The Death March Song

Dark Lady Devinity

Warnings: Some one-sided slashy-ness on Xemnas's and Axel's parts. Also, I did not write the details of the Organization members' actual deaths as you would have seen that in the game and I haven't played recently.

The Death March Song

What was once whole was now shattered. Yet, still they marched on. Feeling neither valiant or foolhardy, nor even feeling at all, for the chance to regain the heart was worth any risk.

Even when strong thirteen was desecrated into four and a traitor.

XxX

The keyblade bearer and friends had defeated both Xaldin and Demyx, leaving behind no ashes. In a way, Sora's involvement in the destruction of Organization XIII made the remainder four members and two traitors. But at the same time the boy's nobody, Roxas, didn't exist on his own anymore. He was Sora and it was Sora fighting the Organization. However, it still stung that Roxas had regained his heart so easily and they thought of him as a traitor for it.

The other traitor was Axel. The fiery read head had gone renegade but that wasn't too surprising. He only had loyalty to the distant Roxas and replica Xion and played the double agent card to his own desires. He acted like he was going to betray the Organization with Marluxia and Larxene. He even killed Vexen on Marluxia's orders. Then he betrayed the betrayers on Organization XIII's behalf. In the end he wasn't on anyone's side but his own. Of course, no one knew about Axel and Saix's plans to take over the Organization for themselves as those plans never came to fruition.

Thus, in the end, it was only Xigbar, Saix, Luxord and Xemnas left to continue the fight for Kingdom Hearts. Three soldiers and their general.

XxX

Xigbar had missions in Imperial China while Luxord gambled and traded in cursed Aztec gold at Port Royal. Saix was keeping tabs on Axel and Sora as Xemnas spent nights staring at his beloved heart shaped moon. And still, with the time for a final battle nearing, there was still time to relax. Sora wouldn't reach the World That Never Was for some time yet. Many Heartless still stood in his way. Therefore, as the only ones left of Xemnas' army, members two, seven and ten had plenty of time to get to know each other.

Saix and Luxord learned that, despite his surfer dude accent, multiple scars and childish refusals to walk on the floor like a normal person, Xigbar was actually a talented and dedicated scientist. Braig had learned to shoot because it required skill, concentration and control, much like pouring potentially dangerous chemicals required concentration and precision. And Xigbar still had an interest in science. He could often be found on the ceiling or on a wall reading the old scientific journals he had written with Xaldin, Vexen, Lexaeus and Zexion when the five of them had hearts.

Xigbar and Luxord learned that Saix's Berserker state had developed from the remnants of a psychological disorder his somebody had suffered from. It was similar to bipolar disorder and Isa had been more inclined to attacks of mania than depression. That explained his violent rages as sometimes manic people could become quite violent in states of high hyperactivity. Yet Saix was also very creative in his manic states. He enjoyed writing and, when calm, reading. Xigbar and Luxord had only seen him fall into a depression once. Neither wanted to see it again although it had been interesting to see the effects of an emotional psychological disorder on someone with no heart. Braig had known Isa but Xigbar had never known about Saix's somebody's health until now. They also learned that Saix had a nasty mean streak and was quite sarcastic despite being so loyal and subservient to his superiors. Yet they couldn't get him to divulge any personal information about Axel despite the fact that Lea and Isa were best friends. It seemed that Saix would treat Axel like a traitor but would respect Lea's memory.

There wasn't much to learn about Luxord that Xigbar and Saix didn't already know. His fighting style told everyone about his main loves; playing cards and games of chance. His love for such games was the reason he had an adorable pair of boxers covered in fuzzy pink dice. Had they not just learned about Demyx's death the day Xigbar discovered the boxers, he would have teased Luxord to death. However, there were surprises to Luxord. He loved chess and games of intelligence and skill as well. He was also very, very stereotypically British. The gambler of fate was addicted to noon tea to the point of freezing time in the middle of meetings and fights so he could go get a cup. Also, he was loyal to the Queen of England.

