When The Lights Go Out

A Kingdom Hearts fanfic by Raberba girl

Summary: Chaos ensues in the Castle That Never Was. What else can you expect from thirteen volatile people with magical powers enclosed in a dark room? (No yaoi.)

A/N: You know, just assume that every single one of my fics involving a fourteen-member Organization is gonna ignore canon chronology. Also, there'll be slight OOCness here and there, because I'm intentionally putting situational humor over characterization for once in my life.

o.o.o

It was probably a good thing that the power went out when they were all gathered together during a meeting - otherwise, the chaos of them being scattered all over the castle in complete darkness might have been ten times worse. Which was saying something.

"Ack!"

"Whoa!"

"What happened?"

"WE'RE ALL GONNA DIIIIIEEEE!"

"Shut up, Demyx."

"But I've always wanted to say that!"

"Everyone needs to shut up," Xaldin rumbled.

There was a long pause.

"Explain," Xemnas finally commanded, seeming to address the world in general.

Vexen's voice answered first. "We seem to have experienced a failure in the castle's lighting system."

"Oi." That was Xigbar. "We could use you right about now, Mr. Walking Flashlight."

There was another pause.

"He means you, Roxas," Axel said.

"Oh." The room filled with a bright glow, illuminating the restless members of Organization XIII.

"Much better," Luxord said in satisfaction.

"Shall we adjourn, or continue the meeting and fix the problem later?" Marluxia asked.

"We will finish our business," Xemnas announced grandly. "Number IV, Number VI, you will see to making the necessary repairs after dismissal. For now, Number V, continue your report on-"

"Where's Xion?" Roxas suddenly burst out.

Everyone looked at him.

"Roxas-" Axel started to warn, but the Organization's second-youngest member was already standing up on his seat, looking increasingly agitated.

"It's still dark in the rest of the castle, right? Xion's all alone out there!"

"Roxas, don't, she's-" It was improbable that the Key of Destiny heard him over the sound of a dark corridor being opened. Within seconds, Roxas was gone, plunging the Round Room back into utter darkness. "-a walking flashlight, just like you," Axel finished in disgust. "For crying out loud, Roxas."

"Shall we adjourn, or continue the meeting and punish him later?" Marluxia asked, now sounding amused.

"I can't see," Demyx complained.

"Shut UP, Demyx!"

"I can't see, either," Xigbar said brightly.

"See, Xiggy can't see, either!"

Everyone was blinded for a second as Thundaga spells came ripping through the darkness, impacting two empty chairs.

"Hah!" Xigbar crowed from where he and Demyx were now perched in midair a safe distance away, "Saw that comin' a mile away, Larxie."

There was a ringing sound of knives being unsheathed.

"Cease, all of you," Xemnas ordered. "Number VIII, provide us with illumination."

"Well, if you insist." Axel's figure came bursting into sight, crackling with flames. He raised an eyebrow. Although he himself and his immediate surroundings were now very clearly visible, his fire did nothing to light up the rest of the room.

"Well, that's not going to work," Vexen complained.

Saïx's calm voice spoke up for the first time. "I propose we relocate to the Grey Area. The light of Kingdom Hearts is better than nothing."

Axel rolled his eyes as he let his flames die down. "Who're you callin' 'nothing'?"

"All of us are 'nothing,' obviously," Marluxia pointed out.

"Way to be depressing, Marly."

"This is not solving our problem," Xaldin growled.

"Maybe Luxord can rewind time to before the power went out!" Larxene said brightly, each word sparkling with sarcasm. "Or I could summon a thunderstorm and illuminate our whole meeting with lightning!"

"No way," Axel said flatly. "That's stupid."

"Axel, she was joking," Marluxia pointed out.

"I know that. It's still stupid," Axel growled, glad for once that Xion was never included in meetings.

"You got a problem with my lightning?" Larxene growled.

"Yeah, maybe I do!"

The sound of a dark corridor opening masked the thunk of a blade impacting stone, so that only Zexion and Luxord heard it.

"Missed," Axel's voice said smugly, from somewhere across the room.

Larxene shrieked in fury, her boot heels clacking on her chair as she presumably stood up to fling more knives. More than one of the other members winced at the squelchy sound of a dagger slicing into flesh.

"Ow," Lexaeus said.

Then both Axel and Larxene started yelling at the same time, a combination of Xigbar's name, demands to be released, and language that Axel would have had a hard time explaining to Roxas later on, had Number XIII still been present.

"Now, now, naughty kids who fight end up in time-out," Xigbar drawled. "You two can just hang there for a while and cool your heads."

"I really wish I could actually see this," Marluxia sighed.

Xemnas's voice came booming out of the darkness. "The next person to speak out of turn will get shut in the Void for two days."

Instant silence.

"Now. To business. Number V, finish your report."

"...Yes, sir. To conclude, I find the increased Neoshadow activity in Beast's Castle some small cause for concern, but I predict that the Keybearers' involvement will clear up the problem before it gets unduly serious. Also, I am still bleeding, and I respectfully request permission for Number VI to speak."

