Merry late Christmas to everyone who is reading this story for the first time. I hope you all had a fun one.
Warning: There is some angst in this chapter.
Pairings: XigDem, RoxNam, and XemSai.
Xigbar watched Demyx disappear through the door to the balcony. He stopped at the threshold contemplating if he should attempt to speak with the latter at all. Xigbar leaned his ear against the stone wall and listened to soft sobbing on the other side.
With a sigh the older nobody opened the door and stepped out. Had he a heart it would have dropped at the sight of the Nocturne sitting on the edge of the balcony with his feet dangling over. His head was hunched forward with his hands folded in his lap.
Xigbar slid an arm over Demyx's chest and attempted to pull him back over. Demyx smacked his lover's arm away and returned to his slumped position.
"Please get down," Xigbar begged.
"Go away," Demyx commanded in a firm voice.
"Demyx, it's too dangerous, come back on this side," the Freeshooter argued.
"Xigbar, I won't say it again," Demyx retorted. He turned his head to show the tearstained eyes. "Give me some space."
"Alright, I will," Xigbar said with hands up as he backed away. "Only if you come back on this side of the balcony."
Demyx glared at the older man then with an angry sigh complied with his orders. Demyx's sock-covered feet touched the marble floor of the balcony and he sat down in front of the railing with his back against the bars, and his legs stretched out front. Xigbar stood against the wall on the other side. Neither one spoke to the other, despite Xigbar's many attempts to urge Demyx to begin conversation.
Demyx glanced up to see Xigbar's golden eye fixed on him. He turned his back to the older man and crossed his arms.
"I wasn't going to fall," Demyx said to his superior. Xigbar adjusted his stance and listened for more. "I have decent balance."
Xigbar confessed, "I've seen too many accidents to feel comfortable."
"You can't feel comfortable," Demyx argued. "You can't feel anything."
Were it anyone else Xigbar would have accepted the comment. "You don't sound like yourself."
Demyx let out a heavy sigh. He turned back to face Xigbar who had gradually inched closer. "Why'd you do it?" Demyx asked. "Did you want to make a fool out of me?"
"No," he replied at once. "I honestly thought I was doing the right thing." He sat five feet away from the blond. "This was something you wanted, and I wanted to give it to you."
"You patronized me," Demyx replied. He leaned slightly forward and stroked at his sock. "You let me go around telling others that Santa was coming to reward me for being good." He scoffed and added, "Let me guess, everyone in the Gray Area is having a good laugh at the expense of dumb ol' Demyx, and I bet Saix and Xemnas are in the office laughing at me right now."
"That's not true," Xigbar replied. "First of all, Saix and Xemnas are more than thrilled at your progress this month. The boss even asked if I would continue this Santa gimmick again this coming year." The frown from the Nocturne ended Xigbar's thoughts quick. Xigbar scratched at his head then said, "Don't tell them I said this, but Xemnas even mentioned if you keep it up, you'll be up for a raise by April."
Demyx shrugged; he had never been much of one who cared for the monetary aspect of a job, but it was nice to get some recognition from the higher ups.
"As for the others," Xigbar said. "Axel looked about ready to rip Larxene's head off when you left. He wanted this to be special for Roxas too."
"Right, this is his first Christmas," Demyx said more to himself. "I hope she didn't ruin it for him too."
Xigbar grinned. "If Larxy's roasted when we return, we'll know."
Demyx could not keep himself from laughing at that comment. He held his hand in front of his mouth then looked down at his lap.
Xigbar put his arm around Demyx's shoulder. He said, "Look, I'm sorry if I hurt you. I promise you that was not my intentions. I just wanted to give you something special."
Demyx offered his love a smile. "I'm sorry for overreacting." He leaned into the older nobody's embrace. "I just really wanted to prove something to everyone this year, and when it didn't happen…I felt like a failure."
"What were you trying to prove?" Xigbar asked.
"I wanted everyone to think I was good, and I wanted them to have a good Christmas," Demyx confessed. He shrugged and scoffed then said, "Much good that did."
"You gave the squirt something to look forward to," Xigbar said. "And you made this year special for me."