The three nobodies formed a loose friendship. Mostly it was Xigbar and Luxord, a deck of cards, half a dozen bottles of rum and a cup of Luxord's favourite tea. They mostly left Saix to his books but every so often would drag him into some silly conversation or scheme or adventure. Little things that the two men used to do with Axel, Demyx, Roxas and Xaldin when there were thirteen instead of four and a traitor: maybe since before Xion was created. Usually, the mismatched trio pranked Sora, Donald and Goofy and had yet to be found out. Never once did they bother Xemnas because; Saix. Would. Hurt. Them. And they never pranked each other. Xigbar had tried and Saix and Luxord had teamed up on him. It wasn't pretty.

Today was a silly conversation day. Xigbar and Luxord often had conversations on old lovers and the most appealing people in all the worlds, men or women. This day, they were discussing the various levels of attractiveness of the Organization members.

"Um, out of the guys, I'd have been most attracted to Demyx or Xaldin." Luxord was saying. "Girl wise, I'd be hot for Marluxia. Not a she, I know, but with all the pink and flowers, he's mostly girl."

"So, if you had a heart and it was straight, you wouldn't go for Larxene, Xion or Namine?" Xigbar asked.

Luxord gave Xigbar a dark look. "Larxene would electrocute my balls and eat them. Lovely girl, physically, but a sadistic bitch at non-existent heart."

"And Namine is not part of the Organization." Saix added to the conversation. The Lunar Diviner was reading the works of Plato and was also aware of everything going on in the room. As he was able to skillfully do both, the others didn't feel it safe to put him into their ranking of Organization XIII's Hot or Not list. More importantly, they didn't want Xemnas to walk in and learn that they knew Saix was physically appealing. Xemnas only had interest in two things; Kingdom Hearts and Saix. The Superior would share la luna's power but would not share la luna's diviner. Of course, Saix would never know. Xemnas hadn't expressed any interest in him except once. Saix had been sparring with Lexaeus when a loud explosion from Vexen's labs distracted them. Lexaeus hit Saix hard on the head with his tomahawk instead of the planned attack on Saix's shoulder. Saix didn't block it and was sent flying by the blow. Xemnas, Xigbar and Zexion, all who had been watching, thought that the diviner was dead. Xemnas looked livid when suddenly Saix was conscious and back on his feet in berserker mode. Xemnas looked so very relieved but forced horrible missions in Altantica on Vexen and Lexaeus for two months as punishment. It wouldn't do to have Xemnas think that Luxord and Xigbar wanted to "deflower" (Marluxia's famous wording of the act) his property.

"Planning to join the conversation of your own free will?" Luxord asked the bluenette. "That's quite a first."

"No. I was merely restating the rules of your… game. You're discussing the… merits… of Organization XIII's members. Namine was not a member but a tool. Xion wasn't even real. Besides, both girls were only fourteen."

"So Saix's not into jailbait. Guess that means he wouldn't rank Roxas on his Hot or Not list either." Xigbar said. "So, who do you find ascetically pleasing?"

"Yes, do tell." Luxord said, smirking.

Saix never looked at them as he flipped the pages of his book. "I hate you all."

The other men laughed. It was a good, witty reply and obviously not true at all. They knew that Saix liked them somewhat. He respected them enough to follow the orders of members two through six even though, as Xemnas's right hand man, he only had to obey the Superior. Though Saix would take the time to properly ignore the free shooter's words.

"Oh, you're so mean to us, man." Xigbar replied, placing a hand over the place his heart should have been in mock hurt.

"Seriously though, there had to be one of us you found worthy of your attention." Luxord said.

"Like XIII held VIII's attention?" Saix asked, finally looking up from his book. Axel had directed all his memories of love and friendship onto the keyblade master's nobody.

"No man, nothing as intense as that." Xigbar said. "I don't think any of us have someone we placed those memories on." Except, Xigbar thought, maybe Xemnas for you, Saix.

Luxord raised an eyebrow at Xigbar. "That isn't true and you know it. You were devastated when Demyx faded and Xaldin was your best friend since you had a heart. You had to share your memories of your feelings between the coworkers you knew for years and Demyx whereas Axel only had Roxas so his were more intense, more… heartfelt, but it was the same." The Gambler of Fate smiled. "You two were lucky. I'm not sure if there was anyone in Organization XIII that I could have pseudo feelings for."

Saix nodded. "II was fortunate to have known the Superior and III, IV, V and IV when he had a heart." The diviner paused. "Though it is doubtful that they were so fortunate to have known II."

