Ryan banner over Rapture

BioQuest: Parting Thoughts

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Sullivan’s arrival and reach for his weapon set everything on its head all over again. Jack tensed, moving instinctively to a combative stance, and Tenenbaum reached for her own gun in return.Diane went to calm down the recovered sisters, since most of them were already picking up scalpels already– and they could be deadly with those. There was no stopping Tenenbaum, but Elizabeth stood between Sullivan and Jack, calling to Booker at the same time. “Booker, please,” she asked, and he delivered.booker dewitt bioshock.jpg“It’s alright, Sullivan. Tensions were running high between Ryan and Miss McClintock here,” he explained in what was only partially deceitful to cover up the entire messy story where Ryan tried to kill Jasmine (and the reasons why by extension).Elizabeth knew he was doing it to protect Jack’s identity from Sullivan and the public, but it made her stomach twist to think they were covering Ryan’s attempt on an innocent woman’s life. Fontaine had deceived her into giving up her child. That– hit close to home.”And it didn’t seem right to restrain the lady. It’s not as if I could send him out on these streets alone either,” Booker finished. He and Sullivan stared at one another tensely and yet– the director of Rapture’s security moved his hand away from his holster and crossed his arms instead.default_sullivan3591612184826192100.jpg“Is that the case, Mr. Ryan?”Andrew laughed drily, turning to look at Sullivan. “I’m… Afraid so.” Bound by the laws of his own city, Andrew couldn’t tell the truth of what happened here than they could. He’d be arrested for his intentions and possibly even killed. Who knows what would come of the city then?”I’ll just get him to his feet now,” Booker talked to Sullivan, reaching a hand out to Ryan. “And hopefully they’ve both learned their lesson.””Wait,” Jack interrupted and all eyes landed on him. “I want to talk to him first.”


What do you want to do, Elizabeth / Tenenbaum?

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BioQuest: Crossroads

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The clinic had quieted down a bit since they left not long ago, but a thick tension took the place of stewing rage. Jack took his hand from hers as they stepped in, an act she attributed to Ryan more than anything.

Booker stood between the door and Ryan, and Tenenbaum put herself between their captive and the rest of the clinic. Elizabeth found herself going to check on Diane first while Jack went over to Tenenbaum.

“Diane, how—”

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“A traitor, he called me,” she answered the question before Elizabeth could finish. “Me, after all he’s done!” She threw her arms up, crossing them right after and finally looking Elizabeth in the eye. “I just can’t believe it. Can’t believe him. The arrogance! How did I ever get fooled into loving such a– Ugh!”

To get her attention, Elizabeth put her hand on Diane’s shoulder and smiled. “Because you see the best in people, Diane, and you look past their flaws to see their potential.” Her anger softened to surprise, and at last, Diane smiled back. “It’s not your fault that he chose to be how he is now.”

“You’re sweet,” she answered, pulling her into a quick hug. “I only needed a second. Come on.” She stepped back and lead the way back to Ryan and the others.

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Elizabeth ignored Ryan in favor of the last friend she’d yet to check on. “Tenenbaum, are you alright?”

The doctor only chuckled, waving away her concern. “Liebling, I am fine.”

“Jack,” Ryan interrupted almost fondly. “I should have known that a son of mine would not be contained by the likes of Fontaine.”

“I didn’t do it alone. I couldn’t have,” he amended, gesturing to the them.

“Booker?!” Sullivan’s distinct accent cut through the gathering, and Elizabeth looked his way just in time to see him reaching for his holster. “You got two seconds to clear this up.”

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Axel from KH with fire

Day 8: Promise

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Implied/Referenced Sex Below

Created as part of the 8 Days of Axel Challenge
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6Day 7

“Hey, Ax,” Demyx started, bright-eyed and energized from the moment he woke up. It was still kinda weird, seeing his hair unstyled in the mornings, but… Well, whose fault was that? Not like his mullet thing was going to stay overnight anyway, but Axel definitely wasn’t helping matters. “You got hair gel ‘round here?”

“Yeah.” His stretch turned into a point as he sat up, giving up on getting any more rest. “Second drawer in the bathroom,” Axel explained and swung his legs out from the bed as Demyx trotted to the bathroom.

“Gotcha,” the musician chimed, disappearing into the bathroom. How he got up and dressed, even half dressed, so quickly was beyond Axel. Took him a good few minutes to find his pants to put into the hamper, never mind get a new pair.

