Part 6: Today, Tomorrow, and Every Day After

The next day greeted anyone who looked outside with a white world. Snow covered the ground, pure and glistening. Vexen stood on the balcony, staring at it as the sun came up. He didn't find the morning cold, but he did shiver when a warm pair of arms wrapped around him.

Marluxia shivered but nuzzled close. "Morning." He smiled and kissed his shoulder.

"Morning." He muttered and glanced at the man. He looked sleepy and chilled but it was also wonderful seeing as he was the only one who really saw him like this. He laced his fingers with one of Marluxia's hands, feeling the ring on the man's finger, recalling his part of the matching set. The gift still struck him. How long had Marluxia planned this? How long had he thought about the design, about each part of it?

"Pretty." Marluxia murmured, his fingers playing with Vexen's.

He glanced at the view. "Yes, it is." He replied.

"Oh the scenery is nice too but I wasn't talking about it." He grinned and turned the man around, pressing him against the railing but keeping one arm tightly around is waist.

Vexen felt a slight flush in his cheeks; still startled by the way the man invoked such emotions from him. Even if he heard words of love a hundred times Marluxia always found new ways to say it, or not say it at all. Sometimes a simple look would make his heart race and he'd forget himself. His gaze narrowed and he managed a smile. "Look as long as you like."

"Oh I intend to." He chuckled and gave a little growl before nuzzling at his neck. He ran his mouth over cool skin before slowing, taking in his scent. "Merry Christmas, Vexen." His voice was soft and velvety, a warmth in it that not long ago hadn't existed.

The blond reached up and ran his fingers through his hair. "Merry Christmas, Marluxia."

"We should get up." He murmured but that mouth just had a way of making him forget why. He groaned as they rolled, his back pressed against the bed as a warm body covered him.

"I hear you but I was thinking...." He brushed their lips together, "We should go with this method."

Damn him. "Xaldin, I want to be able to walk home today."

"I'll carry you." He purred, his hand running down the blonde's side.

He chuckled and wrapped his arms around his neck. It had only been two days but he felt like they'd never been anything but this. "You make a very valid argument."

"I thought so." He growled, nibbling his ear.

Luxord squirmed, his eyes falling shut. "Should have been...a lawyer or...something."

"Damn, I guess I picked the wrong profession." He murmured, his hands drifting along the man's torso, running a fingertip across his navel and further down.

The blonde gasped, arching his back a bit. "I don't are awful sexy in your uniform."

"You think so?" Xaldin's hand drifted further down until he felt the hard heat. "I was hoping I was at least catching your eye a bit."

His voice came out as a desperate choke as his head spun for a moment. "Oh you did." Luxord muttered tensely. "I was...watching more than you...oh god I can't have a conversation if you do that."

The other man laughed, kissing the side of his lover's mouth. "That was the point."

"I forget what we were talking about...again...AH!" He flinched, his fingers digging into the sheets.

"You were moaning." He said before finally taking his lips, delving into that moist cavern, the tingles running through him like some mixture of fire and electricity. Xaldin hadn't realized until that first kiss that he could feel such things. He thought he was sunk when he noticed his feelings for the man; that had been nothing. Touching, kissing, just being within inches of the man made him want to lose control. Honestly they'd break a million laws if they had any less restraint.

"Xaldin..." he panted. Luxord sometimes forgot he wasn't in his dreams anymore. Most of the time he woke up around this part but not now.

"Say my name again." He breathed, breaking away from the kiss just enough to feel his breath mingle with the blonde's.

The Gambler responded to him but uttering his name again, even more desperate this time. He tried to lean up to kiss him but Xaldin pulled away, still maintaining that same torturous distance. "Don't tease me."

"Fair is fair." He grinned, but it was getting hard to hold back.

"Damn you." He gave a sharp cry, his body trembling. "I can fight back, you know?"

"I'm aware." He kissed his lips briefly, watching the man's eyes, half closed and bright blue, almost like smoldering blue flames.

His eyes fluttered open wider a moment as he felt the beginning rush. "Xal..." Reaching up he tangled his fingers in the man's thick hair, grabbing him and finally pulling him into the kiss, shaking and tensing as he got louder. The kiss muffled it but the intensity in his reaction was apparent as he fell apart in the other's arms.

Several minutes later he teased the man's hair as Xaldin rested his head on his chest. "What about you?" he said a bit dazed.

"I can wait till we get home." He said with a smile. "Besides if you were me you'd understand how amazing it is to watch you when you come." He laughed.

