x-CD Store Romance
1: Same Old


"Just get out-"

"Make me!"

An angry hoarse scream, and a slap. A door slamming. The sound of something delicate hitting that closed door. Seconds later, another door slamming and a car, screeching off into the night.

Story of his life, that. The pictures flashed by, his mind now ignoring them as he stared blankly at the screen from the white-sheeted bed. That was how it'd all ended – or begun – with his parents, when he'd been three. That was what it had been for him. Until now. His gaze rested on the sleeping blonde girl in the crook of his arm, three years younger than his twenty-one, her breath drifting over his bare chest; the image of serenity.

His gaze hardened. It was just about time for him to get rid of her too.

He would never let himself be controlled.


Forty-six minutes later, and she still hadn't woken. He sighed and slid out from her embrace and the bed carefully, deciding it wouldn't hurt to prolong the break-up a little. By the changing light of the small television set – it was still dark outside – he surveyed the room. His room.

Drab colours. Clothes on the floor – his and hers. Dirty jeans in one corner. A couple of posters up beside the covered window, more to hide the hideous brown-and-cream diamond wallpaper than for any real love of music, although he took pains to only select bands that he didn't actually hate; The Used, Pearl Jam, Nirvana. A built-in wardrobe, half open. No mirror save for a tiny one on the equally miniscule dressing table. An old light bulb in the center of the ceiling that lit the room almost as well as the TV did.

And beside the small bed, a table. Just a little one, with too much junk on its surface. A box of nameless pills. A handheld phone. An empty pack of cigarettes and several lighters – he really liked the fire. A tiny pocket knife. A fifty, rolled up tightly. Her lipstick and a packet of condoms she'd gone and bought just yesterday. An empty bottle of alcohol – he'd drunk it even though he hated all alcohol.

Hell. Why not stick a sign above it reading 'The Best Ways To Destroy Your Life' or 'Road to Debauchery And Crime' or even 'The Path To Sin City'?

Not that he really cared.

He grinned as the blonde began to stir. Good. He'd be free soon.

Knowing her habits – she took a long time to wake up – he pulled on plain black boxers and those dirty jeans and wandered out to the kitchen, grabbing the yellow lighter on the way out and flicking it, enjoying the sight of the tiny flame.

Down the hall, with its indistinguishably coloured carpet, and into the kitchen.

Awhoah. A place that really needed a clean. Well, once she was gone he'd be able to get to work on that, he told himself, even while knowing that he probably wouldn't.

Five strides and he'd reached the kettle; he really needed a bigger place. He started boiling the water, and spooned a half-teaspoon of coffee and two teaspoons of hot chocolate into an orange mug.

She should be out to the kitchen any minute now. He glanced away from the slowly building steam over the jug and over his shoulder at the round table. The night before, when he'd excused himself to go to the toilet, he'd placed an envelope right in the centre of the cleared table.

He'd been through so many girls, and he'd done this every single time: sent them away with just a letter. The contents varied, although only a little, from woman to woman – the size of the list of vices of each depended on the person and the mood he was in. This one was still fresh in his mind.

Why I Hate You

1. you're a little slut
2. I hate Cruisers, and you made me drink them
3. you're spending all my money
4. you cheat on me every weekend
5. you're fuck ugly
6. you're too pushy
7. your best friend's got a better ass
8. you irritate the hell out of me

It was a good letter. Eight points and the mandatory "I HATE YOU" at the end, just the way he liked it. Eight was always his lucky number. If she asked, though, he had a mental list of complaints bigger than the Pacific Ocean to tell her.

Of course, the letter wouldn't be read until she left the house. He'd do his whole little sorrowful break-up act first, all the "it's not you, it's me" crap, and try to hold her while she sobbed and screamed at him. When she got too hysterical, he'd make her a cup of coffee while he made the pretense of packing her things, and then after another shouting match she would depart, hurling oaths and threats at the door which he'd slam after her. It was a never-fail plan.

Maybe not so much of the swearing, though, this time around. Alice might be the hottest little stripper from the 'Wonderland' club, but she still maintained her manners to a degree, no matter the situation.

