Part 1: A step forward

"Wait, Xaldin." He gasped as he felt the hot mouth against the skin of his neck. He lost his balance and fell back on the covers, groaning when the weight of the other fell on him. Panting, his body felt hot and he was having trouble keeping any solid thought in his head.

Xaldin reached up and slid his hand all the way up the blonde's arm, lacing his fingers with him as his other hand worked at the man's shirt. "I can't wait anymore." He gasped gruffly and nibbled at his ear. Flicking his tongue against him he finally just ripped the shirt open and sent buttons flying onto the floor.
He looked up at him, feeling like his whole body was on fire, and when the other's mouth closed around one of his nipples he cried out sharply as a jolt ran through him. OH god. It was like he was delirious, lost in all the sensations as Xaldin's hands ran over him, peeling away their clothes until he sat staring up at him. Swallowing the lump in his throat he reached up and looped his arms around his neck, lifting his head to kiss him.

Arching his hips, Xaldin wrapped his arms around him and whispered in his ear. "I love you."

Something ignited in him and he moaned loudly as their bodies moved together, holding on for dear life as any doubts left his mind. Why had he waited so long? "OH...Xaldin...I...I...!"

He cried out as he sat up in bed, his head spinning from getting up to fast. With a groan he looked around the empty room and the fell back on the bed. "Bloody hell, not again."

It had been six month since they had left Castle Oblivion, bought their bar and spent three months setting it up. Now after three months of being open they had become a pretty regular hang out spot. However, things between Xaldin and himself had not progressed. In truth he was too scared to admit it outright and Xaldin was playing Saint by being patient. Then there were the dreams. It's not like he was consciously doing it but for a month now he'd had such dreams, playing out different scenarios to how they would deal with things. It drove him crazy...and made for very awkward mornings when he really needed the bathroom and had to walk past Xaldin to get there.

With a sigh he flung back the covers and got up. It was already almost noon and though they usually had late nights, what with the bar being open till dawn half the time, he still felt lazy waking up so late. Yawning he stretched and put on some pants, at least to cover his problem before cracking open the door. He didn't hear any banging around in the kitchen and so with a mad dash he made a b-line for the bathroom. As he pushed open the door he realized exactly why he hadn't heard anyone in the kitchen. "Sorry!" he quickly shut the door, his face red as he tried to catch his breath.
"I'm almost done." Xaldin called from the other side of the door.
"No problem." He managed to choke out before turning back and heading to his room. Dammit, now it was worse. Thank god he'd been in a towel otherwise he may have totally lost it there. It was bad enough the dream was still fresh in his mind. Six months of nothing and it wasn't like he hadn't tried on some level. They lived together for god's sake and yet Xaldin never did anything. He understood the other was trying to give him space in order to not make things awkward but the problem was he already knew how the man felt. Groaning he crawled back in bed, hoping if he thought about anything else his morning issue would go away.

A tap sounded on his door a few minutes later. "Lux, I'm done with the bathroom now."

"O...okay!" He called and huddled under the covers. Oh god, please don't come in. He said to himself. The last thing he needed was Xaldin to notice such a thing and cause some strange awkwardness between them. He liked that they could hang out as friends but this waiting was almost worse then the discomfort admitted feelings would present.

'You want some coffee?" The voice said, a little unsure.

"Sounds great." He picked up a towel from the previous day off the floor and held it in front of him as he opened the door, a little startled by how close Xaldin was standing to it.

The other man stood up straight. "Oh, want breakfast too?" he backed up a little to let the blond by.

Forcing an aloof grin he nodded. "Sure. I'll be out of the shower in a minute." He quickly found refuge in their rather large bathroom and leaned on the door with a long heavy sigh. Turning on the water he tried to let the heat wash away his grogginess and maybe some of those lingering memories of the dream. However the heat just reminded him about how hot in the dream he was and to his great shame he took care of his issue. About ten minutes later he stared at himself in the mirror. "I've lost my bloody mind."

In the kitchen Xaldin made a pretty simple breakfast of a sausage and egg sandwich with some coffee. Though a fantastic bartender, to Luxord's amazement, Xaldin also proved to be a decent cook. Actually picking up things from Marluxia when they went to Castle Oblivion to visit.

