They'd always grown up together, the six of them. In their normal little neighborhood, they were like weeds: prickly, troublesome, resilient, always where they weren't wanted; but never in trouble because, if the five of them were the thorns, then little Naminé was the flower.

Back then they were six. Nowadays they're five because Larxene, the very embodiment of a (pistol) cocked hip, snap, jaunt and disrespect. She's at a Center trying to get off heroin.

There are still the four boys and Naminé. Marluxia is only the oldest because his birthday is early on in the year, it lands all smack and happy on the 17th of February. Naminé is younger than their lot by two years. She runs with their motley troop because Roxas is her older brother.

In actuality, they all play the role of older sibling for her. It makes up for their own dysfunctional families. Axel's mom is gone, Larxene's dad has flown the coop, Demyx lives with his grandparents, who hate him, and Marluxia has an apartment; an emancipated minor since fifteen.

Their, Roxas and Naminé's, childhoods had been happy and normal, two parents, middle class. Their home became the sanctuary to their friends.


Marluxia keeps pictures of all of them on his bedside table. It's really the only decoration in the whole apartment and Roxas finds himself staring at them more often than not. Marluxia won't acknowledge him right now anyway, so, why not?

His favorite is a photograph of Axel and Larxene. The picture was taken downtown with the pair sitting on the bridge, overlooking the river. They're both a little drunk, each smoking a fag and both grinning like barracudas. Larxene is wearing a low-cut shirt and daisy dukes, because her legs are long wonderful things.

She and Axel always were the most like thorns: tall, skinny, and personalities like puffer fish.

Roxas gives a little sigh and Marluxia continues to smoke in silence.

He misses Larxene a lot. True, she is kind of a bitch and has no tact and is always as politically incorrect as possible. She also beats him up if he doesn't get her a Valentine's Day gift, but she's also the girl Roxas grew up with. She's a friend and a sister. In the picture, her blonde hair looks almost silver and her eyes are bright and shining: from mirth, from drink, from conspiracy.

She'd pushed Axel into the river mere moments after the shot was taken.

Axel.

Axel is, without a doubt, Roxas' best friend. In the image, every line of him is intense, like something radioactive. Acid-pop green eyes and fierce red hair, which convey his personality without any room to err. He's loud, open, forceful…and at the same time, it's a façade for a terrifying amount of guile.

Roxas buries his head under the sheets. He wants to talk to Axel so badly.

Or maybe a letter would be better—easier. He can write the damn thing in his head.

'Dear Axel, do you remember that one time a case of wine was accidentally delivered to Demyx's grandparents and, since they didn't want it, they just left it out on the curb?'


Sometimes, when they had a guys' night out, they fucked around. They might just get drunk and someone might just happen to end up with someone else's dick in his mouth.

As they grow older, Roxas stops drinking but he still vomits with them in the mornings.


After a while, he can't take it anymore. He gets up and starts to scramble into his clothes and Marluxia doesn't say a word.

"I'm gonna go home." Marluxia glances over at him and Roxas feels his chest tighten. "Give me a call."

"Sure."

He knows better…he knows much better than that. He wants to believe it so badly though.

"Okay then. I'll see you. Maybe we can get together with everyone soon."

"Yeah. Maybe."

Two syllables. They're going for the gold.


He feels like falling asleep. He feels like letting his pillow rustle against his ear and drown out the quiet nothing—empty of his room.

He can hear Naminé downstairs watching TV with her friends. They're yammering about, whatever it is eighteen-year old girls yammer about.

He wishes it were that simple and the pain sets in and he wants to call Marluxia.

Time flies as he contemplates the ceiling.


"He hasn't been to class in two week. Something must be up. We need to go check on him." Demyx is pacing the front of the classroom. They've long since been dismissed and even the teacher has vacated. Axel watches him in the appearance of boredom, while inside he wonders what's up with Roxas.

"Maybe."

"Look, my grandparents are going out of town and they like him…So, maybe they'll ask him to housesit, since they don't trust me, and then I can talk to him and find out what's going on and…"

"Dude, shut up. You're over-thinking. Maybe he's been busy. Maybe he's trying to find an apartment. He can't stay with his parents forever." Axel doesn't like to freak out about things. He can rationalize it all away, a testament to his mental illness.

