring the second the door smacked closed behind him.

"Stop reading my mind." Sora growled into the phone and flopping on his bed. "It's really creepy." A light laugh filtered through the phone.

"So, who's this Xemnas guy?" Roxas's voice asked cheerfully. Sora rolled over and made himself comfortable on his pillow.

"I'm not sure." he admitted seriously. "He's kind of... scary. He gives off this 'I'm raping you with my eyes' vibe."

"Ew, I don't like him already." Roxas sounded like he was grimacing. "And I haven't even met him."

"Maybe you won't." Sora said without regret. "Now I see why Riku didn't want me meeting him..."

"So, are you going to avoid him from now on?" Roxas inquired.

"No, I can't! He's staying at Riku's house! I'll have to see him if I go over there." Sora insisted. "And I don't want to leave Riku alone with a guy like that!"

"... They seemed pretty friendly on the phone, from what you told me." Roxas said suspiciously. "And you said Xemnas just got released from jail, so they must have met there. Which means Riku might have spent six years alone with him already..."

Sora's eyes widened with disgust. "Oh, right, I forgot about that. Eww..." Sora sighed and rubbed his temple. "I just don't know what to do about that guy."

"You'll figure it out." Roxas reassured. "Love conquers all, remember?"

The next morning found Sora at Riku's doorstep again. Taking a deep breath, Sora rang the doorbell.

The one who answered was Xemnas, looking like he'd just rolled out of bed.

"H-Hi." Sora squeaked, inwardly cursing the lack of control over his voice. Xemnas just stared at him through those unnerving gold eyes of his. "I was, uh, looking for Riku..."

"He's in the shower." One of Xemnas's brows arched. "You can come in, if you want."

A sudden image of a spider hiding in the shadows, leering at its next prey, popped into Sora's mind, but he ignored it and followed Xemnas inside anyway.

Sora peered curiously around the neat living room. It felt homey, but somehow... too quiet and sterile. "Where's Riku's mom?" Sora asked. His voice sounded strange in the silence.

Xemnas, who had flopped on the couch among the blankets and pillows that lay as evidence to his sleeping there last night, replied, "Out. From what I hear, she's never home anymore."

Sora shifted awkwardly, hoping to high heaven that Riku's mother wasn't somehow ashamed of her son because of the incident. "So... um... I guess I could just, uh..."

"Have a seat." Xemnas gestured lazily to an armchair near the couch. Sora sensed a subtle power behind the words, like it was an order, not a suggestion. Sora obeyed before he realized what he was doing. "So, Sora." Xemnas's eyes fixed on Sora intensely, and Sora couldn't help but feel like a butterfly under a pin. "Riku's told me some about you."

"Like what?" Sora posed the question quickly, as if the opportunity was going to be taken from him in an instant. Xemnas just smirked faintly.

"He talked nonstop about you in the beginning." Sora felt his curiosity grow despite himself.

"What did he say about me?" he asked, a little more impatiently.

"As time went on, those babbles ceased, though." Xemnas clucked his tongue quietly. Sora's skin went cold for a moment. "I wonder why that is?"

"He... forgot about me?"

"Xemnas." A cold voice interrupted, and both males faced Riku, who was leaning in the doorway to the living room, glaring coolly. His eyes flicked briefly to Sora, then fixed on Xemnas. Xemnas's grin only grew even more. "What were you telling him?" Riku asked, lifting himself off the doorway and strolling inside the room, arms crossed. Xemnas shrugged. Riku did not take this kindly. "Get out and get dressed." he snapped. Xemnas inclined his head sarcastically and vacated the room.

All at once, the tension fled from Riku's body, as if it had left with Xemnas. He sighed dramatically and flopped in Xemnas's now-empty seat. "Sorry, Sora." he muttered without making eye contact. Sora fidgeted uncertainly. "He's annoying, I know." Riku shook his head. Sora didn't reply, which aroused Riku's suspicion. He glanced up and locked his aquamarine eyes on Sora's sky blue ones.

"... What did he say to you?" Riku asked suspiciously. Sora twitched and grinned uneasily.