He pinched his ear. "Hey."

"I meant it as a compliment." Xaldin glanced up at him. "Besides I like making you feel good, I just want to make sure you don't change your mind."

"Xaldin, I'm not going to bloody change my mind now. You've ruined me, I'm gay now." He smirked.

"Yes, I'm an evil monster." He cocked a brow.

"Naw, just really worth it." He rested his head on an arm, staring down at him. "So don't worry, you're stuck with me."

"I can live with that." The man's violet eyes stared at the blond a moment before leaning up to kiss him again, whispered words passing between them amidst the kisses.

With a loud yawn and scratching across his chest under his shirt, Xigbar wobbled into the kitchen to make coffee. He found Xemnas there, sitting as if deep in thought. "Am I interrupting?" He asked, cocking a brow.

The man looked up like he hadn't realized he was no longer alone just then. "Oh, Xigbar." He said a bit flatly.

He shook his head and went to make coffee. "Something up? You look all...ya know...deep and stuff."

He shrugged. "I suppose I am. I have been wondering about certain...things." He glanced across the room.
The scarred man raised a brow as he made the coffee and went to sit across the kitchen table from his long time friend. "Yeah? Like what?"

Xemnas looked at the man, clamming up a moment before muttering. "Saix."

"Ah, I see." He grinned and nodded sagely. "You and puppy boy having some relationship issues?"

"Relationship issues?" The darker man titled his head.

"Yeah, ya know, a fight, lover's quarrel, a spat." Xigbar looked at him.

"We are not in a relationship like you or the others." He said.

"WHAT?" Xigbar sat upright, the table rattling as he put his hands on it. "Are you serious. You mean you guys haven't...." He made a few lewd gestures with his hands. 'Yet?"

"Of course not!" Xemnas actually blushed a bit. "I...I am not quite sure he wants such a thing and I'm not exactly capable of giving him it."

"You don't like him?"

"That isn't it. I do I just...feelings of affection are very foreign to me and always have been. I can't just immediately be able to act like...well you and Demyx and certainly not to the embarrassing level of Vexen and Marluxia." He sighed and lowered his eyes.

Xigbar scratched his head. "Have you actually talked to Saix about this so he knows or are you just stringing him along?"

"What do you mean?" Xemnas looked a bit distressed. Honestly the man was hopeless.

"Xemmy, listen, you can't just let things keep going without bringing it up. Sure I'm sure he was being patient and waiting but eventually he might decide he can't wait anymore and then it's yes or no, do or die, to be or not to be."

"Stop trying to be cryptic." Xemnas snorted.

'Well, you get what I mean. He ain't just gonna be your puppy forever. Eventually he'll want to be upgraded to lover.

"How do you know? Perhaps we are simply friends."

The other man snorted. "I doubt that." Xigbar leaned back in his chair and crossed his arms. "Saix was worried about you the couple days he was here after he woke up. He was so nervous you'd reject him. I mean I figured you two had at least done the horizontal mambo by now."

"BRAIG!" Xemnas cried, calling the man by his true name. "Please, I don't want to talk about that."

"Have you at least kissed him?"

"A couple times." Xemnas muttered.

"Let me guess, he initiated it?" Xigbar raised a brow. "See, you can't just let him take the fall every time. You gotta man up and do something or else he's gonna just give up and go away." He flapped his hand as if saying farewell.

Xemnas looked at him and a worried look fell over his gold eyes. "I...I suppose you are right." He pondered this a moment before looking at the man. "I never thought I would ever be talking about these sorts of things with YOU of all people."

Xigbar sighed. "Yeah, me neither. Crazy, huh?"

'Yes." The darker man actually smiled a bit.

Just then Marluxia and Vexen both came through the door, Vexen walking a bit dazed to the table and Marluxia heading for the freshly brewed coffee.

Xigbar grinned. "Getting coffee? Can you get some for me too while you're at it, champ? Thanks."

Marluxia flipped him off and walked past.

Feigning horror the scarred man looked at Vexen. "Did you see what he did to me? You need to train your boy better...Vexen?"

The blond was staring at Marluxia as he walked to the counter.

"Dude, are you making eyes at your boyfriend in public?" A real look of horror crossed Xigbar's face.

The blond looked at him. "Have you seen who I'm dating?" he cocked a brow. "I should be able to look all I want I mean," he glanced back at Marluxia. "He's...I don't know, so tasty I can spread him on a cracker or something."