"It's fucked up. We…we aren't how we used to be. He doesn't talk to us. Not me, not you. Marluxia is…I…I don't know what's going on with him. He's never home and…"

"Marluxia has to work, Demyx. Do we have to go over this again? We've been arguing this point since he went through the court-shit. It is a twice-dead beaten horse."

"I am freaking out man."

Axel is getting impatient. "I noticed. Hey, I'll…mosey over to Larxene's and talk to Carla. We all gotta check up on her now. She won't even make her own food since Larxene is at the Center. Roxas always did it…so, she's probably seen him. Do you feel better?"

"Okay…okay. I'm going to try and get us all out. Marluxia, Roxas, Naminé. This weekend."

"Sure. Whatever. You're paying."


"Carla? Are you home?"

"I'm in the living room, hon."

"I brought some food."

"Aww, thanks, sweetheart."

"Oh, god…let's get the windows open…it smells like a smoke yard."

"I always forget…"

"You've got to take better care of yourself."

"I know, Rox, I know. I just…I forget without Larxene around to bitch at me."

"She'll be back soon. You have to keep up with yourself or she'll be really angry when she sees you."

"I'll try."

"I'll come check on you again soon."

"Thanks for the dinner!"


His cellphone is ringing as he opens the door. He pulls it out and eyes the caller.

Marluxia Halaoui: 219-846-4283

Roxas answers in a hurry and rushes up the stairs to his room.

"You called." The pleasure is clear in his voice and he sounds so overeager, but he can't care.

"Yeah, of course I did…I miss you." Marluxia has always been able to purr like that. It makes Roxas' voice catch in his throat because, even as the intimation goes straight to his groin, it also sets off warning bells in his head and…He'd decided to end things because he's tired of all the hurt but…

"Do you want me to come over now?"

"I've got your favorite movie and enough gin to knock out an elephant."

He doesn't drink and they never watch the movie. Roxas wonders if Marluxia actually does rent it every time he claims to.

"Sounds good to me. See you in fifteen."

"Can you pick up some condoms on the way?"

"No problem."

Roxas is so disgusted with himself that he can actually taste the bile in the back of his throat.


"Hey, Carla! Where are you at?" The screen door used to squeak; now it squeaks and bangs. "You still need to get the door fixed!"

"Living room! And I forgot!"

"You always forget. Get that bum boyfriend of yours to do it. What was his name? Randy?" Carla has never had good luck with men. At least she hasn't ended up with a brood of kids, but her ex-list is longer than his leg.

"We broke up. Now I'm dating Ted."

"Ugh! Does this guy at least have a job?"

"Librarian. Come eat with me, Axel."

He raises and eyebrow, leaving his shoes at one end of the couch, it's not really out of consideration, the carpet is filthy, covered in stains; vomit, mud, blood, alcohol, perfumes, paints; this carpet has seen it all. He takes off the shoes because his feet are hot; the apartment has no AC.

"Where'd you get food? I know you didn't cook. Does Ted cook?"

"Roxas brought it over…bought an hour ago." Carla looks thin and sad and sweaty and dirty. Axel remembers the one time she'd looked beautiful…It had been her second marriage, a real well to-do guy and even Larxene could tolerate him and everybody had thought it would be okay, but then he'd died in a car crash.

"Rox was here? Demyx and I haven't seen him for weeks."

Carla pauses, a green bean poised on her fork halfway to her mouth. "He's been skipping class?"

"Yep."

"You're kidding? That…is something going on? Should I call Janice and Frank?"

"Nah, don't freak. If something were really wrong Naminé would have told us. But, Roxas seemed okay?"

"Yeah, same old…"

Axel sprawls along the couch beside her, eyeing the crackling TV in distaste. She shoves a potato chip between his lips, so he crunches.

"Any word from the bitch?"

"Yeah, got a letter uh…couple days ago. Says she's doing well, but she's always been a liar."

"That she has."


The phone is ringing.

"Roxas! Could you get the phone? I've got something cooking!"

The phone is still ringing.

"Roxas?"

Naminé peaks up the stairs and calls his name one more time before rushing to get the phone.

"Hello?" She pulls the cord with her back to the kitchen. Since their kids are older, Janice and Frank have been getting out more. Naminé doesn't mind since she can make her own dinner. "Oh! Mrs. Ilvain! How have you been? That's great. Demyx is behaving himself? I'm sure he has. You want to talk to Roxas? I'm sorry, I have no idea where he is or when he'll be back. Can I take a message? Let me grab a piece of paper so I can leave him a note…House-sitting for a few days? Right. I'll be sure he gets it. Have a good night. You too!"