Then he followed Demyx to the bathroom, leaning in the doorway and crossing his arms to watch the lean, slightly younger man style his hair. There weren’t a ton of Organization members Axel could trust not to kill him overnight, and even fewer in that group who Axel would climb in bed with. More than once.

“You know I’m using you, right?” Piercing green eyes met wide, aqua ones and a beat of silence passed between them.

“Huh?” Such a way with words… Geez. Luckily, he was better with his sitar. Axel sighed, standing up out of his lean and gesturing with one hand in the other man’s direction. He didn’t want to think of him as more than that right now.

“We don’t have hearts, Demyx. Any feeling we get outta this, it’s a memory.” Axel let his mind wander just a little, a chuckle breaking up the heavy thoughts. “A damn good one! But just a memory.”

And right away, there was that sad smile as Demyx took a break to look his way. His face was always so sincere, so expressive, even around Saïx and the rest. How did he do that?

“Not for me.” Demyx sighed, looking back to the mirror and running his fingers through his hair to style it just the way he wanted. “But hey, whatever you say. Doesn’t change a thing for me.”

“You serious?” Had to say it, he was surprised. Axel figured that would be the end of talking, smiling, and… The rest of the stuff he did with Demyx. “I told you, I’m using you.”

“Yeah, I heard you,” he came back with a laugh like Axel told a joke instead of a hard truth. Man, oh, man. Where did this guy come from? Demyx kept it up as he washed the gel off his hands.

“A memory of a feeling becomes a heart, Axel. I’m telling you, we do too have hearts. We just gotta remember,” he explained, and that brat tapped his temple, giving Axel a sunny smile. “And I’m okay being used to help you remember.”

“Demyx, that’s…” He shook his head, laughing drily and trying not to grin. Axel brushed it off with a wave of his hand. “That’s stupid.”

“But awesome!” Demyx beamed, nodding for emphasis and standing tall. More accurately, he at least stood up straight for once. “You’ll get your heart back, Axel. I promise! And if you love me with it, great. If you don’t, I get it.”

He shrugged, eyes shining with a really unfair level of hope. He really was helping Axel to remember what it was like before. Being a person. “What’s to lose?”

“Come here, you idiot,” Axel said, putting his arm out and Demyx did just what he was told. Even with just memories to go on, Axel knew how to kiss with sinful skill– and that was the bare minimum he could do for Demyx after a vow like that.

Sure, they might fail spectacularly. Hell, it was almost guaranteed to backfire one way or another. But it’d been a long time since Axel felt anything but a queasy twist in his stomach or an empty, hollow void that scared him.

Whatever came of this, Axel would pay the price twice to hear Demyx promise him a heart again.

Lea in KH3

Day 7: Reunions

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KH3 SPOILERS BELOW

Created as part of the 8 Days of Axel Challenge
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 8

“Ienzo,” Lea called as he went into the computer and science lab or whatever they were calling it. “Dilan! Aeleus?” Not a peep from anyone, not even a disgruntled sigh from Dilan. Figured he at least earned that from making a nuisance of himself for years and years. He took a few steps into the place and the door whisked shut behind him. Lea spared a passing glance to computer screens with charts and graphs plus lit-up floors that he was pretty sure had lights for dramatic effect instead of any real purpose. “Anybody?”

“Pretty sure you can’t go past three guesses.” That voice — Lea turned around and ended up eye-to-eye with someone he’d… Almost forgotten. Gold eyes, typical mullet-style hair, those ridiculous shoulder pads that made Demyx feel just a bit better about his smaller frame, and a warm smirk even now. Half himself, and it was still enough to cut right through to Lea’s heart.

With everything else going on at the Org, Lea got caught up in it all. His heart squeezed at all the memories he’d tossed aside and his stomach churned in guilt. Like he needed more of that. Demyx, he changed everything back at the castle. Before Roxas, Xion, betrayal, and schemes were all he had.

The two of them spent their scarce free time together. Walking some beach, hands clasped and cloaks forgotten. Sand in his shoes but Lea didn’t care when he could always boost his spirits with a surprise kiss. They didn’t have hearts, but they had each other. Should’ve been enough. Man, was he ever going to stop leaving people behind?