Both men at the table just stared. Xigbar was the first to break down though and began to laugh. "Oh dude." He looked at Xemnas and laughed harder. "I don't know what's funnier, the fact that you said that or his face." He pointed to the still flabbergasted Xemnas.

Vexen looked at Xemnas a moment. "What's funny is what happened last night...." He muttered.

Xemnas was still in shock.

Vexen opened his mouth to speak then paused. "No, no you're right that look is pretty funny." He gave a faint subdued laugh.

Xigbar chuckled. "I know, right?"

"You're all idiots." Zexion muttered, walking into the kitchen with Lexeaus. "Oh, did you find your clothes?"

Vexen looked over. "I did, in a nice folded pile at the door. I will commence in burning them right after breakfast." He grinned.

Xigbar raised his glass. "Here here."

After breakfast Xemnas took a walk by himself. He was thinking about what Xigbar had said. Somehow he knew he was right. He had to assert himself in this. He wasn't quite sure how, though. He was used to having things laid out, having a goal and using the correct method to achieve that goal but this was dealing with another person, unpredictable, unable to truly calculate. He wandered out into the gardens. He'd never been a huge fan of flowers and foliage but well it was rather peaceful out here. He heard something and followed the sound. It was as if someone was fighting but there was only one voice and looking through the trees he saw him.

Saix was practicing like he did every morning. He'd told Xemnas it was so he wouldn't slow him down. He swung the claymore swiftly, moving as quick as he ever had but his mind was a bit clouded. He was wondering if he'd ever be able to stand beside Xemnas as an equal. He could not explain the desire for this, or why his heart demanded it when somehow back in the organization he had in a way resented the man for what had happened. How could such feelings become...?

Xemnas came out, watching the man more obviously. He was beautiful, and loyal but there was more than that. Saix was the only person who had stayed beside him even if he was the cause for all of it. How could you forsake a person who did that, especially for a half complete man like him? He was being unfair, always letting the man make the move, set the pace but there were things he wanted. He wanted...more. Walking closer he marked the man's movements, the swing of his blade. He had to say something before he disappeared. Reaching out he caught the claymore.
Saix stared wide-eyed at him, having been so focused he hadn't noticed him, a careless mistake. "Xemnas?"

He looked at him. Underneath the stern gaze, the skill to tear apart anyone who challenged him he was rather withdrawn, shy and he moved his hand to push the weapon aside as he stepped closer. "I do not feel like just waiting anymore." He said.

Confused but surprised by that he leaned back a bit, his grip on the sword loosening. "Xemnas?"

"All this time I have let you decide but I have given nothing back." He murmured, reaching out to cup his cheek. "It is not fair of me."
Blushing Saix was completely at a loss. He wasn't used to this, in fact the man was initiating a conversation for once.

"Saix..." He leaned closer, staring at him. Somehow that emptiness he still felt was fading, replaced with warmth in his chest. He kissed him, his hands slowly sliding around him to pull him closer. He'd merely sat there the few times Saix did this to him, unable to react but liking the sensation.

Eyes still wide he felt the contact and a shiver ran down his spine. Xemnas, Xemnas was kissing him, holding him? He couldn't fathom it but closing his eyes he leaned close, a slight moan escaping him. How could he stop him, how could he not be overjoyed by this?

He held him more firmly, deepening the kiss, smiling a bit when hands wrapped around him to join in the embrace. Saix was special to him and though he was awkward, unable to be like the others he would find out how. He would find out how to love and be loved.

"That a boy." Xigbar muttered sitting back from the window.
Demyx was resting his chin on his arms. "It's nice that everyone is happy." He said, wishing he had his camera to capture this moment.

"Yeah." He said looking at the blond. Somehow he always had to smile when he looked at him. "Dem, are you happy?"
"Huh?" he looked at him and smiled. "Of course I am." He crawled over to him, looping his arms around his neck to hug him. "I always am happy with you, even before, even when I shouldn't have been able to."

He smiled and closed his eye. "Yeah? Me too." He muttered. "So it's Christmas." He said.

"Yeah?" Demyx looked at him. "What do you want to do?"

He thought about it for a moment. "How about we go out and take pictures, just of us?" He titled his head back and looked at him. "Hm?"

The blond smiled warmly. "Yeah." He didn't want to ever lose himself again but if he did he wanted those tiny records of the time they'd all been together. Leaning over Xigbar he laughed. "Love you."

He reached up, brushing hair from his face. "Love you too, little dude." He said with a big grin.