"Hey, hey! Stop it with the insults. And use our names Saix!" Xigbar said. "Our rankings are pointless with only four members left of the Organization."

"That is true." Saix said.

"And you knew me and the other apprentices as a kid. Wasn't Axel your best friend?" Xigbar asked, knowing he may have crossed a line and not caring.

"As I spent my childhood trying to infiltrate the castle and you kept throwing me out I never much cared for you when I did have a heart. Axel… changed. And perhaps I did too. We are nothing like Isa and Lea." Saix said, standing up. "Now, if you would excuse me, I believe that it is time to check up on Axel." He was gone before the others had a chance to reply.

"So, I'm fortunate, am I?" Xigbar asked, grinning. "I had people to care for?"

"Saix wasn't making an admittance of jealously, so you can stop grinning like the cat that got the cream." Luxord said. "He was merely stating a fact. You already had a working dynamic with the other members of the Organization long before Saix joined. No one had to fight to get things done. If anything, Saix resents the fact that Axel was his only subordinate for a while. He gave off a vibe of long suffering that had to have started from his days playing the part of Axel's friend. They know each other better than I believe is healthy for any person."

"Can't say I blame him. Lea was a brash kid with a big mouth and Axel only listened to the boss man and Xaldin for months." Xigbar said.

"Xaldin? Why?"

"Axel's hair used to be longer. Then he pissed Xaldin off. He ducked just in time to avoid getting speared in the head but lost four inches of hair."

"Hmmm… lucky Axel."

Xigbar shrugged. Then he changed the topic to one that was bothering him. "Did you mean what you said about my projecting my memories of feeling on Demyx and the original members?" When Luxord nodded, Xigbar said, "So who was your memory projected friend?"

"That phrasing makes no sense Xiggy. Anyway, I don't have one and neither does Saix. We're the outsiders. Saix was never the most social and he was the first nobody ever recruited into an already established social hierarchy. Then Axel annoyed him to no end and they both obviously could not handle seeing the changes that losing one's heart caused in each other. Demyx was befriended by both you and Axel. Marluxia and Larxene were of the same mind and traitors for it. Xion was not built to last. And you know how Axel and Roxas turned out. Meanwhile, I wanted to be outside of it all. It was easier to watch and learn. I wanted to be able to tell when the tide was turning against me."

"You were playing chess with us and wearing your bloody poker face so we wouldn't know!"

Luxord shrugged. "I'm the gambler of fate. It's what I do."

"Okay then. I've been thinking of doing some serious gambling. Especially with fate." Xigbar leaned in close to Luxord and spoke in low tones. It wouldn't do for either Xemnas or Saix to walk in and overhear them. "Okay, so happiness is basically endorphins released by the brain. And we still have memories of the feelings our hearts produced or, more likely, enhanced. So it shouldn't take too much to… please somebody or, in this case, nobody. And I know what would please Xemnas."

"You mean, besides opening the gateway to Kingdom Hearts?"

"Yeah. I know it's unexpected. But I've seen proof that there's something else he wants… I think it'll be fun to get it for him."

"Then why don't you ask Saix for help? He's like a dog that'd do anything for his master and Xemnas is our master."

"Because what would bring Xemnas closest to happiness is Saix! Dude, ain't it, like, obvious?"

There was utter silence for a full, pregnant, minute. Finally Luxord replied, "You, my good sir, are a bloody idiot. Saix would do anything for Xemnas, yes, but that's because Xemnas is his best bet for getting his heart back. And Saix wants his heart but spreading his legs to get it? Not that desperate."

"Dude, you are such a pervert." Xigbar said. Although Luxord had said exactly what Xigbar was thinking. "C'mon, don't you think they'd be sooooo cute together?"

"Now you sound like a fourteen year old girl at a slumber party. The type where the girl sets up her best mate 'cause she's got nothing better to do."

"Well, Axel doesn't know we know he's a traitor so I could always ask him for his help…"

"Fine. I'll help you play matchmaker. But only because we can't afford to have Saix kill you so close to the completion of Kingdom Hearts with Sora after us."

Xigbar grinned. "It's a party."

XxX

Wearing the long black coat still made him a part of Organization XIII even though he didn't really feel like a member anymore. And Axel could have thrown the coat away but it was through the Organization that he met Roxas and Xion.