"I did?" Demyx asked with his head tilted to the side, a simple movement, that always made it difficult for Xigbar to keep from kissing him.
"Yes," Xigbar said. He rubbed the back of his head and said, "I'll admit, I read your letter to Santa."
Demyx's eyes widened, though after all that had happened in the last ten minutes, he was not too surprised.
"So you never sent it?" Demyx asked. Xigbar shook his head and patted the pocket that contained the folded sheet of paper. "So why keep it?" Demyx asked with a raised eyebrow.
"All that stuff you wrote about me…" Xigbar paused and kissed Demyx on the cheek causing the skin to flush. "It meant a lot. I wanted to keep it for myself."
"Why?" Demyx asked.
Xigbar shrugged. "So I can always be reminded of why I love you." He pinched Demyx on the cheek causing him to squeak. "If I'm bored on a mission, or need something to get me through the day, I can just look at it and remember you're waiting for me back home."
Demyx's smile widened as his face reddened.
"It's not much of a home without you, kid," Xigbar said then gave him a chaste kiss on the lips. Demyx could see every ounce of truth displayed in Xigbar's eye.
Demyx kissed back. He wrapped one arm around Xigbar's waist and tangled the other hand in his lover's hair. Xigbar wrapped both arms around Demyx's body. The chill of the winter air went ignored.
They parted and Demyx smiled at his boyfriend.
"Am I forgiven?" Xigbar asked.
Demyx nodded and said, "I can't stay mad at you for trying." He coiled his fingers around Xigbar's. "It's a sweet gesture."
Xigbar replied with another kiss which Demyx was quick to receive. The younger nobody laid his head on the older one's chest. Xigbar picked them both up and pulled them into a portal which returned them back to the hallway outside the Gray Area.
Demyx opened his eyes to realize they were both on the ceiling. He shrieked and tightened his hold on his lover's torso. Xigbar smirked then kissed Demyx on the temple before whispering assuring words to him. Demyx kept his eyes shut tightly and buried his face against Xigbar's neck.
Xigbar helped Demyx back to the floor (who was more than thrilled to have his feet back on the tiles). The two entered the festive room to find everyone sitting about in better moods. Axel and Luxord listened as Roxas showed them another present that had been left for him by Santa Claus.
The redhead noticed his friend had returned to the crowd. He gestured for Demyx to join them, which he complied with. Axel put an arm around Demyx and Luxord thanked him for the gift.
"Everything okay?" Axel asked.
"Yes, I'm sorry if I worried you," Demyx replied.
Axel shook his head. "Don't worry about it."
"Demyx!" Roxas cheered as he jumped up and hugged the older blond. "Thanks, I like it!"
"I thought you would," Demyx said with a smile.
"What you got there, squirt?" Xigbar asked.
Roxas scowled at Xigbar. "Stop calling me that," he said through gritted teeth which only made those in earshot laugh.
Nonetheless he showed the others the X-shaped silver necklace that Demyx had selected for him. Roxas pulled the chain over his head then held the charm in between his thumb and index finger. The metal glistened in the light from the tree.
Demyx jumped when he felt a finger tap him on the shoulder. He turned to see the very woman who attempted to ruin his morning standing there with her head held down.
"Demyx…" she began. He glanced down to notice her holding the item he had chosen for her tightly in her grasp. "I shouldn't have…I'm sorry," she said softly.
Demyx gently touched her chin and pulled her face up. Her large green eyes threatened to spill with tears at any second.
"It's Christmas, don't worry about it," Demyx said.
Larxene smiled and offered him a side-hug. "Thanks," she said nodding at the gift. "I wasn't expecting anything."
"I know," Demyx responded. "That's why I got it for you."
The tears formed into a stream and leaked down her cheek. Larxene excused herself and portaled to a more private location. Demyx only stood there with a smile on his face.
The moment was broken when a new figure entered the room. All conversation stopped and each eye stared at the Organization's second in command. Saix only continued to stride past the others.
"Merry Christmas, Saix!" Demyx cheered as he stepped up to greet the Diviner. All those who knew the Nocturne knew to expect to be met with cheerful methods of salutations.
"The Superior said you had something for me," Saix said in his usual authoritative tone. "I assume it's the report from yesterday."
