Marluxia found Demyx sprawled out on the couch in the common room. He wasn't particularly looking for the boy, but he'd needed to get his school books and happened to notice him there. Nothing important about that, except there was someone else spread on top of him - Axel. They were flirting incredulously.

"Get a room, you two," Marluxia grimaced at the sight. They both ignored him.

"Ooh, Roxas is so gonna be pissed," Demyx laughed, playing with his partner's fiery hair. Axel joined in with the laughter.

"Seriously, if anyone sees, particularly Roxas, there will be hell to pay," Marluxia bent over to grab his bag. Again, he was ignored. Axel and Demyx were far too absorbed in each other. He left for the library, disgusted.

Marluxia hadn't known that Demyx was in with Axel; he'd never have thought that the red-head would give up his precious Roxas. He stalked the corridors, quietly seething. It wasn't like he'd ever admit it to anybody, but he'd had a crush on Demyx for years, almost ever since he'd met the boy. He was everything Marluxia wanted in a boyfriend: innocent, supportive, talented and carefree. Every time Demyx went out with someone new, Marluxia had to cover up his jealousy, he was used to that. But Axel?! Demyx deserved someone better than that whore.

The library was almost deserted, save for a lonesome looking blonde Marluxia didn't recognise. Even the librarian wasn't around.

He approached the stranger, sitting down a few seats down the table.

"Hi," He managed, trying not to think about the common room. "I don't recognise you. What's your name?"

The other turned away slightly, fiddling with his hair a little so it fell down in front of his face. It created a barrier between them. Obviously he didn't want to talk.

"Okay, well I'm Marluxia, by the way,"

"I know,"

"Oh, I see my reputation precedes me," Marluxia grinned, setting out his work. The messy scrawl of books, loose sheets and odd pens looked ridiculous next to the other boy's neat arrangement. He was given no reply. "One of Zexion's friends, are you? You look the same sort of type," Again, nothing.

Zexion was one of Demyx's past boyfriends. Marluxia didn't particularly know him except that he was (in Marluxia's opinion, anyway) antisocial and nerdy. He loathed Marluxia but that wasn't so uncommon; he wasn't exactly the most popular guy in the school.

The pink-haired boy continued to ramble as he began to work on his biology assignment. Eventually he finished and after contemplating the mess that was the essay, he packed up his stuff.

"Nice talking with you," He said to the mysterious student. "Well. At you." He happened to catch a glance at the other's work, and as he half-expected, it was immaculate. He muttered a small goodbye and wandered out a little nondirectionally.

As the corridors he knew so well wound around him or perhaps it was the other way around - recollections of the common room incident came rushing back. He felt like he was in an alternate reality. He'd never felt this bad about Demyx being with someone else before.

---

As usual Chemistry was dragging on and Marluxia couldn't help but drift off into his own dream world as he stared out of the window. He began to fabricate a story in his mind, where Demyx and Axel would break up, leaving Demyx single. He would comfort the boy when they were all alone in the dorms, and Demyx would turn around to him and say those three words that he longed to hear the most-

And then the strange blonde from yesterday would waltz in, complaining to the teacher that there weren't enough books in his class.

Marluxia snapped back to reality, glaring at the newcomer for infiltrating his daydream. The boy was underneath a huge stack of books, and wobbling slightly.

"Do you need help with that?" The teacher asked as he thoughtlessly piled yet more on.

"Please," The boy replied sarcastically, and the teacher called out for a volunteer. Irrationally, Marluxia put his hand up and soon found himself cradling a bundle of textbooks. He followed the blonde out of the classroom.

He allowed himself a glance at the books he was holding. They all looked awfully advanced.

"What year are you in?" He asked curiously as they turned into another corridor.

"Same as you," The other boy replied briskly.

"That's strange, I can't remember seeing you around before. You'd think I had, if we've been here four years together,"

The blonde looked at him with thinly veiled annoyance, and did not reply. He did not speak again until they were right outside the classroom door, as Marluxia returned the books.

"What's your name, anyway?" he asked one last time. The other boy peered over the books.

"Vexen," He near growled, glaring. Marluxia tried to smile.