Axel stayed with the Organization because he didn't have anywhere else to go. Also, he sort of liked it. With the exception of Xigbar, the members were all so serious and Axel liked nothing better than being an agent of chaos. There was no better way to begin the day than scaring a sleep deprived Vexen into the waking world. And Axel's speed and agility were things he learned and perfected through annoying Saix the way he used to when they were Isa and Lea. He even had formed relationships. Xigbar made an excellent accomplice in chaos and so did Demyx upon his arrival. When Luxord joined, a whole new world opened- drinking games. But it was the youngest arrivals, Roxas and Xion, which cemented Axel to the Organization. Roxas was the one that made the difference in Axel's life. All of Axel's other relationships were shallow and his old friendship with Saix had died when Isa died in Lea's arms.

Maybe it was because Roxas' heart was still beating somewhere, pumping blood and oxygen through the veins of a bright eyed boy, that he was able to endear himself to Axel. Roxas could have been the most cold and aloof of nobodies but he'd still give off heat. Axel was the only other nobody who could give off heat but it was due to his pyro abilities. And Axel very nearly loved Roxas. Had he a heart, he likely would have. Xion was someone he cared about but the memories of love he associated her weren't the same that he associated with Roxas.

It was for Roxas that Axel played Marluxia and Larxene, killed Vexen and tricked the Riku replica into killing Zexion. Axel did it all to save Sora because the keyblade master was Roxas' heart. Axel remembered thinking 'Roxas misses you' when he first saw Sora and that was what determined Axel's part in Castle Oblivion. Saix's hidden agendas were merely an excuse as Axel was not ready to accept how much he valued Roxas' happiness.

And then Roxas left Organization XIII forever, citing that no one would miss him. He never realised how close Axel was to being in love with him.

All of this was likely the cause of Axel's abandonment of the Organization. He just couldn't believe that Xemnas had ordered him to kill Roxas when they found the boy in Twilight Town. So he failed to carry out the order though he did go to fight Roxas… It still stung that Roxas didn't remember him… and neither did Sora. Axel just couldn't catch a break.

'But,' Axel thought, 'at least the Organization doesn't know I've gone turncoat.' He had no idea that Saix was keeping tabs on him.

As it was, Axel was in the Destiny Islands with the intent to grab Sora's closest friend and probable girlfriend. (Did that make her Roxas' girlfriend too?) He had no idea if he was going to hand her over to the Organization to keep up the ruse of loyalty or use her as bait to capture Sora. To see Roxas.

XxX

When he first appeared in front of the girl, Axel was shocked to see Namine in her face. Now he understood why the witch sometimes gave off the same heat as Roxas.

XxX

"WANKER!" Luxord screeched from his position on the floor. Xigbar had changed the gravity around the gambler so he couldn't move. He was too heavy. Xigbar didn't have the patience to sit around as Luxord made complicated plans so he decided to make Xemnas jealous. Luxord didn't like the plan so Xigbar glued him to the floor.

The free shooter continued to ignore the gambler and burst into Xemnas' office.

"Luxord and Saix are screwing!" Xigbar yelled.

There was dead silence as Xemnas looked at number II. The Superior seemed aggravated but wasn't flying into a fit of passion or rage. Xigbar backed up, worried. Finally, Xemnas sighed and placed the papers he was working on to one side.

"This explains why Luxord is screaming English insults at you." Xemnas said at last. "If you are bored enough to spread rumours about your fellow members than perhaps you'd like to check up on the traitors?"

"Um, Saix already left to do that sir." Xigbar said.

Xemnas frowned and looked up at the clock. "Strange. Saix was supposed to meet me for an important debriefing." The Superior sounded disappointed.

"Perhaps Luxord or I could attend the debriefing instead? At least one of us should know especially if it's important to the completion of the entire mission. Then we could inform Saix for you."

Just as Xigbar was hoping, Xemnas' face darkened slightly in embarrassment and the man had to figure out an excuse for only needing Saix for the debriefing. Xemnas might as well come out and say that he wanted alone time with the lunar diviner as far as Xigbar was concerned.

"Okay, I understand sir. I'll just go… let Luxord off the floor." Xigbar said.