The newlyweds were all still doing well. In fact they were doing great. Vexen and Marluxia had totally pulled a one eighty from when Luxord had first woken up. They seemed inseparable and if one came up in conversation the other would get this look on their face that would make anyone die of a sugar overload. Then there was Xigbar and Demyx; the two were your typical perfect pair, always seeming to have a blast everyday, all day. God he was slightly envious of them, though he wouldn't admit it. It wasn't like the past six months had been bad. Larxene had been with them after all, and he had to thank the woman. She was the only one either could really talk to about...well their relationship or lack there of. She was an open ear, a swift kick in the ass and a constant reminder that they should really just confess already. So why hadn't he? He wasn't sure but a part of him held back that statement and so they were still here.

Xaldin slid the plate in front of him at the table, snapping him out of his train of thought. "Have a good shower?" The man grinned.

He gave the other a grin that spoke a hundred different things. "Fantastic." Though if the man knew about his dream that morning or his shower activities he may not look so relaxed. Shaking his head he sipped at his coffee and began to eat. As per most mornings Xaldin left to go work on the books down in the bar while Luxord went out to buy some supplies for the evening; mainly some food and making orders for a certain amount of different liquors. Their place was actually right above the bar so it was easy to drag their, half drunk asses to bed every night. Actually they hardly drank while working, Luxord knew if he had a certain amount of alcohol in him there would be no force on earth to keep him from blabbing himself to Xaldin and causing a giant mess.

As he was leaving a vendor he spotted a familiar blond. "What are you in town for Vexen?" He called as he walked over.

The man's gaze snapped to him and his green eyes lightened a little. "Picking up my payment from the Ducks, what about you?" He looked at the list. "Orders?"

He nodded. "Yeah, the usual." He looked around. "No Marluxia today?" Which was a surprise.

Vexen smirked. "He's actually at the plant store looking at some things. He'll probably buy so much crap I'll have to get a cart to haul it all home." He said that but his voice had a warm affectionate tone to it. Six months ago Vexen was barely able to handle his and Marluxia's relationship, now he couldn't look more comfortable.

He nodded. "Are you guys coming to the bar tonight?" He asked. Usually on the weekends the four of the Oblivion crew would come and have some drinks. Though he probably couldn't expect much drinking from Vexen. A couple months ago he had one too many and well...let's say that now they knew a lot more then the man would ever admit to...about everything.

"Most likely." He glanced over his shoulder as if sensing him. Marluxia came walking up with a few bags. "Took you long enough." He said disgruntled.

"Sorry, honey." Marluxia set down the bags and flashed him a mocking smile. "They were having a sale." He clapped his hands before turning his expression to one a little more serious. "Actually they had some new things in so I decided to try them out."

Vexen grinned. "Well, whatever you want I suppose." He turned back to Luxord. "We'll be in around seven tonight so save us a table." The pair said their goodbyes and Vexen helped Marluxia with his bags if only to free up a hand for the both of them. Hand in hand they went back to Castle Oblivion and Luxord was again reminded of his slight envy. Dammit, this was so stupid.

In all actuality Luxord wasn't the only one suffering in that apartment. Xaldin was having a hell of a time even concentrating on the books. That morning he was just as startled with the blond walking in on him and even if he was covered up his body did have a reaction. Thankfully the intrusion was brief and he was able to play it off like nothing, though he couldn't understand why Luxord got all flustered about it. Because he was still under the assumption that the man was very straight he assumed it must have been some lasting reflex from living at Oblivion.

Growling he tossed the papers on the desk. This had been the longest six months of his life. He couldn't count the number of times he'd just be sitting having a normal conversation with the Brit when his mind wandered and before he knew it he was in a full out fantasy in his head until something snapped him back to reality. How he'd managed to stay so patient and away from Luxord was a miracle indeed. Thank god for the others and Larxene. He talked to their blond female companion quite frequently if only to still his frustration. She kept telling him to make a move but he was so worried about scaring the man off he clammed up every time he started to try. If only there was a clearer sign how the other felt about him he might be okay with trying to express his feelings. However he seemed to miss all the obvious signs and thus the pair was still stuck in limbo.

