"Come ooooon, Rox!" Sora begged, for the eighth time that day. "It'll be really quick. You won't have to talk to any one person for longer than 3 minutes, which I know is your limit anyway."
"How many times do I have to tell you 'no' before you stop asking?" Roxas responded, casually flipping channels on the television to find something to distract himself from his brother's pleas.
Sora placed his body in front of his brother, blocking Roxas' view.
"The only way to get me to stop asking is to say 'yes'!" Sora smiled, proud of himself and the fact that Roxas knew he was the most persistent person in the world and would definitely make good on his end.
Sighing, Roxas quit his half-hearted attempts at trying to find a way to see around Sora and slumped in his seat on the couch. Arms crossed, he looked up at his brother's hopeful eyes before giving his response through gritted teeth.
"Fiiiiine," Roxas said. "I'll go to your stupid speed dating thing."
At that, Sora let out a triumphant sound, before he excitedly began to tell his brother the details of the event.
"So you know it's organized by me and Kairi. A bunch of our friends will be part of it, and others that Riku and everyone invited." Sora paced in front of Roxas while he laid out the details of the event. "It's less of an everyone-leaves-with-a-date thing and more of a make-more-friends-and-or-acquaintances type of deal. So, less pressure."
"'Less pressure' he says, after pressuring his one and only brother into participating," Roxas joked, using air quotes to emphasize his point. "And when is this supposed to be happening?" Roxas squinted his eyes at his brother, who started inching away as soon as he finished the question.
"Oh, um, tomorrow! Be ready by 11am! Bye!" Sora ran out of the room just in time to dodge a couch cushion Roxas threw in his direction.
Muffling a yell into the remaining pillow, Roxas went back to aimlessly watching TV, as he really didn't have much else planned for his day. He was more than happy to enjoy a full day to chill alone in their shared apartment while Sora went out to do whatever it was Sora did when he was normally away.
A few minutes into a show about the absolutely riveting process behind the making of sporks, Roxas heard the unique sound he chose specifically for texts from Sora.
np, Roxas responded, feeling the regret from his decision begin to build.
I told the others and they're suuuuper excited :)
But between u and me
There was a slight pause between this and his brother's next message, during which Roxas caught the end of a rather creative toothpaste commercial.
If u get bored and leave I won't b mad. Just try and stay as long as possible for me, pleeeaaaase?
Roxas could just hear the pleading tone of his brother message as if he were standing right behind his spot on the couch and swore softly to himself. Sora knew he was weak to it, whether he did it face to face it through text, Roxas could never resist giving in to a heartfelt request from his twin.
Ok, I'll try
Roxas gave up trying to pretend like he wouldn't at least attempt to have SOME fun at the event.
But don't expect me to answer any stupid questions seriously
Before Sora could respond with a predictable complaint, Roxas sent another text.
And I know all of the questions are going to be stupid. You'll just have to deal with it if I stay
Idk what to make of that and I'm honestly gonna just hope you don't burn something in the name of "fun" -_-
Was Sora's response. Roxas could imagine the slightly confused look Sora must have been giving his phone, and laughed softly to himself.
Just remember to be there at 11. I'll be gone early to set up the space
I'll probably be up
Roxas smiled down at his phone, before finally deciding to resort to re-watching his favorite movie in lieu of finding something interesting enough to hold his attention on television.
The next day, Roxas was at the community center Sora worked at half an hour early, because as much as he loved giving Sora a hard time, he also made good on his promises. Having been early, he helped set up the chairs for the event and chatted with the other event directors.
They were a chill crew, made up of a mix of some of Roxas' and Sora's close friends. This event was Kairi and Sora's idea, and the two were all over the participant list, speculating who they thought would get along best and what kinds of answers they would give to the questions. From what Roxas could tell by glancing quickly at the list of questions participants would be answering, Olette and Pence had quite a bit of fun thinking of interesting things to ask.
As the minutes drew closer to the start time, Roxas watched various people he knew and quite a few he didn't enter the space, and was subtly surprised at the success of such a silly event. Apparently Kairi and Sora were much more convincing than Roxas had originally given them credit for. When it came time for the speed dating to begin, every seat was filled and there was a positive energy about the room.
"Ok everyone," Sora's voice called over the crowd, quieting everyone. Roxas flinched, because he happened to be a seat right in front of where Sora and Kairi were speaking.
