CHAPTER 1: I Hate Mondays

Nightshroud: Well, I'm back again! It's been quite a while since I put a fanfic up, so hopefully I'm not too rusty. Special thanks to SirenMist for pushing me back into the scene. If you have any complaints, blame her for making me take up the pen, so to speak. :P You may be surprised to see that all is not well in Larxel land, but we all know it can't be that easy right? Well, without further ado, here's the story!

Another day, another 8 hours of having to silently stew over Axel.

Larxene sighed, nursing her coffee. She'd left it bitterly black, feeling that it would best reflect the flavor of her soul. After several sips, she decided her soul didn't taste very flavorful.

"Namine, could you bring some creamer for me?" Larxene called to her assistant, finally admitting defeat. A petite young woman with long, pale blonde hair appeared at the door to her office.

"Right away, Larxene," Namine said primly before leaving. Larxene watched her go, reflecting how nice it was that with the Organization doing so well, they'd been able to give her an assistant and a separate office from Axel. That timing had been only too fortunate.

Namine returned shortly with the creamer, and Larxene silently stewed over her relationship with Axel as she stirred her morning caffeine. They'd been bickering for months, but recently they'd gotten into a big fight and broken it off. Larxene couldn't even remember what it was, but she knew he was a bastard for it anyway.

"Hey, Xion, can you fax these for me?" came a familiar voice from the office next door.

"Speaking of the devil.." Larxene thought, her face souring as she saw the new blackhaired girl Axel had hired as his assistant. They'd been getting along splendidly since she was hired several weeks ago, and the two of them - along with Axel's best friend Roxas - had been hanging out all the time now.

"Not that I care who he hangs out with," she spat, taking out her anger on her pen cup holder. Just then, Namine entered the room, giving a small start at the sight of the pens and pencils scattered over the desk and fallen to the floor.

"Larxene, did something happen?" she asked, scooping to pick the things up. Larxene felt embarrassed at her outburst and gave an unconvincing laugh.

"Oh no, that's just.. my morning spasms. My nerve impulses get all out of whack," she said lamely, tossing her hand out to whack Namine on the back of the head. "Whoops, there it goes."

Namine rubbed her head tenderly, frowning at her boss as she set the cup holder back on the desk.

"Well, hopefully those will clear up soon. Mr. Xemnas has requested you to come to a meeting in the board room in 10 minutes," she said. Larxene sighed, smoothing her hair back and adjusting her blouse. She wouldn't let Axel see her frazzled like this.

"All right, thank you, Namine," she said, dismissing the girl. Ten minutes.. how many different ways could she draw Axel dying a horrible death in that time?

"Thank you for coming, everyone," Xemnas addressed the room. "And let me thank you for your continued work in this company. We've been doing excellently this quarter."

Larxene filtered Xemnas' corporate drone out, eyes traveling around the room as she made a note of everyone present: Saix, the vice president; Axel, of course, her co-head of marketing; Xigbar and Xaldin, the heads of advertisement; and Luxord, the head of finance, who was - embarrassingly enough - looking pointedly back at her with an unflincing gaze. Ignoring him, she studied the most obvious person of interest in the room. He was a wizened, hunched old man, though his eyes were intelligent and dangerously sharp. He was bald, though he sported a trim goatee, and he bore an oddly similar look to Xemnas, who had just turned his attention to their guest.

"Allow me to introduce Xehanort, the head of our parent company DTD," he said as the old man stood and inclined his head to all of them.

"Thank you. I've been becoming more and more interested with the work done here at the Organization, and have decided to assume a more hands-on management of this company," he announced, causing Larxene to flinch. There was something oddly unsettling about this old man.

"As such, I expect you will all continue to do your best work as we guide the Organization into a bright future," he said, clasping his hands behind his back as he grinned at them. "There will be big changes here in the near future."

Larxene noticed a tighness in Xemnas' face, as though leadership was being wrenched away from him. Saix was whispering in his ear, and he was nodding his head ever so slightly.

After more corporate droning and introductions to Xehanort, everyone stood to leave. She could see Axel looking at her, and he made a move to approach her when suddenly a hand caught her arm.

"Larxene, I've been meaning to talk to you," Luxord said, giving his most charming smile. Larxene raised an eyebrow at this, wondering what Luxord could want with her. In an ironic twist, the head of finance was a notorious gambler, both in money and woman - though Larxene had to wonder if you could call it gambling when you always won. He was dashingly handsome, suave and charming but with a touch of edginess, as noted by his piercings.

"Oh, you have?" Larxene said coyly, raising an eyebrow. No doubt rumors of her and Axel's split had been circulating, despite their best attempts to pretend at work as though nothing had happened.

"Yes," Luxord continued, taking her hand, "you see I have a function I need to attend as head of the finance department funding some local charities, and I was hoping you might consider attending with me...if you didn't have any prior commitments, of course."

Larxene gazed subtly out of the corner of her eye at Axel, who was walking away but notably slower than was necessary to catch their conversation. Larxene smirked, locking her green eyes with Luxord's blue ones.

"I'll most certainly consider it," she said, her words carrying a hint of flirtatiousness. Luxord grinned, looking most pleased.

"I'm glad to hear it. Please let me know," he said, pressing his lips to the hand he held before walking away. Larxene, feeling pretty pleased with herself and all thoughts of the unsettling Xehanort gone, headed back to her office.

Larxene strolled back into her office, only to see Axel leaning against the wall, emerald green eyes flashing. Larxene expertly ignored him, moving to her chair and grabbing her nail file from her bag. After several moments of tense silence - broken only by the sound of Larxene's nail file - Axel finally spoke.

"Did you have nice chat back there?" he asked, the annoyance in his voice almost surprising Larxene. It was definitely nice to see he was still in the jealousy phase.

"Hmm.. oh, Luxord? Yes, it was rather nice. You can get lost in those blue eyes," she said, still not looking at Axel. "The goatee is pretty sexy too."

Axel felt anger burning inside him like a flame. He knew she was playing games with him. He knew it, but he was still taking the bait.

"He's a womanizer," he said, trying to keep the anger from seeping into his voice, though no doubt Larxene could tell anyway. "Does it bother you that he'll give you a good time and then kick you to the curb. Unless, of course, that's your style."

Larxene could feel herself grinding her teeth, as the nail file practically sawed into the tips. But no, she wouldn't rise to his taunts.

"A good time, huh?" she quipped after a moment when she'd regained her voice. "Well, I've certainly been missing out on that."

Axel silently steamed as hestared at her, realizing he needed to get out of here before he really blew it.

"Did you want something, Axel?" Larxene asked suddenly, setting the file down and leaning back in her chair to stare at him coldly. Axel chewed the inside of his cheek, tasting the coppery flavor of blood.

"That old man.. I think we'd better be careful around him," Axel said quietly, looking out the door to see if they were being overheard. Larxene raised an eyebrow.

"Your concern is duly noted," Larxene replied cooly. She had gotten an unsettling feeling from Xehanort as well, but even so she'd never give Axel the satisfaction of knowing she agreed with him on something.

"Heh, I'm not concerned about you," Axel said callously. "I just don't want you doing something to screw up our jobs."

With that, he marched out of the room and closed the door of his office. His timing was fortunate, as he just missed the sound of Larxene snapping her nail file in half.

Nightshroud: Well, I hope you all enjoyed it. ^^ It's going to take quite some exceptional circumstances to get these two back togther, but that's part of the fun, right? Please review and let me know what you think!