This is part of a whole series that I am currently working on. It is my version of what happened when they each first arrived at the castle that never was. I know, I started out of order, but 7 and 8 are in the works. This is just a taste to see how people like it.

And in case you didn't know, I don't own them, just this story.

--

Flames danced in lazy eyes, their reflections a sharp contrast to the startling green trained on the blaze trapped within the fireplace. The fire tongued at the walls surrounding it, reached for the never ending expanse above it, finding no escape, left to slowly die as the log sustaining it burned away.

Shame…such beauty condemned to such an existence, stifled…never allowed to grow…to escape…

The green stood out even further against a slightly flushed face, owing to the owners' current position. The man lay across a couch on his back, head hanging off the cushion beside the arm, red spikes of hair hovering barely an inch off the floor. His one knee was bent, leg resting against the back of the couch, while the other barely touched the cushions, foot firmly planted on the floor. He smiled, basking in the warmth and wonder of his element, admiring the fire he'd conjured with his own hands.

Lost in thought, he did not notice a portal had opened in the room, an oversight he would rather not have made, given who stepped through.

The figure pulled back his hood, revealing a wicked grin flanked by a large scar running from cheek to jaw line. A single amber eye wasfixed on the knee peaking over the back of the couch and the grin broadened. The eye narrowed, pulling the scar taught and causing the black fabric over the other eye to shift ever so slightly.

You never learn do you? Never let your guard down. Oh well…guess I'll just have to teach you again.

Without warning, the red haired man tumbled off the couch as if pushed by unseen hands. A dull thunk announced the other's presence, having vaulted over the couch causing it to rock a few inches backward and come crashing back down to the floor. The older man stared down at the red head who was struggled to right himself quickly and face his attacker. He adjusted his position on the back of the couch, crossing his leg so his ankle rested on his opposite knee, and leaned back against a phantom barrier, hands behind his head.

Finally picking himself up to his knees he turned to meet a familiar one eyed gaze. "What the fuck, Xig?! If you wanted me to move you coulda just asked."

Amused, the man called 'Xig' shrugged. "C'mon, Axhole, where's the fun in that?" He smirked as the younger man fumed at the nickname. "Little do you know, I didn't just come here to hang out with you. I got news, kid."

Green eyes rolled in aggravation, "What have you come to tell me, oh superior one." Sarcasm dripped from every word, as the lower ranking member let his elder know he was still pissed about his unceremonious removal from the couch.

"Well, new guy," he emphasized the words, watching for the facial twitch to ensure he had struck the appropriate nerve. He did. "I came to tell you that you're old news. He waved his hand as if dismissing the other like an unwanted pest.

Green eyes sprung wide open. "Seriously?! It's about damn time!" He shifted to the couch, tucking one foot under his knee, while the other stayed fixed to the marble floor, and faced the other man. "So," he rubbed his hands together maniacally, "who do I get to lord over?"

The older man laughed at the other's overzealous response, "Woah, hold on there, Sparky. Don't go writing up the 'bitch list' just yet." He leaned forward, placing a hand on the red head's shoulder. "How about if we meet the little guy first. You might like him. Or he might be enormous and scarier than Saix the time someone ate all his Lucky Charms."

"Dude," the red head ran a hand through his spikes, his gaze fixed on the floor beside him. "How was I supposed to know eating them would cause the bastard to have a nuclear meltdown? Besides, I didn't peg him as the sugared cereal type." He turned back to the man seated above him. "And what do you mean I might like him?"

"Oh c'mon, Axel. We all know how you like the pretty boys." The older man leaned back, tossing his long ponytail, mocking the red head.

Axel's face blanched, the markings on his face standing out against his paled skin. "Ugh…I swear I'm never drinking again…"

An amber eye rolled in the younger man's direction. You and me both, buddy. "Chill, dude. Jeez, when did your sense of humor croak?" And besides, it's not like I was asking for it either. "You've been around the ice queen too much."

"Xigbar, stop being such an ass."

"When you stop being so crotchety." Xigbar shook his head, "I thought I was supposed to be the old one. Dude, you're like 19 going on 90 with that attitude."

The red head smirked, his friend's humor getting the better of him. "I can still kick your ass, old man."

"Keep dreaming, kid."

Axel sprung to his feet, standing just a few feet from the couch. Swirling flames whipped around his hands, forming 2 giant chakrams. He swung one lazily from his fingers as he sized up his superior, grinning deviously. "What are you waiting for…bring it on gramps."

"Now, is that any way to talk a senior organization member?" He smirked, as he conjured his guns into his hands which were once again behind his head. "You gotta learn to respect your elders, little boy." He jumped to his feet, crouching on the back of the couch lightly, barely making a dent in the cushions.

Axel laughed darkly, a sound that would cut most men to the bone. "Careful, I wouldn't want Organization XIII's senior citizen member to break a hip."

Eyebrows raised on the scarred face of the Freeshooter, lips spreading in a grin that would put the Cheshire cat to shame. And then he was gone.

