Disclaimer: Simply put... All the characters and ideas canon to Kingdom Hearts belong to Square Enix and Disney. I make no money off this. The OCs, however, belong to me, as does whatever plot that shines through.
Warnings: Angst, AU (I haven't played Birth by Sleep or 365/2 Days). Other than that, all spelling/grammatical errors are my own. If you spot any, mention them and I will fix them.
Beta: LarcSakurai. Thank you m'dear! Though I went through and reworded a few things because I can't leave well enough alone. -brick'd-
Remember the Original
The dining hall is empty. Silence is broken by the soft, sharp tick tick tick as the digital clocks sitting at the very centre of the table kept at their tasks. Their scarlet numbers and black bodies are a stark contrast to the pure white the rest of the room is painted. The clocks are reading eight o'clock in the evening, in bold, square numbers. He used to like white. It used to be pure and innocent to him. Now it looks empty, achingly so.
The room is as bright as usual though; the lights haven't dimmed like they do when the rest of the Organisation, minus Vexen, are asleep. Luxord often wonders how they know when to do that because he is certain no one makes an effort to turn them off. Why would they, when there is no bill to worry about and it makes little difference to how well any of them complete their assigned tasks?
At the moment much of the Organisation is out, drinking themselves stupid as a way to pass the time before he, Vexen and Lexaeus must drag them back so they pass out amongst their muddled bedsheets. Xigbar is usually his to lug back. Mostly because Vexen neither likes being smothered in soppy cuddles nor has the patience to put up with Xigbar's slurred admissions of admiration and love.
For now though, Luxord finds comfort in the relative quiet. There is something familiar about it, something he finds reassuring and freeing. He halves his cards as he strides towards Xemnas' seat at the head of the table, letting out a sigh as he closes the distance and pulls the achingly white seat out. The quiet is relieving, relaxing. It allows him to think and soothes the pounding in his head from that night's rowdy dinner. Everyone had been present. Axel had been a little jungle crazy after his latest mission, whilst Luxord hadn't a clue Zexion had the ability to throw cutlery so frighteningly accurately. It had definitely made the evening more exciting, even without Demyx's failed attempts at entertainment.
In general, Axel and Demyx are like cyclones. Loud and destructive, battering everything they come into contact with with agonising force. Demyx doesn't mean to be, Luxord knows. The boy is much too respectful and willing to please for that. Even whilst practising the few tunes the boy remembers he is quiet. Luxord is convinced Demyx's presence would be quite harmonious all 'round if it weren't for the red devil he was made to follow.
Xemnas' chair is exactly like his own; hard, angular, hardly the most comfortable chair in the castle (that prize went to Lexaeus, after he'd taken the time to research and had sculpted the world's most comfortable and healthy chair unavailable on the market). But Luxord settles himself into it, content to pass the next few hours within his own head sorting through the few memories he's been able to unearth.
His latest discovery is a rather fuzzy set face, with beady eyes and a small, smooth nose. Big teeth come to mind as well as he attempts to reconstruct the image of his reflection within a broken, rusty mirror that he is sure was worth more money than he was willing to gamble when it had been looked after.
I'm close, Luxord thinks, as his hands habitually start shuffling his stiff cards. They're laid out for a game of solitaire, his eyes never leaving them despite not seeing their grey backs and dual toned prints.
He can almost remember – buck teeth, loose lips, unfocused eyes with hair splayed in tuffs all over his face, as though he'd attempted to shave whilst drunk. He's sure his eyes are swollen as well. If only he could see himself just the tiniest bit clearer...
"Join us for a drink, Lux?"
Luxord lurches forward and flounders, nearly sending the cards in his hands flying across the table with Xigbar's cheerful slap. He's vaguely confused until he spies the glowing numbers on the clock a couple of metres in front of him
Ah. Yes, Xigbar did leave around this time, didn't he?
The smaller man laughs and grins down at him crookedly and Luxord can't help but recognise – once again – that despite his size, Xigbar is a tough fellow. As tough as his scar portrays.
Xigbar grins as he cups Luxord's nearest shoulder and gives it a rough, but friendly, squeeze. He shakes him a little all in good fun, peering down on Luxord as expectantly as he had the first time he'd asked many months before.
Luxord completes their dance, shaking his head with an apologetic smile as he straightens the deck in his hands and continues playing.
"Thank you for the invitation, but not today, Xigbar." He smiles regrettably at the man, "Perhaps another time?"
