Phantom Touch

Note: Welcome to the sequel of Ill Repute! If you haven't read the aforementioned, then you will definitely not be able to make heads or tails of this story. For those who are rejoining us, while the first story had one specific tone to it, this story takes a different outlook altogether. The overtones of Ill Repute are now undertones, and things unresolved before are now open to resolutions. Questions of Roxas's past and repressed memories and Sora's influence on Roxas and their relationship are all ready to be taken, along with the most pressing question of all left over from the ending: What about Axel and Roxas? Fear not, dear readers, because I'm all ready to start up a new story with new tones and new characters and situations. Thank you for joining me!

I'll ask for some amount of forgiveness if there are some errors or confusing parts in this first chapter. In my haste to get it written and up, most of the chapter was written in a hospital room, with an IV in my hand (which hurt), and all of it was written under the influence of some strong pain killers. Once I'm off the pain killers, if there are any complaints, I'll go back over the chapter and see what I can do. Thanks!

Warnings: Some adult subject matter. Angst. Axel/Roxas. Riku/Sora. Course language.

Disclaimer: I only own the alternate universe plot in which I use for this story, and not the characters, nor the Kingdom Hearts franchise, nor any affiliated characters. Please don't sue. This disclaimer extends to the end of this story.

Description: AU. Axel spends every day and every night forgetting it. Roxas spends that same time remembering it. Sequel to Ill Repute. AxelRoxas

"I, I dont know why I miss you so much. Yeah I, I dont know why I still feel your touch. You, you left me feeling high and dry with nothing, nothing but the question why. Yeah you, I guess you had another direction." –Rooster, "Deep and Meaningless"

Chapter One: Falter

Breathe in. Step. Breathe out. Step. Breathe in…


The sound of heavy boots halted in the center of the concrete sidewalk. Their owner turned to look at the person who had called out to him. "Hey, Riku." It was more of a nonchalant comment than a greeting, but the taller young man just returned it with a small smile.

"Sora's been hoping to run into you, you know." He caught up with the blond with a few long strides. "He heard that you got another letter. Wants to make sure you're alright."

Roxas appreciated his twin's concern; really, he did. Sora was probably his favorite person in the whole world, but since Sora moved in with Riku, and Roxas found his own apartment, they saw considerably less of one another than either would like. Sora found reasons to seek out his brother and spend time with him. The brunet was cheerful and loving and perpetually feeling guilty for the years of abuse Roxas had endured at the hands of their father for the sake of saving Sora from the same fate. Roxas hadn't remembered any of this for a long time, but Sora had, and Sora decided that if Roxas had had to bear the pain, he would bear the blame. It was for that reason that Roxas chose not to tell him that there were a few things he remembered; spontaneously recovered memories of things that he really didn't much want to remember, now that he knew some of them.

So, Sora's concern for him was natural. Sora had been the one who found him sobbing in the streets of Destati, covered in dirt and tears and falling apart in his misery when… when… Roxas found that it was still difficult to think about that day. Or the days that followed. He shook his head and smiled at Riku. Maybe he appreciated Sora's concern, but Sora worried about it enough. He didn't need to anymore.

"I'm okay, Riku. I didn't even open it." That was, of course, a lie. But Riku didn't need to know that. Sora didn't need to know it was just another letter filled with indifferent words and bland phrases that really meant nothing to the sender. And yet, Roxas wouldn't throw away a single one.

A silver eyebrow raised, but Riku adjusted his bag and kept walking with Roxas. "You should have dinner with Sora and me tonight. Sora misses you a lot."

"He moved out over six months ago…" Roxas mused. "Does he still really miss me that much?"

"Yeah, we never see much of you because of your job, and classes." Riku cocked his eyebrow again and smiled faintly. "I kind of miss you, too. So, what do you say?"

"Who's cooking?"

"Both of us, of course."

