The first time Zexion saw Demyx, the blond was just leaving the Schemer's own private chemistry lab. Demyx was accompanied by Saiix, and Zexion nodded in brief acknowledgement of his elder's superior rank. "Zexion," Saiix drawled, glancing over at his younger companion. He smiled almost fondly before turning back to Zexion. "Have you met number IX yet? He goes by... What was it? Demyx, I believe." The blond smiled blithely and nodded enthusiastically.

Zexion arched his one visible eyebrow. "No, and...?"

Saiix smiled gamely, seemingly oblivious to the less than friendly waves emanating from the man in front of him. "He's your charge. Superior's orders. I was just showing him around until we found you."

Zexion blinked slowly. "Showing him my private lab?"

Saiix shrugged noncommittally. "Superior's orders. Now take Demyx and play nice, you hear? I'm sure the Superior will be... less than pleased if he hears that Demyx has, in any way, not been openly welcomed." With that, he pulled up a dark portal, stepped through it, and disappeared. Demyx jumped, eyes wide.

"I'll never understand how you guys do that. It's like, you're here one second, snapyou're gone BAM!" The blond gestured wildly, obviously very impressed with II's vanishing act. "Will I be able to do that too, one day? Zexy- you're name's Zexion, right? Zexy, will you teach me? Please? I'll be good, I'll do anything you tell me to, I promise." Zexion's only response was to turn around and start walking away. "Zexion, hold on! Where're you going? You're supposed to take care of me, where are you going? Zexy!"

Without turning to look at the blond, Zexion coolly chastised the flustered boy. "You will refer to me as either Zexion or Number VI, do you understand?" Demyx stopped walking and hesitantly tugged at Zexion's sleeve. After a second, Zexion stopped walking as well. "Yes?" he asked, scrutinizing the newbie's face. Demyx, he saw, was slightly taller than Zexion was, and appeared to be slightly older as well. Despite this, the boy looked so young. His face was open, inquisitive, and trusting. Shining blue eyes, clear as the beach at sunset, blinked rapidly in confusion. Sandy blond hair was intricately styled and several unruly locks blew across Demyx's forehead. Demyx nervously chewed a corner of his bottom lip and shuffled uncomfortably. Zexion sighed impatiently. "What is it, IX?"

"Call me Demyx," he responded.

"Demyx, then. What is it?"

"Zexy, why don't you like me?"

"It's Zexion, Demyx." Zexion's eye twitched slightly.

"But Zexy, why don't you like me?"

"I don't dislike you, Demyx." Immediately, Zexion cringed at his use of a double negative. What was getting into him? Before he could reflect on this, however, Demyx grabbed one of the Schemer's cold hands.

"Really?" Demyx asked, eyes shining.

"Yes," Zexion replied, slightly uncertain. What on earth was up with this boy?

"Alright then! Saiix said that we'd be best friends, and that you'd show me everywhere in this castle. How do you manage not to get lost? This place is huge! Where shall we go first? Do we have to walk? Or can we use one of your black portal things? Let's go, Zexy, there's so much to do!" Demyx was positively glowing, he was so excited. Zexion, on the other hand, was positively pole axed. In all the years spent in the Organization, he had never, ever encountered one as unpredictable as this one. Demyx tugged on Zexion's hands, urging him forward. "Zexy? Something wrong?"

Zexion shook his head and pulled up a dark portal.


The first time Zexion defended Demyx, he was in the library, talking to Axel. At the time, Axel was actually in a pretty good mood, having just successfully returned from a reconnaissance mission with Roxas. Zexion was curled up in a couch near the back of the library, in the human development section. He was completely engrossed in a book on the human psyche. Zexion would never admit it, but all this additional research was just another attempt for the scholar to better understand Demyx. The blond sitarist had Zexion totally stumped. How one man was able to remain so cheerful and humorous in as bleak a place as the Castle that Never Was… It was completely above Zexion's comprehension.

Zexion had been reading steadily for hours, and had just turned the page when a red-headed missile forcefully hurled itself in the seat next to Zexion. "Yo, Zexion!" Axel called, playfully mussing up the Schemer's lilac hair. Zexion merely frowned, too caught up in neurons and external receptors to shoo off the fire-obsessed nuisance. Axel sat for a moment, slightly perturbed by this lack of response. He waved a hand under Zexion's nose, pulled up the Schemer's hood, even lit a match and threatened to burn the entire building down. All Axel received was an irritated nudge, a grunt, and a brief, disapproving stare. Axel set his head in his hand, completely baffled.

"You know, Zexion, I do believe that Demyx has been a good influence on you," Axel said softly, almost to himself. He was totally unprepared for Zexion's reaction. At the mere mention of Demyx's name, Zexion perked up. Quickly and efficiently, he closed his book, placed it industriously on the tower of informative medical journals stacked next to him, and dusted his hands free of any dust. He lifted the hood from his head and brushed the hair from his right eye, turning to look at the shocked red-headed.

"You were saying?" he prompted.

Realization hit Axel like a Mack truck. "You like Demyx, don't you?"

Zexion looked utterly shocked. "I do not, Axel, and if you're going to waste someone's time, I advise you to find Roxas instead."

Axel leaned back and stretched. "Tempting idea, but no. You're much more entertaining, Zexy. No, actually, I take that back."

"It's Zexion, Axel," the Schemer replied coolly. Axel smirked inwardly. He had him now.