He battled through the rest of the papers, trying to focus on business since he'd have to go get dressed in a couple hours for when the bar opened. He was having fun running the place with Luxord. He ran the bar while Luxord dealt with the guests and was the dealer for the poker table. He had a natural charm to him and was able to keep pulling in players even if people knew they'd lose to him. Granted he let some people win but the man was skilled and wasn't easily beat. He also had to admit he felt jealous of all the women that hung around him. Lux always had girls fawning over him and it drove him crazy. If only he could touch the other so freely he wouldn't be feeling so frustrated now.

Sighing he got up after finishing the books from last night and went to go get dressed. Some days he wanted to sleep in the office just so the terrible temptation wouldn't be there. Sharing an apartment with Luxord was like getting stabbed in the gut on a daily basis. It would be so easy to cross the living room and open the Brit's door, see him all curled up in his bed, take in the look of how the sheets formed to his body and...oh god he needed to stop this. Heading upstairs he got ready, not expecting Lux to get back till later after the bar opened. Since the blond dealt the cards he usually drank with the guests to keep the party lively but it left him a little more exhausted than Xaldin. Maybe he should give him a few days off.

Heading down to the bar he opened up, stepping behind the bar to get things ready for the first rush.

"Xal?"

He looked up at the sound and found the blond woman who was usually the only person he could talk about Lux with. "Hey, Larx. You're early." He grinned.

She cracked a smile. "Well, I had to change. I just got done doing a bunch of errands for Cid." She grumbled and headed for the back office. "I'll be out in a sec."

"Okay." He grinned and cleaned a glass. Larxene had taken to not only working at the bar by doing odd jobs around town. She liked immersing herself in people and getting praised. She seemed reluctant to leave them alone, going to Castle Oblivion frequently to visit and help out even if she bitched the whole time.

"Hey."

He glanced over at the door. The blond that usually occupied his thoughts came strolling in, giving him that grin that made him curse his cowardice. "Hey. Get everything done?" He always tried to play the aloof card but he was always worried he was being too obvious. However if he was Lux never said anything nor acted differently.

"Yeah, I ran into Vexen and Marluxia in town." He sat at the bar, leaning on it near him. "They said they'll probably come in so save them the usual spot." He looked at the arrangement of liquor behind the bar. "The new stock should come in tomorrow."

Xaldin nodded as he cleaned glasses. "Thanks. You should probably go get changed." He looked at him.

Lux sighed and nodded. "Yeah yeah, gotta look good for the ladies I guess." Though he sounded tired.

Xaldin snorted. "You know you like the attention." He picked up another glass and was focusing on cleaning it. So he didn't see the look Luxord gave him.

The Brit seemed a little sad but answered, "Yeah, sure I do." He quickly left the bar, heading upstairs to change. He didn't want the women to hit on him he wanted Xaldin to do something, otherwise his heart was going to suffocate.

In the bar Larxene leaned on the wall near the hallways to the office. "You're an idiot." She growled.

Xaldin looked at her. "I know. I just...I try and be like any other guy friend it's just hard." He sighed.

"I keep telling you to strap on a pair and confess already. You may be surprised with his response." She sat at the bar, sitting on the stool with her knees.

"He's straight, I can't expect him to just decided, 'hey, sure I'll be gay with you'. That's unfair to ask." He growled and threw the towel under the bar as he rolled up his sleeves. "What makes you so sure he'll even consider it, Larx?"
She rolled her eyes to stair at the ceiling, "Oh I don't know, a hunch. Call it women's intuition." She laughed and smacked him on the arm. "Want me to go turn on the open sign?"

"Yeah." He sighed again.

"Smile, Xal. Gotta show that charming smile to the ladies." She cackled and flipped the sign on.

Xaldin looked at her. "But the one I want is upstairs." He muttered.

That night the bar was packed. It was a weekend thus the usuals plus some newcomers filed in. Xaldin was serving up drink quickly with Larxene while Luxord brought in the guests and taking their money.

"Feel like making up a usual?" Called a familiar voice.

Xaldin turned and grinned. "I suppose I could. You think you can handle it though, grandpa?"