"Permission granted," Xemnas said.

"Cure," Zexion said cautiously, and there was a brief green flare of light as Lexaeus's knife-wound was healed. "I now humbly request permission for Number V to speak."

"Permission granted."

"I thank you, Zexion," Lexaeus said. "In the future, I will not attend meetings without a suitably prepared panel arrangement. I, Lexaeus, now concede the floor."

"Very well," Xemnas said. "Number IV, what is your assessment of the replica program's current progress?"

Vexen sighed. "Unfortunately, the more recent experiments have been producing most unsatisfactory results. However, I think it fitting that you and I discuss the details privately," he added, obviously proud of having information meant for the Superior's ears alone.

"Very well. Come to my office after dismissal and give your full report. Number VIII, give us your observations on Number XIV's performance in battle."

"Xion pretty much pwns, sometimes she can kill, like, ten Heartless before I even get close enough to back her up, and I am so serious, the blood is rushing to my head and I'm getting visions of dancing sugar plums."

"I see. Number II, release them."

Xigbar chuckled. "I'm gonna take that as permission to speak, and sigh in theatrical disappointment that I can't continue harassing our favorite little hotheads here."

There was the sound of more yelling and hastily-summoned dark corridors as Xigbar apparently dropped the upside-down Nobodies without bothering to be gentle or offer a warning. Now from the direction of her chair again, Larxene made a half-strangled noise, as if she had started to shout something but caught herself just in time.

"Assuming it's still my turn to talk," Axel went on in a strained voice, now from the direction of his own chair, "I'm requesting permission for Demyx to go next."

"That is all you have to report on Number XIV?" Xemnas asked in disapproval.

"Nah, just need a minute to get my head back on straight, as it were..."

"Very well. Number IX, you are granted permission to speak."

"Awesome! And I'm gonna use my turn to say that if you let us talk normal again and promise not to toss us in the Void, I will bake you lots and lots of cookies and let you hug Chester."

There was a very long pause, practically bursting with the rest of the Organization's unspoken reactions to this.

"Very well," Xemnas finally said. "Since you all have resumed quiet and orderly conduct, I now rescind the previously-stated threat."

Eleven people burst out talking, almost at the same time.

"W00t! Blah blah blah chatter chatter I can talk now, whee!"

"Lord Xemnas, I really must protest this decision."

"Lexaeus, are you all right?"

"Yes."

"We need to stop wasting time here and get the lighting system fixed already!"

"For heaven's sake, this is ridiculous."

"Honestly, I'm getting bored."

"Everyone, QUIET."

"Heh heh, no one's listening to you, Xaldin."

"Wanna pick up where we left off, Blondie?"

"I want to stuff you down a toilet, that's what I want to do!"

Spells flared in the darkness as Axel and Larxene threw themselves back into their boss battle in earnest. Not that they could see each other, but they both did have Auto-Lock equipped.

"Ow!"

"Take that!"

"L-O-freaking-L, you just used Fira on the Flurry of Dancing Flames, moron."

"RAGH, WRONG PANEL! DIE!"

"Yow! Watch it!"

"Say good-bye, ex-Number-VIII!"

"Good-bye, hon."

Before Axel could fire off the last cast in his inventory, he suddenly found himself in a beautiful sunshine-filled meadow. A girl in a long yellow skirt joyfully ran up to him and seized his hands, singing in a pitch that could shatter glass. They danced together amidst herds of cavorting forest animals for a few very confusing minutes, and then everything went dark again as Axel was slammed back into reality. Where he was hanging upside down again. "Argh!"

"Are you quite finished?" Zexion's voice asked coldly.

"Freaking Kingdom Hearts, Zex, don't ever do that to me again." Axel shuddered. Enduring even just an illusion of Snow White's singing at point-blank range was a bit much, even for him.

"Can we dump them into the Void now?" Marluxia asked interestedly.

Both Axel and Larxene burst into a babble of frantic protest.

"No, wait-"

"He was ticking me off, I couldn't help it!"

"It was just a little-"

"If he'd only-!"

"I'll be good this time, I swear!"

"Silence," Xemnas commanded. "I will deal with you two momentarily. In the meantime, Numbers IV and VI, it seems best that you begin repairs right away. Numbers II and VII, remain here. The rest of you are dismissed."

Marluxia sounded wistful. "Was that an order, or just a suggestion?"

Elsewhere in the castle, Roxas and Xion, both emitting large quantities of light, were eating cake.

"You really can go back to the meeting now, Roxas. I'm all right, I promise."

"I know...I just don't want you to be lonely, all by yourself in the dark."

"I'm all by myself a lot," she sighed. "But really, I have light, too. It's not so scary, especially if you leave some of your Samurai behind to keep me company."

"Oh yeah. Good idea." Roxas finished the last bite of his cake and summoned some of his lesser Nobody servants. "Guys, I want you to stay with Xion until I come back. Keep her safe and don't let her get scared, okay?"

"Yes, my lord," they answered.