“Hey, easy now! What’s with the look?” Demyx put his hands up, uncertainty flickering in his gold eyes. “Don’t go all ‘Flurry of Dancing Flames’ on me.”

“Demyx, I—” Have no excuse. When Saïx poured himself into his work with the Org, you came around and became my friend. Soon, you were more than that. Couldn’t have been fast friends with Roxas and Xion if not for you. And I just left you. Lea wiped the heel of his hand across his eyes.

“Wait, wait.” Demyx carefully came towards him, hands reaching out. What was he even doing down here? Lea couldn’t totally bring himself to do more than guess. Maybe he’d just been sitting in a corner and waiting for someone bossy to catch on, just like back at the castle. “You crying?”

“No,” Lea lied, clearly. He sniffed, fighting back more tears. “Just didn’t expect you, you know?”

“So you started crying, uh huh,” Demyx teased and sauntered over, dropping a hand on Lea’s shoulder. Their eyes met again, but staring into that gold wasn’t doing him any favors. It didn’t have to come to this. If Lea’d done things differently, if he’d stopped to think, then maybe… Demyx just smiled and made a rolling gesture with his free hand. “You don’t gotta lie anymore, right? Not to anyone these days. So why bother?”

Demyx wiped away another tear as it fell, the smooth glove gliding over his cheek. Just like that, his smile turned sad and Lea closed the gap between them. Held him tight and felt the surprised gasp on his neck. Slowly, at least for him, Demyx put his arms around Lea too.

“I’m sorry, Dem,” he choked out, his voice thick. “Never meant to leave you hanging like that.”

“Coulda gone with you too,” Demyx answered, squeezing him close like this was his last chance. “But I chickened out. Look where that got me, right?” His laugh reverberated through his chest into Lea’s, pulling him back into memories of lounging side-by-side on shorelines and grassy fields of worlds no one was assigned to. That was all it took to jog his memory and still, he forgot when it wasn’t right in front of him. “We all screwed up. Just gotta figure it out together this time.”

Lea on clocktower KH3

Day 6: New Friendships

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Created as part of the 8 Days of Axel Challenge
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 5 | Day 7 | Day 8

He laid down on the edge of the clocktower, the sun having set ages ago and his ice cream long gone. Lea had the popsicle stick in-hand — not a winner — and stared up at the moon overhead. It was really late. Kairi and the others were going to start worrying if they weren’t up to their eyes in worry already.

“Speakin’ of,” Lea said, smiling at the moon and gesturing at it with the popsicle stick. “You’d really like my new friends, Isa. And don’t give me your attitude, either, y’know it’s true.”

He gave a light laugh at the imaginary exchange. Nice as they all were, none of his new friends were really gonna get this. They were putting their groups of friends together again, bit by bit, and they probably weren’t gonna face ‘em down at the endgame. Alright, Aqua and Ventus might. But he wasn’t sure their take on Isa and he wasn’t about to go around opening old wounds.

“I get the feeling you ‘n Aqua would talk for ages. Philosophy and strategy and whatnot,” he kept up with his train of thought. “Betcha she’d kick you into next week too.” Lea gave another laugh, watching a thin cloud trail in front of the moon. “I wonder if Ventus ever told her about you and me. I almost won that match, remember? ‘Course I did.”

From where I stood, the only thing you drew was a big L on your forehead for loser, lame, laughable…

“Yeah, yeah. You and I, we just remember it differently.” Where did these one-sided conversations and bittersweet trots down memory lane ever get him, anyway… Better than nothing? Better than just — sitting around and missing him? Lea sighed, sitting up and tapping his boot absently with the stick. Not like he was gonna keep it anyway, since it was a loser too.

Which would you rather suffer the loss of — some make-believe friendship, or a real one?

“Geez, you weren’t kidding,” he answered. “I’m really suffering here without you, Is’. The new friends are great, don’t get me wrong. Never once tried to up and kill me,” Lea joked, shaking his head. “But it just makes me notice the spot you left even more.”

Axel KH358/2 on the clocktower

Day 5: Outfits

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Created as part of the 8 Days of Axel Challenge
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 4 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8

The air was a little cold on his face, and Lea groaned. How long was he asleep? Why were these lights so bright, even with his eyes shut? He lifted an arm that felt like lead and dropped it over his eyes… And a leather bell sleeve flopped over his face.