The letter was the best way to insure a relationship would never be able to start again, he mused as he tipped the boiled water into his mug.

"Axel?" A sleepy, sweet voice called. Moments later, the scantily clad, blue-eyed beauty stumbled into the kitchen, rubbing her eyes like a child. He smiled and put down the mug, inwardly seething that she'd interrupted his caffeine fix before he'd even taken a sip.



Two hours and thirty-six minutes later, Axel was cheerfully whistling as he swept up the last fragments of crockery from a lino floor that just about matched the disgusting wallpaper. It hadn't taken him that long to get rid of Alice, of course – the destruction she'd caused had taken the better part of two hours to clean up.

Hmph. He'd pack away the plates on the bench first next time.

Still, this was his favourite part, the aftermath of a relationship when the world seemed to offer so many interesting new things and it wasn't him who was left broken and hurt.

Axel was a sadistic bastard and he knew it.

Tossing the chips of white porcelain into the bin, he dumped the small shovel and broom onto the kitchen bench – plenty of time to put them away later – and headed down the short hall to his bathroom, to splash some water over his face and to run a comb through his red hair. Even spikes didn't looks so good if they weren't sleek.

Dressed now in black slacks and a black shirt, Axel left his small house, locking up as he left, and strolled down the street whistling again. He was determined to enjoy his first day of freedom.


Fifty-one minutes later, at 10:39 in the morning, he stumbled in through the doors of X Music.

"Public transport is a blight upon the earth," he snarled at a brown-haired man about to shout a greeting, as he made a beeline around shelves for the beverage machine at the back of the store. "All public transport systems should be destroyed." Instead of inserting money, he hit the machine twice, punched in a code and grabbed the can of Solo that came tumbling out, completely ignoring the glare from the other man.

"Next time, pay, Axel," the other said, narrowing his eyes and sighing. "And what's got you so angry already?"

"I think I just said that," Axel retorted, pulling back the tab and taking a big swallow that made his eyes water. "Add cleaning the remnants of an angry ex in the house, getting half-fondled by some old woman, having my toes stepped on five times by a fat guy and missing a tram to that. And I'm hungry." He downed more of the can.

"Ah," the owner of X Music said in understanding, "you've ditched this one, too."

"Too right. And don't be a nosy bitch," the redhead cautioned his friend as he opened his mouth. "I might have to do something to you if you ask something."

"Do something like what?" Queried the man with the ocean eyes seductively, leaning against the drink vendor and smiling in a provocative way.

Axel snorted. "You know, I might've done something along your line of thought if we were sixteen again," he said, turning to scan the store. As always, the small place was packed, thanks in no small part to the presence of the best café in town upstairs. Customers jostled for attention at the two counters. Good thing there was a store guard – burly black-coated Lexaeus stood at the door, arms folded forbiddingly. He never let a single bag pass him without inspection. Axel frowned, suddenly noticing something. "Larx!" he shouted over the crowd.

"What?" Came the usual annoyed response; a tough-looking slight blonde with too many bracelets to count popped her head over a shelf near where Demyx and Axel stood.

"What's Yuffie doing over there? In the punk section." He pointed to the other side of the store, and Larxene came to stand beside him, going up on tiptoes to see.

She cursed. ""Bloody thieving ninja. Wait here a sec." Without waiting for approval or a reply, she melted into the crowd, frowning.

Demyx laughed softly. "You do more good down here than up at the café," he informed his long-time friend, jabbing a thumb up above them at the second level.

Axel smirked. "Up at the café pays better. And you need to tell Vexen that the music upstairs is off time with the music down here." He kept his expression neutral as his blue-eyed business partner's turned to one turned to one of horror and he hurried off. Vexen was the sound technician for the block of stores, and the X Café always played the same music as X Music. It was good for marketing, but it could be hell if the two sound systems were out, not only because it took time to get them back in sync but because it meant dealing with one of the coldest, freakiest men in the whole complex.

Larxene had returned, a furious, struggling dark-haired girl in tow. "Hello, Yuffie," he greeted the girl calmly. "How many was it this time?"