"Thanks so much for joining us today," Kairi continued. "Without any further delay we are going to start!"
"I'm sure everyone knows the rules but we're gonna lay them out anyway," Sora said. He pulled a stopwatch out of his pocket while Kairi picked up the paper with the questions. "You will have 1 minute per question, so that's 30 seconds per person. We will actually be doing 3 questions per round, so you will be with the same person for 3 minutes before the switch happens."
Roxas looked up at his first partner across from him and smiled. He already told Sora he had no intentions if replying "normally" to any question.
"Ok, let's do this!" Kairi and Sora said together, commencing the game.
The questions started simple enough.
"Where's your favorite place to be when you want to relax and be yourself?" There was a murmur over the crowd as half the group answered, then the other half gave theirs. A lot of people seemed to genuinely be into the game, and predictably, there were those even less enthusiastic than Roxas that were obviously dragged along by their friends.
For the first few rounds, the announcers had trouble keeping a straight face, because they had a first row seat to Roxas and his handling of the questions.
When asked about his favorite class in school growing up, he responded "Nap time. Throwback to kindergarten, when everything was fun and I only needed to know numbers up to ten."
His response to the animal he most related to had them both holding their sides in suppressed laughter even from a few seats away from his original position. "Honestly there are a few I think really capture the essence that is 'Roxas', so I'm gonna have to go with a honeytigerchipmonkey. It's a mix between a honey badger, a tiger, a chipmunk, and a monkey". He answered the question rather quickly, as if this were something he thought of regularly.
"Huh, that is almost the exact animal I would be," said the next person Roxas was to talk to. He was a rather tall man, from what Roxas could tell from his long legs. A quick second sweep of the man confirmed Roxas' initial conclusion: the redhead was attractive.
"Oh really," Roxas said. He was interested to see what the rather handsome man had to say.
"Yeah really," the man winked then leaned forward closer to Roxas as if he were about to share some kind of secret. "My animal is a honeytigeraffkey. Honey badger, tiger, giraffe, and monkey."
"Huh," was all Roxas could say before he found himself chuckling. "It seems we have a lot in common, then. I'm Roxas, by the way. Nice to meet a fellow hybrid."
"Axel." He and Roxas then shook hands and discussed why they related to each animal they choose, much to the distress of the two coordinators. Sora and Kairi had to resort to redirecting traffic around the two in order to keep the game going.
Axel and Roxas continued answering questions in similarly outlandish manners until they both came across a mundane question they shared another answer to.
"Sea salt ice cream could sustain me for the rest of my mortal existence, I don't care what anyone says," Roxas started off the round answering what one food he would eat for the rest of his life if given the chance.
"You gotta be kidding me," Axel said, laughter in his voice. He sat back in his seat with an amused smile on his face that had Roxas raising an eyebrow out of curiosity. After a moment of thought, he stomped his foot and jumped up, reaching a hand out to Roxas. "That settles it. We're getting out of here. Ice cream's on me."
Their antics caused a bit of commotion, momentarily pausing the event as Kairi and Sora frantically tried to restart the group's momentum at Axel and Roxas' abrupt exit. After the game resumed, Sora sighed happily. Roxas stayed at the event much longer than he had expected him to.
"So," Roxas said, taking a short pause to attend to his newly-purchased ice cream. " I take it you don't have much attention for events like speed dating, so someone must have dragged you to do it. Am I right?"
"Am I that obvious?" Axel answered. Finishing his own treat, he leaned both elbows on the table. "My bud Demyx really wanted to join, as he is with literally anything. But what really convinced me was Xion. She was what got me. Never could resist that little head tilt of hers and she knows it."
"Tell me about it," Roxas said, thinking of his own brother's devious schemes. Finishing his ice cream as well, he stretched leisurely, glad to be out of the community center despite actually enjoying himself. He looked at his watch before lightly kicking Axel's shin. "So, now that we've both skipped the rest of the game and have had what was arguably the best sea salt ice cream I've ever had, what's the next plan of action?"
"Why am I the one coming up with the plan?" Axel complained. "I'm the one who got us out of there. I think you should come up with the next step."
"I already happened to have a free pass to leave whenever I wanted," Roxas said with a wink. "A perk that comes when your brother is running the event. But I guess since you did buy me ice cream, I could at least help brainstorm some ideas."