Demyx shook his head. "No, Sir," Demyx replied. "I'll have that on your desk tomorrow, promise." Before Saix could reply Demyx reached into a section of the tree and pulled out two hidden envelopes. "Ta-Da!' he cheered. He handed one to Axel and the other to Saix. "It's your presents."
"But you already gave me a present," Axel said motioning to the one on the floor.
"This is a special present!" Demyx said with a giggle. "For the both of you."
Axel tore into the envelope while Saix used his nails to carefully cut the paper without damaging the inside. They both stared at a gift card for a diner in Twilight Town.
"I don't understand," Axel said as he looked up from the gift.
"I don't have time for such folly," Saix added.
"It's a nice breakfast for the two of you," Demyx replied with a smile. One set of eyes displayed disbelief and the other annoyance. "I thought it would be nice for the two of you to, you know, just spend some time together." He paused then added, "Like old times."
Saix's gaze fell on Axel. "What did you tell him?"
Axel shook his head. With one hand in the air he replied, "I didn't say a word to him, or anyone for that matter."
Both sets of eyes fell on Xigbar. The Freeshooter smiled awkwardly. "Would you look at the time," he said. He put a hand on Axel's back and the other on Saix's and began to push. "Don't want to wait until breakfast is over and waste your gift, right?"
"It wouldn't hurt, would it?" Axel asked. Saix glared at the man he used to call friend. "It's just breakfast."
"Fine," Saix said with a sigh. "I don't have anything better to do."
The seventh and eighth members vanished for Twilight Town. All the others in the room stared at Demyx and Xigbar out of pure curiosity.
"I sure hope you made the right choice," Xigbar said to his boyfriend.
"I do too," he said sounding less hopeful than he had two minutes ago.
Axel sat with his hands on the glass of orange juice. He took a glimpse at Saix who absently stirred his coffee. They were dressed casually so as not to attract any unwanted attention from the others in the diner.
Axel glanced around at who they had as company. At one table sat a single mother and her two children, both under the age of five. Two tables from her sat an elderly couple enjoying fruit topped pancakes. At a table towards the back was a group of laughing teenagers. Axel smiled at them, wondering if Roxas were allowed a normal life if he would elect to hang out with that group.
The pyrokinetic figured it must be difficult for a boy who appeared as a teenager, who sometimes had an even younger mentality, to be forced to hang out with people much older than himself. The only one roughly Roxas' age felt the thirteenth member was mentally inferior to him and refused to pay him any attention. Then there was that girl that Roxas expressed a fondness for, but Xemnas only allowed them to interact for a maximum of three hours a week.
Saix swore under his breath when a drop of brown liquid stained the side of the beige mug. Axel fought the urge, but the laugh broke through. The berserker stared at the man who once shared his dreams. The blue-haired nobody's glare only made Axel laugh harder.
"I don't see how this is funny, Number VIII," Saix grumbled.
Axel slowly stopped and leaned back against the cushioned booth. "You've always been a perfectionist," he mused loudly.
Saix merely glared as he had nothing to disprove the other's claim.
"And you've always been a nuisance, what's your point?" the Diviner asked.
"It's nothing," Axel said with a wave of his hand.
"No, you brought it up," Saix retorted.
Axel shrugged. "I don't know, it just got me thinking of how we were as kids. You were so anal about everything then like you are now."
"And you've always been a pest, but I didn't hold it against you," Saix snapped.
Axel crossed his arms and straightened his posture. "What happened between us?"
"You know what happened," he replied staring into the mug.
Axel shook his head, "I mean what happened to you, Isa?"
Saix glanced up at the sound of his somebody's name. It had been too long since he heard it, having made him wonder of late, if he had truly once been called that, or if it were the remnants of a lost dream.
"I look at you and I don't recognize the person I shared my childhood with," Axel confessed. "You changed." Saix found himself speechless, which worked in Axel's favor who was not finished talking. "And I'm not saying I'm not partially to blame, but I don't understand how we can't even talk anymore, or be in the same room, without one of us hating the other." Axel looked away from the blue-haired man. "This isn't what I wanted to happen."