"Yeah, yeah. Well, you know the drill. If y'wanna join us, just take the first train to Midgar and head for Seventh Heaven. If not for the booze, then for the chicks." A hole opens behind Xigbar. It's as high as him and only slightly broader. It's also dark and ominous, something Luxord still doesn't trust despite his few months with the Organisation. Xigbar continues despite it, his hands splayed out in front of him and his legs wide apart as he exclaims excitedly, "There's this chick with the biggest-"
"Yes, yes," Luxord waves the man away, smiling amusedly despite himself. He's been brought up with the belief one should treat a lady with respect. He turns over another card, his cobalt eyes falling to it, before rising to meet Xigbar's, "I understand. Now go before Axel decides to start without you."
Xigbar sends him a crooked grin that reaches his eye and waves at him from over his shoulder. He calls out a lazy farewell, before disappearing into darkness as though it were the most natural thing in the world. His accent drips off the words like rain from a rooftop, fading off as the dark circle closes, leaving nothing behind. It was as if Xigbar hadn't been in the room at all.
Luxord watches it close. He feels... uneasy – or so he thinks. Luxord supposes his confusion is caused by the fact that he hasn't experienced anything quite like a friend disappearing into an inky black hole he didn't trust. Or perhaps it is because of that? He's unsure. Frankly, after Vexen and Zexion had explained the ins and outs of what he has become, he hasn't been sure of anything but his love of gambling.
Ah, gambling... He could remember that even his other, whole self had enjoyed that. Poker, Texas Hold 'Em, Big Two, Blackjack, Bella Donna, Rummy – all games he knew he'd attempted and excelled at whilst lucid enough.
The thought makes him frown, as he strokes at his beard and moves a Queen of Diamonds on top of a King of Clubs. His other self had enjoyed drinking immensely as well. Too much, now that he thinks about it. He snaps down a Jack of Hearts.
Luxord can recall a deep ache haunting his original self. One living deep in his heart. It had been paralysing, straining his limbs as though he'd tied lead to them. Making him think and regret, though he can't remember why. Its origins are still lost to him, though he's confident he'll remember them once the cards flip in his favour. All he knows right now is that it was profound. Perhaps a death of a loved one? He can only guess.
But he knows he'd sought to escape it much like his comrades are doing at that very moment. He remembers swaying steps, taken as though he'd carrying too much weight to one side. He remembers the hangovers, then the aching need to drink, if only to cure himself of that pain as well. He recalls needing the golden liquor as though it were the precious metal it sometimes resembles, when the light hits it right.
But foremost he remembers the thing he looked for most in it, yearned for with every sip. He remembers the nothingness, the ability to forget and carry on, unrepentant in his actions. He remembers his feelings being dulled down to the point that sometimes he thought he hadn't had them at all and that he was okay with that, because at least he wasn't suffering.
Alcoholism, Luxord now realises, wasn't the most effective way to combat his old demons. He also realises that it is the reason he turns Xigbar down every Friday evening.
He already knows that gambling was an old joy of his; one that had clung to him when he'd first tried it as a nobody. It's attached itself to him so deeply that it had become his weapon of choice. After all, he is the Gambler of Fate. One would be exceedingly foolish to take him on in any game of chance.
But Luxord doesn't consider his old self's reliance on alcohol something he wishes to ingest. The very thought makes his insides swirl with anger and disgust (or their phantoms, at least). He will not become dependant on a drink.
Luxord places the last remaining king on top of the hearts pile with a quite snap. He takes a moment to survey them, before he sweeps them together and pushes them back into place. He crafts a neat deck and halves them in his hands, as another realisation flashes before his cobalt gaze.
Luxord is afraid that if he takes the chance, if he sips the slightest bit of alcohol, he will not get another. If drinking whilst having emotions flattened them to near nothingness, he does not want to imagine what not having them will leave him with.
He does not want to be a shell. Luxord thinks he's having enough of that as it is.
Woffy: This is for FangirlYasha on dA, who wished for "fanfic written about a single character, no pairings, that simple points out why this person is who they are" during OrgXIII-Yaoi's (on deviantART) first WISHATHON. I'm not exactly sure if this counts, but I gave it a go with it in mind.
I hope you enjoyed it, m'dear!
I always wondered what world Luxord could have come from. I've always had Basil, The Great Mouse Detective's London in mind whenever I see him. For whatever reason, he always reminds me of the drunken mouse that calls Ratica a rat. And with that said, alcoholism isn't pleasant. It's a form or release that kills you in more ways than one. I think that without his ability to really feel emotion, Luxord's going to want to hold on to every single one he has, be them memory or not.
Reviews, critique and the like are all welcome~