Despite the fire starting to gather around his feet, Axel felt his blood run cold. Shit.

The red head felt his body collide with marble as he came crashing to the floor, the full weight of the Freeshooter on his back. A gloved hand was gripped firmly around Axel's spikes, pressing his face against the cool surface. His chakrams slid noisily across the floor, several feet from his reach.

Xigbar's moment of triumph was interrupted by a portal appearing in the room. Pulling down his hood, the intruder flicked his long blue hair over his shoulder, before fixing his eyes on the scene before him. The smug look that spread across the man's face made Xigbar's blood boil. This could only mean trouble.

"And here I thought the Superior's orders were to collect Number 8 for the meeting. Not for you to have playtime with your boytoy, Number II." The man's voice was quiet, but full of condescension as he watched the two men clamber to their feet.

Axel felt his muscles tighten, but he spoke with his normal cool confidence. "What's the matter, Saix? Being the Superior's lap dog not keeping you busy enough?" He smirked as the Lunar Diviner stiffened, practically baring his teeth. "Well then you're in luck. Vexen has been looking for help cleaning the shit out of the cages where he keeps his experiments. Being inside those bars again should be like home sweet home to you, Wolf boy. Who knows? You might even smell better afterwards."

"When," Saix's smooth voice was strained as he spoke through clenched teeth, "will you ever learn to respect your superiors, Eight."

Xigbar chuckled at the Diviner's frustration. "When you learn that screwing the boss doesn't give you all his power, Seven."

Darkness swirled like a cyclone stemming from the berserker's hand, parting to reveal the claymore materializing for its master. "You'll regret those words, Freeshooter." The amber eyes narrowed at the older man, fingers grasping tight around his weapon.

"Well, what d'ya know, Axel. Looks like Mr. Freeze will be getting that help after all." He chuckled at the snarl on the berserker's lips. "When will you ever learn to respect your superiors, Seven." He shook his head in mock disappointment. "Drawing your weapon on a senior member, Saix? The superior won't like that a bit. I'll let Vexen know to expect your help, starting tomorrow. We'll let Xemnas decide just how long you should be there. Now run along, little puppy. I'm sure you haven't filled your ass kissing quota for the day. Wouldn't want to sully your reputation."

The flurry hugged his stomach, aching from suppressed laughter. He watched the Diviner glare at Xigbar before turning and teleporting away. He wiggled his fingers in a mocking farewell, before bursting out in hysterical laughter. Approaching the Freeshooter, he clapped a hand on the man's back. "Oh man…," he paused to catch his breath, "THAT…was fucking priceless. The walls in Little Moony's room are gonna be sporting some Claymore shaped holes."

Xigbar breathed on his fingernails and rubbed them on his chest. "What can I say, kid? I'm a pro." He smirked at the younger man. "C'mon, Ax, let's get going." Raising a hand in front of him, he conjured a portal of swirling black. "Gotta have a word with Xemnas before the meeting. Make sure Saix gets what's coming to him." He waved his hand toward the void and grinned at his friend. "Ladies first."

Eyes rolled at the Freeshooter, as Axel stepped through the portal, mumbling darkly under his breath. "Fucking asshole…"

Shaking his head, grin still in place, Xigbar followed the Flurry into the void, the blackness swallowing him before shrinking inward, leaving no trace of the 2 cloaked men.

--

"Number 8."

The voice of the superior brought the Flurry back from his reverie. He sat up straighter in his chair, eyes turning upward to the form of the man sitting in the highest chair. Why the hell can't he just call me Axel? "Superior." Its like he's gotta drive that superior thing in any time he can.

Amber irises rested on the red haired subordinate now that his attention was back on the matter at hand. "As I was saying, our newest member is to be held in the lab for as long as he is unconscious. You will be responsible for guarding Number 9 until he comes to."

"Guarding, sir?" Eyebrows scrunched in confusion, Axel stared up at Xemnas. "From what, exactly?"

A smile appeared on the superior's lips. "You will be guarding him because we know nothing about him. He will be restrained, but you are to ensure that he does not cause any damage when he wakes."

Guard the new kid? The Flurry looked to the second chair, meeting the one eyed gaze of his friend and superior. The man merely shrugged, able to offer no further explanation.

"Now, Number 8. Four and Five are still in the lab, " he looked to the 2 empty chairs, "so send them back to me. Number 5 is due to brief me on the situation in which the boy was found, while Four will have an update on his current state."

Axel stared at the Superior a moment longer before teleporting out of the meeting room. As he slipped through the portal, he faintly heard the sound of the Diviner's laughter, no doubt pleased by the Flurry's base assignment.

--

The majority of the castle's common rooms were blindingly white, and the lab was no exception. The light seemed to emanate from every corner, reflecting off the pure blank canvas of the walls.