"So you're Zexion to me, but not to Demyx, eh?" Zexion opened his mouth to protest, but Axel continued on. "I don't see what's so special about that Demyx, anyway. I don't know why you like him so much. I mean, look at him. He's too skinny, he's too loud, he plays that obnoxious sitar music every waking minute of the day. He's been in the Organization for months now, and still has issues controlling his dark portals. Come on, Zexion, I know you were assigned to guide him, but surely you don't need to be with him every second of every day? He's a leech, Zexion, he's holding you down. Just leave him somewhere, and don't look back. It'd be better for all of—"

Axel stopped abruptly. Zexion hadn't said anything, but his expression spoke volumes. Zexion was never inclined to engage in violent acts, but Axel could practically visualize the murderous thoughts running through the Schemer's head.

Zexion was, actually, extremely offended- furious- at the Flurry's offhand remarks. Zexion swallowed angrily and tried to compose his thoughts. Axel watched intently, carefully scrutinizing the other's every move. "I don't know what has driven you to say these things, Axel, but I do believe that Demyx will be a highly valuable asset to the Organization." He grabbed his recently abandoned psyche book and stood up to leave. Axel forcefully sat him back down.

Axel smiled smugly. "Did I ever say he wasn't?"

Zexion's eyes widened incredulously. "You just did, Axel."

"No, actually, Zexion, I didn't. I just said that he's been a very good influence on you." The door to the library flew open with a bang, and two pairs of eyes shot toward to entrance. A slightly offended looking Roxas stormed in, a highly apologetic Demyx trailing slightly behind him. Axel noticed how, once Demyx was spotted, Zexion immediately turned away from the doorway and threw open his book cover. A look of intense concentration and slight irritation was pasted on his face, and Zexion's hands fisted slightly. Axel cocked his head and sighed.

"Yes, Zexy, give the boy a chance. I do believe he could be good for you." Roxas, having just deposited the chastised musician on the couch next to Zexion, grabbed Axel by the collar and dragged him out into the corridor. Axel glanced back at the couch and waved jauntily. Demyx had perched himself on the corner of Axel's recently vacated seat, and was nervously confiding his fears (most likely on why Roxas was so angry) to Zexion. Zexion, though outwardly totally bored and uninterested, was nonetheless hanging on to the other's every word.


The first time that Zexion chose play over work, the entire Castle that Never Was was in a total uproar. Not over Zexion's decision, though typically his totally irrational decision would have been enough to floor the entire Organization. At the time, however, Axel (with a lot of help from Roxas) had actually hacked into the Castle's computer system. Since, in today's day and age, nearly everything is run completely by computers, this created a very serious problem.

All Organization members' rooms, which were password protected and locked, had frozen shut, trapping several unfortunate Nobodies inside. Marluxia, whose room was manually attached to Larxene's quarters, was shouting in genuine fear. His cries could be heard all the way on the other side of the castle. The bathrooms, too, were on the fritz. Xigbar was locked inside, and having a fiasco out of it. The toilet wouldn't stop flushing, and the shower turned alternately scalding hot and freezing cold. The shower head itself followed the sharpshooter's every move, pelting him with needles of water. The kitchen stove was frying everything in sight, and the ice box had ceased to work. A foul smell had permeated the area, and Luxord wondered why no one had bothered to toss out the weeks old carton of expired milk.

All in all, things were in total disorder. Roxas and Axel, after being thoroughly yelled at, were being forced to help reprogram the entire computer system. A wild-eyed Superior had briefly emerged from the computer room to announce that all missions were postponed until further notice.

The newly freed Organization members cheered- all but Zexion. He was too focused on getting more research done- he was currently working a new project focusing on the tendencies of radioactive ionic bonds. He slowly moved away from the group and headed toward his lab, already anticipating the marathon experimentation that would soon take place. He had almost made it to his room when he was stopped. "Zexy! Hey Zexy, wait up!"

Startled, Zexion stopped and turned around. Demyx, already dressed for play was sprinting toward him. Once he had caught up with Zexion, Demyx leaned forward, hands on his knees. "S-Sorry," he panted, "Was- was in kitchen... Luxord... Luxord pointed... you here." Zexion said nothing, just looked curiously looked over Demyx's strange apparel. Black shirt, dark gray shorts, bare feet. He looked ridiculously out of place within the pristinely white walls of the castle.

"Come on Zexy, let's go! We can't be late! Bus leaves in... Fourteen minutes!"

Zexion blinked, confused. "Where are we going, Demyx?"

"Come on Zexy, no time for questions. Please, let's go!"

"Are we going outside the castle?" Zexion just couldn't comprehend.

"Yes!" Demyx exclaimed frantically. "We are indeed leaving the castle! And we're going to be late if you don't stop talking! Please, Zexy- let's go."

"But my work…"

"Zexion. Xemnas gave us the day off- usually that means it's all right for us to be away from work."

"But I want…" Zexion hesitated. On one hand, his experiments were absolutely begging for attention… On the other… He really did want to go with Demyx. For the most fleeting moment, Zexion thought longingly of his lab, of the dangerous chemicals bubbling merrily in their tubes… And turned toward the flustered sitarist. The boy was standing stiffly, arms crossed. His face was full of impatience and frustration, though pretty blue eyes held the faintest trace of desperation.

"Please Zexion… Just trust me. Just one day… It'll be fun- I promise."

How could Zexion resist? Slender shoulders slumped slightly and he nodded once, head down. When Demyx smiled, however, it was sunlight breaking through the clouds. "Really? Great! Can you pull up the portal? I'm still not too good at it…"

Zexion nodded curtly. "Where are we going? And why do we have to take the bus there? We can teleport anywhere we want to, you know."

