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07 October 2010 @ 11:15 pm
[Kingdom Hearts 358/2 Days] Who You Might've Been - Axel, Roxas, Xion  
Title: Who You Might’ve Been
Author: Kagome
Series: Kingdom Hearts: 358/2 Days
Word Count: 2,615
Rating: PG
Characters: Axel, Roxas, Xion… maybe some hints of more-than-just-friendship.
Summary: Who were they, before? What will become of them?
Warnings: angst, spoilers for Days, some language.
Notes: Yes, I know that Xion’s ‘waking up’ scene goes nothing like this. Please bear with me anyway. :) Enjoy!


Who You Might’ve Been



He’s dreaming (or he thinks he must be dreaming, at least), and the scattered fragments that revolve around within his aching, tired mind make little to no sense. They are like broken memories—pieces of a puzzle that he can’t fit back together. He doesn’t know how. If these are memories, they aren’t his.

Therefore, he tells himself that these strange images are dreams and nothing more, because you can’t remember something that you haven’t experienced.

He dreams of a girl he’s never met before (though, why does she look so much like Xion?) and a boy that he’s never met before (he fits into a category all his own; he doesn’t remind Roxas of anyone at all, but just the sound of his voice makes him rememberforget, and he knows that this boy is lost and needs to be found).

In his dream, he is someone who he is not.

He wakes with a start, his rapid breathing the only evidence of his alarm (for he doesn’t have a heart to beat a staccato rhythm within his chest).

He cannot remember her name, or his name, or his name.

“You look so much like him,” he thinks he hears Xion say, but when he glances down at her, she is still and quiet, breathing easy and unlabored—she has been sleeping for several days.

Who? he wants to ask, but doesn’t. He imagined those words, he knows. Xion is sleeping, still.

He carefully brushes bare fingers against her cheek. He wants to ask her if she dreams—if she remembers things that never were, and if she sees the same people that he sees. He wants to ask, Who are we, really?

He wants to ask, Why does she look so much like you?

The sound of soft footsteps bids him to look towards the doorway of Xion’s room. When he does so, he finds Axel standing there—Roxas guesses that the redhead is worried as well.

“She’s still sleeping,” he informs Axel, even though the green-eyed Nobody can see as much for himself.

Axel nods and steps into the room, crossing the space between them and kneeling beside Roxas. Roxas wants to ask, Why does he look nothing like you? but he doesn’t, because he doesn’t want Axel to look at him like he is insane.

The words that he does say come unbidden and pass the barrier of his lips before he can stop them: “Who am I, Axel?”

~*~

Sleeping isn’t usually a problem for him—he loves to sleep, in fact, but his slumber as of late has been troubled, and every single bit of his troubles have to do with the most recent goings-on within the Organization.

He pretends for their sake; he pretends that everything is just hunky-dory and fine and dandy and perfectly peachy so that they won’t have to worry.

(What he doesn’t like to admit to himself is that they worry anyway, despite his attempts to steer them far away from it.)

And the really stupid thing? The really ridiculous thing? None of them should worry. None of them should feel a damn thing.

‘Should’ doesn’t really apply to them, to be honest, and it doesn’t quite fit into Axel’s (occasionally quite colorful) vocabulary.

He rolls over in his bed; he punches his pillow a few times; he closes his eyes and counts sheep. Nothing helps, and without even thinking about his actions, he climbs out of bed and tugs on his boots, heading down the long corridor.

Xion’s door is slightly ajar, which puzzles him, so (on a whim) he decides to investigate further. He gently pushes the door open, gaze landing automatically on the occupied bed. Xion is still obviously trapped within a deep sleep, and Roxas is kneeling by her bed like he’s some sort of guardian angel. He looks like he’s just woken up from some horrific nightmare, and for all Axel knows, he might have done just that.

“She’s still sleeping,” Roxas says, and his voice sounds raw, panicked. Axel is instantly on alert, wondering what kind of fucked-up dream could have possibly affected Roxas this way.