"Oh, nothing, nothing..." Sora laughed, but it sounded too shrill to be natural. "We were just... talking..."

Riku sighed again. "Sora, I know Xemnas. It's never "just talking" with him. And I know you, so I know you aren't acting natural."

"How do you know?!" Sora shouted accusingly, jumping up and gripping the chair arms in a death-grip. "You've been gone for six years, how do you know I haven't changed?!"

Riku winced, as if Sora had attempted to slap him. "You haven't changed, you moron!" Riku replied waspishly. "I can still read you like a book! Xemnas said something to upset you, and I want to know what it is!"

"Maybe I don't have to tell you!" Sora glared angrily. "Maybe it was for me only!"

"You don't get it!" Riku finally snapped and leaped from his seat. "Xemnas is tricky! He's manipulative! He's going to poison your mind, and you're going to let him!"

"Why do you care?!" Sora cried, voice rasping with fury. "You've been out of my life for six years, and you think you can suddenly pop back in as if nothing happened?! YOU obviously didn't care about ME while you were wasting away in prison!"

Riku's eyes widened. "What do you mean? What are you talking about?"

"You forgot about me!" Sora snapped, sounding hurt. "Admit it. I dropped out of your life as soon as I was gone."

"What about YOU?!" Riku bellowed suddenly, scaring Sora out of his skin. "You're the one who messed around with other people as soon as I got locked up!" Sora flinched guiltily. "I wasn't totally stupid, though." Riku continued nastily, eyes glinting. "I realized you wouldn't wait for me, though it took me long enough. Who in their right fucking minds would wait so long? So I gave up on you, just like you gave up on me."

Just like that, Sora's voice was sucked away.

"... I..." Sora shuddered a bit, then glared firmly at Riku. Drawing on some inner strength, he squared his shoulders and spoke quietly, "You're wrong, Riku. I never gave up on you. And I still won't give up on you. But if you're going to be a jackass, I don't want to talk to you." Resisting the urge to cover his face with his hands, Sora strode past Riku, who was held still with surprise, and left the house, slamming the door ringingly behind him.

Riku stayed frozen for a moment more, then dove into hallway, roaring "XEMNAS! WHAT THE HELL DID YOU DO TO HIM?!"

Xemnas emerged from Riku's room, smirking in such a "holier-than-thou" way that Riku wanted to slap the expression off his infuriating face. "Me?" Xemnas asked airily, examining his fingers. "I did nothing to him that wasn't already boiling under the surface."

"You're a liar." Riku snarled, his whole body tense. "You're lying. What did you say to him?"

"I don't like repeating myself, Riku." Xemnas said coolly, dropping his pretenses and glowering coldly. A dangerous aura suddenly radiated off him, softly, like a light he could turn off and on at will. Riku's fierce scowl melted off, his muscles unclenching like he'd been doused with hot water.

"Don't chase him away." the pale boy whispered, face ashen. "You can chase anyone else away, I don't care. Just not him. Let me keep him."

Xemnas chuckled deep in his throat, a condescending, keep-no-prisoners kind of laugh. "But Riku. Who would be left to entertain me while Saïx is away?"

"I hate you." Riku muttered, sweeping past Xemnas into the sanctity of his bedroom. "I hate you so much."

A low murmur of "Good to know." followed him.

When Sora returned home and locked the door behind him, he unplugged his phone. He didn't want to talk to anyone. Instead, he allowed himself a rare moment to lay on his bed and sulk.

As he shuffled around the kitchen, fixing himself a cup of coffee, a calender caught Xemnas's gaze. Red X's crossed off the days already gone by. Golden eyes raked across the page briefly, coming to rest on one day two weeks ahead. A smirk wormed itself across the tan face.

"Well, Saïx. Looks like I won't be as bored as I thought I would until you return." he murmured to himself, pouring the steaming coffee into a mug. "Though that day isn't so far away."

"Hello, whoever you are! I hope you were calling for Sora, because that's me! But I can't come to the phone right now, so if you leave a message I'll know you called and try to call you back. Thanks!" Beep.