She's tangled in the phone cord, the soup is about to boil over and she has a pencil clutched between her teeth.

She's got no idea where Roxas has gone. She hopes he isn't in trouble.


Their mouths slide wet and shiny. Their tongues are joined at play and then Marluxia pulls away. He licks his lips and grabs the hem of Roxas' shirt, tugging soundly.

"Please?"

Roxas is short of breath and he just nods and he smiles and he feels a thrill as Marluxia pulls off his clothes. Marluxia tastes like gin and the smell is overpowering.

Then their mouths are joined again. Marluxia takes his smaller hands and guides them to his pants. He gives a groan as he squeezes Roxas' fingers against himself.

They jump back like fighters, removing the last of their clothes, fumbling with condoms, taking another swig of drink.

"Want a drink?"

"You know I don't drink."

"C'mon."

"…Please, not this again?" He reaches out, sliding the cool rubber over the brunet's curved erection. Roxas hopes it's a sufficient distraction. He hopes that Marluxia doesn't drop the bottle of gin. He doesn't want anything to feel the pain of shattering.

"Fine, fine. Get on your back."


Their graduation picture sits on the kitchen counter. Roxas looks at it as he drinks a crappy cup of coffee in the morning and Marluxia is across the room, on the couch watching the news, smoking a cigarette, ignoring him.

"Remember graduation?" Roxas wonders, resigned to that fact that, if he's blessed with an answer, it'll be nothing more than a 'yes' or a 'no'.

"Yep."

Heh. He was off by one letter.


Everything is in chaos. It's graduation and no one knows what they're doing. Life is coming up on them and they have to say goodbye to the safety of the classroom. Those thrilled to leave are ignorant of what the real world holds for them.

Their little group is all huddled together, shifting around in unaccustomed garb. Demyx is having a panic attack and Axel and Larxene are smoking, pretending not to care. They don't know where Marluxia is and that is, kind of, a cause for concern.

"I'll go find him," Roxas offers faintly.

He has to wriggle his way through the crowd, which is thrumming with energy. A bunch of middle-aged assholes living vicariously through their children, as if this an experience which needs to be relived and he finds Marluxia a block away, sitting at a bus stop and not in his robes.

The brunet is jiggling his legs frantically and glancing around. When he spots Roxas he stills abruptly, his face white as a sheet.

"I'm not going," he says without prompting.

"To graduation? That's fine, I think. You don't have to do the big stupid ceremony."

"Right. Right. I don't have any parents who will want to take my picture or any of that bullshit."

"My parents will want to take your picture. Carla will want to at least get one with all of us…"

"No. No."

"Marluxia." Roxas is honestly concerned. "What's wrong with you? You're acting weird."

"Shut it, you queer."

Then Roxas is taken aback. "What?"

"No. No. I mean…this whole damn thing has me spooked. Are you and Axel gonna go off to college? You're all gonna work and get a new crowd and I'm gonna be left in my fucking dingy little apartment." He's blathering on and on about his feelings and being scared like a little girl. Roxas steps in front of him and says in a voice as dry as leaves,

"We aren't going anywhere. Shut up."

Marluxia reaches out a shaking hand, taking Roxas' into his own. He stares at the difference. He's always been bigger, and he tans better and Roxas' hand looks like a little girly thing in comparison and, for some stupid reason, he kisses it. He's got no idea what he's doing and he's pretty sure that's because he's gone crazy. Next thing he knows he pulled Roxas down awkwardly into his lap and he's kissing him hard and sloppy on the mouth.

The blond boy, who he's known since birth, practically …He's an amiable little kitten in his lap and Marluxia has always known he was gay. Always. They've all had sex with Larxene; Roxas is just the one who won't admit it because it freaked him out.

"You're not gonna leave me, are you, Roxas?"

"N-no."

"We're gonna stick together, because we love each other." He doesn't even have the decency to mean it at the time.

"Yes," Roxas breathes out in shock. Then it dawns on him that they still have to graduate. "Come on, we're going to miss the whole thing, my parents will slaughter me."

"Right." Marluxia smirks and kisses him once more.


She's getting ready for the bus when Roxas comes in the front door and she stares at him.

"Where were you?"

"Marluxia's."