Demyx shrugged, tapping his foot impatiently. "Twilight Town Station. And it's the experience, Zexy- I know you can teleport wherever you want to, but I somehow doubt you've ever even caught the bus before. Time to live, Zexy! Now, will you please hurry up?"

Zexion nodded and guided the blond into the darkness.

--

Demyx took Zexion to Atlantica, the aquatic kingdom of the world. The two were encased in large, impermeable bubbles, and Zexion poked curiously at the interior of his own. He had never seen anything like it before- it was absolutely amazing. Demyx beamed gleefully at Zexion's confusion and urged Zexion forward. He dropped by on several old friends- a red crab with a pronounced accent, a very chubby yellow fish, and a beautiful redheaded mermaid.

When Zexion exhibited interest in the brilliantly decorated palace over yonder, Demyx hesitated slightly before agreeing to continue forward. "Just as long as we don't get too close to Triton's palace," he cautioned. "I mean, the king has quite a temper, and I'm not quite sure if I'm, um, forgiven yet." Forgiven for what, Zexion did not ask.

The boys spent the next hour rolling around, ducking behind coral pillars and magically lit seashell torches. Zexion could honestly say that he had never had so much fun in his life. Not in this life, nor in his last. He didn't know that such a fantastic, amazing world even existed…. Obviously, he had know that other worlds existed- he'd visited many of them on various missions for the Organization. However, every visit had been for strictly business. He'd never taken the time to so casually look around, explore, and even interact with several of the locals. Many of the aquatic denizens were actually quite intelligent, providing hours of very pleasant conversation. Who would have guessed? And now, Zexion's interest was piqued. Who knew what lurked just beyond dreary Castle walls? Maybe, some other time… He and Demyx could go touring another land. He had heard very nice things about Wonderland… Maybe even Halloweentown. That would be interesting.

At twilight, Demyx let Zexion up to the surface where both boys were able to watch the sunset. "Today was fun, wasn't it?" Demyx asked. "I love this place- it's where I go whenever I have any free time, or need to escape, or… Anything. I don't know- I guess I just love the water. It's kind of calming, you know? Or, well, not totally calming… You just never know with the ocean. Smooth and predictable one moment… tidal wave the next! No, calming's not the best word for it… Ah, Zexy, I guess water's just my thing. It's my element. What's yours?"

Zexion considered this question, gazing steadily at the barely sinking orb of red. "Well… Darkness, I suppose. Deception. Mystery. All are key elements of myself."

Demyx cocked his head slightly, eyes unreadable. "That sounds kind of lonely, Zexion."

"Does it, now?" Zexion asked, catching his companion's eye. "At times, it's not the most pleasant… But really, it's not so bad."

"That's what he said," Demyx muttered quietly to himself. Zexion pretended not to hear this, instead stretching back onto his rock and sighing softly.

After a while, Demyx stood up. "Come on, let's head back to Twilight Town. Bus leaves in fifteen minutes."

--

They stood on the steps leading up to Twilight Town Station, looking out into the vastness of the ocean and at the sun that never seemed to set. "I wonder how Roxas and Axel are doing," Demyx finally said. "If it wasn't for them, we wouldn't have had this day together. And, well, the Superior seemed to be pretty mad…"

Zexion shrugged noncommittally. "I'm quite sure they're all right. Despite all appearances, Axel is no idiot- he knows what he's doing. And you already know how smart Roxas is."

Demyx gulped, paling slightly. "Roxas…. Roxas knows all." A moment later, Zexion continued. "This is their place, too, is it not? Look- top of the clock tower."

Demyx whirled around, bright eyes searching. Finally, he saw them, too cloaked figures sitting side by side, sloppily eating slowly melting ice cream bars. Demyx smiled softly.

"Guess they did turn out okay after all."


Demyx gave Zexion his first present on Christmas night. During breakfast Christmas morning, Demyx had, in fact, given presents to all Organization members. Fertilizer for Marluxia, boxing gloves for Larxene, even hair spray for the Superior. The entire Castle was floored- never before had any of them celebrated an actual holiday. Never before had any of them thought of doing something so… nice for each other. They were all companions, yes. They all worked together, yes. They all lived together, yes. However, none of this meant that they were compelled to be anything more than just coworkers.

Demyx though, as usual, did not do what was expected. Early that morning, he jumped into the breakfast hall dressed as Santa. A fake beard was pasted on his face, his stomach stuffed with several pillows. His cheeks were red with delight as he swung around a large leather sack of goodies. "Ho! Ho! Ho! Have you all been good this year?" When nobody answered, Demyx whirled around, unfazed. His gaze traveled the entirety of the dining table, finally settling on Vexen.

"How about you, little boy?" he cried, sauntering closer to the brown-haired scientist. "You look like you've been a good researcher this year. Let's see if we have anything in here for you…" Demyx slammed down his heavy sack and rummaged through its many contents. "Here we go!" he cheered, withdrawing a sophisticatedly wrapped box of silver. "This is for you! Now what about you?" he asked, moving on to Luxord.

Zexion sat quietly in his seat, trying not to look too expectant whenever Demyx moved onto the next person. His turn never came.

Zexion stood abruptly, ignoring the way his eleven peers were gushing over their new, shiny presents. He stiffly walked to the sink, dumping in his plate and utensils. He shot one last, blank glance at the ever-beaming Santa Claus and headed toward his room.

He didn't come out the rest of the day. He didn't have to; the Superior, suddenly struck with a case of extreme holiday spirit, gave the entire Castle the day off. Zexion ignored this, refusing to leave his room for anything that was not entirely necessary.