Or perhaps it’s just that he’s concerned over the fact that Xion hasn’t woken up yet. Axel, too, is concerned.

Axel moves to kneel beside Roxas, gently touching his shoulder. He is about to ask the blue-eyed Nobody what is wrong, but Roxas asks him a question before Axel can even open his mouth: “Who am I, Axel?”

Axel opens his mouth, and then closes it. He’s not certain as to how he should answer this question. He knows what Roxas means, but the answers that Roxas seeks are not ones that Axel has the right (or the authority) to give.

“You’re Roxas,” he finally answers. “You’re Roxas, man, and that’s who you’ll always be.” He silently hopes that it’s enough, even while he knows that it isn’t. Roxas isn’t satisfied by his answer—he can tell by the look in the blonde’s eyes.

“Axel,” Roxas begins, clutching at the front of Axel’s shirt like he is desperate, “that isn’t what I mean. It isn’t what I really want to ask. Who… who might I have been, before now? Who was I?”

Axel swallows hard before answering, and is proud when his voice does not waver: “You’re Roxas,” he repeats. “Why isn’t that enough for you? It’s enough for me.”

Roxas’ eyes soften just a little, losing that panicked, frenzied gleam, and he edges just a bit closer to Axel.

“It is,” Roxas eventually answers, and Axel knows it is a lie. One lie in exchange for another.

He is left wondering which is worse: Flat-out lying to his friend, or simply avoiding mentioning the truth.

(Lying by omission is still lying all the same.)

~*~

She doesn’t know how long she’s been asleep; she doesn’t know why she can’t force herself to wake up; she doesn’t know why the dreams won’t stop.

Sometimes, it’s the darkness that she dreams of—all-consuming and altogether frightening. She doesn’t like it, and she wants to claw her way out of it, but she doesn’t know how. She’s tried without success of any kind.

Sometimes, she dreams about people who she doesn’t know, even though she feels like she should. Sometimes, she dreams about this girl… this girl who she might’ve been once, even though in the depths of her (non)-being, she knows that she couldn’t have possibly been this girl.

(But, if not, who was she, before? Who might she have been? She knows that everyone in this place used to be Somebodies before they were Nobodies. She had to have been a Somebody before, too, right?)

Sometimes, she dreams of Roxas and Axel and the clock tower. These dreams always feel so real, and she finds herself reaching for the both of them but she never manages to touch them. They feel so out of reach in these dreams, even though they’re right there, and their distance makes her hurt in ways that she’s been told she’s not capable of.

(“You can’t feel a damn thing; none of us can.”)

Sometimes, she dreams that she asks them who they are. Who they were. Who they’ll be. Who she is. They never really give her an answer though; they always smile at her, always reach out to her, and she always feels like screaming when she finds that she cannot hold onto them.

Currently, she is dreaming of the ocean. The tide is washing over her, and she has nowhere to go. The shore seems too far away, and she is so endlessly, hopelessly tired. It would be so easy to simply give up—to drown, to let everything that is worrying her float away in the clear blue waters.

Easy, easy, easy. Nothing has been easy for her thus far.

She finds herself wondering, If I drown here, will I never wake up? She then wonders if the consequences of this would be so dire; she’s useless anyway, isn’t she? Just an empty puppet who doesn’t know who she is or who she was or where she came from.

“You’re Xion.” Axel’s voice. Roxas’ voice. She’s certain she hears them; their voices are distorted, but she hears them all the same. She’s still dreaming, though; their voices aren’t real.

Except only they are. She can hear them, faintly. Roxas sounds so desperate and worried, and Axel sounds desperate, too, although she has the feeling that his reasons for sounding this way are different from Roxas’.

There is suddenly light in the darkness of what could be her watery grave, and, in her dream, she starts kicking her legs, swimming towards shore. Towards them. Towards the only home she’s ever really known.