"Thanks. Have a good day," The held up a hand as a peace sign, but Vexen's icy glare did not yield. Eventually he skittered off back to class, but the bell rang when he was only half way there. About to head off to the common rooms, his thoughts went back to yesterday - he'd seen Demyx and Axel flirting in a variety of places since then and was amazed that Roxas hadn't - and decided to spend lunch in a different location.

The school gardens weren't exactly fancy, as they received so much abuse and so little TLC, but it was at least a calm place to be without the possibility of seeing Demyx with Axel again. The place was deserted when Marluxia arrived, as usual, so that gave him free reign to tend the garden. He was on good terms with the caretaker, so he knew where she kept the key to the shed. He carefully removed it from the flowerpot it lived in and unlocked the door, taking out a watering can and filling it up.

Ten peaceful minutes went by before he was aware of another presence approaching. It was Roxas. Marluxia emptied out the last of the water from the watering can and replaced it, locking the door before Roxas entered the garden.

He looked miserable; he was on the verge of crying. He slumped onto the bench, head hanging. Marluxia came over and put his arm around Roxas's shoulder.

"He's such a fucking-" Roxas stopped, unable to think of a word obscene enough. "I mean, Demyx! Demyx! How is that slut better than me?"

Marluxia was surprised at how much Roxas seemed to loathe Demyx. It was understandable, since he had just stolen his boyfriend, but the hatred seemed to go further back than that.

"It's okay," Marluxia comforted the smaller boy. "If he left you, he doesn't deserve you anyway. He doesn't even deserve Demyx,"

"I guess," Roxas sniffed. "But he could have told me! But no, he just waits for me to overhear a conversation the day after it happens! Everyone knew except me!" His sadness turned to anger and his voice rose to the verge of shouting. "I can't believe I was so stupid to have loved him. I should have known he just wanted to get into my pants,"

"I think you should get revenge," Marluxia suggested.

"I'll get in trouble,"

"Not if they don't know it was you,"

"Of course they'll know it's me! Who's the person who hates him the most right now? Me!" Roxas exclaimed, exasperated.

"I hate him too," Marluxia said in the hopes it would help. "Anyway, just talking about revenge helps, even if you don't do it. How about putting something in his shampoo that makes all his hair fall out?"

"You can do that?" Roxas couldn't help but smile at the thought through his tears.

"Probably not, but it's a start. We could put green hair dye in it,"

"Green is his least favourite colour," Roxas admitted. "But he'd notice,"

"What if we put ants in his pants - literally? There's a red ant's nest in the field, we could collect a few and leave them in his underwear draw,"

"Strew all his underwear in the girls' dorm," Roxas grinned.

"Risky, but there are other places we can leave it," Marluxia contemplated. "The flagpole is a classic one,"

"In the pond?"

"Or the head teacher's office. I know how to get in there,"

"That's a good one. He'd get slaughtered for that,"

"Tonight?"

"Done."

They shared a high five, and Roxas stood up. "Thanks for that," He said. "I feel better now," He walked away.

Marluxia smiled to himself at the unexpected alliance. Now they would both be able to get their own back on Axel - one bird with two stones, as it were.

---

The office was cold and deserted at three o'clock in the morning, just as Marluxia had planned. He'd managed to weasel off Xigbar all the blind spots in the school camera network, so it was a simple task to reach the head's office. It overlooked the school playing field, with wide French windows. Of course cameras pointed directly to them, but they weren't looking at the next set of windows along - the Headmaster's bathroom which was connected directly to his office.

Marluxia quickly opened the window via the ventilation windows above and helped to push Roxas in with Axel's underpants.

"Are you sure this is going to work?" He whispered at Marluxia, who nodded.

"Quickly, before someone comes,"

Roxas slipped in, and returned a few moments later, grinning. Marluxia helped him out and they ran across the field, back to the dorms.

---

"So, I heard Axel got in trouble, again?" Someone was laughing in the corner.

"Yeah, and for once he's denying it. They found some of his pants in the Headmaster's office," Another student butted in.

"He's gonna be so screwed," Said a third. "He's such a retard,"

Marluxia couldn't help but grin wryly to himself. Axel's bad reputation had got him just where they wanted - the teachers all thought it was him, and nobody suspected that Roxas and Marluxia, both with pretty clean records, had done the dirty deed. He rounded the corner to his next class, and bumped into someone, spewing books everywhere. He quickly gathered his up as the other boy did the same.

