Prompt: 1sentence Themes: Set Three—Gamma
Warnings: language, angst, mild sexual content (tilt your head and squint), Days SPOILERS.
Characters/Pairings: Axel/Roxas, Xion.
Disclaimer: Standard disclaimer applies.
Summary: It’s all just a cover, because he knows that all of this isn’t going to end well, and when he looks into her eyes, he knows that she knows too..
Comments: I’m stealing themesets again. XDXDXDXD <3333 Some of these are kinda in chronological order and some aren’t… you’ll see what I mean when you start reading. And you will find no Xion-bashing here, because I adore her far too much to do that. Enjoy~.
They’re at the top of the clock tower watching the sunset as usual when Roxas asks a particularly unusual question—something about weddings and wanting to know why it’s always a ring, and of course Axel has to explain that rings symbolize eternity, forever; he’s stunned into silence when Roxas asks, “Can this last forever, too?”
He’s no hero and he doesn’t claim himself as such—after all, he’s not the one with fierce blue eyes and a key for a weapon who’s searching for what he’s lost and is trying to make everything right; this isn’t Axel’s story: it’s his.
Being with Xion and Roxas like this – on the clock tower – makes him remember parts of his earlier life, back when things were simpler and carefree and his mind was not filled with doubt and deceit and all of these other things that he shouldn’t be able to feel (but he thinks he feels them all the same).
There are areas clearly marked off – places where the Organization does not want them venturing – and they all take it in stride until one afternoon when they’re out on a mission together, the three of them, and Roxas demands, “Why do they keep us boxed in?”
Xion admits sometimes that she would like to run away, and some small part of Axel wants to tell her that she doesn’t belong anyway – that she never has – but then he looks at her (into those eyes that are almost exactly like Roxas’) and he just can’t, so instead he tells her that he and Roxas would only find her and bring her back, because her place is with them.
Axel never says anything about it – can’t – but in the darker corners of his mind, he wonders – when this ends – if there will be anything left at all; he wonders if it’ll be like a hurricane, destroying everything in its path while leaving behind scattered remnants of what once was: just enough to make him remember what he used to have and miss what he had lost.
He never questioned his orders in the Organization before he met them—before Roxas and Xion and Sora and Naminé came tumbling into his life; now, however, he wonders if he was truly free before all of this—if he could fly as high and as fast and as far as he wanted, before the Organization (figuratively) clipped his wings.
Roxas is shivering, complaining about the cold even though he’s the one who suggested coming out here in the middle of the night in the first place, and Axel could point this out – could rub Roxas’ face in it – but he doesn’t; he only moves in closer against Roxas’ side, smiling when the blonde doesn’t pull away.
“Red’s the color of love, isn’t it?” Xion asks one day, and Axel blinks down at her in confusion, wanting to ask what in the hell she’s been drinking and/or smoking, but then she giggles and ruffles his hair and just keeps walking; somewhere behind him, he can hear Roxas laughing, too (and for whatever twisted reason, that makes it all okay).
“--and Demyx let us taste this strange stuff in a bottle,” Xion continues, and for a moment, Axel tenses, until Roxas finishes for her: “—said it was soda, and it was fizzy!”
It’s after midnight and Roxas is in Axel’s room, on Axel’s bed, looking lost and found at the same time—and Axel wants to ask why, except only the air is frozen in his lungs and he can’t quite make his lips work well enough to form words.
Roxas is close, achingly so, and Axel could and should but he doesn’t—he simply tells Roxas that they should be sleeping at this hour, and he tries to ignore the look of disappointment in Roxas’ eyes, just as he tries to ignore the fact that Xion calls him a chicken the very next day.
“Enjoying the view, are you?” Demyx asks him and then laughs, and Axel gives him the finger and pretends to be looking at anything else but Roxas—pretends, too, that Xion is not leaning against his side and giggling.
For whatever reason, Axel finds himself humming (some wordless tune he remembers from his old life) while Roxas sleepily rests his head against his shoulder, and when Roxas sarcastically asks if Axel’s going to sing him to sleep, Axel grins and replies, “Music is Demyx’s forte, not mine—so you’d better go to him if that’s what you’re looking for;” and when Roxas doesn’t move, Axel’s grin only widens all the more.