He didn't know why it bothered him so much. He didn't deserve a present; at least, no more than anyone else. But still… One would think. He was Demyx's first friend… If a Nobody could be considered as such. He'd always looked after the boy, always to the best of his ability. Zexion gave up so much for him- all those evenings of late night conversation, the requests for them to be partnered on outside missions, the skipped days of experimentation used for frivolous day trips to the beach… Zexion sighed. He didn't know what was getting into him. He was a Nobody. It wasn't even possible for him to him to feel. He shouldn't have been bothered. Not at all.

But he was.

Later that night, he heard a tentative knock at his door. At the moment, the man was lying on top of his bed, trying to read the newest issue of Contemporary Theory. "Zexy? Are you up?"

Zexion frowned; it was Demyx. "Zexy, please…. Let me in? I want to talk to you. Please?"

Zexion sighed, slowly sitting up and crossing the floor to the door. He paused, hand resting on the doorknob, before fully turning it. Even then, he didn't allow Demyx the privilege of actually entering the room. The door was kept only half open, Zexion's body guarding the entrance. Zexion kept his expression neutral, though his fists were clenched tightly around the metal of his doorknob.

The sitarist looked uncomfortable, shifting nervously from foot to foot. "Zexion," he said in a small voice. "Are you… You know…? Mad at me?"

Zexion blinked coolly. "Mad? Demyx, we're Nobodies. We can't feel emotion."

"Oh," the blond said, looking down. "Yeah, I forgot."

An awkward silence stretched between them, and Zexion cleared his throat "Number IX. Was there a reason why you decided to come here?"

Demyx flinched at his elder's tone before nodding once, eyes downcast. "Yeah… I, um. Your... Your Christmas present, Zexy."

At this, Zexion's head snapped up. "Begging your pardon?"

"Your Christmas present." Still, the blond would not look at Zexion. "I didn't want to give it to you in front of everyone… I hope you didn't think I forgot you. 'Cause I'd never forget you Zexy, you know that, right?" Finally, the boy looked up, eyes burning with some unrecognizable emotion.

Zexion took a half step back, tried to speak. Words evaded him and he took a moment to compose himself. "Well, that was… Unexpected. You didn't need to, Demyx. Really."

"I did, Zexy! And, um. Here it is." The object was hard and slender, wrapped carefully in a beautiful turquoise paper. Zexion fingered the mauve ribbon that held it together.

"Thank you, Demyx." Still, the sitarist did not move. "Demyx?"

The blond smiled shakily. "I'm glad you're using my name again. And, um… Why don't you open it? I want to see your reaction when you see what it is."

"All- All right then…" Slowly, Zexion's fingers moved, tugging lightly at the barely-there ribbon of lace. It fell apart and down, pooling in a puddle at the two men's feet. Perfect rectangles of tape were severed and pretty blue paper lifted. Almost reverently, Zexion lifted the lid of the white box within.

Inside was a copy of Braniac's Guide to Life, a book he already had a copy of (courtesy of Axel). Placed within the first two pages were several traveling brochures (immediately, Zexion saw the Pride Lands and Land of the Dragons), as well a delicate white envelope. Inside were seasonal tickets to Twilight Town Station's train services. Zexion looked up, speechless.

"I was… I was thinking that maybe, you know, if we have some more free time… We could use the tickets and explore. Remember how fun Atlantica was? I really liked that… And I was hoping you did, too, so maybe…" Demyx trailed off, uncertain. Timid blue eyes slowly rose to meet steel gray.

"Thank you, Demyx." Zexion smiled softly, sincerely. "I'd like that a lot." Demyx slowly smiled back, eyes regaining some of their sparkle.

"I hoped you would."

Zexion, collecting himself, stepped back. "Would you… Would you like to come in? We could look at your travel brochures… Decide where to go next?"

Demyx nodded eagerly and disappeared with Zexion into the familiar darkness.


The first time Demyx stayed the night, it was storming outside. It was a horrible storm, the worst Zexion had ever seen. Winds were gusting at speeds up to 70 miles per hour, and the sturdy walls of the castle were actually creaking from the beating it was taking. Rain fell in torrents from the sky, pelting the earth with razor sharp needles of liquid. Lightning flashed constantly, the deep rumbling roar of thunder leaving many "fearless" Organization members quivering in their beds. It was the beginnings of a hurricane, the man of Other's television said. Everyone was advised to stay inside until further notice.

Zexion honestly didn't mind the spell of bad weather. He liked the feel of un-tethered energy and power floating free in the air. He liked that sense of unseen electricity; it made him feel like anything could happen.

Demyx, however, did not. The knock at Zexion's door came late at night, hours past the "recommended curfew hour" of the castle. Zexion was up- Zexion was always up. He rarely slept before 1 A.M., preferring instead to utilize his hours in a more productive manner than sleep. Zexion's room very obviously reflected this fact. His bed, all crisp sheets and corners, looked barely lived in. A large metal desk occupied the majority of the room, and was covered with piles of neatly stapled sheets of paper. Orderly piles of academic journals and scientific textbooks adorned the room. Sitting underneath the window was a single flowerpot, a lone sunflower blooming prettily. This flower, while seemingly so out of place, brightened the room in such a way that absolutely reeked of Demyx. This flower was also the only personal touch in the entire room. Right now, however, it was shadowed by dark sheets of rain that continuously slammed against the protective pane of glass.

