Taming Fire

By: Xeora

Summary: Roxas gets a summer job at a hospital for mental patients and is assigned to a certain pyromaniac. :D AkuRoku

Pairings: Axel/Roxas (others placed back on pending-- the story has evolved greatly)-- June, 17 2008

Chapter One

It smelled like chlorine.

Roxas wrinkled his nose to prevent a sneeze from escaping his nose. Hospitals always made him nauseas; the clean chlorine-like smell always lingered on his hands and clothes after visits. He didn't know why he a hospital, of all places, was chosen to take on a summer job. Than again, he never really had a choice. His mother always hounded him for being a lazy bum, sitting around the house playing video games and doing nothing. (He's a teenage boy; it's his summer, why did he need to do anything?) Then his father goes ahead and talks to Olette, one of his best friends, about getting him something to do. Of course Olette would offer where she works, Twilight Springs Hospital. A mental ward.

"It's better than it sounds, Roxas." Olette had said on the train ride to the other side of town. "The people there are very friendly. The food isn't half bad, and it's free!" She exclaimed happily, "And besides, it's better than Hayner's job. He and Pence lug around garbage all day at the Town Dump."

'Better going home smelling like rotten fish than a sterile toothbrush,' he thought. Roxas didn't know whether or not to throw up right in the lobby where he sat, while waiting for Olette's return. The smell, the white of the walls… oh, was he feeling the knots in his stomach.

He hated hospitals SOO much…

"Roxas," that was Olette, trotting back from down the hall, being followed by a tall man wearing a white lab coat. His hair was brunette and roughly chopped, just reaching his broad shoulders. His face seemed to be carved into a permanent scowl, a scar cut vertically between his ice blue eyes. Roxas suppressed a nervous shiver.

"Roxas, this is the Director and my boss, Doctor Squall Leonhart." Olette introduced with a smile. "Dr. Leonhart, this is Roxas."

Roxas stood, shouldering his bag, smiling sheepishly and holding out his hand to shake. Dr. Leonhart took it, grasping it a little too firmly.

"Its good to finally meet you, Olette tells me you're very good with people." Leonhart said softly.

"Well, I like to do socialize." Roxas said nervously, trying not to rub his sore palm.

The Director didn't seem to hear him. "I'm just here to give you a quick orientation then you can get started." Roxas nodded. "You'll be coming here with Olette every morning, so you can check in with her. Straight ahead through this hallway," he pointed to a door at the end of the hall where he and Olette came from. "Is the front desk. Sign in on the clipboard and you'll be given your assignment from the receptionist. She'll also give you a card key that opens up the lounge and your assignment's room. You can't go into any other room unless you have another card key and my permission." Leonhart stressed, "Meals are served in the cafeteria on the third floor three times a day. Snacks can also be bought there between meals, if you're a worker, it's free. There are also a few rules in this hospital."

Leonhart paused, and Roxas swore it could've been for dramatic effect. "You must remember, at all times, that this is a hospital. No roughhousing in the halls, loud noises or anything that may… disturb any of the patients here. Watch what you say and be aware, constantly, of a patient's emotions. Don't do anything to… distress them. If there are any problems, feel free to come and see me. My office is on the seventh floor, first door on the left. Olette," he looked at her. "I trust you can get him settled and show him around?"

"Yes, sir." Olette smiled.

"Good," the doctor nodded, "If you'll excuse me, I have business." With that, he turned on his heel and left.

Roxas blinked, watching Leonhart's swift retreat. "Is he always like that?" he asked.

"Well, for the most part, but he's a nice man once you get to know him." Olette shrugged. "C'mon, I'll take you to get your assignment first." She started forward and Roxas followed. She opened the door to a spacious circular room, an elevator door straight across. On the right of the room was a large white desk with a few plants decorating its surface. Some other plants in vases, like bamboo trees, were placed around the room to add some color. Sitting at the desk were two blond young women, one younger than the other.

The smallest blond was happily humming to herself while drawing on a sketchpad. She wore blue sandals and a pure white dress with only a name tag decorating her left strap. It read "Namine". She looked about Olette's age.

The other taller blond looked to be in her early twenties. Her hair was up in an odd fashion, sort of like pigtails. She had a bored look on her face, droopy hazel eyes and an iPod earphone in her ear. She was wearing a dress shirt with a loose checkered tie with black capri pants and sneakers. Just above her left breast was a tag like the identical to her desk-mate, reading "Larxene".

Olette approached the desk, Roxas following skittishly behind her. "Hey Namine, hey Larxene. We're signing in."

Namine looked up with large blue eyes, smiling. "Hello Olette. Oh," she looked over at Roxas. "You're the new guy, right? Welcome to Twilight Springs." She said brightly.

"Thanks." Roxas said politely.

Larxene put a clipboard in front of them, "Sign in here. Name and time, the usual blah blah."

Olette signed in quickly and passed the board to Roxas who did the same. He scribbled a messy signature and printed his name before handing it back to Namine.