A blonde eyebrow quirked, and Larxene answered for the seething girl. "Two Fall Out Boy albums – she must've scratched her other copies, I know she's bought like fifty of those – a Queen's Greatest Hits, and Panic! At The Disco. And Celine Dion-"

"What?" Yuffie shrieked, raising herself to her full height as she spun to face the other woman. "Now you're lying! I have taste, woman! Taste!"

"You deny that you took the others, then?" Axel asked. The girl was too easy to bait, and he knew she would barely register that question.

"Like I said, I have taste!" the insulted petite woman answered, crossing her arms over her black-and-white top and pouting in the most affronted way she could manage.

"Oh really. What kind of taste?" Larxene sniffed disdainfully.

"Well, there's the two Fall Out Boys, and the Queen and Panic. Then there's Greenday – I don't have the Bullet and Bible one yet, whatever it's called…" she continued rambling on as the blond matched the redhead's expression of disbelief. It was hard to believe that someone so intelligent could fall for the same trick every single time – all it took was a mention of Shania Twain or some such singer for her to hotly defend herself.

When Yuffie stopped to recover her breath, Axel finally leaned in close to her, green eyes narrowed, and whispered "Get out of here," in the most menacing tone he could manage. After glaring right back at him for a long moment, she did just that with a cheery wave. Her mood swings were nothing short of miraculous.

Demyx laughed yet again from a few feet away. "Eyes like a cat, Axel. Good to see Yuffie's still same as usual, though. The moment she learns something new we're all in for an altogether different kind of hell."

Axel slouched, releasing the aggressive posture he'd kept while talking to the girl they all counted fondly as a sister, albeit a bratty, annoying one who couldn't keep her paws off anything. "I see you got the music back in sync," he commented, cocking an ear upwards.

"Ears like a cat, too."

"Mmm. Anyway, I'd better go have a look around upstairs-"

"That reminds me – that might actually be a good idea. Saix stormed out earlier. Not sure what that was about…"

"What? You have got to be kidding me. I've been here for twenty minutes and you only now tell me that Aerith's all alone up there with paying customers? We could all be out of a job by now! You know what she's like with making them pay the full amount, and donations…" he ran a hand through his spikes in frustration.

Larxene gave an unsympathetic snicker as Demyx laughed. The man was always laughing, either laughing or playing music or swimming. They were the three loves/obsessions of his life. "You know nothing about music, either, notwithstanding the note-perfect hearing, so you'd better get up there. We don't want you."

"Bitch. But you're right. What's even playing right now?"

"The Hush Sound. 'Wine Red.'"

Surprised, the green-eyed man peered over Larxene's shoulder to where the quiet voice originated. "Huh? Larx, there's some kid behind you listening in on our conversation…"

"Actually, that would be Roxas. He's new here; be running the errands between the store and the other shops, like the café. Dem probably only hired him because he's got an 'X' in his name too." Larxene snorted as the curious man stepped around her.

Axel barely noticed Demyx's unabashed shrug. He'd just caught sight of a pair of sky blue eyes.

So there you have it. Chapter one of CD Store Romance. Probably inspired by archy the cockroach's fics that I still need to review. And Chigai's The Fallen. Because yeah- I'm addicted to it. XD So so far, Axel's a total bastard, and he knows nothing about music even though he's got the ear for it. He's a waiter at x Café, as is Aerith, Saix and more later. Lexaeus is bodyguard at Dem's shop. Larxene and Roxas work at Demyx's X Music too, and there'll be another shop coming in later that's Marluxia's. Fear it. And if you know Fruits Basket, think along the lines of Ayame. And the fact that Xenmas – coughcoughmansex – is assisting him kinda says what it'll be like, right?

So. I like this one. I can be as bitchy and cynical and whatever I want. Much fun for a Tally. And Alice was Axel's girl at the beginning. Alice from Wonderland. That was a total smirk moment.

Anyways. Akuroku. Y'know, Miyori's got an akuroku cult. You should join. If you like this. And if you like this, be nice and review my drabble collection, akuroku xmemoriesx? Please?


Tally. SilverAuthoress. Rikku. AngelKairi.

-x- crack!pairing goddess -x-