"Neither did I," Saix revealed. "We had dreams and hopes for something better." He folded his hands on the table and with a sick smile added, "We should've known things don't work out as we plan. I never dreamt of being replaced."
The words struck Axel. He wanted to ease the other man's fears, but there was nothing of truth he could offer the one who had become a ghost of the person he used to care for.
The two sat in silence waiting to see if the other had something else to add. The quiet was only broken when the waitress returned with their orders. They both stared down at the food, neither one feeling slightly hungry.
Axel prodded around the overcooked breakfast items while Saix sat contemplating arriving thoughts.
"It's not too bad, is it?" Axel asked. Saix lifted his gaze for the moment. "You're second in command and you seem happy with the Superior."
"Yes," Saix answered. "I love him. I don't know how it's possible, but I do. That's the one thing I don't regret." He took a large gulp of coffee following those words.
"And I never replaced you," Axel stated. He waited until he had Saix's full attention before continuing. "You started drifting away long before Roxas showed up."
"So had you," Saix replied.
Axel glanced down at the table. "I never meant to," he said. He bit his lip and contemplated his next words. It was something he had been meaning to say for some time, something that pride kept standing in the way of. Now seemed the best time to finally confess. In a low voice Axel said the two simple words, "I'm sorry."
Several beats passed without either one speaking.
Saix lowered his face. Suddenly he added, "So am I," his words surprising the redhead.
Axel looked back up at the seventh member. His face displayed the amount of hurt and regret he supposed to have felt when he thought about the past. He knew it was ridiculous as there was no way for them to feel authentic emotions, but perhaps the memories of their past bond were too strong.
After a moment of needed silence and thinking, Axel finally said, "We…maybe we can try to start over."
Saix managed a small smile. It happened so rarely that he thought he had forgotten how to. "Yes, I would like that."
Axel smiled then turned his attention to the food.
Most of the crowd had cleared out of the Gray Area once the Christmas festivities were over. Xigbar sat on the couch with Demyx cuddled up against him.
Roxas had left for his room soon after Axel departed to change in something more suitable. Hardly five minutes had passed before the youngest member returned for whatever other excitements awaited.
Luxord offered to teach Roxas how to play poker. So far the Key of Destiny had lost three games and half of his peppermint candies and M&Ms they used for betting. The rest was gradually being eaten up by the youngest nobody.
"If you keep snacking, you want have any left for the game," Luxord said as Roxas popped a handful of the colorful candies in his mouth.
"Not to mention you'll spoil your appetite for Christmas dinner," Xigbar added. Lexaeus and Xaldin were kind enough to offer to cook a large feast for the entire castle.
"If I eat them you won't have anything to take from me if I lose," Roxas replied.
"Cheeky little thing," Luxord said with a laugh. "I congratulate you, half pint." He held out his hand for a high five. With a large grin Roxas smacked it as hard as he could. Luxord grabbed Roxas' wrist before he had a chance to escape then put him in a headlock and gave him a noogie.
"Let me go! Let me go!" Roxas hollered.
Demyx and Xigbar were guffawing at the scene.
"What is going on here?" Axel asked when he entered the room.
All heads looked up at the pyrokinetic who stared on in amusement.
"Luxord is picking on me," Roxas said attempting to put his hair back in place.
"Good," Axel said then he jumped to the floor and began ruthlessly tickling the youngest nobody. Roxas squealed in futile efforts to beg for mercy. Axel eventually stopped and Roxas used the rest of his breath to crawl away from danger.
"How was breakfast?" Xigbar asked.
"Not bad actually," Axel answered. "The food tasted like rubber, but Saix and I finally had a chance to talk."
"So is everything okay with you two?" Demyx asked.
Axel shrugged. "I can't say for sure, but we're going to try." He glared at the Nocturne. "That was a sneaky thing for you to do."
Demyx pulled the innocent face that rarely worked on anyone save Xigbar.
Axel gently smacked the blond's leg. "I owe you my thanks for doing it."
"You're welcome, Axe," Demyx cried as he hugged the redhead around the neck.
Axel smirked and grabbed Demyx by the stomach and pulled him onto the floor. He then tickled Demyx who kicked out reflex, coming a mere inch from bashing Xigbar in the face.