Just like that, he was awake. The room was insanely white, and all the other beds lined against the wall were empty. It was just him in here, but why? Where was here anyway? It looked a little like Ansem’s place in Radiant Garden, but it wasn’t. Not a chance.

Lea threw the sheets back, stumbling out of the bed on shaky legs to the door. He twisted the handle and pulled, but it was locked. “Damn it!” Lea kicked the door, a dull ache running up his leg.

He rested his forehead against the door, thinking. Which wasn’t really his usual go-to. Lea figured he’d feel something first or at least at the same time. Angry or scared to be trapped and worse, he was alone. Where was Isa? That should’ve worried him. He knew that, and he felt nothing.

He turned around, tugging at the black cloak that he definitely didn’t remember putting on.

“Creeps!” Who knew if anyone even heard him. He looked around the room again, trying to pick out something, anything. Not a window in sight, and the machines by the beds in here were way out of his league. …Looked pretty important too.

Lea sighed theatrically, shoving his hands in his pockets as he sauntered over to the nearest machine. “Not gonna let me out? Fine. See where that gets ya.”

He shoved the device over, the wheeled stand rolling a bit before tipping and crashing to the ground. Lea’s laughed blended with the noise and pieces of it spun off across the tiled floor. Normally his heart would pick up the pace a bit just from the risk of doing that, but once again… Nothing.

“Oops,” he deadpanned. Then the door swung open by one of the Radiant Garden guards dressed in that weird cloak too. “Aeleus?! What the hell? ‘S this because we kept breaking in before? Not funny, man, not funny at all.”

He crossed his arms, shaking his head at Aeleus and just got a steady gaze back. Figures. Never was one to talk much.

The bear of a man looked over his shoulder, maybe checking for backup. That would get messy fast, so Lea was glad when he looked back to him. “I’m Lexaeus. You’re Axel.”

“What? I’m Lea, L-e-a.” He never got tired of this gesture, tapping his temple and leaning forward. “Got it memorized?”

“You’re not anymore.” Didn’t even miss a beat. If this was a joke, he was really committed to it. Betcha Braig put him up to it.

“I already said it wasn’t funny,” Lea mumbled, glaring at Aeleus now. Lexaeus, apparently. He worked with Even watching over that kid, Ienzo, so he had to have a spot spot for kids and all the guilt-inducing tactics that came with. “Where are my clothes?”

Lex entered the room and stood up close, so he pretty much had to stare Lea down. No way he was going to back down from that, though.

“Gone. Everything is gone.” His deep voice almost echoed in this tiny room, and the way he said it, Lea— almost kind of believed him. “We are in Organization XIII. And I’m Lexaeus, Number V. You’re Axel, Number VIII.”

“What…?”

“You already know something is off. You have no pulse. None of us do.” He put one of his massive hands on Lea’s shoulder, but his expression was just the same. “Lea and Aeleus are dead. Radiant Garden is gone. We are all that remains and we should not exist.”

“Who would believe that?!” He smacked Lex’s hand away, stepping back and waiting for the panic to kick in. To feel his blood rushing in his veins and the anger to rise up. But when he snapped again, he didn’t feel anything. He talked with his hands, he scowled at the brute, and he hit all the right notes. Not a bit of it was real. “I’m right here! Now gimme my stuff back, take me to Isa, and get outta my way!”

He went to push his way out, and Lex held him in place. If Lea’d really been mad, he might have missed him slipping something into the cloak’s pocket.

“It’s the truth, Axel.” He nodded once, curt and stern. They weren’t close or anything, but it felt like a hint to cool it. “Once you accept it, you can join Saïx, Number VII.”

Lea put his hands in his pockets angrily, huffing for dramatic effect. His hand brushed against the tatters of his old scarf. So that was it. Aeleus was Lexaeus now and clearly wasn’t supposed to hang onto this at all. Something Organization XIII told him he couldn’t do, probably. Past was the past, names and world and all. And if he was Axel now, then Isa was— “Fine. Whatever. Take me to Saïx.”

Lexaeus nodded again, turning without a word and leading the way out. Axel followed, shoving the scarf deeper into his pocket.

Thanks, Aeleus.