"Sounds like a plan. I literally had nothing on my agenda for the day besides speed dating, so I'm down for anything." Axel looked Roxas head-on, silently challenging him to actually follow through and come up with a plan for the rest of the day.
"That's actually not a bad idea," Roxas said, a large smile creeping onto his face. "Let's not change those plans at all. Let's speed date!" So into his idea, Roxas practically bounced in his seat, sure that Axel would pick up on his meaning.
"That's literally equal parts the best idea and worst idea I've ever heard," Axel said, shaking his head. Cracking a smile of his own, he got up and started out the door of the ice cream parlor after linking arms with his date. "Which means I'm totally into it and I know exactly where to go next."
Chuckling softly, Roxas tightened his grip on Axel's arm as he was rushed off to their next destination.
Said destination turned out to be a movie, which came as a delightful surprise to Roxas, who hadn't had the chance to watch a movie in-theater in a long time.
"Typical first-date material," Axel explained, getting tickets for the latest action hero movie. "Or, second date, if you're counting the ice cream." Tickets acquired, he steered Roxas over to the concession stand for the obligatory over-priced movie popcorn. At the register, he jumped at the sharp elbow Roxas shoved into his side when he attempted to pay for the lot. He looked down and was surprised to see a small frown forming on Roxas' face instead of the wide smile he had since they left the community center.
"You got the tickets and the ice cream before," Roxas said. "Don't be a show-off. I'm taking you out on this date just as much as you are me." Roxas then quit frowning to give a sly smirk, eyes very obviously giving Axel an appreciative once over. Axel laughed at that, stepping to the side with a dramatic bow to make way for Roxas to pay for their snacks.
"As you wish, fair sir."
The movie turned out to be pretty good, though no small cinematic mistake or oversight went unnoticed between Axel and Roxas. The two had just as much fun poking holes in the plot as they did actually watching the movie, and left the theater leaning on each other from how hard they were laughing.
After their laughing fit cleared up, the two began walking aimlessly, trying to figure out what to do next.
"Ok," Axel began. "So it's like, 3pm right now. How many more dates do you think we can fit in the rest of the day?"
"It depends on how long each date takes. Let's plan for no more than 2 hours or so if possible for each one, to maximize the day," Roxas said. He pulled out his phone to check his work schedule before continuing. "I have to work tomorrow, but not until the afternoon, so we're good on time as long as I'm home around 2am. How about you?
"Like I said earlier, I'm good on time. Don't work until evenings, so I'm all yours," Axel winked down at Roxas before placing his arm around his shoulders. "It's your turn to pick."
"Already have." Roxas then slipped out of Axel's hold to run ahead, looking back to check if Axel would follow. "Last one to the bowling alley buys the rental shoes!" With that, he picked up speed again, laughing as he listened to Axel's frantic steps trying to outrun him.
They reached the local bowling alley in record time, as both were unwilling to cheat and take a cab like they later reflected on as a possibility. Axel surprised Roxas with his running abilities as he won the race by a hair, forcing the other to hold up his end of the bargain. Roxas ended up paying for both their single game as well as their rental shoes, but he felt gratified in beating Axel by 115 pins, and let no chance skip by where he didn't let that known to the man as they left the establishment for their next date.
"When will you admit that I'm just more amazing than you are?" Roxas joked as they waited for a Ryde Axel ordered to take them to their next destination. The man wouldn't let Roxas see what destination he typed in, holding his phone over Roxas' head to input the information while Roxas halfheartedly attempted to snatch it away to see.
"When will you admit that you're secretly a pro-bowler?" Axel said, phone tucked away and safe from Roxas' grabby hands. "I think that date was just a ploy to try to impress me with your skills. You're trying to get more dates out of this, aren't ya?"
"Oh no! My plans have been discovered!" Roxas pretended to be shocked. He held the back of his left hand against his forehead and sighed pitifully. "Well I guess that's it then. Our day is over. This is where I say goodbye." Roxas took a step away from Axel, as if he really were planning on going home. He was stopped by Axel gently grabbing his arm and pulling him back.
"Now, now," he said, Roxas pulled to his chest. "I never said your plan wasn't working." He looked down at Roxas and smiled. "Besides, next up is my pick. This one may take longer because I have to stop by my place first to grab some things, but it'll be fun. Think: cliché, obligatory date material."