It was Vexen, but Marluxia was beginning to expect that. He'd been popping up in so many different places, it was hard to believe that Marluxia had never met him before.

"Sorry," He apologised, offering to help the taller boy up. Vexen refused the hand, getting up by himself.

"Just watch where you're going next time," He grumbled, the first time he'd said more than a few words to Marluxia. The pink haired boy grinned lopsidedly. "I need to talk to you, anyway,"

He led Marluxia away from the busy corridor.

"What do you want?" Marluxia asked when he'd stopped. Vexen paused for a little while looking around to make sure nobody was looking.

"I wanted to congratulate you,"

"Me? What for?"

"For last night! I saw you go into the headmaster's study," Vexen said. "It was a great idea, I hope you don't get caught. Hopefully this'll get Axel off my back for a while,"

Marluxia was amazed. All that this mysterious student had done so far was give him cold words and harsh glares, but now Marluxia's revenge on Axel seemed to have had unexpected positive consequences.

"What's Axel done to you?" Marluxia asked, curious. Vexen rolled up his sleeve, showing a few nasty bruises.

"A few things. Him and Demyx get their kicks from beating up the weaker kids,"

"Demyx?" Marluxia was surprised again. "I can't imagine him doing stuff like that," He was horrified by Vexen's wounds. How could anyone be so mean?

"He covers it up by acting so innocent," Vexen's tone turned sour. "Nobody would believe me if I told them,"

Marluxia frowned. He'd always thought the world of Demyx, but it seemed that his kind and innocent personality was just a facade.

"Sorry, I noticed you seemed to like him," Vexen looked worried. "Just... Don't let anyone know I told you, right? They'll kill me,"

Marluxia nodded, and Vexen acknowledged that he could trust him to keep this secret.

"Anyway, I'd better get to class. See you around?"

Marluxia smiled, even though his thoughts were in turmoil.

"Hopefully,"

---

Demyx was alone in the dorms, because Axel had detention for his supposed prank. He was complaining to anyone who would listen.

"It wasn't him! I know it! He was here all night,"

"You're just making excuses," One of the other boys, tall and dark with long black dreadlocks, replied from the book he was reading.

"I bet it was Roxas,"

"Roxas was asleep all night," Marluxia lied at Demyx. "I would have woken up if he got up, he sleeps above me," He pointed to his bunk bed. Demyx glared at him.

"Nobody asked for your opinion," He growled. Marluxia glared back, before turning to his bags to unpack some things. He was beginning to notice Demyx's true personality hidden in masks of sugar. But when he looked back, the boy was laughing and joking almost as innocently as always. Where there two Demyxes or something? No one else seemed to have noticed the sudden change in personality.

A few minutes later, the old door creaked open on its rusty hinges, and Vexen stepped in.

"Oh. The new kid," Another boy, Saïx, laughed, throwing a skittle at him. Vexen dodged, returning his own missile - a cold glare.

"Woah, chill, dude," his friend Xigbar grinned, but was ignored.

Marluxia reverted his gaze which had landed on Vexen back to the other boys. Had he been looking at the world through rose tinted glasses or something? It seemed like everyone was a bully all of a sudden.

Vexen walked straight towards the spare bed, content to be forgotten by the other boys. As he set down his bag, Marluxia walked over to him.

"How long have you been here?" He asked the strange boy. "I never noticed you sleeping there,"

"Since the start of term," Vexen insisted.

"I would have seen you. My bed's right next to yours,"

"I've moved dorms,"

"Yeah, from the girls," Someone called. Vexen ignored them.

"The year above,"

"What were you doing there?" Marluxia continued to quiz the strange blonde. Vexen ignored him as he checked the bed for anything undesirable, then sat down stiffly.

"They bumped me up a year when I transferred," Vexen finally admitted. Marluxia was speechless. Just how intelligent was this boy? "But I didn't get on well with them, so they decided to put me with boys of my own age. Something tells me I'm not going to do so well here, either," He glanced back at the laughing, joking boys with a certain melancholy tone to his expression.