After Xigbar left, Xemnas sighed. Muttering to himself, he said, "Why did Ansem take in such a buffoon as an apprentice?"

XxX

Saix didn't return for four hours. Luxord and Xigbar were staring to worry and Xemnas, although it didn't show, was beside himself. Saix's checkups usually only took an hour, sometimes two. So everyone was perfectly relieved when Saix finally came in walking in his neat, precise stride. Then they realised he smelled of burning leather and flesh.

"I apologise for missing the meeting Superior." Saix said. He seemed unconcerned with the stares of his fellow nobodies. "I was spying on Axel when he kidnapped the keyblade bearer's friend Kairi. However, he lost her in Twilight Town. I went after her but had a run in with Axel. I did manage to retrieve the girl and she is currently in the dungeon. I suspect that she shall make good bait for the keyblade master."

"Good job, number VII. Now, you may wish to discuss the immorality of spreading rumours with number II. He deemed it appropriate to talk about you and Luxord in compromising ways" Xemnas said.

Xigbar cringed, as he saw how Xemnas planned to punish the earlier interruption in his office. He was going to leave them to the mercy of Saix.

But all Saix said was, "Well, that tells me where I rank on X's Hot or Not list. Had I a heart, I'd be… flattered, I suppose."

Luxord and Xigbar cringed. They had not wanted Xemnas to know about the list. And with good reason, as Xemnas made them clean the entire castle that never was. At least Xigbar's jealousy plan was working now.

XxX

Everything was drawing to a close now. Saix, as the lunar diviner, had seen in the stars and moon's alignment how rapidly it was all going to end. He just didn't know what it was that was coming to a close. But it affected all of them.

Xemnas was ready for a beginning, not an end. He sent Saix to meet Sora and company so that they could get started on the final pieces of Kingdom Hearts. For that, they needed the keyblade under their control. Luxord and Xigbar were to prepare for the possibility that Sora passed all of the nobody and heartless puppets.

Even Axel was aware of something closing.

XxX

He got the message and committed it to memory; they saw him as a traitor. Axel sighed and climbed to his feet. Without hearts, a nobody had nothing to pump blood through their veins. But Saix had ensured that, had the pyro blood to lose, he would be bleed dry.

It had hurt to chase after Kairi and to find her in the company of the three children that Roxas had been hanging out with; the boy's replacements for Axel. Then Saix had come to take Kairi and to show Axel that Organization XIII had no farther use for his services; that Saix knew any last threads of friendship between Isa and Lea were dead. The lunar diviner won the fight, took Kairi and left Axel for dead. It was all rather depressing. It also left Axel with very little choice.

He was going to see Roxas one last time.

XxX

In the end, "one last time" was all there was. Sora, Donald and Goofy had been fighting thousands of nobodies as they tried to complete their quest to stop the completion of Kingdom Hearts. Axel found them in the middle of this fight and decided to end it for them. But one cannot put everything into an attack and not expect consequences. The nobody ended up on the ground, arms outstretched as he slowly faded away. And it was all perfectly okay. He died with the keyblade master beside him, bright blue eyes keeping him company. Roxas' eyes.

It was too bad that Axel never got the chance to tell Roxas how much he cared for him. So he left his last piece of himself with Sora.

XxX

The Castle in the World That Never Was was attempting to survive another one of Xigbar's plans. Luxord had washed his hands of the whole ordeal since washing the entire castle. The gambler of fate also was not on the best of terms with Xigbar. Saix seemed to notice this but he made no comment. It was common enough for Xigbar to alienate himself to someone in the Organization every two or three days. Luxord would calm down soon enough and then the duo would return to drunken card games and bothering the two more productive members of the Organization.

Speaking of the more productive duo, Saix had noticed that Xemnas was acting a little strangely. They were all very close to regaining their hearts so it was probable that Xemnas was experiencing the nobody equivalent to anxiety. Saix was ready to sum up everything as a side effect of Kingdom Hearts' current state but Saix had noticed some things that did not really make sense in his mind. Xemnas had started keeping much closer tabs on Luxord and Xigbar when Saix was with the two of them. Yet the Superior seemed content enough to let the trio be when they were working on solo projects.