Roxas only had time to nod, as that moment their Ryde arrived and the two got into the car. They spent the drive reminiscing about the last time they each went bowling, and Axel learned that Roxas and Sora were on a bowling team in high school, and the two regularly go out with friends to keep up their form. Roxas learned that Axel rarely ever went bowling unless his good friends Demyx and Xion wanted to go and dragged him along, because apparently they always need for a "witness" to see who wins between the two that would keep accurate count. Currently the score is 4 to 7 with Xion in the lead.
The stop at Axel's apartment didn't take long. Roxas chatted for a few minutes about mundane things with their Ryde driver until they both got caught up in excited discussion about a band they were huge fans of until Axel returned. Roxas gave his companion a strange look, as Axel's "quick stop" was apparently just to grab couple of sweaters, making Roxas more curious as to what their next date would entail.
"Alright, let's go!"
"No," Roxas said, shaking his head at the destination they were drawing steadily closer to, a smile growing on his face as he looked back and forth between the window and Axel in excitement. "It's been years since I've been to a moving carnival!"
The carnival was in full swing, late afternoon shoppers and young people who were most likely babysitting were in line for all the various truck-turned-attractions. It always amazed Roxas how the rides and such could be constructed and taken down so quickly and placed into trucks to go to the next parking lot, but never had any real time to go to one. Or anyone to enjoy it with.
While Roxas was still distracted with his staring, the driver parked the car and Axel got out, going over to the other side to get the door for him.
"Now I know this one is kind of small, but it's technically the off-season for these kinds of things because it's getting colder," Axel said, taking Roxas' arm and leading him towards a game booth. "But I figured what else says 'typical date material' than some cheesy amusement park games and a ferris wheel ride?"
"Cheese is one of the best foods ever created," Roxas said. "I think this is the date where you're supposed to show off and win me a giant stuffed animal at one of the game booths."
Taking that as a challenge, Axel ended up winning 4 giant stuffed animals for Roxas before the two went on the ferris wheel to end their carnival date.
"Ya know," Roxas started, looking at Axel for the first time since they boarded the moderately sized ferris wheel. Axel raised an eyebrow to show he was listening. "It's actually been a really long time since I've last been able to watch the sun set. Usually I'm working at this time."
"I guess that means this is a score for the cliché, then?" Axel joked. Looking down at the crowded foot space in the ride due to the large prizes they won, he amended his statement. "Make that score number 5."
When the ride was over, Roxas ordered the next Ryde to their last date, since it was nearing time to eat and he had run out of ideas for the day that would allow him to lug 4 large stuffed animals along with him.
"I figured since we've been really throwing money everywhere today, it would be nice to not have to pay for dinner. I work here," Roxas explained as the car pulled up to a small family restaurant. He led Axel into the establishment and to a cozy table by the window before heading into the back towards the kitchen to presumably convince the chef to make them something for free. After a few minutes, he returned, handing Axel a menu.
"I don't know your dietary restrictions so I can't do the 'I'll order for you' thing they do in the movies, so you'll just have to pick your own food this time," he said, clearly already having his own order in mind.
"'This time'?" Axel asked, looking at Roxas over the menu and smirking. "You got some kind of hidden plans over there, blondie?" Roxas laughed and shook his head, deciding not to answer.
After deciding on his order, he handed the menu back to Roxas. "And I'll have the classic burger. Don't want the chef to have to go all-out since I'm eating free."
"That's honestly one of the best choices," Roxas said, leaving to tell the chef their orders.
The food arrived fairly quickly, with Roxas serving as their waiter. They talked about whatever came to mind, like their favorite places to visit and which places they would urge the other to "definitely avoid for all of eternity", as Axel put it.
Roxas learned that Axel was quite the traveller, having been raised by his uncle whose job required that they travel around often, and he jumped from school to school for a while before doing some traveling on his own and eventually winding up in this particular town because of it's clocktower. Roxas then told Axel about his own family, how his mother couldn't take care of he and Sora on her own, and how they were placed in the legal care of who they now consider their fathers, with their birth mother still in the mix.
Since his brother wasn't there to defend himself, Roxas felt the need to share a few embarrassing stories before the two decided it was time to stop hanging out in the establishment for free. Saying goodbye to the staff and stashing his large stuffed animals in the breakroom for pickup later, Roxas was preparing to say his goodbyes when he realized something he completely forgot about.