At the time, Zemyx was hunched at his desk, poring over the latest research done in the field of animal development. Animals were something the World That Never Was was in serious lack of, and it absolutely fascinated the scholar. Who would've known? So many species, so many differences… Yet somehow, all creatures somehow managed to live together in relative harmony for millions of years. Mind blowing stuff, it was. The knock startled him, and he fumbled the page he had been turning. Stunned, he turned in his chair, staring at the door for a minute. Had he really heard what he thought he did? The knock sounded again. Yes, it appears he had. Stretching, the Schemer sat down the book and strode purposely toward the door. Who could be? At this hour? Somehow, though, without consciously realizing it, a small smile tugged at his lips before he even opened the door.

When he opened the door, Demyx's face appeared pale and drawn in the harsh light emanating from Zexion's room. Zexion frowned, concerned, and opened the door slightly wider. "Demyx, it's 2 in the morning. What's wrong?" Demyx opened his mouth to answer, but winced silently as another resounding crack of thunder punished the atmosphere. The floors shook slightly underneath the Nobody's feet, and Demyx's hands clenched painfully. The smaller man was dressed in an oversized white T-shirt. Adorning the front was a picture of one of the Others' ridiculous sports team- 7 men in billed hats beamed their ridiculous blank smirks at an unseeing audience. He was barefooted.

"Zexion…" he paused, uncertain. A flash of lighting blinded him, and both men braced themselves for the crash that would soon follow. "Zexion, can I stay with you tonight?" Zexion, alarmed, quickly nodded and stepped aside. Demyx shivered in the chill and Zexion suddenly realized how fragile the boy actually was.

Demyx paced restlessly around the room, mindlessly picking up an occasional book or research paper. Zexion could tell he was distracted. Finally, he sat himself atop Zexion's perfectly made bed. He propped himself against his elder's pristine metal headboard, knees folded up and feet folded timidly beneath himself. He clutched a royal blue pillow to his chest, rocking lightly back and forth on his heels. Zexion sat at his desk, looking at the sandy-haired musician. He made no attempt to break the silence, to force the other Nobody to talk. He simply waited patiently for Demyx to compose himself.

After a few quiet moments, Demyx broke the silence."I hate storms," he said finally. "It seems so weak, I know… I know we're safe here, inside. But it's just…" The sitarist shuddered violently. "I hate the sense of… Lack of control. I hate the electricity bouncing around outside- everyone knows what electricity can do to water. I hate the sense power surging outside… I feel like it can hurt me. And, oh Zexion, I really just don't know. I guess I never liked storms- not in my last life, and definitely not in this one." With this, the lithe young man slumped, the picture of utter shame and defeat.

Zexion felt himself rise, stopped himself in mid motion. "Demyx… It's all right. They would never admit it, but you're not alone. Even Larxene- and mind you, this is her element, even- gets a little worried during storms. Saiix absolutely abhors them; even the Superior gets a little quieter. It's quite a common fear… Demyx, there's really nothing to be ashamed of."

A single crystal eye opened and blinked suspiciously. "Axel seems to enjoy it."

Zexion sighed. "Are you really using Axel as an example? Well, Demyx, there are always the exceptions. Axel actually enjoys the sense of uncontrolled power- he fancies that it matches his personality quite well. But Demyx, this doesn't matter. You're you, and nothing we do can change that. We all have our own personality quirks, and it's all right. Our Others were just as varied- likewise, we have inherited these dissimilarities."

Demyx cracked a weak smile. "So, Zexy, is that your way of telling me that you care about me?"

Zexion reeled back, flustered. "Wha- no, I mean…" he took a deep breath of cooling air to compose himself. "We do not have feelings, Demyx. We cannot, technically, care for each other. But…" he paused, analyzing the other Nobody's perfect facial features, "I will admit that I do enjoy your company. You have proved yourself a worthy addition to the Organization."

"So you do like me." Demyx smiled in contentment. Zexion opened his mouth to protest, shaking his head slightly in disapproval. He had long since learned that to argue with Demyx was an extremely pointless task. Demyx glanced at the lilac-haired man across him and smiled again contentedly. "Thanks, Zexy. You made me feel better- I knew I could come to you for help!"

"Anytime, Demyx." Abrubtly, Demyx stifled a yawn.

"Zexy, are you usually up this late? It must be 3 in the morning…"

"It is."

"When were you planning on sleeping?"

Zexion gestured impatiently. "Sleep is for Others. Nobodies don't necessarily need sleep; you know that."

"Yes," Demyx answered softly. "But it's a ritual from the past. Don't you miss it? Come on, Zexion, let's go to bed."

Zexion cocked his head to the side.

"I mean," the Nocturne stuttered, rubbing his head awkwardly. "It is okay for me to stay the night, right? Please, Zexion?"

Zexion frowned, pausing. It couldn't do that much harm, could it?

Demyx beamed, reading the defeat in the Schemer's eyes. "Come on, Zexy," he chirped, patting the space next to him. "There's plenty of room!"

"Oh, Demyx, I could stay here, you know. I wasn't planning on-"

"Please, Zexion? I promise I won't bite."

Zexion sighed, rubbing his temples. This boy… "Alright," he grumbled, climbing in next to the bouncing bundle of energy. Still slightly disgruntled, he reached out a single slender arm and pulled the switch. Immediately, the entire room was engulfed in darkness.

"Good night, Zexion!"

"Good night, Demyx."

"Thank's, Zexy… For letting me stay the night."

"That's quite all right, Demyx."

"And also for… you know."

"Get some sleep, Demyx."

"Good night, Zexion."

Zexion rolled over, trying to ignore the inviting warmth of the body next to him. "Good night, Demyx."