"I covered with Mom and Dad. You've got two phone messages. Both are from the Ilvains. I put them on your desk."

"Thanks, have a good day at school. Graduation is coming."

"Yeah. I…I'm scared witless."

"Good."

"You suck."

"You'll be fine. You've got that scholarship."

"Which I don't deserve."

"Not this again!"

"Naminé: the self-esteem-less wonder!"

"See you when you get home, I need to shower and sleep."

"You aren't going to class?"

"No."

"All right…"

As Naminé said, there are two notes on his desk. One is from the grandmother, asking him to housesit; the other is from Demyx, asking if they can make it for a get-together on Saturday. Roxas purses his lips and thinks about it. Housesitting is no problem, but Demyx will have invited Marluxia…


"It's no trouble. It's only until Monday. Yeah, I'll make sure Demyx doesn't blow anything up."

His cellphone has been vibrating in his pocket for the past four minutes while Demyx's uptight, drill-sergeant grandparents go over the rules with their grandson for the fourth time.

When they get in the car and finally drive away, Roxas isn't sure if he could be more grateful. He pulls out his cellphone and Demyx wanders off to find his guitar and pout for a little while.

"Hello?"

"Roxas."

Marluxia…he hadn't checked the number…he didn't want to talk to Marluxia, but it's…

"Marluxia. Hey, you called." He's smiling. He hates himself. He hates life.

"Yeah. Got the afternoon off."

"I'm sorry, I'm watching the house for Demyx's old people."

"Like they'll know if you leave?"

"I haven't really spent any time with Demyx in—"

"You're choosing him over me."

"No. No. Don't even try that. I've seen you exclusively for nearly a month, I—"

"As if I asked you to?"

"No, but I've been—"

"Look, I don't care. Don't come. I'll find something else to do."

"Please don't be angry."

"Angry? Who's angry?"

"Please…" This is? Why does this happen?

Marluxia let's out a huffy little sigh because he is angry. "Are you and Naminé coming Saturday?"

"Yes, I think so."

"I'll see you then."

"I…"

"What is it? I'm going to hang up on you."

"I love you."

"…"

"I…I do. I love you. Bye."

The words make Roxas feel like his gums are bleeding.


She's heading for the bus when she spots a familiar face waiting at the curb, smoking. There are a few burnt out filters lying around Axel's feet.

"You smoke too much," she notes, sidling up beside him. She hasn't seen him in a while.

"Yes, mother."

"To what do I owe the pleasure of your company?"

"I'm trying to get in touch with your brother."

"He's been around," she says, blinking from surprise.

He levels his gaze with her. "He hasn't been to class in three weeks."

"I…oh."

"Yeah, oh."

"He's house-sitting. With Demyx. You should be able to find him there later."

"Thanks, you're a peach. Want a milkshake?"

"Strawberry."

"I know."

"Chili-cheese dog too."

"Sure thing, my delicate little cupcake."


Demyx is a little bit drunk; he's usually a little bit drunk. He takes the verbal abuse from his grandparents like a good trooper. They'd always thought his mom was a slut and his dad was a bum. After his parents had though died in a house fire, he'd really had no choice but to live with them. He's been saving up to get a car and an apartment. But that's harder than it sounds; his grandparents have made him pay rent since he was old enough to get a job. His friends used to each donate from their allowances to his 'rent' fund, so he wouldn't have to spend every waking minute working.

"I've missed you, Roxas." His fingers wander his guitar lovingly. "I'm so worried about you. You don't come to class…no one sees you. If something is wrong, for the love of God, tell me. Or, at least, Axel."

"I've just been busy and then I was sick for a week. I'm tired and college doesn't feel like a priority right now and…" It sounds like he's frantically making up excuses, which he is, but Roxas shuts up, quickly.

"Oh." Demyx doesn't seem to believe it, but he also doesn't want to believe his friend would lie to him. "Okay."

"So, where are we all meeting on Saturday?" Roxas prays he can change the subject.

"I was thinking we could all go to Gator's. Riku works on Saturdays he would give us a discount, keep me from going broke." Demyx gives him a bleary look and smiles like a drunken man. "Well, if Marluxia comes that'll be a lost cause. He could out drink…uh…God."

Roxas laughs half-heartedly. "Yeah, he could."

The phantom scent of gin goes through the house.

Demyx hates gin. He likes beer; he even tolerates cheap American beer like MGD, which the others who drink swear is nothing but swill.