The scared man laughed. "Screw you, Xal. Make me a damn drink." Xigbar laughed as a blond boy walked up.

"Hi, Xaldin." He grinned before Xigbar ruffled his hair.

"Hey, Dem. What would you like?" He was already making Xigbar's drink with expert skill.

"Um..."The blond thought a moment, "surprise me." He laughed.

Xaldin looked at Xigbar who winked. With a knowing grin he whipped up a nice and strong drink that would guarantee the most interesting evening for Xigbar. "Where are Marluxia and Vex?" He looked around just as the pair was walking over hand in hand. He smiled at them. "Glad to see you two came attached at the hip as usual." He snickered.

Vexen raised a brow. "I don't want to hear it from you, Xaldin." He leaned against Marluxia as they sat down. "With your predicament you have no room to talk about relationships."

Xigbar snorted. "Oh burn." He patted Xaldin on the shoulder. "He's got ya there."

The man behind the bar growled. "You all suck." Turning he got them all set up with drinks before getting pulled away by more customers. It wasn't much longer when he noticed the woman he had served quite a while ago still hung around the bar and was trying to talk to him. As it slowed down her advances rose and he realized she was hitting on him.

"So, you're rather skilled with all those bottles." She smirked. "You must have good coordination. Where'd you learn that?" She watched him flip the bottles around.

"Oh, you pick it up." He laughed it off, not wanting to explain that he usually wielded six lances better then most people could wield one.

"I bet." She laughed and leaned over the bar to catch his attention.

He was a little thrown off and just stared at her for a moment.

Luxord had noticed the woman sniffing around and his concentration was getting thrown off. He couldn't even fake flirt with the girls around him. "Pardon me, ladies, I'm in need of a drink." He closed the game momentarily and excused himself. Because he wasn't in the mood to mess around he slowed time just enough to shift through the crowd with limited bumping. Once at the bar he quickly slid into the seat next to the woman. "Xaldin, how dare you ignore such a lovely girl." He quickly threw on the charm, hooking his finger under her chin and turned her head from Xaldin. The lancer looked both relieved and shocked at the display. "Perhaps the lovely lady would like a round of cards."

She was thrown off, unsure of who to go after now; the bartender with the sexy grin and striking eyes or this man who was just as attractive and seemed to have the charm of a prince. "Um...I...I don't know how to play." She confessed.

Luxord leaned closer. "Well, allow me to show you." He purred and led her from the bar, sneaking one last glance at Xaldin. The hell he was letting this hussy get her mitts on him. He may not have made a move but HE was the one Xaldin was in love with dammit!

Larxene watched the display with her jaw open. "Oh yeah, real smooth, Lux." She muttered and turned to Xaldin who looked a little miffed. "What?" She asked leaning closer.

He stared at Luxord who led the girl away. "What the hell? Does he think I'm competition or something?"

If Larxene could have smacked her face without a bunch of people looking at her like she was crazy she would of. Man he was thick. "Xaldin, I don't think that was..."

"Seriously." He looked at Larxene somewhere between pissed and worried. "Does he think I'm competition? What the hell was that?"

She looked at Xigbar who saw the whole thing and the man nodded. "Xaldin, I don't think he meant it that way. I think he was trying to help you."

Xigbar scooted in. "Xal, come have a drink with us, Larxene can cover for now." He looked at him, forcing a grin.

"Yeah, it's slow. Go relax." She pushed him down the bar.

Reluctantly Xaldin followed Xigbar over to the others and sat down to share a drink.

Luxord managed to get the woman's interest off Xaldin and the game went on. However, he kept sneaking glances at the man wondering if his little display would be called into question. He hadn't meant to be so obvious but when he saw the woman move in on...well HIS territory he wasn't going to just sit around and do nothing.

A few hours later and Marluxia slammed down another shot glass looking at both Xigbar and Xaldin. The other two weren't looking so good either but the pink haired man was obviously the worse off.

Xigbar reached down and took a shot, tipping his head back and slurping it down before slamming the glass down next to his other empty glasses.

Xaldin did the same, not nearly as bad off as the other two though Xigbar was doing rather well.

