Roxas was the one who made it work. Not just for Axel and Demyx, really—he was kind of a focus for everyone in the Organization. But especially for Axel and Demyx, because without him around? Ouch.
Without Roxas there, any time Axel and Demyx were in the same room it was all hissing steam and guttering sparks, figuratively speaking, anyway. Sometimes literally. Axel was gorgeous, right, and Demyx could appreciate that as much as the next emotionally challenged guy, but he was, well. He was like playing with fire. The prettier it was the more likely you were to get careless and let yourself get burned. Demyx had tried a couple of times to be…friendly…but it really hadn't gone so well. Not until Roxas came.
He sort of breathed new life into all of them. Okay, it was hard to tell with Saix, and probably only kicking puppies made Larxene excited, but mostly, Roxas reminded them of what they were trying to get back. He probably wasn't even doing it on purpose—a lot of the time he seemed kind of messed up himself—but it was just what he did. It was just what he was.
Maybe it was cheesy to say so, but Demyx always sort of thought it had a lot to do with Roxas's element. They spent all their time in darkness, and Roxas was light. Demyx knew better than to say that around any of the others, especially Axel, who would either make fun of him for it or be jealous that he hadn't thought of it first, depending on how much Roxas was flattered.
But even if he didn't say it, Demyx could think so. For him, Roxas was like the motion of light on water, the way it danced and shimmered and gave life to the waves. For Axel, he was probably like…like the bright white in the middle of a really hot flame, light so intense you can't look straight at it. Part of what they were. A part that made them better.
It meant that when Roxas was with them, they had something in common, something apart from the hurt of being Nobodies. And that was making all the difference in the worlds.
Demyx was just hanging out in one of the castle's chilly, empty rooms, picking out stray notes on his sitar that wouldn't quite turn into a melody, when a portal opened on the other side of the room and Roxas walked through with Axel close behind him. "Oh, hey," Demyx said, stilling the strings with the palm of his hand. "What's up?"
Roxas shrugged. "Not much," he said. "I didn't mean to interrupt. Were you working on a song?"
"Yeah, sort of," Demyx said. On impulse he added, "I was trying to write something for you."
"Aaw, that's cute," Axel smirked. "You never wrote me any love songs."
Demyx knew an opening when he heard one. "You're just not as lovable as Roxas."
Axel grinned, slinging an arm around Roxas's shoulders and leaning on him, even though that made Roxas make a face. "Face it, there's no Nobody as lovable as Roxas."
"You're both ridiculous," Roxas told them, shrugging out from under Axel's arm. "Anyway, I was just…I don't know. I don't have any missions to do right now, but I wanted to get out of the castle for a while."
"Gotcha," Demyx said. He banished his sitar, sitting up. "You want to go out somewhere fun."
Roxas nodded slowly. Sometimes it still seemed like he got hung up on the weirdest little stuff. "Yeah," he said. "That sounds about right. You have an idea?"
"You bet I do," Demyx said. He hadn't had a chance to share this with anybody yet, but if there were any Nobodies who would appreciate it—apart from maybe some of his own Dancers—it would be Roxas and Axel.
"Well," Axel drawled, "I guess you can come along, then."
Demyx rolled his eyes. "Like you could stop me," he said.
Axel raised an eyebrow like he was about to take that challenge seriously, but Roxas cut him off with, "So where are we going?"
Demyx looked them up and down. "First thing? We're going to my room. You both need to change."
It was a good thing Axel was skinny enough to fit most of the same sizes Demyx did, really. Trying to get Xaldin dressed up, or worse, Lexaeus, would never have worked. But Axel was skinny and graceful and angular, and taking him out of his uniform coat just made that more obvious. He kept the pants he already had on—you couldn't go wrong with black leather and knee-high boots, could you?—and Demyx gave him a mesh shirt to go with it, and some heavy silver bracelets. Just from watching Axel fight, Demyx was pretty sure he would do a lot of flashy stuff with his hands when he danced, so having some bracelets to make that more obvious would be perfect.
Roxas was trickier, just because he was so short, but a little rummaging through Demyx's closet—and maybe through some convenient corridors of darkness, when all else failed—turned up a pair of black pants with straps and buckles, and a studded sleeveless shirt. He even held still for Demyx to brush a little glitter over his cheekbones. Light loved Roxas, and Demyx was pretty sure club lights would be no exception. He'd look great on the dance floor.
For himself, Demyx picked out his favorite pair of off-duty boots, a pair with platforms that laced up to the knee, and a little slashed-up t-shirt that dropped a lot of hints without really showing much. It was a flirty sort of thing, teasing. Subtle, like water tended to be.
"So?" Demyx said, studying his own reflection in the mirror and then glancing back at the others. "What do you think?"