"I'm so glad you're here," Demyx blubbers.

Roxas thinks he might cry too.


Saturday night comes along and Roxas had hoped to see Marluxia before then, but never got hold of him, so he and Naminé go to Gator's. Riku recognizes them and as he leads them over to the others, puts a 'designated driver' sticker right on Naminé's forehead. She scowls at him and then moves it to her shirt.

Marluxia is there and already has two empty glasses in front of him. Roxas slides into the booth beside him and shoots him a wondering glance. The brunet ignores him and then Axel is being so bright and cheery that Roxas can't keep worrying. He gets dragged off to play foosball against his best friend while Demyx gives stirring commentary.

"Marluxia is completely drunk." Roxas eventually hears Demyx say sadly. He turns around to look. Marluxia has an arm slung over his sister's shoulders and he's whispering into her ear. Roxas watches and thinks about being ill, all over the floor.

"And in the moment of distraction…Axel scores!" The redhead is beaming at him across the table when Roxas gazes back.

Roxas gives him a weak smile and then wanders away.

Two glasses and a shot…Marluxia is just barely getting started. He isn't drunk at all.


He drives Marluxia home and they're fighting by the time they're inside.

"Jealousy is pretty ugly, Roxas," Marluxia sneers and shoves him against the door. Roxas' arm stings.

"I know you."

Marluxia growls and whips around, slamming his fists into the wood at the right of Roxas' head. "No. I don't think you do."

"Go to hell," Roxas whispers. "You aren't drunk. I don't even have the satisfaction of saying you're drunk!" He ends up yelling.

"Fuck." Marluxia says. "Just fuck. You can go and screw around with Demyx but I can't—"

"I was not screwing around with Demyx. I told you what—"

"Bullshit. You're a shameless cock sucker, Roxas."

"W-w…Y-you…"

"Yes. Don't bother denying it, you slut. It's simple. You fuck around with one of our friends then I—"

"No. No. God. Goodbye."

He pushes Marluxia back and exits the apartment with an angered growl and a door slam.


He takes a bus to the middle of nowhere. It's hot and there are really only a few other people on the bus. The box of chocolate in his lap is melting and no one knows where he is.

He left his cellphone in the garbage can under his desk.

So, the stop comes up, Saint Cettin's Rehabilitation Center.

He's the only one getting off here; the parking lot is dusty and empty. He smiles feebly and starts to fix his hair, before realizing he doesn't care.

When he goes up to the desk he has to fill out a ton of forms and then wait for them to find out if Larxene will even see him. He sits in the drab waiting room for half of an hour. He's so bored he thinks that he can hear the chocolate re-solidifying in the medical-facility-chill.

At length, they call him into the visiting area, which is just a big gymnasium with a bunch of chairs and card tables set up. There aren't many visitors, so he finds Larxene with ease.

She looks a lot like her mother, sad and thin and sweaty and dirty.

"Hey," she growls at him, taking another harsh drag on her cigarette; her hands are shaking. Roxas' escort scowls at her and she bares her teeth.

"You shouldn't smoke," Roxas says. It's a token thing. He doesn't mean it. They all know that they would rather she smoked than did heroin.

"Fuck you. Fuck you. Fuck you."

He pushes the chocolate over to her. The box is made of fuzzy velvet and heart shaped. "Happy Valentine's Day."

"It's November. I love you. Let's go have sex, okay?"

He gives her a weak smile. "How're you doing?"

"Fuck you. Fuck you! Fuck you!" She yells. "What kind of a fucking question is that, Roxas? I want a goddam fix! I want out of here! I want to have sex with Axel because he's a good fuck and he doesn't say he loves me and I want to go shopping with Naminé and get drunk with Marluxia. I want to bitch at my mom and cook dinner. Fuck you. Fuck… Fucking…" She draws on the cigarette for a long time before looking up at him again.

His mouth twitches. "I took out the ones with the pink shit in the middle."

She stares at him and her mouth trembles. Her eyes aren't as bright as they are in the picture at Marluxia's bedside and her hair is the epitome of depression.

"I hate you. I love you. I want a caramel one."

Roxas opens the box, setting aside the lid with care; she promptly knocks it to the floor. He points out the one with the caramel and she stuffs it into her mouth.

"We miss you too."

"I…How is my mom?"

"We're taking care of Carla."

"That stupid bitch. I'll tell her in my next letter to do something around the house."