"Hey, watch it!" Xigbar shouted.
After a few seconds of silence all five began laughing.
"Um…excuse me," said a soft voice. They all noticed Marluxia standing alongside a new nobody.
"The blonde female wore a white maxi dress with a ribbon around the waist. She said softly, "I'm sorry for interrupting."
"Who's this?" Luxord asked.
"N—Namine," Roxas stammered as his cheeks reddened.
"She wanted to come say something to Roxas," Marluxia stated.
Roxas dove under the tree to find the gift he had bought for her two weeks prior. Roxas trembled as he walked back over to the female and shakily handed her the parcel. Namine smiled at the poor wrapping job. With his hands behind his back Roxas watched her look it over.
"Don't watch, you'll embarrass him," Demyx said to the other three.
"I—I—I got you something…for—for Christmas," Roxas said as his cheeks burned brighter than the candlelight on the nearby end table.
"Oh, Roxas, that's so kind of you," Namine said. She glanced down at her shoes as a wide grin erupted over her face. "You didn't have to."
"I—I wanted to," Roxas replied.
"Oh, come on," Xigbar whispered.
"Shh," Demyx said as he waved his hand in his boyfriend's face.
"Really, who is that?" Luxord asked.
Namine opened her presents and with one hand touched her face. She smiled up at Roxas then back down at her gift. There in her hand was a new set of copic markers.
"Roxas, I can't, this is too much," Namine said as she pushed it back into his hands.
Roxas shook his head then placed the bunch back into her hold. "It's a gift, for you."
"Thanks," she said. She glanced over at Marluxia who was in conversation with Demyx. She returned her gaze to Roxas then placed a chaste kiss on his lips. Every inch of Roxas' face turned a deep scarlet.
"Alright, Roxas!" Axel cheered causing both teenage nobodies to stare down.
"Never knew he had it in him," Xigbar commented.
Marluxia shook his head then walked back over to his charge. He took her hand in his and turned for the exit. "That's quite enough."
"Please, Marluxia, can't I stay with Roxas for a little while longer?" Namine asked. She turned on the puppy dog eyes, knowing full well that Marluxia was immune to them.
"It's okay, we'll look after her," Axel called.
"It is Christmas," Demyx added.
Both Namine and Roxas were giving him the puppy stare. The Graceful Assassin sneered at their sickening sweet appearance.
"Very well," Marluxia replied. He knelt down in front of Namine so only she could hear and said, "You so much as think about trying to escape this castle and I guarantee it'll be the last time you leave your room for a long time. Understand?"
Namine nodded quickly then looked over at Roxas who stood clueless to their recent exchange.
"Come on, let's try them out!" Roxas exclaimed as he went in search for blank sheets of paper. Surely Saix would not mind if they ruined only one or two empty mission reports.
Namine needed not to speak, she smiled brightly with her hand clasped within Roxas'.
Saix knocked on the door before entering the Superior's office. Xemnas glanced up and pushed the current document away from the center of his desk.
"Saix, you're back," Xemnas said then folded his hands. "How was your outing?"
Saix walked towards him with a grim look on his face.
"Saix, what's wro…" the Superior was silenced when Saix placed a slender finger atop of his warm lips. He backed his chair up when Saix climbed up on his desk. Sitting with his spine against the back of the chair Xemnas gasped, "Saix, what's gotten into you?"
Saix slid into Xemnas lap and wrapped his arms around the older man's back. Not two seconds later Saix invited the Superior into a passionate kiss. Xemnas sat there in confusion for a few seconds then slid one arm around his lover and used the other to pet his luscious hair, their lips never parting.
Nearly a minute later, Saix pulled away and stared into the eyes of his lover with his own golden irises. Everything about Saix's current appearance would be appetizing had it not been for the odd manner in which he presented it.
"Saix..." Xemnas began, but ceased speaking when Saix grinned.
"I love you, Superior," Saix stated. "I don't know how it's possible, but everything up until now is worth it seeing as I have you."
Xemnas smiled. "I'm flattered," he said. "Albeit confused as to where this is coming from."
