Disclaimer: If I owned Mana Khemia... you would drown in all the Roxis/Vayne-ness. DROWN IN IT.

Summary: If Pamela's smile was a dangerous weapon, Vayne's smile was waging war. Roxis/Vayne.

Author's Note: Came up with this after Pamela's fourth character quest, where she's making medicine and the only reason boys take the dangerous stuff is because of her smile. Yeah, um, doing her quests reminded me of why I don't like her character. So why do I do them? I'm a masochist perhaps. And heck… I read into whatever bit of Vayne/Roxis I could, and weirdly her quests always seemed to have a hint for them aside from poor attempts at Roxis/Pamela. Vayne seemed to get a bit quieter than usual whenever those attempts came up… it's helpful that Roxis always seemed to be very reluctant for those, too. Haha, I am such a fan girl… but I tried to logically explain this for Roxis. XD This fic is kind of sloppy, I think, and definitely still in-progress. So, yes, another multi-chaptered one.

Like A Candied Fever - Spoiled Candy

Pamela's smile was a dangerous weapon against Roxis for a couple of reasons. Her smile always put him ill at ease; it was too cloying, as sugary sweet as her pouts tried to be, and at its worst, it was also a painful, contrasting reminder of the horrific grin she had worn as her first ever… greeting to him. He'd tried his hardest to be kind to her to keep that face out of both his and her thoughts, but still there were times when just the sight of her lips tilted upwards was enough to send a chill through his spine. That chill was much subtler than it once was, Roxis was relieved to admit. But it was still there, still quite a powerful safeguard against his venturing too deeply into the Resource Center without company--and preferably not hers.

On the flip side, he was still at a loss--the disappearance of her smile made him feel guilty. He hated the way she smiled, how contrived and saccharine it was, but he honestly didn't know when she was truly happy or just trying to be cute; how terrible would it be, to hate it when a person genuinely smiled? He hadn't hated Vayne enough to wish him unhappiness. And he had hated Vayne as fiercely as he thought he possibly could hate someone; thinking of that was enough to make him ashamed for silently wishing Pamela, someone he didn't quite hate but didn't quite like, wouldn't smile.

Roxis was still playing into her tricks, though, however different her control over him was versus her usual hold over men. His heart didn't flutter, he didn't exactly find her beautiful (but she was pretty, he'd admit that), he wouldn't try to keep her smile there because it would hurt to see it fall away… but she made him feel guilty, and Pamela reigned over guilt trips with relish.

A ridiculous amount of relish. She had been spoiled rotten as a result, moldy with fluff for centuries, he was sure. With a snort at the metaphor, Roxis wondered if anyone would think to scrape off that fluff to see what good was left; Anna seemed to have started. Good--he certainly wouldn't have. He wanted to stay as impersonally pleasant as he could. No, Pamela wasn't completely intolerable, but there was simply too little of her that he earnestly wanted to know; her surface was more than enough.

Well beyond 'more than enough', if the injuries he sustained because of her were anything to go by…

Roxis grimaced as he remembered his place. This was his second day confined to a bed in the crowded infirmary--and of course the recent surge of new patients were all Pamela's victims. He supposed he should take some solace in knowing he wasn't alone, and that he didn't end up here through blind infatuation like the others; but he still cursed his guilt and his bloody honor code for pushing him to drink a medicine he knew would damn well do more than nauseate him…

Surprisingly, it was the memory of Vayne's voice that broke up a rather colorful stream of curses.

"You knew what happened to the others… Why did you drink it…?"

What a very good question. Because his conscience was too loud. Much louder than Vayne…

Idly, Roxis wondered if he had any memories of Vayne shouting for any other reason than battle. There was only one that immediately came to mind, and that was when Vayne had screamed his name as he and Nikki went tumbling down Flay's strangely well-disguised pitfall trap while in pursuit of the moron. He probably only remembered this because he'd been terribly amused by the octave Vayne's voice had reached, he'd almost squeaked--at least he had been for about a second before they hit the ground.

Vayne hadn't yelled at him the other day, but perhaps if he did, the oddity of it might have been enough to overrule his conscience. He would've had more effect than Flay, in any case; Roxis was far too used to setting his reception of Flay's voice on low.

No, Vayne had asked that question sullenly, and much too late to have saved him. He seemed to try and make up for that by attempting to save Roxis from boredom or from drowning in his own thoughts in the infirmary, but yesterday, Vayne's lingering gloominess brought on more questions in Roxis' head rather than actual conversation. Why did Vayne bother to come keep him company when he obviously wasn't in the mood to talk, for one? And as much as Roxis wanted to tell himself he didn't care, he did wonder: what had put him in that mood in the first place? Vayne was never exactly sunny, but rain clouds were practically hovering over his head as he had sat across from Roxis, eyes fixatedly set on a small stain on his bed sheets. It had been, for lack of a better word, maddening.

A tuft of silvery gray slowly poked in from the doorway, and Roxis leaned back in his bed as he caught sight of the movement. It seemed Vayne had come to try again today… he hoped he was in a better mood.