Roxas paused. On one hand, he really just wanted to reply to that letter. Use his time to write another letter full of emotions and bitter sentiments about things that had happened over three years before to someone who didn't really care about those things anymore. On another, he had a paper for his Abnormal Psychology class due at the end of the long weekend… But he really did just want to go spend time with his brother. The letter could wait. There was time for the paper later. He smiled faintly.

"I'd love to."

Riku actually looked relieved, and Roxas briefly thought that maybe his mask of indifference may have slipped and Riku had seen that things from the past were still actually tender and sore. "You want to head over there now?"

Roxas looked down at his bag and nodded. "Yeah. That'd be great."

It was fortunate that Roxas and Sora didn't live too far away from one another, otherwise the walk to Riku and Sora's apartment would have been much more awkward for Roxas, who was thinking about the opened envelope in his bag and what he could say in response. But they had both chosen to stay close to the university, and so their choices were limited, and the walk wasn't long and in the same direction Roxas had been heading anyway.

Riku led through the hallway, and slid his key into the door of the apartment, but never got the chance to open it on his own. Evidently, Sora had been waiting for his lover with great impatience.

"Did you ask hi—Roxas!" His smile was infectious and he tugged Roxas into a tight hug. "I'm glad you decided to come. Are you okay?" Sora inquired, pulling both into the apartment and taking Roxas's bag. The blond silently protested, tugging his bag back with an apologetic smile.

"I've got some stuff I need to work on."

Sora shot a look of what almost seemed like pity at his brother before nodding and walking away and into the kitchen. "Riku! Let's get started so we can eat soon!"

Roxas frowned; Sora knew him too well sometimes, and it made discretion difficult. Some things were better left private, but Roxas wasn't sure that Sora understood "private" so much when it came to his brother's emotional wellbeing. At least Sora's understanding and pity meant that he could be left alone to…

To what, Roxas? He thought bitterly, setting his bag on the desk that sat in the "study" room. He pulled out the emotionless letter and scanned over it again, before pulling out a blank sheet of white stationary and a black pen. Out of habit with letters for this particular person, he signed the bottom first with his name, and then moved back to the top, two lines down, and began writing the letter.

I'm glad to hear that your studies are still progressing nicely, and that you will be graduating on time next spring. I recall that you had always hoped to graduate from college, with the chance of having a future. I have the same goals for myself, and I'm glad to say that I'm doing well to finish on time myself. Sora is doing well, and he, as always, would send his wishes if he knew for sure I was writing this letter. I have the feeling that he and Riku are still getting closer, and I sometimes wonder if that's possible. I don't deny that I am very jealous of their relationship, but I guess it's a remnant of regret that I could possibly be approaching that level of happiness, were it not for past events we both remember so clearly.

Roxas set down his pen, rubbing his temples, where a headache was beginning to pound within him. Sometimes he thought that he was too bitter about things, and that maybe he was causing the recipient of this letter more pain by constantly reminding them of his bitterness.

I regret that I don't have much to say in this letter, but I, as always, wait for your responses. My feelings remain as deep and confident as always, as you should already know, but I am sure they are just as meaningless as ever to you. Wish you the best, and hope to hear from you soon.


He paused a moment, pen hovering over two lines below his name. This letter seemed as bland and meaningless as the letter sitting open and already crinkled from multiple re-readings, but, as only Roxas and its recipient knew, it was much sharper and bitter than his previous letters had been. Roxas set the pen back onto the paper and wrote a few more words.

PS: Is three years long enough to wait for a return visit to Destati?

The postscript was seemingly harmless, but as Roxas steeled himself for the worst part of writing these letters, he knew it was probably the most venomous thing he'd ever written in a letter. Maybe he was trying to cause intentional pain. Maybe he was only reciprocating his own broken heart to this person who had almost carelessly broken it. Maybe Roxas really just wanted a visit.

He thought it was all of the above as he closed his eyes and scribbled across the top line the hardest words of all to write.

Dear Axel,

End Chapter One