The first time that Demyx and Zexion kissed, Demyx was totally drunk. Larxene had taken the members of the Organization to Moogles, a seedy and dirty looking nightclub. It was her birthday, she justified, and she wanted to have fun. That being said, no one aside from Demyx (who bought her a manicure/pedicure set) actually bought her a present. The woman didn't care- she just ordered the rest to pay for her drinks the rest of the night.

The interior of Moogles was painted a dingy royal blue with a faded textured gold trim. The majority of the place was a large, pulsing dance floor, its occupants writing and rolling like some sort of massive serpentine creature. The lights above strobed constantly and to the beat of the music- of which was being played by a DJ named Cloud. The bar ran the far length of the room, many metal stools lined up primly in a row. The barmaid was a lively, jolly young woman with short black hair. Somehow, she managed to simultaneously correctly mix everyone's drinks and hold conversations with five different people. Her reflexes were ninja quick.

Zexion paused in the doorway, oblivious to the hordes swarming around him. He hesitated, unsure as to what to do next. Nightclubs were really not his thing. He didn't drink, he didn't smoke, he didn't dance, nor did he try to pick up random good-looking strangers. He moved silently to an empty corner, his single gray eye scanning the room for a familiar face.

Vexen and Luxord seemed to be playing some sort of drinking game with each other, slamming down drinks with vigor as a small crowd cheered them on. Roxas and Axel were sitting together on a couch, the redhead sneaking sidelong glances at his feisty blond partner, obviously debating whether or not to ask the other to dance. Larxene was god knows where. Zexion had no desire whatsoever to know what (or who) she was doing. Zexion closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the slightly sticky wall. And where was Demyx…?

"Hey!" Zexion started, looking at the blond missile that had just fired itself next to him. Demyx was already slightly sweaty, a light sheen of sweat glistening across his forehead. His dirty blond spikes were slightly dampened, though his eyes sparkled brightly as ever. "Come on, Zexy," he called, taking one of the Schemer's limp hands. "Come dance with me."

Zexion hesitated. "Demyx…"

"What?" Demyx asked cheerfully, head tilted to one side. "Come on! It'll be fun! Have I ever let you down before, Zexy? Come on, please?"

Zexion, undoubtedly, was very, very tempted. However… "Demyx, not now," he said, looking past disappointed blue eyes. "I- There's Larxene. I have to check if she's well."

Demyx hunched slightly. "Well, all right… IF you're sure. Come find me if you change your mind though, alright? Or I'll- yeah, I'll be down there." Vaguely, he gestured toward the dance floor. For a while, neither of them spoke, neither willing to part from the other. Zexion opened his mouth to speak. Maybe one dance wouldn't hurt… Some drunken guy, however, totally ruined his plans.

He came stumbling in between the two men, burping unapologetically before slowly eyeing the two shocked Nobodies. "Hey! Hey you! Wanna dance with me?" he slurred, winking theatrically at Zexion. Zexion shuddered and shot the man a look of total disgust. "Alright dude, but what about you?" he asked, eyeing the enticing blond musician. Zexion's eyes flashed dangerously, his glaare absolutely icy.

"N-No… That's quite alright." Demyx replied. The other man shrugged before stumbling back into the darkness. Demyx smiled weakly before turning to leave.

"Demyx…" Zexion stopped him. Demyx turned back, expression hopeful. "Take care of yourself." Demyx shrugged and smiled before continuing forward. Zexion's eyes followed him until he could see him no more.

Unsure of what else to do, Zexion turned around and headed for the counter. He cautiously sat down, elbows perched gingerly at the edge of the cool metal counter. Immediately, the smiling barmaid danced up to him, shot glass already in hand. "Can I get you anything?" she chirped, smiling blithely.

Zexion shook his head. "I don't drink."

"Well, then," she said. "I don't either. Weird place for both of us to be, then, eh?" Then she was dancing off, smiling happily at her next customer. Zexion looked down at his hands, played idly with a nearby napkin. He was totally at a loss of what to do next.

His thoughts were interrupted a soft tap on his shoulder. Zexion turned around, stormy eyes widening. Axel and Roxas were standing behind him, both men flushed and slightly sweaty. Obviously, the red head had managed to get Roxas onto the dance floor. Axel's arm was slung carelessly over Roxas's shoulder and, for once, the blond was not actively protesting. "We're gonna be leaving now, okay Zexy?" grinned Axel. "So if anyone asks, we're back at the castle." Zexion said nothing, only nodded his consent. "You should find Demyx," Axel advised. "This big, dark, scary place is no place for a boy like him. I mean, imagine it. Poor, little, defenseless Demyx… With that lithe body and naïve smile… Oh what a field day that could be." Zexion's eyes widened, his worst fears being realized. "But then again," Axel turned his hands up in a "why me" gesture. "Who am I to be talking? He's not the one I'm worried about, is he?"

Roxas rolled his eyes, though Zexion could have sworn his eyes glowed with an internal happiness. "See you Zexy!" Axel called, moving to leave.

Roxas stopped them, looking back at Zexion. "By the way, we're not drunk. Neither of us. And take our couch. You look like you need to sit down." Zexion nodded his farewell, moving to take their abandoned couch. He settled down and sighed, bracing himself for a long night of nothing.

--

Hours passed and Zexion was ready to retire home. He had watched countless couples… Happy couples laughing pleasantly in similar couches, angry couples arguing heatedly in dark corners. Mindless couples writing in similar corners, blinded couples writing on the dance floor. Zexion suddenly began to feel very lonely.