"She'd appreciate it."

"I know. I know! I…Fuck."

"You'll come back. You're getting there."

"I better be. This place is Hell. I hate the people here and there's nothing to do and I ache and sweat and…How are you Roxas?"

"They'll probably take away your cigarettes eventually."

"I'll kill them. Answer my question." She puts several more pieces of chocolate into her mouth and chews noisily.

"I'm…"

"What?" She sits up stiffly. When he doesn't answer her, she throws the chocolate at him. "Tell me you little pig-shit or I'll—"

"It's nothing. We're just not…"

"Oh. Again. Still? Rox. Please. He's shit. He's slime. I love him. I love having sex with him when I'm shit-faced drunk and I love fucking up the town with him but I would never…Why would you…God. Please."

He shrugs. "I love him."

"No? No. Why couldn't you fall in love with Axel or Demyx? You've sucked them off just as many times, why him? Why? Damn it!" She's shaking and shivering. Roxas gets up, going to stand behind her and he hugs her. She elbows him, but he doesn't let go, just ducks his chin. She won't look up; she stares at where he had been; at the strewn chocolates and sucks on his cigarette, burning it to the filter.

"I don't know," he whispers into her hair. It tastes like salt and the cheap shampoo she'd used two days ago.

"Why do you have to be a faerie? I would rather you boned Naminé…"

"That's sick, Larxene."

"Why couldn't you fall in love with me? Then I could've had the pleasure of destroying your cute little boy heart…This is all your fault for being a homo!"

Roxas' laugh is just a bit hysterical. "I'm so sorry."

"Fuck Axel. Just ask him and he'll be on you like a bitch in heat. Well, you'd be the bitch. No…I take that back. Push him up against a wall and just fuck him. On a street corner. He's a shameless exhibitionist."

"Oh, God," Roxas stutters on his chuckles. "Oh, right, he…told me I was a shameless cock sucker and a slut."

"I hate him. I'll kill him. He's hung like a horse…How do you walk?"

Roxas really isn't crying. Really he isn't. "I don't know, I really don't."

"Rox, Roxas…You're an idiot. At least tell Axel. Tell him. He'll tell you the same things I do, only he'll take his dad's gun and shoot him. Please. I'm begging. Oh, God. You hear me? Begging. I hate you! Look what you've made me do! Get the fuck out!"

She's so deadly serious.


He gets home and he can hear his cellphone ringing loudly in the metal garbage can. He won't. He won't get it.

The house phone rings. Naminé brings it up.

"Where the fuck have been?" It's Marluxia. Roxas can feel the tears streaming down his face, but somehow he keeps his voice together.

"What's it to you?"

"Fucking whore!"

"Go to Hell."

He hangs up. He puts the phone in the hall and then locks his door.

Maybe he'll go to class tomorrow.

Naminé starts to badger him in the morning, but he tells her he's really going to class. She smiles and lets him go.

He gets halfway to the campus before Marluxia shows up and drags him into his car, pinning him down.

"Please," he whispers, slipping a hand up Roxas' shirt and winding his fingers into his hair.

Roxas squirms; kicking but not hitting anything except the window. "Get off me!"

"Roxas…hey. Come on…"

"No."

"It's just, I was jealous."

"No!"

"God, you're a bitch."

"Get off."

Some well-meaning citizen taps sheepishly on the window. Marluxia jerks back reluctantly and Roxas scrambles from the car.


It's the flowers and the phone calls and the chocolates and the cards. He's weak. He's so weak.

After fleeing the silence of Marluxia's apartment, he wanders his way towards the campus. He's been going to class again, but he's so behind.

"Do you have a cigarette?"

"You don't smoke," Axel replies, frowning.

"I do now."

"Uh…dirty habit?"

"Do you have a cigarette?"

"Yeah, okay."


They're fighting again by Friday and Roxas buys his own pack.
Axel shows up at Marluxia's apartment.

"You're fucking Roxas." The redhead sounds so stunned that Marluxia starts to laugh.

"Yeah."

"How long have you been fucking Roxas?"

"Eh, a while."

"You're. He's with you. Getting fucked."

"Usually."

"He's…he's a mess." Axel's suddenly gone from stunned to murderously angry. "He's a fucking wreck and you just…you just fuck him!"

There's hostility and fire and Marluxia bristles and edges to the side so it'll be easier to herd Axel out of the flat.

