The phone rang.
It rang several times.
It stubbornly refused to stop, even when glared at. In the general direction of. Whatever.
Finally, Vexen rolled off the bed and made his way upstairs. Marluxia wasn't too far behind.
"Vexen? It's me, Zexion,"
"Oh, hi. Any reason for the call?"
"Well, firstly, congratulations on getting a job. Secondly, why didn't you tell me you were dating Marluxia LeVine?"
Vexen glanced at Marluxia, who was fixing his hair in the hall mirror.
"I didn't want to tell anybody until it was official,"
"Are you planning on becoming "official"?"
Marluxia had sidled up behind him and was gently stroking his hips. He furiously fought down the blush that came to his cheeks.
"I guess so," He replied. Marluxia leaned closer and brushed a strand of hair from Vexen's face. Then he began to nibble on his ear.
Vexen squeaked in surprise, quickly covering the mouthpiece of the old phone.
"Marluxia! What are you doing?"
"Sorry. Couldn't help it. Who's on the phone?"
Vexen quickly pulled away from Marluxia and returned to his previous conversation.
"Sorry. Got distracted-" He glared at Marluxia who grinned innocently back at him- "By. Things,"
Even on the phone, Zexion always knew if somebody was lying or being evasive. And Vexen had never been a good liar.
"Well, okay, fine, Marluxia's here. He's staying for the weekend,"
"I suspected as much,"
"We ought to meet up," Vexen said after a moment. "Are you free this weekend?"
"This afternoon, yes. As soon as Lexaeus returns. Do you want to come round?"
"Zexion wants to know if we want to go to his house this afternoon."
Vexen turned back to the phone.
"What time do you want us to come over?"
"Okay. We'll be there,"
"See you later, then."
Zexion hung up.
Vexen glanced at Marluxia.
"So if I didn't tell him, how come Zexion knows that we're going out?" He finally asked as he returned to his room in the basement and booted up his computer.
"Well, Lexaeus is my friend, after all. I couldn't exactly tell everyone at work and not him, could I?"
"Did you just tell everybody, then?"
"You could put it that way, yeah,"
Vexen sighed, sitting down at his computer and opening up his email client. There wasn't terribly much of interest, except an email from "Xig Xal Studios ".
He opened it up as Marluxia rifled through some of his old junk in a box that had been pulled out from under the bed.
Yo, Vexen. This is a friendly note from your boyfriend's (Marluxia LeVine, pink haired guy? Remember? Good.) employers, Xig Xal Studios, just to let you know that he's a porn star, if he hasn't summoned up the balls to tell you already.
If you want to see some of his work, go to . :3
Xigbar and Axel (Xig Xal Studios)
He showed it to Marluxia, who smirked a crooked smile.
"Yeah. They blackmailed me into telling you,"
"So you weren't going to?" Vexen asked.
"I was!" Marluxia assured him. "Just not... well, actually I probably would have just kept on procrastinating until you found out by other means. And regretted it,"
"Will I regret clicking the link?"
"Probably. I think I'm naked on the front page,"
Vexen shook his head and closed down his email client.
They walked over to Zexion and Lexaeus' house, stopping off in the town centre to grab lunch along the way. The two men lived a way out from the town, in a place overlooking the sea.
"You're so lucky to live so close to the sea," Marluxia had said as they walked along the promenade. Vexen had looked out across the churning water and vast stretches of shingle slipping down to the horizon, and disagreed.
They reached the little cottage on the sea front and stepped through the gate into the front garden. Zexion was already there, waiting on the doorstep.
"Vexen. Marluxia." He nodded his head towards both of them as he led them inside. "It's good to see you both again,"
Marluxia smirked, patting Zexion's tufty hair.
"Small as ever, I see,"
"And you. Arrogant as ever," Zexion replied with an air of long-suffering resignation in his voice. "Lexaeus is out still, but he ought to be home soon enough. Drink?"
"Tea, if you would," Vexen replied, following Zexion into the kitchen. Marluxia was behind him, inspecting the paintings on the walls, the towering bookcases in the hallway. He ran his finger along one shelf, and picked out a small, leatherbound book.
"I didn't think you still had this,"
Zexion leaned over, saw what Marluxia was holding and snatched the book away.
"Marluxia! That's private!"
Marluxia chuckled, letting Zexion replace the book in amongst all the others.
"Don't worry, I've read it all already,"
"I know," Zexion replied darkly as he switched the kettle on.
"What is it?" Vexen asked.
"Zexion's diary from the year he got with Lexaeus,"
"Which I'm sure Vexen doesn't want to read," Zexion said icily. Marluxia laughed, nervously.
"Oh, just for nostalgia's sake,"
"Yes. You always were stealing my things,"
There was a click by the door and the gruff sound of "I'm home," from Lexaeus. Moments later, he stepped into the kitchen, placing six heavy shopping bags onto the table.
