Number 10, Breathe Again. Axel and Roxas think Demyx is back to normal.
"It's not such a hellhole anymore; I promise...okay, I admit it's not back to what it used to be, but it's livable now, I swear...look, I managed to convince Zexion to go, and you know what a fussbudget he is..."
Axel shook his head. "I still think you've lost your mind..." He swallowed suddenly, realizing that might not have been the smartest thing he ever said, considering, but Demyx just laughed.
"Come on, Ax...it'll be a blast...the biggest party in the worlds, bar none...will you at least think about it?"
Axel sighed and held up his hands. "All right. I'll think about it. That make you happy, or closer to it?"
Demyx nodded enthusiastically. "Awesome. Do you know where Roxas is?"
"Not off the top of my head..." Not entirely true; Axel had a good idea where to look for him, but Demyx needed to burn off a little enthusiasm. And Roxas could probably use a little warning. While Demyx took off in search, Axel portaled down to Roxas's room. As he'd suspected, Roxas was down there, reading a book. "Heads up - Demyx is looking for you."
Roxas sighed and turned the book facedown on the bed. "For what? And should I be worried?"
Axel shrugged. "You might. He was trying to convince me to go back to New Orleans for this big party they have every year. And he asked me where you were, so I assume he's going to try to make you the same offer."
Roxas rolled over and looked at him. "Considering how he's been going around looking like he was more than a little sick in the head, I'd say if he's trying to organize a trip anywhere just for fun, that's probably an improvement. Unless, you know, he's manic-depressive or something and this is the manic side."
Axel thought about that for a moment. "Well, as far as I'm concerned, he's gotta be a few cards short of a full deck to want to go back to New Orleans, but other than that...he actually seemed pretty rational. Not rational, I guess he's been fairly rational all along...stable, I think is the word I wanted to use. Emotionally stable, at least so far as a Nobody can be emotionally stable or unstable." He nodded to himself. "That's the least weird, depressed, or otherwise mental I've seen him this month. He actually looked normal."
"Good," Roxas said fervently. "Hopefully that means he's back to normal, and this isn't just the calm before the storm or something."
"I damn well hope so." Axel sank into Roxas's desk chair. "Maybe I can actually sleep at night, instead of waking up at every little sound and wondering what the hell he's doing and if he's going to hurt himself or anyone else doing it."
Roxas raised an eyebrow. "Are you serious?"
"It's not very comfortable, sleeping one room away from a possible drugged-up lunatic, got it memorized?"
"Maybe he's off whatever it was."
Axel shook his head. "Nah. I think he was telling the truth the whole time, and he wasn't on anything to begin with. If he was, I think someone would have seen some stronger evidence than that. I live next door to him; we share a bathroom; you'd think I'd find needles or something or notice funny powders or smells. But - nothing." He half-snickered. "Maybe it was whatever work they had him doing for Vexen."
Roxas choked back a laugh. "Maybe Vexen was feeding him random potions just to see what they did."
Axel laughed humorlessly. "I hope you're wrong. Maybe just hanging around Vexen might have done it. Vexen is made of one hundred percent psychoceramic."
"...He's a crackpot."