"Don't question the details," Saix said with a dark smirk. He leaned in and kissed his boyfriend. It was a new side of Saix, but Xemnas was always ready to explore novel ideas.
Xigbar returned from the bathroom after finishing his nightly routine. His beloved was already snuggled beneath the blankets with his eyes tightly shut. Xigbar slipped into the bed and pulled his lover close to his side.
The action woke the Nocturne. Xigbar never would have confessed out loud how pleased he was with the outcome. Demyx turned onto his side to stare into the eyes of the one who proved to love him despite his many flaws.
"Merry Christmas, love," Xigbar said and planted a kiss on Demyx's nose.
"Looks like I woke up in time," he said. He reached over onto the side table to pick up the present that Xigbar had forgotten about due to all the chaos of the day. "Now I get to watch you open it."
"Dem, you didn't have to get me anything," Xigbar said while he sat up. He kissed the blond on the forehead. "You're all I need."
Demyx shrugged. He bounced as he chanted, "Open it, open it!"
Xigbar opened the box and stared in awe at what he saw inside. He picked out a silver ring with a blue stone in the center.
"Demyx," he said staring at its careful design.
"You mentioned you had something similar when you were younger, but lost it," the Nocturne explained.
Xigbar smiled and slipped it onto his fourth finger. "Yes, I did," Xigbar replied. He smiled at the younger man. "It was my father's, one of the few things he left behind, the only thing given directly to me when he passed." There was no need to remind Demyx how he grew up poor, for it was something he touched on briefly in one of their past conversations, and was not one of the most pleasant memories of his past.
It was a ring he wore with pride every day since the funeral. Once when he was out fishing with his brother, sometime during the day the ring had slipped off. He spent many summer days searching the lake for that lost ring. His mother was brokenhearted at first, but when she calmed down told him the memories of the man would forever remain with him.
Now Xigbar sat holding an exact replica of that priceless heirloom.
"Where did you get this?" Xigbar asked as he examined every inch of the band. "I swear these are the same exact scratches."
"That's 'cause they are," Demyx replied. Xigbar put the gift down on the bed and stared at his boyfriend. Demyx shrugged. "One day after my mission I went back to your hometown. There were only two lakes, and it took a whole afternoon, but I searched through every ounce of the water."
Xigbar grabbed Demyx and held him tight. His fingers gripped at the blond hairs tighter than he intended to. Demyx rested his head against Xigbar's shoulder.
"You really are something special, Demyx," Xigbar whispered. He rubbed a large hand up and down the Nocturne's back. "I don't know what I did to deserve you, but I'm glad to have you."
"I love you, Xigbar because you love me," Demyx said while staring into the face of his lover. "You made this the best Christmas you could…all for me."
Xigbar replied with a kiss. Demyx invited him in and allowed their mouths to become one. Their tongues danced for joy in the presence of the other. Xigbar's hands groped happily up Demyx's back and through his hair.
Demyx parted for air. With his fresh breath he whispered, "Merry Christmas, Xiggy."
Xigbar placed his forehead against Demyx's. "Merry Christmas, Dem," he said with a smile that was instantly mirrored from the man who loved him.
Demyx pulled away and with a sly smile said, "Great! Next year I'll know to send my letter out early."
Xigbar's eyes widened. "Excuse me?" he asked.
With a smirk the Nocturne added, "I'll be sure to be extra good next year and Santa will have no choice but to come."
"Er..." Xigbar replied scratching his head. "And what if you're not?"
Demyx wrinkled his nose and gave a little cackle. "Then I'll force him."
"I...uh...I don't think it works that way," the Freeshooter said with a nervous laugh.
"We'll see," Demyx said with a chuckle. "I'm sure he won't want the wrath of the Organization on him."
"I'm not sure if that will qualify as nice," Xigbar retorted.
Demyx's grin increased. "Then he better think hard about what list to put me on." Immediately after Demyx's innocent smile returned. "G'night, Xiggy."
Xigbar gave a chuckle and shook his head. "You're really something, Dem."
He then lay next to his lover and wrapped his arm around him. Demyx snuggled against the warmth and in no time both were fast asleep.
Thank you so much for reading. I hope you all enjoyed the story. :)