Marluxia stared down at the shot, picking it up and looking at it.

Vexen looked at him a little worried, expecting him to totally hurl any moment.

Demyx seemed totally enthralled by the whole thing, though he was a bit drunk himself and fighting a fit of giggles.

Carefully he brought the glass to his lips and took the shot. As he slammed the glass down he began to wobble.

The blond next to him was quick and caught him before he toppled out of his chair. "Okay, I think that's enough for you." He said as he tried to keep him in his chair.

Xigbar let out a sigh of relief. "Good." He turned to Xaldin. "I forfeit, you are clearly the stronger drinker." He shook the other's hand.

"Thank you. You were great competition though." Really neither wanted to drink anymore but since Marluxia had suggested the game they didn't want to seem like pansies and tap out too early. They really thought the man would pass out like five shots ago.

"He lasted longer then I thought." Xigbar said as he stood a little shaky.

Vexen looked up and he slid his arms around Marluxia and lifted him into his arms. "He has good stamina." He grinned.

The other man looked at him a moment. "I...I know I'm drunk but I somehow still don't think I needed to know that." He looked at Demyx who had latched onto his arm.

"Are we going now?" He pouted.

"Yeah, Dem, we should probably head back." He turned to Xaldin. "Guess we'll see you around." He grinned.

The other man collected the drinks, he didn't seemed fazed by the booze at all. "Yup, you guys have a safe trip back to the castle." Though he had no doubt. Vexen barely drank and seemed more the capable of getting them all home. It was actually funny to see him carrying Marluxia like that but he seemed rather pleased to do it. He saw the group off and he and Larxene started helping others from the bar.

Once they were clear Larxene said she'd close up so they other two could get to bed. Luxord had quite a bit to drink and Xaldin wasn't doing to well either. "You boys go get some sleep. I got it." She winked and sent them off to bed, keeping her fingers crossed.

Upstairs the pair didn't say anything. Even after the drinking game Xaldin still thought about Luxord's little stunt. Finally he couldn't take it anymore. "I didn't realize having some of the patrons hit on me was cramping your style." Oh that came out wrong but he was kinda bitter and hurt and maybe a little jealous...okay a lot jealous.

The blond looked at him. "Excuse me?" He was already tired and a little drunk and he'd had to spend all evening flirting with that damned woman so she'd stay away from Xaldin.

"That woman. I wasn't aware you had to have all the women in the bar's attention." He looked at him, his jealousy showing on his face.

Even if he knew who Xaldin was jealous over it still hurt t have him say that. "Well excuse me. I wasn't aware you wanted her." He entered the apartment, storming into the living room.

"I didn't say that." He slammed the door.

The blond rounded on him. "I was trying to bail you out and this is the thanks I get. Next time I'll bloody well let you have the bitch!" He was pissed. He'd been agonizing over this every night, wondering if some woman would catch his fancy, worried Xaldin would lose interest in him. Hell, maybe he had since he never made a move.

Xaldin rebuked at the comment, not really sure how to take it. "I didn't want her but you came waltzing over like she belonged to you. What am I competition?" He growled.

Even if the other looked rather striking with that temper flaring up he was too pissed himself to enjoy it. "You aren't the competition! SHE is..." He caught himself, "you know what, I don't have to explain myself to you." He turned and headed for his room.

"Lux!" Xaldin called.

"Sod off!" He slammed his door, leaning against it and trying to control himself. DAMMIT! This wasn't supposed to happen. He hadn't meant for it to look like that...okay maybe he had but he was sure that maybe Xaldin had some clue that he felt the same.

Xaldin cursed rather crudely and headed for his own room. He was all churned up inside. His intention hadn't been to start a fight. He only wanted to know what the other was thinking. There were times that it seemed like Luxord was giving him odd signals almost like he might like him and then other times like he was totally against the whole idea. So which was it and should he do as Larxene said and confess or just keep quiet? He gave a gruff grunt and pounded his dresser before flopping on his bed. Just great. He'd have to apologize in the morning. He knew he'd been in the wrong.

The two went to bed angry, neither really sleeping even with the amount of liquor in them. They both tossed and turned, neither one wanted to just go knock on the other's door and say sorry.