Title: Layers of Ice
Author: Trilies
Genre: Romance, friendship
Word length: 1831
Sypnosis Vexen locking himself in his lab is nothing new. Vexen locking himself in his lab for a straight month and acting a little more violent than usual has Demyx worrying.
Rating: PG-13 for a bit of swearing
Yaoi/Yuri/Pairings: Demyx/Vexen, Parental!Vexen to Xion
Notes: I got nothing. Perhaps some vague hints at Days if you know where to look.


LayersofIce



Loving Vexen is much like trying to hug an iceberg, quite possibly the one which sunk the Titanic. Being near it means suffering lots and lots of cold weather, and if you stick to it for too long without its consent, you'll probably get frostbite where frostbite should just never be. But Demyx has always been the sort whose daring is fueled by an unhealthy amount of optimism, and besides, ice is just another form of water.

But today... Today, the water is just a little too icy.

"I didn't even know Freeze Pride could cut you," he mutters, wincing as Luxord rubs at the cut on his cheek with some alcohol.

"Well, now you know," the Gambler says simply with a snort, not at all sympathetic. "Did you miss the warning Zexion dropped this morning about avoiding the lab?"

"I didn't think it would be that bad," Demyx replies in defense of himself, although he supposes he really should have known better. Still, it's not often that Vexen gets into such a mood. Normally, sure, he's pissy, and he'll never shut up if you invade his lab (unless you're Xigbar, in which case you just get your testicles frozen off). The way Demyx figures, it'll last for the rest of the day, and by tomorrow, Vexen'll be back to his normal self, insufferable as always, but not violent.

Typically, he's wrong. Vexen keeps himself locked into his lab for a month.

Trying not to think about it, Demyx just continues doing what he does, which is go on missions for the Organization, try not to die, and hang out with his friends. On the 27th day is when he finally starts to worry. In a way, he has Zexion to thank for that.

"So he's back to that old thing again," he murmurs, curled up in one of his favorite chairs in the library, legs slung over one of the arms. Demyx just blinks at that, pausing in his task of looking for a good cook book to soothe Xaldin's rage. (A certain flamehead and a gunner had brought back some weird game, there had been monkeys in the kitchen... Or... something. Demyx isn't too sure. He was gone that week. ) Catching his look, Zexion just smirks and gently shuts the large thick tome on his lap. "Have you ever truly paid attention to the projects Vexen works on, Demyx?"

"Er..." He scratches the back of his neck. "There's the Replica project, right?"

"Correct. And?"

"...Science?" Demyx offers weakly. But Zexion just smirks and shakes his head before disappearing into the labyrinth-like library, the sharp taps of the Fallen's skeletal fingers following after him. In his place, he leaves a secret, dangling and just waiting for Demyx to pounce. He manages to hold out for a good hour before practically tearing out his hair in frustration and succumbing.

Damn Zexion. At least he knows who to blame if he gets frostbite and loses his fingers.

While a lot of people make fun of Demyx because he comes off as a coward, he is pretty good at sneaking around. It's why he's always sent on recon missions, so actually getting into the lab is no problem. For a moment, he stays still among all the lab tables, but then it's obvious that, for now, Vexen isn't cooking up some new chemical explosion. Relieved that he's in no immediate danger, Demyx straightens up and wonders just where the scientist has disappeared to now. Then again, the labs aren't just restricted to this one area; there are a ton of doors leading to all sorts of places: the infirmary, the replica creation area which reminds Demyx of a morgue, the gummi hangar... Vexen apparently can't be satisfied by just one field. Since he's in the clear for the moment, Demyx immediately starts poking around, flipping through papers as he wonders just what Zexion had been talking about when he had secretly referred to 'that old thing'.

However, the projects aren't anything big; just a lot of science-talk about chemicals, all of it too advanced for Demyx to even have an inkling of what it's about. Giving up, he moves towards the next best thing: Vexen's office, complete with a steel door. Demyx doesn't ask why Vexen needs a steel door. He has a feeling it can only lead to bad things. Still, the office at least gets him something, and that something takes the form of a folder practically filled to the gills with paper... And, if the cramped writing characteristic of Vexen is right, it's just the first out of a whole set. Figuring this must be the thing Zexion was talking about (after all, if it's a set, then that must mean there were other things, meaning a chance for an 'again' ), Demyx gathers up the rest of the folders, leading up to a total of 6. Ha. What a coincidence. Taking care to hide under the desk (just in case! ), Demyx begins to flip through the thick folders.