"Sora, why aren't you picking up your phone?" Roxas snapped, sitting upright on the couch. "I swear I've called twenty times already. This isn't like you! Is something wrong? Just talk to me, brother... call me back when you get this message, I guess. And all of my twenty other messages." The blond threw the phone back at the receiver and flopped back down on the couch with an explosive sigh. It was a nasty cycle; Just when he thought Sora might pick up the phone and he could stay sitting up, the answering machine received his heartfelt call and Roxas fell right back down across the couch again.

But finally, finally, the cycle was interrupted by the phone he'd just abused piping up and ringing shrilly. Roxas jumped up and snatched the phone.

"Sora?" he demanded.

"I wish." a nasal voice on the other side sighed. "Still no luck?"

"Oh, Axel. Obviously not." Roxas sighed, letting himself fall listlessly back on the couch. "It's not like Sora to ignore me. I'm considering just barging in to our house and forcing him to tell me what's wrong."

"Don't go yet. I'm coming home right now." Yes, it sure sounded like that, Roxas mused. He could hear rushing cars in the background. "Speaking of which, when are you going to get a job, Roxas?"

"Excuse me?" Roxas smiled despite himself. "Who just got a huge payoff for winning that international Struggle tournament last month? Who will be paying the bills around here for a while? That's right, me."

Axel snorted. "Right, but I have a steady job. What happens when the Struggle tournaments end for the year?"

"By then my account will be fat enough to keep you quiet until next year." Roxas said primly. Axel laughed.

"Sure, sure. Anyway, my bus just pulled in. I'll see you soon, love."

"Yeah. Love you, Axel." Roxas hung up the phone, gently this time, letting the mouthpiece(1) slide out of his palm and click into the receiver, then allowed his body to do the same to the couch. His eyes drifted shut, and Roxas drifted lightly into dreamland.

When his eyes opened again, the sound of the front door being thrown open and slammed shut again caught his attention. Yawning and stretching, Roxas pulled himself halfway up, blinking like an owl.

A tall body topped with flaming red hair entered his vision and sat down beside him on the couch. "What's this?" Axel purred, leaning forward so close to Roxas's face that he nearly kissed his husband's nose. "Did you catnap after we hung up?"

"Stop teasing me, Axel." Roxas muttered, shoving the man away. Axel pouted for all three seconds it took Roxas to change his mind and pull Axel back into a tight hug.

They rested together for a peaceful, quiet moment. "Come here. I have a surprise for you." Axel broke the silence by murmuring into Roxas's ear. Hauling them both up, Axel lead Roxas into the kitchen.

Roxas's eyes narrowed. "What?" he asked, trying his best not to be irritable. What right did Axel have to take his hands off Roxas for some stupid reason that he wouldn't even explain, when all Roxas craved right now was a long, relaxing night of se-

... Oh. That's what Axel was trying to point out.

"Flowers?" Roxas whispered wonderingly, approaching the kitchen table and brushing his fingers over a vase filled with a bouquet of colored roses that certainly hadn't been there this morning. "Why?"

"We both need some cheering up." Axel replied, snaking his arm around Roxas's waist. "So I thought this would be a good way of doing it."

Roxas let himself rest in his husband's arm. "When did you get them?"

"As I was coming home."

"Axel, you are such a moron sometimes." But the kiss Roxas planted on Axel's lips took the edge off the insult. "But I guess I knew that when I married you, huh?" Letting his hands drop off the flowers, a lecherous smile twisted Roxas's lips. "So, can we follow up on my original plan now?"

Axel smirked and started for the bedroom. "Happy anniversary to you too."

(1) My dad and sister wanted me to call it the vocabulary collector. So from now on, that's what the phone will be known as.

Author's Notes: Happy AkuRoku day, everyone! I needed a sweet pick-me-up after that RikuSora angst.

Also, I'm planning to introduce Saïx next chapter. Hmhm. :D I luvvles Xemnas. And Saïx. Which means I double-luvvles XemSaïx.

Review please! Let me know I haven't lost most of you guys, my faithful readers...