Roses & Kittens

(sequel to Raindrops & Whiskers)

A Kingdom Hearts fanfic by Raberba girl

Summary: Xion's scared of thunder. Neither Axel nor Roxas are around to comfort her. Looks like it's time to break out that blackmail. Attempted SaiShi, though it ended up really being AkuSai (both platonic). Spoilers for 358/2 Days.

A/N: And now, not only am I disregarding the canon timeline, but I'm mixing universes as well, too! Whee! This fic is apparently PARTIALLY in the Christmas at the Castle universe, but not entirely. *sweatdrop*


Most of the Organization members did not own personal computers, and Saïx was no exception. He had to use one of the public terminals in the castle library to communicate with Castle Oblivion, which he did at 6:00 in the evening when the other members were relaxing with a movie in the Grey Area and more likely to leave him alone.

Axel's face came onscreen, one cheek bulging with something. Probably the macaroni and cheese he was now dipping his spork into. "Yo."

"Status report," Saïx ordered.

Axel swallowed so that he could say indignantly, "What the heck, you're not even bothering with decent 'hello's now?"

"Tell me how the mission is progressing."

"Love you, too," Axel said sourly. "Anyway, yeah. Apparently, the Keybearer's wandering around in a field somewhere, so Marly went to go lure him here. Larxene's been...'brainstorming' with Naminé, who doesn't look too happy about our Brilliant Evil Plan, to tell the truth."

"You can skip the unnecessary details."

"Of course you wouldn't care that I can't walk into Naminé's room anymore without her slaying me with miserable Puppy Eyes, why would you care? You don't, so I'm just not gonna bother saying anymore that I seem to have this Curse of the Puppy Eyes thing following me EVERYWHERE I GO- Was that thunder? Like, on your end?"

Saïx blinked. Now that Axel mentioned it, there did indeed seem to be rain pouring down outside the library windows. The dark skies looked blacker and cloudier and angrier than usual, and even as Saïx looked, a jet of lightning came crashing down, seeming to stab the night with its spastic brilliance. "Yes. It is of no consequence. Carry on."

Axel put down his macaroni and cheese. Honestly, no wonder he looked so malnourished, if he was subsisting on that sort of processed junk. "Where are Xion and Roxas?" he demanded.

"That is not your concern. Continue with the report."

"I'm not giving you a thing 'til you tell me where the kids are!"

Saïx briefly closed his eyes. Axel's stubbornness could be so tiresome to have to deal with. "Roxas and Xaldin had shopping duty today, and have not yet returned. I neither know nor care where Number XIV is, except that RTC check-in was at-" He glanced at his clipboard. "-5:13 p.m."

"Find her," Axel growled. Then he sighed and shook his head. "Sorry, Sai. Didn't mean to be gruff. Just...please? As a favor to me? I need you to do this. Can you please find Xion and...and..."

Saïx stared. "Are you feverish?"

"Saïx! Listen to me! Look, Xi-" Axel took a deep breath. "I'm not exactly happy about having to tell you this, but it looks like there's no choice. Xion, for whatever freaking reason, is afraid of something - no, she's terrified of something, - and that something is thunder. And until now, I've been able to deal with it all on my own, no one else knows except me and Roxas, but apparently me and Roxas aren't there to take care of it this time, so I need you her company."

Saïx kept staring. Axel had to be joking, but he usually looked and sounded very different when he was joking. It was difficult for Saïx to speak, he was so caught off guard. "Are you. Honestly. Expecting me to. Find our newest member. And - and nanny it through a thunderstorm?"

"Um...yeah, that's basically what I'm asking you to do. Yeah."

Saïx's hands clenched. "Enough of this foolishness. You are wasting my time. Finish your report and then get back to work."

"Saïx! I'm not joking, I seriously need your help on this!"

"Your report, Number VIII."

"Don't you 'Number VIII' me," Axel growled. "This is Axel you're talking to, Axel who's been your best friend since we were seven freaking years old, Axel who's getting pretty fed up with your attitude."

"And you think I appreciate your attitude? Yes, I am talking to Axel. Axel, Number VIII in the Organization; Axel, who was sent to Castle Oblivion to help destroy the Keybearer's memories; Axel, whose bloodstained weapons must have been idle too long if you're letting yourself get sentimental over a memory-witch and a soulless replica."

"Saïx, please!" Axel shouted. "You want me to beg or something? It's not like what I'm asking you to do is difficult! Just find her and hug her and sing the stupid song to her for an hour or two, then you can ignore her forever, just please do this for me!"