If truth must be told, Roxis was grateful Vayne was the one visiting him. He would rather Vayne over anyone else in their workshop, in any case. The boy was quiet. And he had admittedly come to find Vayne… tolerable, sometimes the most acceptable person out of the lot, if Roxis could manage to set his lingering resentment towards Vayne's talents aside. Roxis had managed enough to find odd moments wherein Vayne endeared himself to him, and this moment was one of them; Vayne's large blue eyes were slightly wide as he looked around the room, remarkably more packed than just the day before, and the way he nibbled his lip with each person his eyes fell upon was… dare he think it… cute.

Who was he kidding? Vayne was cute. And he was cute without even trying; his ingenuousness was why Roxis could actually admit it for him instead of Pamela. She tried too hard, built herself off the word; Vayne simply… was. Like a young boy. His gender probably gave him another edge in Roxis' mind.

Of course, his Mana regarded his gender preference and his admission with nothing short of utter glee. Roxis scowled. Honestly! He may prefer men, he may have finally admitted that Vayne was actually decent and could even be cute, but that didn't mean anything! Vayne was still his rival, and Roxis still wanted to…

Win against him and get your chance to be on top. Yes, yes, I know.

Strangely, the innocent tone his Mana had adopted only seemed to lace that wish with innuendo. Roxis hurriedly contained a blush by distracting himself with looking as dignified as he could in a sick bed--Vayne was coming closer, a look of relief and then concern on his face.

"Roxis… do you feel any better?" He asked as soon as he was close enough to be heard. And for Vayne, that had to be rather close, especially with the groans of other students floating from certain beds. Roxis could have rolled his eyes; how much did they drink? He had at least dropped the bottle before he could get it all down. That was probably the reason he felt much better off, and he alerted Vayne of this with a nod.

"I've been feeling fine. Some bouts of nausea, many bouts of cursing both myself and Pamela, but otherwise it's been painless." To this, Vayne let out a little laugh, and smiled an equally little smile. Well, as tiny as it was, he was at least smiling today. Yesterday he hadn't even bothered. "Thankfully, they should be releasing me by tomorrow."

The smile increased by just a fraction. "That's good. I was worried you would have to stay in here for awhile…" He glanced over at the bed on Roxis' left and winced. Immediately Roxis understood why; last he looked at that boy, he was nearly convulsing, and he wasn't about to check if that had worsened. "… like him."

"You shouldn't have. I wasn't stupid enough to drink the entire bottle; and even if I was, I can assure you I would've been out before the end of the week." He still had been stupid enough to listen to his nagging cricket and drink it, but Pamela's medicine couldn't be so bad as to keep him bedridden for a week, could it?

That's a question best left unanswered. He thought hurriedly. Besides, Vayne seemed to be reassured from the comment, and let out a little sigh of what Roxis assumed was relief when he looked back at him.

"Well… I can believe that. You're strong…" Vayne said softly, but his smile was gone, a much more visible frown taking its place. "But I still wish you didn't drink it at all." How Roxis agreed with him. But again, he sounded strangely sullen. Roxis couldn't fathom why, and he couldn't fathom why he felt he owed Vayne an explanation. It came out before he could stop himself:

"Don't you remember what I told you?"

Vayne's frown deepened. " 'Her smile is a dangerous weapon'. It didn't really work on me."

"Of course it wouldn't." Roxis replied after blinking twice at his tone. "You aren't interested in her, and you've learned how to resist most of her guilt trips."

"And you are, or you haven't?" Vayne countered, and dare Roxis think he sounded jealous?

Couldn't be. What reason does Vayne have to be jealous? It would be preposterous…

And also very cute.

Of course the Mana of Light would be getting a kick out of this whole thing. Roxis was too bewildered to deny this--Vayne's face looked rather frustrated and upset, for some reason, strangely adding to that jealous thought--and he could only stare blankly at him for a few seconds before he could speak.

"I… haven't. I told you I wasn't interested in her, and I meant it." But he'd rather not remember the circumstances that followed the confession, and how it seemed to fall on deaf ears--apparently even Vayne's, as he didn't seem to be pacified by it at all. Roxis found himself trying to explain further just to get that look off his face… it was… odd. Just odd. "But her smile does make me feel guilty. Every time I see her smile, it bothers me, and I'd wish she wouldn't… I feel bad, for basically wishing her to be unhappy. That's why I give in to her… to make up for thinking that, I suppose." And for some other reason, he felt it necessary to add, "I've never even wished for you to be unhappy."

The strange (jealous) expression finally slipped off Vayne's face; he was only staring oddly at Roxis now, as if he was startled, and all he managed to say was a slow, "Really…?"

"Yes, really."

"Oh." Silence, for at most three seconds. Then, Vayne's lips curled up in a small smile, which grew, and grew, enough to light up his eyes, enough to push away the rain clouds and for once make him seem like he was followed by the sun.

"Oh."

And he was laughing. It was a boyish, infectious little laugh, one Roxis couldn't help but chuckle along with. Vayne had a nice laugh. And he had a very nice smile. He'd always thought so, really; he just hadn't allowed himself to appreciate either until recently. Roxis decided to be honest this time: he liked them both.