"Good morning. I haven't seen you for ages. How have you been?"
"It's only been about three weeks," Lexaeus corrected.
"Yeah, but I was pissed off my face at the time. It doesn't count,"
Lexaeus gave him a slightly disapproving look.
"We've both been fine. And you?"
"Great." said Marluxia.
"Okay," said Vexen.
They decided to migrate to the sitting room where the chairs were more comfortable.
"I'll be right with you," Lexaeus said as Zexion made his way across the corridor. "I'd like to talk to Marluxia first,"
Marluxia hung around by the kitchen table as Vexen and Zexion left.
"Cute is not a word I would immediately think of when it comes to Vexen. Sit,"
When Lexaeus offered, he ordered. Marluxia took a seat by the kitchen table.
"I like him. He has that sweet geeky air about him, and... I don't know. I think he's beautiful."
"He's good for you."
"You think so?"
Marluxia was surprised. After all, a geek and a porn star wasn't exactly the most obvious combination for a couple...
"Marluxia, I won't lie to you. You're still shallow and fickle, and you have trouble with relationships. With luck, Vexen will help to change that,"
That was Lexaeus. You could trust him to tell it like it was. Marluxia nodded.
"Yeah. I hope so. But I think I can do this. I mean, Vexen's different. He's special,"
Lexaeus smiled minutely.
"I'm glad. You really are changing,"
Vexen and Zexion sat opposite each other, one on the sofa, the other in the first of two large, comfy armchairs.
"Marluxia LeVine. What were you thinking?"
Vexen glanced at Zexion in surprise.
"What do you mean?"
"You do know that he's a porn star, don't you,"
"Yeah. He told me. Admittedly, after I already found out, but it's the thought that counts, I suppose,"
Zexion shook his head in astonishment.
"So what on this sweet Earth made you of all people think it was a good idea to start a relationship with him?"
"What's that supposed to mean?" Vexen asked defensively. "He's a sweet man. I like him,"
"No doubt he has been telling you such," Zexion muttered. When Vexen didn't reply, he continued. "Look, I don't know what you think Marluxia is like but he's honestly not the kind of person you want to date,"
Vexen felt indignation bristle up inside him.
"Zexion, maybe you don't personally like Marluxia, but I don't think you quite understand. I like him, yes. But more importantly, he likes me back. That's never happened to me before. I'm sorry if I may be taking advantage of this fact."
"He's just using you. He's using you like he uses everybody else, and when he's had his fun, he'll throw you away,"
"He won't," Vexen said quietly, hoping that his inner uncertainty wouldn't creep into his voice. "I'm different,"
"That's what he'd like you to think, isn't it," Zexion replied spitefully.
Vexen clenched his fists, angrily.
"Don't say that! It isn't true. Why do you hate him so much? You should be grateful. He gave up Lexaeus for you,"
Zexion laughed bitterly.
"Gave up? Hah! Is that what he told you?" He demanded. "The truth is that he screwed Lexaeus over just like he's going to do to you. Vexen, you can't trust him. He's a slut. Simple as."
"Oh." Vexen said. There wasn't really much he could reply with. He felt that he didn't really have enough authority over Zexion to disagree, but he didn't want to believe what the diminutive man was saying.
"I just don't want to see you get hurt," Zexion added, his tone a little softer. Vexen nodded numbly.
"I know. I just... I just want to know what it's like," He murmured, speaking without thinking, "You know. To be in love. Even if it is Marluxia,"
"If you insist. I'll go get Lexaeus,"
He slipped out and returned moments later with the two remaining men. Lexaeus took the last remaining armchair and Marluxia curled up next to Vexen on the sofa.
After everything Zexion has said, he felt a little awkward, but that didn't stop Vexen from gently running his fingers through Marluxia's soft hair.
"Something's troubling you,"
Marluxia and Vexen were walking home from Zexion's house the quick way this time. A misty drizzle had settled over Plymouth, and it slowly seeped through their clothes until they were both shivering with the autumn chill.
Vexen glanced up at Marluxia.
"Y-yeah. I guess so,"
Marluxia sighed, tugging Vexen into the shelter of a little café in the town square.
"Zexion said something about me, didn't he?" He observed dully. Vexen nodded.
"Marluxia, I... What really happened, with Zexion and Lexaeus?"
Marluxia smiled a little, but his eyes were sad.
"I thought you might ask. The truth is, the moment that Zexion came into our lives, it was obvious that Lexaeus had fallen in love, even if he never saw it. He treated Zexion so well, and they fitted together like peas in a pod. And I was jealous."
"Of Zexion. I was Lexaeus' boyfriend, why didn't he ever give me that kind of respect? I was supposed to be the special one, not Zexion," Marluxia replied sarcastically.
