Axel picks up his mask.

And drops it.

And he picks it up again.

And drops it again.

He'll drop it for Vexen, just like he does his clothes, because he knows the scientist likes to watch the pieces shatter on the floor. It makes him feel more realistic, somehow, because Axel doesn't have to pretend that he's strong around Vexen. Axel doesn't have to, only because Vexen isn't any stronger than he is.

After all, fire melts ice.

Hands shiver over his hips, and Axel has to nearly tear the flesh of his lower lip to hold back a groan as the same fingers fall over his cock. Marluxia and the others, they're in the next room, and they can't hear him. He won't give Marluxia the satisfaction of that, really. So, he stifles his groans as Vexen presses his hips against his, the scientist grinding his trapped erection against the red head's own. Axel's back is against a cold wall, coat hanging off of his love-bite ridden shoulders.

Vexen was always driven by impulse. A man controlled by his needs, Axel knows, and he can't restrain himself. The simple touches, a teasing glance; even a cautious whisper will drive Vexen crazy with unrestrained lust. While the man may appear patient, to some, Axel knows that the scientist is always stuck in panic mode. Sometimes, if he feels perceptive, Axel can realize that Vexen is the most realistic idealistic being he has ever met.

He bites back a whimper as Vexen presses the first finger in. This is always the worst, Axel knows, because the burning sensation crawls into your gut and worms its way upward without deliberation. He bites what he can reach of Vexen's exposed neck, not caring if he'll leave a mark for anybody to see. They never use lubricant, because their sex is sporadic—after all, it isn't like it really hurts Axel that much, anyway, because you simply cannot hurt someone who cannot feel. Saliva works alright. Vexen is surprisingly gentle with him, for someone so driven by frozen surges of power, and he's slow with the preparation. Axel's already squirming on the three fingers that have now been worked into him, and he's already begging for Vexen to just take him.

Vexen hastily quiets him with a soft kiss, bruised against wind-chapped lips and the fire-tongue of a proverbial dragon against the bone-chilling, cold storm of a winter day clashing wetly outside of mouths. Axel keeps his legs around Vexen's waist, and the man holds him up and brings him down, like the masks that Axel tries to wear, the masks that can convince only the innocent.

Axel keens in his throat, fingers scratching restlessly against the white walls that help to support him. It's almost an act of hate to those very walls, silently screaming at them for trapping him in. It hurts (but it doesn't), well, of course it hurts (it still doesn't) but it's nothing that Axel can't handle. Vexen merely braces himself, breath frightfully cool against Axel's warm neck, and the man waits for Axel to signify that he's alright. Vexen feels so cold inside of him, and the scientist can barely contain himself. He feels like he's being burned.

Despite his recklessness, sex with Vexen is always slow. Sustained to the point as if they're moving backwards and sometimes Axel can hardly stand it. For someone so quick to move the Keyblade master along, he prolongs every little movement he makes with Axel after the initiative movements. The red head attempts to drive the man to take control, to take charge and to pretend that, for once, he's actually alive. But with a cynical smile, Vexen can tell him that he's not alive. He's just less dead.

Axel's toes curl in his boots and he releases something of a sigh, his head falling back against the wall. Vexen pulls his head away, staring at the reflection he can see on the white walls. He feels like a phantom, really, because he never takes the time to look in mirrors—he's far too busy. But staring into the reflective walls of an infected castle, he can't help but wonder what the hell he's doing. Axel's hair creates a messy red stain on the wall, his body a long cord of muddled pale pink and shimmering black. The blonde realizes that he's probably just being over-observant, and Axel writhes against the wall, impatient, because Vexen realizes that he's been ignoring him.

He slides his hands under the folds of Axel's overcoat, which hide his own pelvis under their forgiving waterfalls of leather. His palms skim over Axel's flesh, until he finds his fingers carefully on the razor sharp bones of the red head's hips. With Axel's assistance, Vexen can easily lift the thin man up and pull him back down, and Axel has to dig his head into Vexen's neck and bite painfully hard at winter-snow flesh, because he can't yell out in a delicious blaze of pleasure-pain.

He remembers how it started. There was literally no tension between them, before, and Axel usually lingered in the lower levels of the castle. He would bother anyone possible, to fill the void in his non-existent heart, trying to scare the loneliness away with pure arrogance. It didn't take Vexen more than a few days to realize this, as Axel came to visit him more and more down in the lab. Axel always had a way of revealing everything to those who were truly looking, even as he quickly tried to conceal it. It was a mundane, repetitive process that was thoroughly unneeded.

And Vexen told Axel that. He responded in fiery anger, knocking test-tubes over, spilling various chemicals on the floor. He hated feeling fake, it was clear by the way that he had moved and the look of pure torture reflecting in his eyes. Vexen was calm, the entire time, as Axel heatedly destroyed his laboratory, setting rats loose only to crush one beneath his foot and choke back fake little sobs when Vexen curled arms around his waist and simply held him from behind, chilling kisses of a forgotten frost pressing against his jaw.

"You may be a Nobody, but you're not nothing."

It only really began to begin, after that. Axel would spend his time with Vexen, but no longer because he was pretending to be bored. He didn't feel quite as lonely sitting with the man, who would fill the silence with talks of science and things that Axel didn't understand. He'd still pretend though, and nod when Vexen would talk and agree with words that he didn't know anything about. Sometimes, when they were tired of talking, Axel would press the scientist into his chair, tell him he was working too hard and he would straddle Vexen and kiss him like he meant it. And, looking back now, he knows that he meant it. He still means it, after all.

Well, he doesn't really. Then again, he doesn't really mean anything. When your existence is as useless as your words, your kisses, your body— generally, you never mean anything. Axel understands this, but still, he thinks he wants it to mean something. Vexen tightens his grip again, bringing Axel back down onto his body, practically watching the moan crawl up Axel's exposed throat, loving the way it sounds as it slides disgusting, spindly legs out of his mouth like some perverse spider.

Vexen immediately quiets him, and tongues meet again, feverish, maybe even a little bit desperate, with Vexen ready to melt and Axel wanting to feel the cool water bleed into his skin. Maybe Vexen really is like ice, a sharp, chilling outside, abrasive, but smooth to the touch and if you get brave enough to slide your palms across the surface, you'll realize that ice really isn't the enemy.

It might just be the fire.