"...If I had a heart, I would be astounded. My faith in you wavers," Saïx murmured.

Axel's eyes narrowed, and Saïx was not entirely sure that the fire lord was aware of the flames now flaring up around his own body. "Isa Sirius Tsukino, find that girl and sing 'My Favorite Things' to her, or SO HELP ME I will dig out a CERTAIN VIDEO DISC and see if the rest of the Organization gets as much of a kick out of your Christmas party antics as I do-"

"ENOUGH," Saïx found himself thundering. They glared at each other.

"I really will, Saïx. You know I will."

Yes. He would. "...You are dismissed. Like I said, get back to work...Lea Deucalion Hayes," Saïx growled, wincing.

Axel blinked. Then he smiled. "Thanks, Sai." The connection was cut.

Saïx stared at the static-filled communication window for a while without seeing it. Then he cursed, logged off the computer, and stormed down to the Grey Area.

Although the movie was still running, no one seemed to be interested in it. Luxord was playing solitaire on one of the coffee tables, as Xigbar stood at the window and laughed to himself, apparently watching something outside.

"Where is everyone?" Saïx asked.

Luxord shrugged. "There were only four of us here to begin with."

That's right. Half the Organization was at the other castle, Lord Xemnas almost never joined in evening recreational activities, Xaldin and Roxas had yet to RTC, and Demyx had undoubtedly gone out to enjoy the downpour as he usually did.

"If you come over here and listen closely," Xigbar said, "you can kind of hear the music. I think he's doing 'New York, New York' now."

Saïx had zero interest in Demyx's ridiculous performance. "Where did Xion go?"

"I'm not sure, actually," Luxord said. "She took off rather quickly when the rain started up."

"I see." Saïx turned and left again.

The next place to check would be her room. Saïx walked into the fourth portal, which was dark and empty. "Xion?" he called, just in case. There was no answer.

He sighed, then tried Axel's room next. It was the same, though the place's cold emptiness seemed to capture Saïx's attention in a way the previous room's had not.

He stood there for a long time, looking around and trying to figure out why he felt the need to linger. There was a stack of music discs on one shelf, a few non-uniform outfits hanging in the open closet, an alarm clock radio with a Bomb sticker on the snooze button, an ice cream coupon pinned to an otherwise empty bulletin board, and a note written on the closet mirror in dry erase marker: "Tell Rox Xi C.O."

"I have no business here," Saïx told himself. "There is no need to stay." So he forced himself to walk back out of the room and continue his search.

Roxas's room was crowded with restless Samurai, and brilliantly lit. Saïx stared for a while, then commanded the lesser Nobodies to leave. They did so reluctantly, but he was far higher in rank than they, and their master was not around to counter the order. Then he looked around appraisingly.

The boy's room was messier than Axel's, with dirty clothes strewn across the floor and ice cream wrappers lying half-crumpled next to a few empty Potion bottles. Some posters from Twilight Town had been pinned crookedly to the walls, and lying on the bedside table was a portable video game console and cartridge case.

'It's...Night Howler?' Saïx had completely forgotten that game. There was a little crescent moon drawn on a corner of the case. 'That's the same one I lent Axel eight years ago. He never gave it back,' Saïx realized. 'Now he's letting Roxas borrow it? ...Sacred moon, I can't believe it's still playable.'

Why in the worlds was he thinking about video games at a time like this? In fact, why was he bothering to think about video games at all?

Saïx turned his attention back to the matter at hand. The room was now empty, but the fact that it was inordinately lit was significant. 'If I was extremely frightened and had about three months of life experience, where would I go for comfort if my usual sources were not available?' Probably the same place where, as a child, he had spent every single Christmas Eve until Lea finally told him that Santa Claus was not real and there was no need to hide from a magical overweight stalker every year.

Saïx strode over to the closet and opened it.

A small figure was huddled on the floor, buried in a pile of Roxas's spare coats and visibly shivering. A thin, shaky voice drifted up. "R...Roxas? Is that you?"

From outside, thunder crashed, and Xion gave a little shriek.

Saïx sighed deeply, wishing that he had thought to bring some paperwork to help pass the time. Then, maneuvering himself to fit inside the closet, he managed to sit down with his legs stretched out over the threshold.

Xion immediately latched onto his arm. "I wish you'd been here! I needed you! I need you! I'm - so...I'm so..." Thunder roared again, prompting a long wail.

'Axel. You. Owe. Me.'

"...You're...too be Roxas. ...Axel? Axel, you...came back?" The creature began to sob in earnest, its grip tightening.