Nothing has been easy for her thus far, but that doesn’t mean that she’s going to simply give up. They wouldn’t want her to do that. They wouldn’t expect that, not from her.

She thinks she hears Axel saying something about a name—the name he used to have, the person he used to be.

She opens her eyes slowly, like she’s been drugged, and then coughs delicately. “I like ‘Axel’ better.”

~*~

The questions are still poised at the tip of Roxas’ tongue even though he’s already asked them and not gotten a proper answer. Who am I? Who was I, before? If there are actual answers to these questions, however, it is obvious that Axel isn’t going to give them. There’s a pleading, anxious tone in his voice already, and Roxas can tell that the redhead is trying to steer him as far away from this topic as possible.

Roxas would – in this moment – like to believe that Axel doesn’t know anything about the life that he might’ve had before now, but Roxas simply knows that Axel does. Axel’s evasion and silence on the whole matter is disconcerting.

“Why won’t you tell me?” Roxas breathes out, and he hasn’t let go of Axel yet. He’s still clinging to the front of Axel’s shirt like it’s some sort of makeshift lifeline, and Axel’s hands are on his shoulders, gentle and steadying. It’s all right, those hands tell him, and Roxas wants (more than anything) to believe what Axel is (not) saying.

“Don’t,” Axel replies, voice barely above a whisper. “Please don’t ask that, Rox.”

Axel’s fingers are in his hair now, slowly combing through it—a calming gesture, and Roxas leans tremblingly into it, wanting to dispel this uncertainty, wanting to forget this not knowing that’s eating at him like nothing else ever has.

He abruptly realizes that perhaps – just for now – he’s asking the wrong questions, and he changes tactics, swallowing past the lump in his throat before he leans into Axel, against his shoulder (because he feels a little less like things are falling completely apart this way) and he asks: “Who were you, before?”

There is a long silence, and Roxas is beginning to believe that this is yet another question that Axel will not answer, before the other Nobody tells him, “I used to be called ‘Lea’, before.”

Roxas’ response is completely forgotten the moment he hears a soft cough, and both he and Axel turn to gaze at the no-longer-sleeping girl on the bed.

“I like ‘Axel’ better,” she says weakly, and then she smiles, and Roxas feels a tiny bit more relaxed.

Axel chuckles, reaching over to touch her hand. His left hand is on Roxas’ waist. “Yeah,” he says in agreement, “I like ‘Axel’ better, too.”

The three of them share shaky smiles and soft laughter and careful touches and disbelieving whispers (“You’re here, right?”, “You’re okay?”, “What’s wrong with us?”), and – just for now (always ‘for now’ but never ‘forever’) – Roxas is content to let everything else go.

He’s content to believe that everything is okay even when it isn’t.

He’s content to believe that they’re okay, even though he has this horrible feeling that they aren’t.

He knows, without knowing, that this thing they have (together) is doing nothing more than teetering on the brink of destruction.

(But, for now, he can pretend that it isn’t).

~*~

She knows that they’ll think she’s wrong for doing this, for leaving, but she knows that it is the only right thing to do. She has to make right the things that they have made wrong, and if that entails that she must erase herself in the process, then so be it.

She doesn’t tell Roxas. He wouldn’t understand; he’d suggest that they run away together, but that won’t fix the central problem.

I shouldn’t exist.

Axel’s probably looking for her now; he’d put up some front and tell her that it’s because of direct orders from Xemnas, but she would like to think that she knows him better than that. He’s looking because he wants to find her; he wants his own answers.

“You don’t have to do this,” he’d tell her.

She wishes that she didn’t, but she does have to do this.

She will miss them—whether they’ll even remember her in order to miss her in turn is not something that she wants to think about.

~*~

They’ve always told him that he can’t feel—that whatever he thinks he’s feeling is just a trick of his old memories, of when he was more than what he is now. Well, he doesn’t understand his past (it is empty); he doesn’t like his present (it is bitter), and he can’t see his future (it is as empty as his past). Because of this, he is less inclined to believe what’s been hammered into his head over and over and over again.