"So what did you do?"
"I made the most stupid mistake ever. I wanted to show Lexaeus what he was missing-"
"You cheated on him, didn't you," Vexen mumbled. It was too obvious.
"Like I said, the most stupid mistake ever." Marluxia muttered morosely. "Zexion's never forgiven me,"
"So you and Lexaeus broke up and he started going out with Zexion?" Vexen guessed.
"Well, no. Not quite. Lexaeus and I argued about it, but we never really came to any conclusion. But I knew it was going to be over soon enough. And I also knew that Lexaeus and Zexion were both so thick-skulled that they'd never confess their love to each other. Hell, they probably hadn't even noticed."
"What happened after that?" Vexen asked.
"I pretended to be Lexaeus on MSN, and confessed to Zexion and asked him out. It wasn't goddamn easy. I left the conversation up even after Zexion had signed off, for Lexaeus to find. He was a little angry at first, but... He went to meet Zexion anyway. The rest is history. Of course, Zexion doesn't know that Lexaeus asking him out was really him, though,"
"You should have told him," Vexen said. It was a little sad that it was all thanks to Marluxia that Zexion even had Lexaeus, but Marluxia had never even got any credit for that.
"Nah," Marluxia said softly. "I'm okay with it. I mean, Zexion's never really liked me anyway."
"So what did Lexaeus want to say to you?"
"He wanted to wish me luck," Marluxia replied, his tone brightening a little. "He thinks we suit, in a kind of crazy roundabout Lexaeus-logic way,"
Vexen allowed himself to smile.
"That's good enough for me,"
"You know, I feel sorry for Vexen," Zexion commented absently, later, as he prepared for bed. Lexaeus, already settled down, nodded.
"Marluxia will be trouble. But I have faith."
"In what? Marluxia running off with some other guy in a couple of weeks?"
"They can make it work," Lexaeus replied. Zexion, tying his hair up into a little ponytail for the night, snorted.
"Not a chance. Vexen hasn't got a clue what he's doing and Marluxia is a slut."
"He's changed," Lexaeus said simply.
"Yes, which obviously explains why he's practically a prostitute and never holds onto boyfriends for more than a couple of months, if that,"
Lexaeus gave Zexion a solid, rocky glare.
"What did you say to Vexen?"
"What do you mean?"
"What did you tell him."
It wasn't a question. It was an order. There would be no point in being evasive, but that didn't stop Zexion trying.
"Just some things. A warning. Told him what Marluxia is really like."
Lexaeus' eyes darkened.
"He's changed," He said again, then corrected himself. "Changing. He's trying, Zexion."
Zexion visibly fought between personal pride and stubbornness, and the sensible option of not arguing with Lexaeus. Pride won.
"Don't be stupid." He said before he could catch himself. "Marluxia's the kind of person who will never change. He's a fool and unpleasant and it's for Vexen's own good that he knows what that man is really like!"
Lexaeus stood up to his full, imposing height.
"Don't be so quick to judge," He rumbled, voice threateningly low. It was a tone he very rarely used, with Zexion, even less. They lived, by and large, together in their own, pleasant routine, with little friction. Ironic that Marluxia would be the one to change that, for a second time.
Zexion took an involuntary step backwards.
"You're being irrational!" He weakly protested, logical mind finally beginning to catch up with the emotion-fuelled one. Lexaeus merely glared him down. Then he sat back on the bed.
"I know you dislike Marluxia," He said slowly. "But you have to give him a chance. He hasn't had an easy life."
"None of us have."
"You underestimate the emotional impact having to leave one's own family can have on a man,"
"Or perhaps Marluxia really is as shallow as he seems," Zexion said before he could stop himself. "Have you forgotten what he did to you? What he did to me?!"
"Zexion. Calm down."
"I am calm!"
Another look, but then Lexaeus glanced away.
"You do not know how much you have Marluxia to thank for,"
Zexion frowned at him, confused.
"What do you mean?"
"You remember when I first asked you out."
"How could I forget?" Zexion replied, recalling the memory fondly as he, too, climbed into the bed to be close to Lexaeus. Already, the argument and tense atmosphere was fading.
"That wasn't me,"
"Heaven knows I'd never have had the courage to even admit to myself that I liked you, let alone ask you out," Lexaeus continued. "That conversation was Marluxia, pretending to be me. He saw in us what I never could. He gave me up, for you."
Zexion gave a short, barking laugh.
Lexaeus simply nodded.
"This whole time? It was him?"
"He says he felt bad about sexually harassing you and wanted to make it up to us,"
"Why didn't you tell me?"
"Marluxia asked me not to. You know what he's like." Lexaeus replied with a small smile as Zexion wriggled into his arms.
"Ah. Yes. That sounds more like the Marluxia we know and loathe,"
Lexaeus chuckled wryly in the dark.