Axel pushed the doors open, entering the brilliant room. The counters, stretching the length of the lab on either side, were filled with beakers and all manner of scientific apparatuses. Two doors stood at the far end, one leading to a room filled with cages which held some of Vexen's more unorthodox experiments. The other door lead to the small room which served as a medical lab for emergencies. On more than one occasion, the Flurry had sat on the cold metal table while Vexen bandaged the many wounds resulting from sparing with the Freeshooter. The room always brought back the scent of burning hair and flesh, a vivid memory of the day Axel had discovered his power over fire, accidentally engulfing his unfortunate friend in flames.

The slender frame of the Academic was bent over a smaller frame strapped to the table Axel's backside knew so well. Seated in the corner was the much larger Silent Hero, eyes focused on Vexen's examination of the new arrival.

"Hey, Lexy, Vexy. How goes the check-up?"

Lexaeus turned to meet Axel's gaze, rising from his chair, hand outstretched to greet the Flurry properly. Axel shook the large hand, eyes meeting the venomous glare of the Academic as he peered over his shoulder at the 2 men.

"To what do we owe this intrusion, Flurry?"

Axel scoffed, vivid green eyes rolling toward the ceiling. "You know how it is. The Superior knows the delicate nature of the situation, so he sent an expert." He walked past the exasperated blonde and circled the table, looking over the new recruit. "A blonde, huh?" Axel raised his eyes to meet Vexen's once more, giving him a mocking grin. "How exotic."

Vexen sneered at the comment, turning back to his examination of the short haired blonde. "No one is impressed by your insubordination, Axel." He paused for a moment to push a stray piece of hair behind his ear. "And I was unaware that having a normal hair color in this castle made one exotic."

"What's the matter, Vexy? Afraid everyone is going to like blondie here better?"

"Demyx."

The third voice made the bickering men start, having forgotten that their fellow nobody was still in the room. Lexaeus was standing only a few feet away, hovering by the door, his eyes trained on the unconscious blond.

"Demyx, huh?" Axel let his eyes wander back to the table, taking in the sight before him. The boy was young, most likely around the age of the Flurry himself. His short blonde hair was slicked back from being cleaned up, but pieces were starting to stand at odd angles as they became dry. He was small and thin, though not as slender as the 2 men standing over him. Vexen had already dressed him in the Organization's trademark long black coat, leaving it only halfway zipped so he could redress the small wounds on the boy's shoulders."Cute kid. Shame he's stuck here with us. Is he gonna be alright?"

Without looking up from the bandages, Vexen nodded in response. "Give him a few days to rest and he will be just fine. Healed and ready to serve his superior, no doubt."

The Flurry looked up, but chose to ignore the biting tone of the Academic's words. "Nah, I won't be hard on the kid. I'm just glad not to be the new guy anymore. At least I'll have some company doing the bitch work in this place now." He stepped back from the table and sank into the chair previously occupied by the Silent Hero. "Besides, who needs rank when your best friend is second in command?" A smirk spread across his lips as he remembered his earlier encounter with the power happy Diviner. "And speaking of bitch work, Vexy…Xig put Saix on cleaning duty in your lab. Thought you should know."

Vexen cocked his head, looking pensive. "Is that so? His help will be greatly appreciated. I'm afraid I have let cleaning go by the wayside in recent weeks. My experiments have been keeping me quite busy. I'll have to thank Xigbar for undoubtedly provoking the Diviner into whatever attack he was preparing to launch." He busied himself finishing the bandages, mumbling to himself as he pulled the boy's coat closed. "Someone around he needs to teach that arrogant bastard a lesson. I commend the Freeshooter for taking some initiative."

Axel couldn't help but laugh. "Well, you know Xig. Always going that extra mile." The Flurry slouched a little in the chair. "Anything I should do while I'm keeping an eye on the kid?" His eyes turned back to the unconscious blonde, watching the gentle rise and fall of his chest. The boy's hands were bound to the table at each corner by thick straps, laced tight around each limb and secured under the table.

Back facing his subordinate, the Academic busied himself placing the bandages back in the proper cabinet. "He should be perfectly fine. If at any point he seems distressed, send an assassin to find me and I will return immediately. I will be back before too long. I'm behind schedule with my experiments." Vexen turned toward the door, inclining his head to Lexaeus. "I'm sure the Superior is growing rather impatient."

The large man nodded in response. He stood aside to let the blonde stride past him and through the door, turning his attention to the red haired Flurry seated beside the table. "He is bound to be scared when he comes to, waking in an unknown place, tied to a table. Befriend him." His eyes moved to the unconscious boy, a small smile forming on his lips. "Judging by what Xigbar has told me, I am sure you will not be opposed." Giving Axel a reassuring smile he turned and left, leaving the Flurry with a retort burning on the tip of his tongue.

Shaking off the large man's words, Axel resumed his position, head leaned back against the sterile white wall and heaved a heavy sigh.He'd had his fair share of menial tasks, but this was shaping up to be one of the more horribly dull. -Watch the unconscious new recruit who is strapped to the table and has absolutely no chance of escape.- His gaze returned to the blonde laying motionless on the table, a smirk breaking out across his face.

Oh well, at least he's cute.