"I barely recognize us," Roxas said, and Demyx decided to take that as a compliment.
"Nothing wrong with that, is there?" Axel asked. "We're not going out to do the boss's errands tonight."
"Right," Demyx said. "Tonight, we're just us. Not members of the Organization."
Axel raised an eyebrow. "That's more rebellion than I'd expect out of you," he said. When Demyx sputtered, he grinned. "Don't worry, your secret's safe with me."
"I doubt that," Demyx said, but he wasn't really bothered. Things were going pretty well right now, weren't they? "But come on. Let's get going."
He opened the corridor from his own room. They weren't really supposed to have direct routes outside from their private rooms, but pretty much everybody did it anyway. Sometimes you didn't want the entire Organization to know where you were headed. Especially when you were going out to have a good time.
After the quiet of the castle, it was the noise in the city that made the first impression. The corridor opened out on a little alley, where they could slip into this world without drawing too much attention. There were bright neon lights out on the main street, and people passing by, talking and laughing. It was night time here, too, Demyx thought, but it was hard to tell—the spreading Plate of the upper city blocked out natural light.
He led the way through the streets, past people who barely gave them second glances, past pleasure joints and all-night noodle shops and glittering boutiques. There was a club up ahead, and a line around the block of people waiting to get in. Demyx walked up to the end of the line. It shouldn't take too long for them to get inside, probably.
"Please," Axel said. "Waiting in line? Paying to get in? Tell me we're not doing this the boring way."
"No?" Roxas asked. "Isn't that normal?"
"Sure," Axel said, "but we're not." He grinned, holding up one hand, and that grin always looked sort of annoying on him but Demyx had to admit it was hot, too. That kind of confidence was hard to resist. And now Axel was opening up a corridor through darkness, right there at the end of the line. "Come on," he said. "And hurry up."
He ducked through, and Roxas followed him with a shrug. Demyx usually tried not to do anything that flashy when he was out for some fun—partly he didn't want to draw the attention, but mostly he liked the chance to pretend to be normal. To act like there was nothing all that different between him and the rest of the kids who came here to party. Still, Axel had already opened the path, so now the easiest thing to do was head through it and not make a fuss.
The corridor shut behind Demyx with a pop as he stepped into the club. With everything going on in there, he was pretty sure nobody had noticed them anyway. Almost everybody in the club was on the dance floor, under the blue lights. The music was brutally loud, bass beats thumping up through the floor and wild synth lines weaving over it. Technically it was pretty simple, but it felt so good, being in a place where people all had their music in common, where people were excited to hear it and move to it together.
When he looked over at the others, they were watching him. Axel looked amused, as usual, but Roxas looked sort of thoughtful. "You really like it here, huh?" he asked, leaning in and raising his voice to be heard.
Demyx nodded, and he expected Axel to say something annoying about that, but what Axel said was, "It's not bad." And he smiled when he said it, not quite the same way he smiled at Roxas, but a lot nicer than he got with anyone else.
"Come on, then," Demyx said, taking Roxas's hand. "Let's dance." If things were going to be easy tonight, whether it was because of Roxas being there or because Axel really liked the time off, too, then they should make the most of it. Demyx led the way out onto the dance floor, threading his way between people who were already there, sliding into place to make a spot for the three of them. The feel of the bass vibrating through him, steady and driving, was like a heartbeat—Demyx could remember what that felt like, and this was so close.
Axel got into it right away, dancing like he'd been doing it all his life. Roxas looked a little lost at first, but he watched Axel and Demyx and after a minute he started to move too. And yeah, when he got the hang of it, he was perfect. The sweeping lights in the club caught his features just right, and when the strobe kicked on it made him look incredible. He was like the shimmer on the surface of the water, like the flickering sway of a flame. It was only natural for Axel and Demyx to just…keep moving a little closer, drawn to him, moving to his rhythms.
Roxas looked up and met Demyx's eyes as the music paused, a moment's lull in the heavy beat. The glitter on his cheeks shone under the sweep of the club's lights, and he just looked so good, so…nobody here would care, would they? So Demyx leaned down to kiss him, closing his eyes, and right as their lips touched the beat kicked back in again. Awesome. Roxas kissed back like he meant it, too, like he didn't care who saw them.
"Hey," Axel said after a minute, "me too." Demyx pulled back, expecting Axel to go for Roxas, but instead Axel leaned over Roxas's shoulder to kiss him. Axel tasted sharp and smoky, and he nipped as much as he kissed, but it was, well, as hot as that made it sound. And when they pulled back from that kiss and Demyx looked over at Roxas, wow. The way Roxas was smiling at them made Demyx remember exactly what it had felt like to be in love.
Sometimes being a Nobody was pretty rough. But tonight, right here, it wasn't bad at all.