Days after Christmas found the apartment above the bar silent except for the faint shifting of bodies on the couch. "Xaldin, wait..." Luxord gasped, pushed back, pressed into the cushions.

"You were the one you started it." He grinned, nibbling at his neck, sucking at the warm skin. His hands opened the blond's shirt, eager to touch him. Getting frustrated he ripped the shirt open, running his hand over the pale chest.

Groaning Luxord writhing under him, unable to resist. Somehow this seemed very familiar. "Hey...I think...I had a dream about this...not exactly but...."

"Oh? You were having dirty dreams about me?" he grinned, kissing down his chest.

"Yeah, so?" He looked down at him, swallowing hard. It was still difficult to keep his wit about him with the man. This always happened lately and it was a miracle they got any work done at the bar.

He chuckled. "Luxord?" He looked up at him. "I love you."

He flushed. " bloody cheat." He muttered but gave a faint smile. "You know I love you too, now hurry up before I go crazy."

The other man laughed, working off his clothes. "As you wish." He purred, kissing him deeply.

Unlike the dream, this time Luxord didn't wake up feeling his heart respond to the other and drowning in the bliss of it all.


He laughed as they drew a new face on the redhead. Both blond heads cracked up at the pair of glasses this time.

"Demyx, where...." Vexen paused seeing them. "Oh what the hell are you doing now? You know if he wakes up he'd going to kill you." He snorted.

Demyx laughed. "Oh come on, he'll think it's funny later. Besides I didn't draw this one." He held up the blond two year old next to him. "Roxas did."

"Funny." The boy squealed.

Vexen raised a brow. "Yeah, funny. You know that when Sora wakes up with a mustache and a beard he's going to come find you, right? You can't teach kids this crap."

"CRAP!" Roxas repeated.

"What?" Vexen stared in horror. "No, no Roxas I didn't say that. Don't...."

"Crap! Crap!" The boy said again.

Demyx grinned. "Now what were you saying?"

"YOU SHUT UP." He grit his teeth the rage building.

"Crap!" Roxas said again.

Vexen grabbed the child from Demyx. "Now, Roxas, we don't say that." He smiled weakly. "If you never speak that word again I'll give you candy."

Somehow the child responded to that and fell silent.

"Good boy." He said relieved and went to grab him a sucker or something. As he was on his way to the kitchen he saw Xigbar holding a crying blond girl and a dejected Marluxia in the corner. "What's wrong?" he asked confused.

Xigbar couldn't get her to stop crying. "Um...I think Namine hates Marluxia." He said.

"Can you blame her?" Marluxia said with a frown causing more cries from the child. "It's like they really are...oh never mind..." he muttered.

"Well in a sense they are." Vexen sighed, seeing the little girl light up when she saw him. "No, no..."

Xigbar smiled. "Hey, she likes you." He handed the girl to Vexen, seeing him with the twins. "Awww, you're like Mother Teresa." He grinned.

The blond glared at him. "I hate you." He held both kids. "I am not a damned babysitter." He muttered.

"Damn Babysiffer." Roxas said.

"No, Roxas!" Vexen whined. "Why me?" he said going to the kitchen.

Xigbar followed him. "Well you were the one that thought it was a good idea." He argued.

Vexen sighed. "I know but Axel seems to react when Roxas is near. I'm not sure how to explain it but it's like what he's waiting for is....Hm." He thought on it.

Xigbar grinned. "Guess we'll just have to wait and see, huh?" He muttered watching the children. "I don't think we're ever gonna understand how this all works."

"No, but it will be interesting to watch." He said, patting Roxas' head as he gave him the sucker.

"Aww, now say thank you to auntie Vexen, Roxas." Xigbar said.

"'fank you, aunty Vexy." He mumbled over the sucker.

Vexen's smile faded. "Why do you do it? Why? Why?" He looked at Xigbar.

"Cause your reactions are hilarious." He laughed. "Come on, Sora and Kairi should be here to get them soon."

"Yeah." Vexen picked the children up, stopping by Axel's room with them one more time. When would Axel wake up?

"Axel." Roxas said.

"Yes, that's right, Roxas, that's Axel."

The little blond stared as if seeing something Vexen couldn't. Blinking he looked back at Vexen and smiled.

He couldn't help but smile back.

"Vexy?" Namine tugged at his hair. "Potty?"

He turned to the girl. "Oh...oh you have to be kidding me." He whined. Why did he always get stuck doing this?