"Hey Axe, what were the sweaters you got from your apartment for?" It was something he wondered before when Axel first retrieved them, but completely let it slip his mind with all the fun the two were having.
"The question is not what were they for,"Axel answered, taking Roxas by the hand and walking towards wherever he had in mind. "But what are they for."
"Ok then what are they for," Roxas amended, not unamused by the turn of events. Though he was fine with turning in for the night, he was having too much fun with his new companion to not indulge the man one more time.
Axel said nothing, just turned to wink at Roxas before setting a fast pace, making holding hands necessary for Roxas to be able to keep pace. They speed-walked for about 15 minutes before reaching the building Axel seemed to be interested in.
"Ok, we're here," Axel said, stopped to look between his two sweaters. "You take this one." He handed Roxas the slightly smaller of the two, which would still be pretty large on the shorter man.
"So what are we doing here, or did you just want to show me the building that interested you so much?" Roxas said, hesitating before pulling the sweater he was given over his head.
"We're going to do my favorite thing at my favorite place at my favorite time of day, but sometimes it's a bit chilly. Hence the sweaters." Axel pulled his sweater over his head before slamming his shoulder into the back door of the clocktower until it opened. "It's a bit of a climb, but I promise you it's worth it."
"Hm," Roxas hummed, pretending to think about if he would follow. "Seems vaguely unsafe. I'm in."
With Axel taking the lead, the two climbed the staircase all the way to the top, with various stops during which Roxas would need a break to catch his breath and Axel would laugh to cover his own breathlessness. When they finally reached the top, Axel shook the handle to the door in what seemed to be a pattern with a practiced ease and swung it open, mock-bowing to allow Roxas to pass through first. Closing the door behind them, he walked up behind where Roxas stood awestruck and placed his hands on his shoulders.
"This," Axel said, whispering into Roxas' ear, " is the best view of the city." Roxas nodded, taking in the sight of the stars outstretched before them over the town he loved and grew up in. After a few minutes of watching the sky and the town quietly, Axel moved to sit down on the ledge of the tower, and patted the spot next to him in a gesture for Roxas to join him.
"Best seats in the house, I swear."
When Roxas joined, Axel began to point out the constellations, and eventually the two fell into a competition to see who could come up with the most ridiculous made-up constellation. Axel won with some kind of spaghetti monster that Roxas could barely make out, but had him laughing so hard Axel grabbed him close in worry that he would tumble off the tower. When Roxas settled down from his laughter, they two didn't move from that position.
"You were right about the sweaters being necessary," Roxas commented after a few minutes of comfortable silence. "The wind would have been a bit too much for me. Plus, your sweater is so big on me I can do the arm thing with the sleeves." He waved his hands around so that the excess sleeves flapped around a bit, accidentally bopping Axel in the nose a few times.
"I'm always right, as you will come to find," Axel said, lifting his nose into the air in an exaggerated haughty expression. Roxas laughed, turning a bit in Axel's arms to better see his whole face. He stared for a second at the picture of Axel's smiling face against the background of stars and the bright moon before looking down at the collar of his sweater.
"And when will I come to find this out? Is this you implying there will be a," Roxas paused to retrace their day before continuing, "seventh date sometime?" He looked up at Axel's face, secretly pleading that he hadn't misread the situation.
"Absolutely," Axel answered with confidence. "I think we've sufficiently warmed up enough to do this thing for real." He paused for a minute to pull Roxas' hands back out through the long sleeves to hold them in his own and winked. "Plus, you're wearing one of my sweaters, which I can assure you are all made of only 100% boyfriend material."
"Oh my god you did not just use that joke to ask me to be your boyfriend," Roxas said, shaking his head in fake disbelief. "Well," he squeezed the hands that were holding his for a few seconds before snuggling deeper into Axel's side,"boyfriend material is quite cozy. I think I can get used to it."
Roxas looked back up with a playful grin to match the one sprawled across Axel's face, and at the same time, they both stuck out their tongues in the same goofy face at the other and laughed.
The two joked and cuddled on the edge of the clocktower under the stars for a while longer before finally deciding to call it a night. On his way home, Roxas sent his brother two texts, to reassure him that he was alive and well after disappearing for the day.
Speed dating was actually a surprisingly good idea, Sor
Thanx for making me go