"All right," in turn Namine handed the clipboard back to Larxene who tossed it back under the desk carelessly. Namine stood from her chair, placing the sketchbook on the surface and went around carrying two folders.

"Who do I get today, Namine?" Olette asked, frowning slightly. "I hope it's not Luxord again. All he wants to do is play poker."

Namine giggled a little, "Oh, sorry Olette. But he requested to see you again." Olette sighed, defeated. "He says that you're the only one that 'took the game seriously'."

"All right." She took the folder with another sigh.

"And for Roxas," Namine looked at the folder, blinking. "Wait… that's not right. Did I mix up the folders? Larxene?" She handed the folder back to the bored woman. "Is this right?"

Larxene grabbed the folder and scanned the contents, "Yep. All the information is here. He's assigned to this guy. Look, Leonheart's signature's right there." She pointed to a yellow form in the folder. "This one's official. I'll know a forge if I ever see one."

Namine nodded, taking back the folder and handing it to Roxas with an uneasy look.

"What?" Roxas wondered, hesitantly taking the folder.

Namine shook her head, smiling. "Nothing… it's just, everyone seems to have trouble with this patient. He… well, never mind. Its only opinions and stories I've heard, you need to find out for yourself. And don't worry!" She said catching the look on Roxas's face. "All the patients here are harmless."

Roxas glanced at Olette, who merely shrugged.

"Anyway," Namine said. "Here's your card key." She handed him a read card with hospital name and a bar code. "This only opens two rooms, the lounge and your patient's room. The only rule with the lounge if you ever decide to visit is that patients are not aloud inside, if you haven't heard yet." She stepped back. "If you have any questions, you can always come here and ask. Have fun you two!"

"Thanks Namine, see you." Olette grinned and started to the door.

"Bye," Roxas said, following his long time friend. They both stepped inside the elevator doors, Namine waving to them cheerfully as it closed.

"What floor is your assignment on?" Olette asked, looking through her own folder.

"Erm…" Roxas opened his folder, "Third floor, B Ward Room 6."

"Oh, you're near the cafeteria. That's good, that way I don't need to show you where that is. The lounge is on the second floor, by the way. Its behind a green door so it's kinda hard not to miss." Olette said. "I'll take you to your assignment first, then I'll go to mine." She pressed the button for the third floor.

"Uh.. Olette, you never really told me what I have to do." Roxas said sheepishly. He had never worked at a hospital before- he never even dreamed he would. Roxas had an odd fear of needles, couldn't handle real blood or the thought of surgeory (though these subcategories had nothing to do with his current job, but still...) Working with crazies was another thing he couldn't picture.

"Huh? Oh!" She laughed. "I thought that would be pretty obvious, since this IS a hospital!"

Roxas frowned at her, unconsciously scolding her inability to realize what he was just thinking.

She smiled, "I'm not trying to be mean, Roxas. You just spend time with the patients and talk to them. You know, make them comfortable, make them feel normal."

"Normal?" Roxas blinked.

"Can you imagine what it's like being cooped up in a place like this?" A sad look crossed Olette's face. "Not ever able to leave this place? Picture that the only outside you've seen is the front lawn through barred windows. Roxas, we're the only connection they have to the outside world."

Roxas frowned, he never thought of it like that before. He thought mental wards were where they kept the crazies, you know, people trapped in their own world. He never imagined a crazy person to be miserable, a damned, being locked away.

Ding! (Roxas jumped) "Third Floor, Ward B, Cafeteria." Came an automated voice from the elevator.

"Here we are!" Olette stepped out, Roxas following quickly after he composed himself.

"There's also a play room on the second floor. Its a room for patients to socialize with other patients, workers and volunteers." Olette paused at a mauve-colored door with a bright brass number six. "Across from there is an art room, Namine runs the program and teaches patients how to paint. You should come down there sometime, she draws quite professionally. Next to that is the game room, I'll be in there all day if you need me-" She pouted suddenly "-playing poker with a patient named Luxord. Find him and you'll find me. Well, here's the room. Just remember to have fun Roxas." She smiled and returned to the elevator, leaving Roxas to fend for himself.

Sighing, Roxas looked at the brass number six shining in the florescent lighting. Just how was he supposed to do this? Several scenarios ran through his head: what if the patient is one of those typical crazies in a straight jacket, rocking back and forth humming "Ring Around the Rosy"? Or maybe a real messed up guy that talked to themselves about whether or not they forgot to feed Blippy the Cat even though Blippy's been dead for years? Or maybe- Roxas shook his head. Of course not! Namine said that they were harmless, and why would they let anyone, let alone a young kid, be locked in a room alone with a psycho? Than again, Namine did seem a little uneasy about giving Roxas this folder.

Shaking his head a final time, he slipped the card key into the slot, waiting for the red light to turn green. What was the worse that could happen?

-End One-

WOO! Review please? XDDD

First AkuRoku attempt, be nice!


3/8/07 - Edited, changed some wordchoice, redid some sentences... eh, its looking better. 3