Saix had failed to notice that the Superior's strange behaviour occurred right after the 'hot or not' list was brought to Xemnas' attention. However, Xigbar noticed right away and saw that Xemnas' jealously had yet to fade away. Now the free shooter was attempting to figure out a way to use it to his advantage. Xigbar was not very good at hiding his intentions either. Neither Saix nor Xemnas knew what the free shooter was up to but they knew it wasn't good. Luxord sighed and suggested that they all should just ignore Xigbar. If no one paid attention to him then he'd give up and move on to some other harebrained scheme.

"I had intended to ignore him from the beginning." Saix had told Luxord. "He isn't stupid enough to do anything too annoying to any of us."

Luxord sighed and thought, You don't know the half of it, Saix. Out loud, he said, "Right now we're in crunch time. Xigbar knows better than to go mess with Sora right now as no doubt Axel told the kid about Kairi. So Xigbar will turn his attention to us. And he's after coming up with some really crazy ideas before."

The luna diviner shrugged in response. "So we shall ignore him then. Now, I am in need of a challenge. Would you like to play a game of chess?"

Luxord was sorely tempted to say yes. It wasn't often that Saix asked and he made an excellent opponent. But the gambler of fate could sense an overly possessive Xemnas glaring at them. Finally, he though you only live once and agreed. Then he took off to put on the kettle for tea while Saix went to get the chess pieces.

Xigbar grinned and saw his chance. He had perfected the plan and was ready to put it into action. The free shooter walked over so that he was standing over Xemnas and asked, "You totally want him don't you, boss man?"

Xemnas sputtered and looked up at Xigbar. "What are you talking about now II?"

Xigbar smirked. His plan had been to go with the direct approach and tell Xemnas that he wanted Saix and that Xigbar knew it. (He ignored the little voice in the back of his mind, sounding suspiciously like Luxord, that said, "You are an idiot.")

"C'mon man!" Xigbar said. "You're totally in non-existent love with Saix! You are both possessive and obsessive over him, just like you are with Kingdom Hearts. You want them both. Plus, you were totally jealous over the Hot or Not list and now you're upset over the fact that Saix wants to spend time with Luxord. You should have seen the look you gave Luxord. It's totally illogical because all Saix wants is to practice strategy, which is Luxord's forte. So it's not a rejection of you. Plus, you have all these secret meetings with Saix that have nothing to do with the mission because I get all the important memos. Luxord said that we project our memories of feelings onto members of the Organization and so we can have some form of feeling for them."

Xemnas sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose in frustration. "That's ridiculous."

"Saix agreed with him."

Xemnas heard the honesty in Xigbar's tone and his eyes widen. "Really? Well, that theory does have merit and nobodies are not beyond the realm of psychology."

"Hey! How come a theory only has merit if Saix supports it?" Xigbar demanded. "I'm the scientist around here! Oh wait… I brought up the point about Saix for a reason. You like him, Superior. You like him like a fat kid likes cake."

Xemnas was about to reply to that when Luxord teleported back into the room.

"There are trespassers in the castle." Luxord said. "Namine broke Kairi out and Saix was attacked by Riku. He was says that the chess board was missing but I think he was being sarcastic."

"Where is he to now?" Xemnas asked.

"Looking for other trespassers." Luxord said.

Xigbar grinned. "Dudes, its show time."

XxX

That was the last time the three of them spoke together. They never had any last words with Saix. Ansem the Wise and King Mickey were also in the castle and Sora, Donald and Goofy soon joined them. The four remaining nobodies already had a battle plan and they followed it. They just never got the outcome they wanted.

Xigbar faded first. He died in true Xigbar fashion; mocking and refusing to give out any information that did not amuse him.

Luxord followed next, failing to understand why Roxas would let Sora kill them.

Saix was the last of Xemnas' men to fade. He died reaching out for what he could never have.

In the end, Xemnas was left alone. He failed to notice that Xigbar and Luxord were gone or that he would never see Saix, whom he had cared about in the way Xigbar suggested, again. He still believed that he could complete Kingdom Hearts and he thought that that would make everything better. And so he was defeated by two teenage boys that still had possession of their hearts.

XxX

What was once whole was now shattered. Yet, they had continued to march on. Feeling neither valiant or foolhardy, nor even feeling at all, for the chance to regain the heart was worth any risk.

Even though it meant strong thirteen was desecrated into faded star dust.

END