Axel’s never seen her in anything other than the Organization’s black coat, so when she comes running up to him on one of their off days in a long silky white gown, his jaw drops and he thinks of all the boys he’s going to have to scare away from her when—and then he remembers, and turns away.
They talk of the future and Axel rambles with them—he smiles when they smile and he laughs when they laugh; it’s all just a cover, because he knows that all of this isn’t going to end well, and when he looks into her eyes, he knows that she knows too.
“You love him, so you have to promise that you’ll take care of him for the both of us,” Xion tells him one evening and Axel doesn’t know what to say (the logical thing would be to tell her that he doesn’t have a heart and therefore cannot love)—he wants to tell her that she’s being ridiculous and that she has nothing to worry about; then, she looks at him, eyes shining, and he says, “I promise.”
Roxas tells him about the weird dream that he’s had—about some boy with silver hair and ocean-colored eyes, and he doesn’t understand because he’s never seen this boy before; Axel wants to tell him that Sora knows this boy (had been searching for this boy), but he can’t.
Axel’s the one who wields fire, but in this case, Roxas is the flame and Axel is the moth, and he can’t stay away even though he knows that it would probably be healthier for both of them if he could.
“You have to make the first move, stupid,” Xion tells him and Axel looks at her wide-eyed as she shrugs and continues: “… Maybe you remember what it felt like; he doesn’t—he’s never known.”
“Roxas,” Axel begins, wanting to tell him all about Sora and Xion and Castle Oblivion and all of the lies and half-truths, and he wants to say how sorry he is (it’s not as sorry as he will be), but Roxas’ fingers brush against his own and Roxas smiles, and Axel’s thought trails off into nothingness.
They’re all on a journey of their own: Xion is fighting tooth and nail to make everything right; Roxas is searching for answers, and Axel… Axel straddles the fence, tiptoeing between loyalty and treachery, and it’s only a matter of time before he falls on one side or the other—he has a feeling that he already knows which side it’ll be.
Roxas looks up at him with cheeks that are flushed and lashes that are lowered, and Axel wants to tell him to leave before he does something stupid, but then Roxas sighs his name and Axel leans down to kiss him (fierce and determined, hands tangling into blonde hair to keep Roxas in place) instead—if they’re going to burn, they might as well burn together.
As the days pass, Xion grows stronger and Roxas grows weaker, and Axel tries his damndest to ignore the fact that one of them has to go—they cannot continue to coexist like this, no matter how badly Axel might wish otherwise.
She’s as concerned about this whole mess as Axel is, but she puts on a happy face anyway—all fake smiles and fake laughter, and Axel admires her for it.
“Which would you rather suffer the loss of: some make-believe friendship, or a real one?” Saïx asks him, and Axel feels his insides turn to ice.
In the deepest recesses of his mind (he can’t say heart because he doesn’t have one), Axel supposes that he’s trying to run from the knowledge that this – all of it – is going to fall apart, and soon: you can’t build castles out of sand and expect them to last forever.
Axel can see it in their eyes sometimes (in his and in hers)—can see how they’re struggling with memories forgotten and remembered… memories that were never really theirs to begin with.
Xion doesn’t always dance when the strings are pulled, Axel notices; she may be the Organization’s puppet, but sometimes she lets herself dance to her own tune.
There are tiny and not-so-tiny scars that litter Roxas’ body, and Axel finds and kisses each one of them, almost surprised to see that there are none on his chest, over the spot where his heart would be if it did not beat within the chest of a boy who is still sleeping within Castle Oblivion.
Roxas’ arms are around him and Xion is close by, head tilted to one side as she says, “This is something precious to me—so does that make it sacred?” and Axel’s not sure how to answer, because he’s certain he’s never encountered anything that he considers sacred (in this life or his previous one)… except maybe until now.
Now that he looks back on it, perhaps the first goodbye was truly spoken in conjunction with the first cheerful fabrication—perhaps he was only pushing Roxas further away with every step he took to bring them closer together.
It’s not that there aren’t worlds outside that of their own, but Roxas still reaches for Axel’s hand the moment a mission is over and says, “Let’s go home.”