"You'll be fine," Marluxia replied. Sure, Vexen seemed to be a really strange boy, but so was he. "You've got me and Roxas,"

"What about me? Oh, hey Vexen," Roxas had come into the dorms. "I didn't know you were friends with Marluxia,"

"It's an Axel thing," Vexen said dryly. He'd gone back to unpacking his things into the left hand drawer underneath his bunk.

"Oh, you know about the whole underpants thing?" Roxas said in a whisper, perching on the bed.

"Wait. Roxas, you know Vexen?"

"Sure, he's in the book club in the library," Roxas said, louder than his last comment but still a little quieter than usual. Being in an academic club was usually something you kept your voice down about in a school like this. Marluxia was pretty surprised, though. He hadn't expected Roxas to be into that kind of thing. The conversation had moved on, and Marluxia found himself lost as Roxas revealed his true side - he was actually pretty nerdy - and was talking about something to Vexen.

Axel marched in, a scowl on his face. He was greeted perhaps a little too enthusiastically by Demyx, and Roxas stiffened, before turning away so he didn't have to face his ex. Marluxia, however, watched him stomp towards the shorter boy.

"Roxas," His tone was acid, and it made Roxas back away slightly on the bed. "If you think you can get away with this, you're wrong. I know it was you, you bastard,"

"Leave him alone, Axel," Vexen said quietly. He leant protectively towards Roxas, ready to support him if things turned nasty. "He didn't do anything,"

"You're hiding behind your geeky friends now, Roxas? That's low, even for you," Axel sneered.

"I'm not hiding behind anybody!"

"Sure. Well, if you aren't, fight me," Axel grinned suddenly. He knew that Roxas would be no match for him, even in a square fight. And he knew that to Roxas, this would be painfully obvious, very soon.

"You're not worth it," Roxas bit back, but his voice was small and he was trembling a little. Marluxia moved in to intercept Axel, ready to stick up for his new friend.

"Big words, Roxas. But I think your bark is worse than your bite,"

"Leave him alone!" Vexen snapped.

"What're you going to do about it? Throw a dictionary at me?" Axel sniped, attention turned away from Roxas for a brief moment. He didn't notice Vexen's fingers closing around the nearest book until too late. As it struck his head, he lost his balance, flailing in vain, and fell to the floor.

"No," Vexen glared, stiffly rising and picking the book, a heavy hardback volume. "A thesaurus,"

Infuriated and more than a little hurt, Axel pulled himself up, rubbing his head.

"Bastard! What did I ever do to you?"

"A few things. You might want to be careful about that, it could bruise. I suggest you apply pressure," Vexen was on a roll now. He pressed two fingers to Axel's wounded head, and the red haired boy howled in pain, stumbling back and toppling over a bag onto somebody's bed.

"Get away from me, you bloody psychopath!"

"Then I suggest you keep away from me and my friends,"

"You freak! It's not like you even have any friends!" Axel stood up and attempted to push the taller boy, but with a flick of long blonde hair, Vexen neatly sidestepped and sent Axel flying over to the other side of the room. In the stunned silence, somebody laughed.

"Good one, Axel,"

"Shut up!" Axel had regained his balance, but he was as red as his hair with a mixture of fury and embarrassment. "I'll get you for this," He vowed to Vexen, and then stalked out of the dorms to the bathroom. Demyx followed. Once the couple had gone, the room broke out into hurried talking and laughter.

"That was great, new kid!" Somebody called.

"Vexen," Someone else helpfully supplied.

"Whatever," The first person laughed.

Vexen sat down on his bed with a thump, inspecting the thesaurus for damage as if it had merely fallen on the floor.

"Well." He said. Marluxia and Roxas stared gormlessly at him, amazed. "What?"

"I just saw you in a whole new light," Roxas muttered. "I can't believe you actually had the guts to do that,"

"It's something I should have done a long time ago," Vexen replied. "Thanks. I don't know if I could have done it without you to back me up,"

"No problem. Seeing Axel's face like that is worth anything," Marluxia grinned.

"You realise he's declared war on us now?" Roxas said. "And we'll probably all get in trouble for this,"

But the matron came in just then, ordering them all to bed and silence.


Also known on DeviantArt as High School Drabble. This is organised a little differently, as in into actual chapters XD There's also an extra bit to the epilogue that you might be interested in reading if you've already read the DA version.