"I don't do anything he doesn't want."

That stops the redhead. He glowers and, if looks could kill, the entire city would be dead. He gets to his feet without being asked and storms from the apartment, calling over his shoulder,

"You're a piece of shit. Just stay away, leave him alone."

Marluxia has never really liked being told what to do…


The plan starts out with him wanting to talk to Roxas. The little bitch still won't pick up his goddamn phone. So, he's going over there. He's pissed off and the world is double and blurry and he has to stop and hold onto the grass so he doesn't fall off the Earth.

He wants to know how Axel found out about them because they weren't supposed to tell the others. Roxas must have told him; Marluxia just wants the satisfaction of hearing him admit it. Maybe then he'll raid Roxas' fridge for something to drink and then…They haven't had sex in Roxas' bed yet.

Naminé answers the door and the plan changes.

"Hi." She smiles, fluttering her eyelashes at him. "Roxas is upstairs in his room." She opens the door to him and he stumbles inside. She reaches out to steady him, touches him, her hand is small and girly…Her hair is blonde and her eyes are perfectly blue. One perfect difference. He kicks the door shut as he caresses her soft little breasts.

Naminé makes a frightened small squeaking noise, so he presses his mouth to hers. She starts to shove him back, so he winds her up in his arms. She starts to try sliding to the floor, tries to slip from his arms…So, he picks her up and heads up the stairs, still keeping her mouth busy, muffled.

He's got her. Her own fault…touching him like that, knowing how he feels about her. He's told her and she's grown up into such a hot little bitch. Roxas is familiar territory; she's exciting and new.

He's already started to fuck her before he slips up and she lets out a shriek.

Obviously Roxas comes running and Naminé is fighting him with that much more fervor. He smacks her…shoves her away, and sets about getting Roxas out of the picture. Backhand across the jaw, punch to the gut…Keeps punching until Roxas makes a feeble gurgling sound and Naminé is screaming still.

He's dizzy and Roxas is trying to convince him to stop.

"I…love you…"

"Moron!" He slurs. Because he's never loved Roxas. Roxas was just an easy substitute for a girl and he got tired of having the second best thing.

Naminé tries to hit him with a lamp, but he catches sight of her movement and stops her. Roxas can't move, Naminé is all his. Every way he can think of and she cries and screams but there's every-day noise drowning her out. Cars, airplanes, dogs, air conditioners.

He doesn't expect interruption and he almost thinks it's Roxas until he's turned around and Axel is beating him into pulp. He hears Naminé sobbing. He almost smirks. She'll remember this for the rest of her life.

He manages to block one of Axel's frenzied attacks, and tries to counter. The blow doesn't faze the redhead.

One step…two…stumble…trip, fall, crash. Perfectly graceful until the window got in the way.


He'd asked Roxas to meet him at five. Roxas didn't show up, so he went to get him. He'd found what he'd found.

His heart swells as he watches Marluxia fall through the window. Naminé is bawling and the room smells like blood. He gets to the floor because that's where Roxas is lying and Naminé is curled up beside him and he pulls them both into his arms, cradling them.

Sirens whine.

"You didn't push him." Naminé whimpers.

Axel smiles. "I wish I had."

"Roxas." Naminé whispers plaintively, her fingers scrabble inelegantly at her brother's neck, looking for a pulse.

"He's breathing."

Police. The front door is open; Axel left it that way.

"You didn't push him," Naminé asserts helplessly. That seems to be the only thing she can really grasp. Axel's mouth twitches and then he nods. That's all she needs.

Medics, neighbors, police, sirens. Axel wonders if Naminé will be pregnant and if Roxas will have a concussion. Maybe he'll be sent to jail. That'd be a story for Larxene…

'You sent me the letter about Roxas and Marluxia…I killed the bastard, just like you told me to.'


Demyx freaks out. The moms cry. The dads look stoic. Naminé won't have the baby. Roxas looks like a sausage and spends days vomiting up blood.

Abortions. Therapists. 'He landed on his head…broke his neck.'

She carries a knife and a can of mace.

He goes and spits on Marluxia's grave and sometimes cries about not being worth it to him.

Axel can't bring himself to have sex with him when he asks.

He hates his good conscience.

Larxene would laugh.

Axel wonders who should tell her about the whole thing.

Carla won't.

Maybe he and Roxas will go together.

That'll be…fun.

...way to end things.


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