Unlike the papers out in the main lab, these are nowhere near as complicated to read. A lot of it makes the whole project seem like some sort of attempt to build a city... But the more Demyx read, the more he realizes how he's wrong. Economics, irrigation systems, construction plans... At first, it seems like he's trying to build a city, but no, that's wrong...

Vexen is trying to rebuild a world. Or to be more specific... Demyx stares down at the old, old city map he holds in his hands, thoughts conflicted. The title is in large, cursive script that reminds Demyx a little of his old world, and it says Radiant Garden. "Vexen's old home," he murmurs to himself. The home that he had helped destroy. Carefully putting the map back in its place, Demyx flips through a few more sheets before he finds a scrap of paper filled with Vexen's writing, although this time it's not so cramped and neat but curly and loose. A sign of sleep depravation, which Demyx really isn't too surprised at. Sometimes, Vexen really doesn't take good care of himself.

Mouthing the words, Demyx begins to read:

This plan continues to hit more and more bumps, but I refuse to give up. The others may view me as a monster for the research I do on replicas, and how I tear bodies apart without hesitation, destroy worlds without batting an eye, but if I'm not the monster, then who shall take my place? Master Ansem, the real Ansem, once told us all long ago that to destroy and to create are just two sides of the same coin; once you know one, you inevitably understand the process of the other. If I destroy, if I pull things apart, then I'll understand how to fix the mistakes I unleashed onto the Garden. I know where I went wrong.

Being a Nobody is beneficial to this plan, for I can visit all the different worlds I need to understand how they function, and use this to make the Garden even better than before so that the darkness does not overtake that world again. In the meantime, I shall wait for Kingdom Hearts to be completed and for all of us to regain our hearts again.

I don't expect myself to make it. I am not the fighter Lexaeus is, or have the cunning Zexion does. I am a scientist, nothing more. At the very least, however, I can ensure that the people who I truly cared for so long ago will have a place to welcome them properly when they return, as I know they will. Aeleus stayed in the project only to protect all of us, and Ienzo because he loved Xehanort. Even now, without hearts, Lexaeus protects us as best he can, and Zexion works to make sure that we don't splinter apart. If anyone deserves to return home, it is surely them. If I do regain my heart... Perhaps I can finally manage to fix Xion, give her a home and a life. Who knows? Having a daughter would not be the worst thing, not if I could just wake up to Radiant Garden once mor---

And the ink trails off, a small pool of black.

-------------

"Darkness damned engine," Vexen hisses to himself, shoving his goggles up his nose and onto his forehead. Throwing a wrench hard at the ground for no other reason other than that it makes him feel better, the blonde scrambles over the gummi ship he's working on and slides down to the wing. The stupid thing is COMPLETELY wrecked. What the hell did Xigbar do to the thing? Fill it full of tar? Tch, he's going to have to rebuild the entire thing from scrap... If he ever sees the Freeshooter's face again...

"What are you doing?" a familiar voice asks, right as Vexen is in the middle of strangling an imaginary Xigbar. With a positively vicious glare on his face, Vexen looks up at the doorway at the top of a long set of stairs, the ones which lead to the main lab. Leaning on the railing is Demyx, who apparently didn't learn the last time that Vexen is not in the mood for his antics. By this point, Vexen has given up on trying to get it out of the sitarist's silly head that they don't have emotions. The boy just doesn't listen. And so what if occasionally he indulges the fool by getting him gifts from other worlds even if there isn't any logical reason to, brushes their hands together, or whatever it is couples do? He's just indulging him.

That's it. Really.

"None of your business whatsoever," Vexen snaps. The stress of his reconstruction project and the bullshit Xigbar has recently pulled have put him in no mood to deal with anyone, but Demyx, like always, doesn't seem to get that. He just stays where he is against the railing, rolling his shoulders in a shrug. At last, however, he disappears through a portal, and Vexen thinks that will be it...

But then he turns around, and Demyx just knocks him on his nose gently with his knuckles. At his flustered growl, the Nocturne just smiles. "Don't work too hard, alright?" he tells him, before he lays a simple kiss on the corner of his mouth. This time, he's gone for real, and Vexen just blinks in confusion.

What was that all about?

---------

Thump goes the body as it collides with Demyx's mattress, and he just grins to himself as a long thin arm wraps around his waist and tugs him against a bony frame. "I'm very quite tired right now," Vexen's muffled voice tells him, the Academic's face buried right into a pillow, "so if you dare to kick me or elbow me in the eye while you're asleep, I will make you regret it."

Demyx just rolls over and grins at the scientist, now sadly without his goggles. (A shame, Demyx thinks, because the goggles make things just a little sexier. )

"I love you too, Vexen."


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