A sudden depression on the opposite side of his couch surprised him. It was Demyx… Though something wasn't quite right with the boy. He was still sweaty, even more so now than before (they had been in the club for quite a while…) He was out of breath, cheeks flushed with exertion. Demyx turned and considered him cheerfully. "Hey Zexy. Changed your mind yet?" Zexion's eyes narrowed.

Demyx reeked of alcohol. His normally cool, smooth musk now burned with the bitter scent of liquor- and lots of it. Demyx crawled closer to him on the couch. "What's the matter, Zexy?" he whispered hotly, reaching out to finger a lock of Zexion's lilac hair. "Are you… mad at me?"

Zexion shifted uncomfortably. Demyx was getting uncomfortably close… This could not be good. "I've been waiting for you, Zexy. All night long." Demyx's breath was so hot, his gaze so intense. Zexion could not look away. "So many guys- too many to count! They've all asked me to dance, you know. But you know what I told them? Told each and every one of them?" Demyx didn't wait for Zexion to answer. "I turned them all down. You know why?" Again, there was no pause. "Because, Zexion, you're the only guy I want to dance with." Smoldering aqua eyes burned into startled steel gray ones, and Zexion felt his throat suddenly dry.

"Demyx," Zexion said. "You're drunk." Demyx ignored him.

"Even though you're cold and quiet and a bully sometimes, I still like you, you know." If Zexion had a heart, it would be beating a mile a minute.

"Demyx, how much have you had to drink tonight?"

"I like you better than anyone in the entire Organization, you know. Even more than Roxas, and you know how much I adore him." Zexion's palms were sweating.

"Demyx, you don't know what you're saying."

"Yes, I do!" Demyx exclaimed. "The alcohol didn't change my feelings, Zexion. And don't say anything about Nobodies not having feelings, 'cause I know I feel different whenever I'm with you. And I think you do, too."

Dexion opened his mouth to speak, but was very rudely interrupted. Demyx crashed their lips together, fingers fisting desperately in silky smooth strands. Zexion froze, unsure of what to do. Then Demyx's lips moved and Zexion gave in. He kissed back.

Zexion was never an avid supporter of kisses… They were warm, loving, and affectionate- everything a Nobody was not. When Nobodies kissed, it was a mockery of the shadows of the past, a desperate attempt to go back in time. It just wasn't natural.

But when Demyx touched him… It felt like the most natural thing in the world. For a couple moments, at least, Zexion's world was focused on nothing but Demyx. His hair, the dampness of his clothes, the heat of bare skin… And the ever present scent of alcohol.

Oh God.

"Demyx," Zexion said breathlessly, forcing the musician away. "No-"

"No, Zexion!" cried Demyx, trying to force his way back into Zexion's arms. "I'm tired of you saying 'no', I know you want it just as much as I do… Why…"

"Not now, Demyx. You're drunk. If… If we do decide to continue this, I want to be sure it's real."

Demyx blinked. "It is real, Zexy. I promise." But he didn't fight back.

He allowed the smaller man to take his hand and lead him out of the nightclub, back to the Castle.

He didn't, however, allow Zexion to place him back into his room. Zexion sighed and told Demyx to take a shower first. The blond happily complied and jumped into bed. Zexion soon followed.

The next morning, the first thing Demyx did when he woke was to kiss the Schemer good morning.


The first time Zexion admitted actual… relations might be possible, he was sitting in front of the fireplace, talking with Roxas.

It wasn't a planned meeting… It just happened to be the right place, at the right time. Axel was out with Larxene on a Heartless-control mission. Demyx was off with Marluxia doing reconnaissance. Bored and chilled, Roxas and Zexion just… collided.

Zexion sat at one end of the couch, Roxas on the other. Twin figures leaned forward, staring deeply into the flames. Zexion sighed deeply, surreptitiously glancing at the blond boy next to him. Roxas, Number XIII of the Organization, was just that- a boy. Everyone knew he was young, but Zexion had never really thought about it before. Must be even harder for a kid, Zexion mused. They had their entire lives ahead of them, but now they're stuck. You can't get anywhere once you're a Nobody.

Everyone in the Organization knew Roxas's story, knew how his Other was still alive. Everyone felt for him- discretely, of course. Roxas hated being the recipient of anyone's pity- he hated getting close to anyone in general. All of which made it so surprising when Axel actually seemed to be getting through to the younger Organization member.

The callous red-head now seemed to be a part of Roxas. Though the two were as different as it could get… They nonetheless seemed to complete each other. If such a thing were possible, that is. Nobodies never were meant to be completed.

The two sat in silence for a while. Roxas broke first.

"Zexion… what are we?" His normally indifferent voice now quivered slightly with unrealized emotion.

Zexion didn't bother looking at the desperate blond. "We're nobodies, Roxas. That's all we are, and that's all we'll ever be."

"It wasn't always this way."

"Obviously not- we had to come from somewhere. You know the story… When a strong willed person is turned into a heartless…"

"A part of him remains and lingers as a nobody." Roxas finished. "I know, Zexion. That's not what I meant… You know what I'm asking."

Zexion hesitated. "I do. But… Are you sure you wish to discuss this with me? Wouldn't, say, Axel be a better choice? What about Luxord? Saiix? They'd all be willing to help you."

Roxas looked distressed. "No, Zexion. It has to be you- I know you understand."

Zexion stared at him, taken aback. "Do- ah… But actually- I don't know." Zexion admitted, somewhat shamefully. "The Superior tells us that we are nothing… All of my studies seem to indicate the same. Nobodies are of a higher class than Heartless, that's obvious. We retain our ability to think, process, and plan… We are civilized, developed beings… But we have no hearts. Roxas, we have no emotions, we're not able to feel. We can't even form real friendships… Our make-ups don't allow for that."