Saïx sighed again. He also made a mental note to subject Vexen to some serious interrogation. This replica was acting far more human than a Nobody had any right to.

Xion suddenly went silent. Saïx glanced down, and quite unexpectedly found that it was no longer a faceless figure in a hooded black coat that was clinging to him. It was Roxas - no, not Roxas. Same face and hair, but the clothes were different...

'That boy from back then. I forgot his name. Wind, or something like that. ...Vexen, you certainly have a lot to answer for.'

"S...Saïx?" Xion whispered, looking utterly horrified.

"I have business to take care of," he said coldly, neglecting to add that he was currently taking care of it. "Your grip is immobilizing."

"I'm s-sor-ry..." Xion stared at its own arms, which had gotten wrapped around Saïx's chest by this time. "I can't let go," Xion finally whispered miserably.

Saïx glanced at the windows, discerning that the storm had let up. A little. He hoped. Xion was still flinching and gasping with every crack of thunder. 'Axel. You will never STOP owing me.' "Don't bother, then, if you're incapable of even that much."

"I'm sorry," Xion whispered again, hiding its face against his shoulder.

Seconds ticked by. Saïx could feel his time being wasted. And it was so quiet...just the rain, and the thunder, and Xion's muffled sniffling...

"I'm debating," he finally said, thinking to kill two birds with one stone, "whether or not I should send Demyx and Luxord together on tomorrow's mission. Their target is quite a difficult one to overcome, yet we are now so short-handed that there is no way we can accomplish everything that needs to be done unless we split up."

"Demyx is really strong when he has to be," Xion whispered.

Saïx blinked, having not at all expected the creature to make even an attempt at contribution. "Judging from his regular assessment scores, I am inclined to agree with you. Very well. Demyx will be given a solo mission to Agrabah, which will free up Luxord to conduct investigations in either Olympus Coliseum or Wonderland."

"L...Luxord's good riddles and stuff..."

"I have made this observation as well. Xigbar could take the Coliseum assignment if I trusted him to keep focused and not tease that goat-creature who's so obsessed with tournaments over there..."

Roxas did not return home until late that night, and nearly got the shock of his life when he found Xion and Saïx sitting together in his closet, both fast asleep. Deciding that he really did not want to know the story behind that, he yanked off his shoes, crawled into bed, and hoped very much that Saïx would be gone when he woke up in the morning.


Author's Notes: I got Isa's middle name from the main character of Diana Wynne Jones's book Dogsbody. Isa also shares a surname with Sailor Moon, half because it amuses me and half because "Tsukino" means "moon field." (Tsukino Usagi is a verbal pun on "bunny in the moon," not a literal translation.) Deucalion is a fire-breathing character from Diana Wynne Jones's Dark Lord of Derkholm, and the main source of inspiration for the way I portray dragons. :) Hayes, as an Anglicized Irish surname (rather than English or Yiddish), means "fire," at least according to the "Behind the Name" Web site.

You can get away with not using pronouns in Japanese. Which can cause some translation issues in English... Xion, for example. It's possible for those who see her as male and those who see her as female and those who see her as neither to have a conversation about her in Japanese and be able to conceal their various viewpoints on her gender. You can't do that in English, so just be aware of this issue if the pronoun usage in this fic seems odd.

For reasons I explained in the Christmas at the Castle author's notes, it's my theory that Xion lived in Vexen's room at first and then got it to herself once he left for Castle Oblivion.

This sequel was inspired when Taliax rhetorically wondered what Xion would do during a thunderstorm without Axel and Roxas around. Since I've been in a Saïx and AkuSai phase lately, I took it literally. At first the plot bunny would not cooperate, because it's really hard to keep Saïx IC when you're attempting SaiShi fluff - or any kind of Saïx fluff, for that matter. It worked in the end, though. In my mind, all of Saïx's fluffy interaction with Roxas and/or Xion is really either for Axel's sake or selfish reasons or both, otherwise it couldn't be believable.

It was really hard not getting to use my whole Org! Usually I totally throw canon chronology out the window and use the entire group anyway, but in this fic, for the sake of the plot, I had to at least recognize the fact that Vex, Lex, Zexy, Luxia, and Larxie weren't home. It was sad. Among other things, I had to delete my first Xig/Larx ship-tease moment because of that. I miss my Org. Stupid canon!

Oh, and that bit about little Isa being scared of Santa Claus? Saïx just tossed that piece of backstory at me with no warning. So of course I repay him by actually writing it out in another one-shot, "No Need To Hide." XD Man, if I keep this up he's not gonna like me anymore...