Lea in KH3 Endgame

Day 4: Flame Liberator

KH3 SPOILERS BELOW

Created as part of the 8 Days of Axel Challenge
Day 1 | Day 2 | Day 3 | Day 5 | Day 6 | Day 7 | Day 8

The Keybearer Tower wasn’t the most welcoming place ever, but at least it had some color to it. And people who weren’t in various stages of trying to kill him. Lea sat in one of the usually empty rooms in the tower, getting some R&R, when a familiar face walked in.

“Well, well,” Lea greeted him, smirking, “If it isn’t Riku. Come to check on my progress to Keyblade Master?”

“Something like that,” Riku said through a laugh. Gotta say, it was good to see him happy for a change. They met at kind of rocky times in both of their lives… And they both had to learn to put the past behind them, he figured. “How are you doing?”

“Huh?” This wasn’t a casual ‘what’s up’, if Riku could even ask a question lightly. Lea shrugged. “I’m fine.”

“Lea,” Riku scolded him warmly, like a friend. Guess they were friends, huh. “Kairi told me you started crying out of nowhere.” Crap. Lea scratched the back of his head, self-conscious and caught red-handed. Didn’t even slow Riku down. “She says you want her to call you Axel.”

No way outta this, was there? Kairi meant well, just like Riku did… So this is what it’s like to have friends with hearts. Almost forgot. “Ah, right. You’re here about that.”

“So.” Riku crossed his arms with a friendly smile. “I’ll ask again. How are you doing?”

Lea looked at his hands, sighing. Couldn’t this just a regular social call instead of all this heavy talk? “You ever think about how Keyblades get their names?” Riku watched, patiently waiting for the rest of what he had to say. A kid this young had no business being so smart, really, but here they were. “Flame Liberator. Got one thing right, I have a lot of people to save. Most of ’em, I put in an icky situation personally.”

“That’s right, you did.” Lea snapped his head up, surprised. He didn’t have to say it like that, not with that calm smile still on his face. ” And you’re here now to help them out.”

Oh, so that’s where this was headed. Lea sighed, leaning back and propping his feet up on the chair across from him. Yen Sid wouldn’t like that, probably, but hey. What the old man didn’t know, right? “Yeah, we’ll see how well I hold up. Haven’t exactly been lucky with that, if you haven’t noticed.”

“Which brings me to my next point.” Riku sat down next to Lea, leaning forward to rest his elbows on the table. He looked like he was passing off somber news, the bad day-wrecking kind, and Lea wasn’t sure he wanted to hear it. “This isn’t just about saving them, Lea.”

Lea drew back, frowning at Riku. What did he take him for, anyway? “I know that! Look, if you think I’m gonna put myself first—”

“I know you won’t.” Riku spoke over him to be heard, not quite yelling, but it got Lea to shut up. For now. “That’s what worries me.” He rested back in the chair, crossing his arms again. With tells like that, he’d be terrible in a game against Luxord. “Mine was ‘Way to Dawn.’ I had to find my way back so I could help those I’d hurt.”

Lea was starting to figure out where he was going with this, but Riku was on a roll already. “Punishing yourself for the past isn’t the way to liberation, Lea. This is about penance.” Riku stood, resting his hand on Lea’s shoulder. A little awkwardly, had to admit, but hey— he still meant well. “Accept your mistakes. They brought you here, to a place where you have the strength to protect what matters.”

Lea’s heart sank. Strength to protect what matters? He wanted to think he had that now and Lea thought he’d been putting up a pretty good front so far. His gut twisted in a nasty little knot at how much he’d botched this already and everything on the line now. If he screwed this one up… He clenched his hands into fists to get himself out of his head. Nope, he didn’t need those upside-down tears anymore. No way. “It’s more than just that, I— I wasn’t just not there. I did a number on them, Riku. All of ‘em.”

“But you’re here to help now. You’ve learned from what you’ve done.” Riku took his hand away, stepping back. “If you don’t forgive yourself, Lea, they’ll never get the chance to.”

That… That made a lotta sense. Maybe there was something behind the names of the Keyblades after all. Lea smirked again, waving Riku off. “Alright, alright, I hear ya. I’ll free everyone, then.”

“Even yourself.” Riku tilted his head, a glint of a bad idea lighting up in his eyes. Didn’t take long to recognize that look and know they were all in for it when he saw it on Sora’s face at the same time. Riku breathed a laugh. “Got it memorized, Lea?”

“Hey, hey,” he sat up straight, jabbing at Riku playfully. “Get your own line!”