Series: Kingdom Hearts (358/2 Days, KH II)
Word Count: 558
Characters/Pairings: Axel, Roxas (main)
Summary: He's not sure he knows how to keep anything safe anymore.
Warnings: It might jerk at your heartstrings a little. Otherwise, no warnings.
Notes: Written for the KH Drabble challenge 291: Safekeeping, and it won. I was and am both grateful and quite surprised. :) Also, obabascribbler made me this beautiful banner~!
For safekeeping reads the little note that was evenly folded and neatly tucked into the envelope along with the 'winner' popsicle stick. If he had it left in him, Axel would chuckle at the irony, but he feels like he has nothing left, and so he just stares at the slip of paper for a few seconds as if willing the words to disappear.
He doesn't understand the meaning of 'safekeeping'.... okay, well, yeah, he knows what it means. He's not stupid. He just doesn't think he is capable of keeping anything (or anyone) safe. Not Naminé. Not Sora. Not that girl, whose name he cannot recall right now.
And certainly not Roxas. He couldn't protect him from the Organization's truth. He couldn't protect him from his own lies.
Perhaps, once upon a time, Lea was capable of being a protector—a keeper.
But he is no longer Lea. He is Axel, and he is nobody's keeper.
“No-one would miss me.”
“That's not true! I would.”
And he does. He doesn't know if it's worse to be forgotten or to suddenly be remembered (because it feels like it's too little, too late). It makes him ache in ways he knows that he isn't capable of.
The thing about it is: Roxas doesn't even know he needs to be saved, and Axel's not sure who he needs saving from (the Organization, the truth, his memories, Axel himself).
“You both think you can do whatever you want. Well I'm sick of it. Go on, you just keep running! But I'll always be there to bring you back!”
As always, he has his own agenda. And maybe he's not Roxas' keeper, but... there's something to be said for trying, right?
There comes a point in time when saving one means saving another, and if self-sacrifice will keep them safe, then Axel is more than willing to give it a shot.
He remembers as he's fading that he's still got that stupid popsicle stick and the note, tucked away inside his coat, close to the emptiness that resides in his chest. It's always made him feel a little less empty.
He gazes at Sora for what might be the last time, and admits that he's here for Roxas. Admits, too, that Sora reminds him of the one he couldn't seem to hold onto.
It'll be up to Sora to do the 'safekeeping' now.
He dreams of Roxas and wonders if the dead can dream. Or maybe it's the other way around. Maybe it's Roxas that dreams about him. Maybe neither of them is dreaming at all.
They sit and they talk. They eat ice cream and watch the sunset, like old times. Axel misses those days.
He doesn't ask for forgiveness, but when he looks into Roxas' eyes, he knows he doesn't have to. He is forgiven.
He doesn't want to leave, ever. He doesn't want Roxas to go, either, but he knows that both of them have to get going. Reality is waiting. The future is waiting.
“See you, Axel.”
“See ya, partner.”
The tear comes unbidden, and he doesn't bother to wipe it away.
Naminé is safe. Kairi is safe. Riku is safe. That girl who he both can and cannot remember... he knows she is safe. Sora is safe.
Roxas is safe.
Axel thinks he finally understands, now.