He doesn’t know what to believe anymore, really, so he decides to believe in what he knows that he feels: sorrow and confusion (because she is missing); ache and betrayal (because he’s been lying to him this whole time); hopelessness and helplessness (because he doesn’t know what to do).

He finds himself longing for the days when things were at least marginally simpler—when the three of them could sit atop the clock tower and eat sea salt ice cream and laugh at their own randomness and silliness.

He knows that those days are long gone, but it doesn’t stop him from wishing that they weren’t.

~*~

Just like that, everything had to go and break, right before his eyes. There had been no way to stop it—no way to keep Xion from leaving and no way to keep Roxas stable and content, not when he’d been lied to since the beginning.

Eventually, he knows he’ll lift his too-heavy head from his pillow (perhaps the rum hadn’t been a good idea) and he’ll look for her. He’ll look for him. He has to try, doesn’t he? He has to try, even if trying will get him all of nowhere.

He wishes that he could go back and maybe do things differently—wishes that he could change the fact that he lied to Roxas and could change Xion’s purpose and fate. He wishes…

He wishes that he could do a lot of things.

(If wishes were fishes then the sea would be full….)

In moments like this one, when his head is pounding (mimicking the beat of an organ that never resided in Axel’s chest but in Lea’s) and that emptiness aches like an old amputation on a rainy day, he almost wishes that he could find Naminé and ask her to fiddle with his own memories.

However, he believes that not even she could erase the most painful fact that he knows he’ll carry with him for the rest of his (non-)existence:

Together, they might’ve been whole.



~END~
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Can I say that I’ve missed writing these three? Because I have.
 
 
Current Mood: tiredtired
 
 
 
Anako: stock// kitten kisses are the best kindiki_teru on October 8th, 2010 06:33 am (UTC)
Oh this, this was absolutely lovely darling and I subtly poke you to write these three way more often ♥
Kagome: KH - KNXkagome_angel on October 8th, 2010 02:57 pm (UTC)
Aww, thank you so much, honey. I am glad that you liked it. :)

(I would, if I had more ideas! XDXDXD)
roterstern on October 9th, 2010 01:27 pm (UTC)
It’s all right, those hands tell him, and Roxas wants (more than anything) to believe what Axel is (not) saying.
*heartbreak D:*

he almost wishes that he could find Naminé and ask her to fiddle with his own memories.
God, he'd really do that, wouldn't he? Just to be able to remain happy, even if it's a lie, just to remain with them in his memories, at least. I think Axel would wish he was being lied to as well cause I'm sure he knows what he did was wrong. Awwww baby ;A;

As always, I loved this. I really loved this. Sorrow, hopelessness, laughter ("I like 'Axel' better.") and all the emptiness they should feel but don't because with each other they could not only have been whole but fuck, no one can tell me they didn't fucking feel.

LOVE ♥♥

Edited at 2010-10-09 01:28 pm (UTC)
Kagome: KH - Axel and Roxas and Xion awwkagome_angel on October 9th, 2010 03:38 pm (UTC)
Writing about these three always hurts, in a way, because I know that their ending isn't a happy one. In the end, Axel and Roxas don't remember Xion, and for a while, Roxas doesn't even remember Axel. There's so much betrayal and bitterness and each of them search for his/her own reasons, and it's just tragic.

I'm glad you enjoyed, darling. <3333333 And I totally agree--I do believe that they cared deeply for one another, despite the whole "Nobodies can't feel" thing. In one of those secret report things, Xion wrote, "I love Roxas and Axel. I'm sure Saïx would scoff at that. Call it
a trick of my artificial memories. But the time I spent on that clock tower
was real.

I wish the three of us could stay together, just like this, forever.

But I have to end this. I'll never forget today's sunset. Even if Roxas and
Axel do, I won't forget."

;____________; So, yes. *cuddlehugsquish*