Xion smiled. "There's not really anything to keep me safe from. I can take care of myself, and besides, what could attack me here in the castle?"

Something large and black and red fell out of a dark corridor, nearly on their heads.

"Aaaahhhh!"

The young Nobodies ducked to either side just in time as the thing crashed to the floor.

"Axel?"

"What in the worlds are you doing?"

"Holy...flaming..." Axel started to say shakily. He stared around. "I'm in the kitchen. I'm in the freaking kitchen. Oh, Saïx, my best friend forever, I will never ever make another werewolf joke, ever again."

"Axel, what are you talking about?"

"Ummm, you know what, you never saw me, I'll be in the Void all next week, catch you later!" Axel opened up another corridor and practically fled.

"In the what?"

"Axel!"

He was gone.

The kids stared at each other.

Then a herd of lesser Nobodies showed up, grabbed them both, and dragged them into yet another dark corridor, depositing them at Vexen's and Zexion's feet. "Ah! Well done," the older scientist exclaimed. "Just what we needed. Zexion, take the boy down to the basement; I'll use XIV in the central control room. Stay in contact."

"I will," Zexion agreed, patting the communicator in his pocket. "Come, Roxas."

"What? What's going ON?"

"There's been a system failure," Vexen snapped impatiently. "We need to fix the power grid. Make yourselves useful." He grabbed Xion and corridored with her to the central control room, where her light flooded the area as soon as they set foot in it. He picked her up and sat her on top of the control panel, ordering her to keep the light steady as he unrolled a tool kit and pried the cover off the circuit box.

Downstairs, Zexion set up Roxas on a box so that the boy's light would permit him to see the control panel. "I don't get it," Roxas said.

Zexion gave a long-suffering sigh. "Surely even one of your mental faculties should be able to understand that when you two Keybearers are the only illumination sources in this castle, we are in need of your services if we're ever going to restore-"

"No, I meant about Axel."

"Ah. Roxas, you were right to make yourself of use during this time. Perhaps Lord Xemnas will decide not to punish you for leaving the meeting without permission, the way Numbers VIII and XII were for starting a fight in the Round Room."

Roxas's mouth went dry as he began putting the pieces together. "Y-You mean Xemnas actually throws people into the Void for real?"

"I assure you, our Superior does not make jokes. Hold this wire, please."

Roxas automatically grasped the wire that was handed to him, still preoccupied. 'So Axel somehow escaped, but he's pretending that he didn't so that he won't get in trouble. And it sounded like Saïx helped him. Maybe I shouldn't call Saïx names the next time he makes me mad...'

About a week later, Axel emerged from a dark corridor into the Luna Diviner's room, and dropped a plate of raspberry tarts on Saïx's desk. "From the Queen of Hearts."

"I suppose it's too much to expect that you didn't steal these," Saïx grumbled, edging the plate off of his mission reports in disgust. "You've been in Wonderland all this time?"

"World hopping. But yeah. Mostly in Wonderland. So many good places to hide, and most of the locals don't freak out when they see a weirdo in a black coat wandering around."

"I'm surprised you trust me enough to admit that," Saïx mumbled in an even lower voice, initialing his record book and then flipping to the next report.

"Saïx. After you corridored me to the kitchen instead of the Void? You have my trust forever." Axel laughed. "Right under Xem's nose, too; AND Xig's, for crying out loud. You've got guts."

"Unlike you, I've also got brains."

"Along with some traitorous tendencies."

Saïx froze. Axel laughed again and then leaned in close. Saïx, who had not looked at him all this time, could not see the affection on his face. "Sai. I thought you were the Superior's lackey by now. It really warmed the empty space where my heart used to be to see that it's still at least kind of an act."

"As if that means anything to us Nobodies."

"It does to me, anyway. And I hope you're not all hunched and tense like that because of the traitor remark, because guess whose job it is to go after traitors? Mine."

Saïx deliberately straightened up and relaxed his muscles, beginning determinedly to annotate the report.

"As if I'd ever kill you, orders or not, after what you did for me."

"I've done quite a lot for you that you never saw fit to repay before."

"Heh. True." Axel kicked his chair. "Oi, eat a tart. You look like you could use it."

"What I could use is some peace and quiet in which to get this work done."

"Did I tell you that I've sworn to never tell a werewolf joke again?"

Saïx paused. "No. You didn't." He reached for a tart.

o.o.o

Author's Notes: I was kind of woozy from sleep-deprivation when I wrote this fic. I'm pretty sure that's why the tone seems off, since I took a nap right after drafting this and then wrote Roses & Kittens, which turned out much better.

Anyway, this was originally written for my AkuSai-centered drabble series. Unfortunately, it turned out to be 1,900 words over the limit and had nothing to do with AkuSai until the very end. I decided to just post it as a separate, unrelated one-shot, and try a different idea for the drabble. *sweatdrop*

Demyx's pet Shadow, Chester, is a reference to JenxtheJinx's Demyx Time videos on YouTube.

Axel's anti-thunderstorm bit was him thinking about Xion, who's scared of thunder in my headcanon.