"Hard to believe, though, isn't it?" Zexion glanced at the boy next to him. Roxas stared intently into the fire. "You understand. You know what it's like." Roxas took a deep, shaky breath before continuing. "Axel… That man absolutely infuriates me. He's rash, ignorant, arrogant, and he smokes… But I like him. He makes me feel something.I know it's nothing like it could have been, before, but if it's all we can have… It's so much better than nothing, you know?"

"It's hard." Zexion offered.

"It's more than hard, Zexion. It's horrible. This entire life is horrible, and I don't know what I did to deserve it. I don't know what to do, I don't know what to say to him… Sometimes I think that he deserves the world… But I can't give him any of it. You know? I have nothing. We have nothing to give."

"He understands that, XIII."

"Maybe, but it's still not enough." Roxas paused for a second before turning back to the lilac-haired elder. "How do you handle it? With Demyx?"

Zexion paused, totally taken aback. "What about…. Number IX?" he asked cautiously.

Roxas stared back, unblinking. "You love him, right? Or whatever we Nobodies do instead of loving."

"We're not allowed to love, Roxas." Zexion said finally, refusing to elaborate.

"So, Zexion. You don't think it's possible- at all?" Roxas asked quietly. "To be something… more with another Nobody? It's absolutely impossible?"

Zexion shrugged. "I really don't know, Roxas."

"So you think me and Axel are screwed? Are you just going to give up? What about Demyx?" Roxas was bitter now, his tone biting and sarcastic.

Zexion leaned back and closed his eyes. He could feel a massive headache approaching, but there was no way Roxas would let him leave now, without an answer.

"It goes against science, Roxas, but… Demyx always told me that there's always a way to make it work, if you want it badly enough."

"So do you believe it, too?" Roxas paused. "Because just because Demyx says so, it doesn't mean it's necessarily true. No offense, but I do think I trust you more than I do him."

Zexion's jaw tightened slightly. "Maybe I do." It took a moment for Roxas to comprehend the enormity of what was just said. Wide eyed, he turned to look at his stoic elder. He definitely had not expected that answer- Zexion? Disagreeing with the laws of science?

Zexion didn't say anything further than that, and neither did Roxas. Both men retired to their rooms soon after.


The first time Zexion said "I love you," was a momentous occasion. It was such a typical day; Zexion was spending another free evening at Twilight Town with his blue-eyed companion. They were sitting on the wall surrounding the Twilight Town train station, biding their time before the last call of their train pulled them back into the dreary walls of the Castle. The two Nobodies were dressed in Other's street clothes, shoes placed next to them on the warm cement wall. Bare feet kicked loosely, and Zexion leaned back, enjoying the warm breeze of the ocean. As he gazed out at the sun that never seemed to set, he thought back to all that had happened since Demyx's arrival.

Who would have thought that he, Zexion, the Cloaked Schemer, Number VI of Organization XIII, would end up like this? Who could have foreseen this massive change in personality, this total irrational change of beliefs and morals? Just months previously, Zexion had no hope at all for the contented existence of Nobodies. He felt nothing but scorn for the past life as an Other, and expected that all others shared this same viewpoint. Never could Zexion have imagined that anyone who has experienced the cruel, lonely life of a Nobody harbor hope and joy in such a desolate place. Never would Zexion have skipped his free time to frolic mindlessly in the world of such naive others; never would he have indulged in such frivolous pleasures.

Never had Zexion so truly treasured another. He had to admit, Demy had absolutely changed the Schemer's life. From Demyx, Zexion had learned to exercise patience with the other, less intelligent members of the Organization; his relationships with them were markedly improved. Zexion had learned to enjoy even the meager offerings given in his forced life as a Nobody, and now did his best to utilize every day to its full potential.

To any outsider, Zexion appeared utterly unchanged. He was still as cool and foreboding as ever- only those close enough to him were able to see the changes within. His only visible eye, though still steel gray, flickered occasionally with the barest hint of emotion. Zexion now smiled on occasion, his cold persona finally relaxing.

Zexion was now downright sentimental.

Demyx was the first thing Zexion thought of every morning as he woke up, the last thing before he fell asleep. Zexion treasured every moment he spent with the musician, and could not imagine a life without the other Nobody at his side. With this thought in mind, he turned to the blissful presence beside him.

"Demyx?" he called, nonexistent heart racing.

"Yes, Zexy?" Demyx answered, smiling cheerfully.

"I love you." Demyx's eyes widened, his jaw dropping incredulously. Immediately, he was at Zexion's side, warm hands clutching Zexion's cold, clammy one.

"Do you… Do you mean it?" When Zexion nodded in affirmation, beautiful blue eyes sparkled in amazement. "But what about… what about Nobodies not having feelings? You don't believe that theory anymore?"

For a moment, he was quiet. Then, he turned to the other Nobody, sensing the desperation in the silence between them. He needed to chose his words carefully. "From all that I've observed… Nobodies are not like Others in their ability to form relationships with each other." He took a deep breath. "However… from what I've experienced… I believe this theory may not be completely accurate. Certain Nobodies, it seems… It goes against all rules of science, but...." His shaky smile was returned by an expression of pure, unadulterated joy.

"Oh, Zexion. I've been waiting so long…"

Zexion paused. "So….?"

"Of course I love you, silly!" Immediately, he was engulfed in an embrace of pure warmth, love, and happiness. "Despite all your ridiculous, lame-ass theories, Zexion, I do love you!"


The first time that Zexion had hope in the future, Demyx was with him. As he would be forever.