Axel likes how, even from the beginning, neither Roxas nor Xion was formal with him—he likes how they always acted like they’d known him for forever, had been friends for forever, even if their forever was only the span of a few days.
Even though Xion’s capable of taking care of herself, it doesn’t stop Axel from catching her when she collapses—doesn’t stop him from mirroring the worried look in Roxas’ eyes, and doesn’t stop him from pressing his hand to her forehead to check for a fever, either (and, unsurprisingly, she’s burning up).
He laughed before Roxas and Xion entered his life, he knows—laughed like it meant nothing because it didn’t; after Roxas and Xion, however, laughter always bubbles up all on its own and it always feels real, even if it isn’t.
The look in Xion’s eyes is forgiving when she discovers what he’s been trying to hide and why, but the look in Roxas’ eyes is anything but, and it cuts Axel to the very (empty) core of his being.
Axel remembers how Naminé had talked to him about forever in such a sad tone of voice after Marluxia had been killed: he remembers that she had told him that forever wasn’t truly possible for Nobodies, and that really hits home when he lets Xion go, and then Roxas… and there is no happy circle that remains unbroken.
Roxas never says I love you (why should he?), but he touches Axel’s cheek almost reverently, kisses him softly and says, “I need you”, and it makes Axel forget to breathe every time.
“I don’t want to be forgotten when I’m gone,” Xion admits to him in a muffled whisper, her face buried against his chest, and Axel wants to tell her that she doesn’t have to go anywhere—wants to say that if she goes, they’ll all go together, but he is not an idiot (or maybe he is), and so he says nothing.
He wants to ask – beg – Roxas to wait, but the Keyblade Bearer is a flurry of rage and unanswered questions—promises broken and precious things lost, and Axel knows that his pleas will simply fall on deaf ears.
He tries to reason with her when he finds her again—tells her that he’ll always bring her back, but the Keyblade manifests in her hand, and it is clear to Axel that Xion is done talking.
And after all is said and done, he goes to look for Roxas because Roxas is the only one that he can remember ever wanting to keep by his side—he has this lingering feeling, however, that he’s forgotten something important (he can’t remember the girl with black hair and blue eyes and that teasing smile; she had told him that he wouldn’t remember and he doesn’t)… he just doesn’t know what it is, and figures it’s not worth worrying over.
After weeks of searching, he finds out that Roxas is staying in some Virtual Twilight Town—a replica, a fake, nothing more, and he believes that he feels something light and promising; others have called it hope, but Axel isn’t quite sure what to call it.
He remembers better days—days when eating ice cream with Roxas at the top of the clock tower had been the one thing he’d looked forward to; he remembers the days directly after Roxas’ departure as well—remembers how it’d felt like the moon covering his sun (the only bright spot he’d ever known as a Nobody) in shadow.
He’s never stopped to wonder – before now – why he felt so drawn to Roxas from the start, but hindsight is always 20/20, isn’t it?
For Roxas, Axel’s willing to forgo all of the well-worth paths that the Organization has laid before him; instead, he takes a makeshift road all his own, off the beaten path, and he thinks that that ‘Robert Frost’ guy would be proud.
Axel doesn’t remember her and so he cannot miss her, and he learns what this feels like the day he sees Roxas again after their separation, and there is absolutely no hint of recognition whatsoever in those wide blue eyes of his.
Axel realizes after a while that Roxas’ memories are locked up—being rearranged and fiddled with in all different ways so that they can go back to Sora since that’s where they belong, but some memories… some memories are theirs and not his.
And somewhere at the end of it all – when Roxas is and is not Roxas and is and is not Sora, and when Axel tries to set things right – he remembers how Roxas had told him to breathe right after they’d kissed for the first time (because he’d forgotten to, somehow), and then he chuckles—drags air into his dying-fading-burning lungs and breathes… and then he doesn’t, anymore.
So… I’m not entirely sure if I was wanting this to be AkuRoku with Xion on the side, looking on as a friend, or if I was wanting this to focus on the friendship between the three and then have a bit of AkuRoku tossed in. >.> Hmm. Either way, there you have it. XD