Disclaimer: Kingdom Hearts I, COM, II, and any of the characters do not belong, in any way to the writer of this fanfiction. This fiction is written for non-profit reasons.

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I read once that the ancient Egyptians had fifty words for sand and the Eskimos had a hundred words for snow. I wish I had a thousand words for love, but all that comes to mind is the way you move against me while you sleep and there are no words for that.

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His free hand, long and thin like pale spiders drummed a steady rhythm on the table top, stopping occasionally to pick up the ceramic mug of espresso steadily growing cold that he had ordered long ago and barely sipped. He propped his elbow on the smooth surface of the booth, his chin on his hand and his eyes glued to the glass.

He watched as couples danced in the falling snow, looking so happy, so carefree, like he used to be, once upon a time. A book – Crime and Punishment for his English Seminar class lay open but unread on the red Formica surface of the table as his eyes flicked between the dancing couples outside. Expressions of envy and nostalgia briefly crossed his features before he quickly pushed them away, trying to block the past from his mind but failing miserably as yet another happy pair ran past the frosted windows, laughing.

Finally deciding he had tortured himself enough for the day, he turned away and looked down into the blue mug, cupping the warm curve with his hand. He took one last sip and placed a tip on the table for the waitress as he stood.

Usually, a cup of coffee at Café Roman refreshed him and helped him focus on the present but today, all he could think of was the past. On any other day, an espresso and freshly baked cookie from the tiny, cozy café at the corner, two blocks from his apartment would've cheered him up as he gazed out of its frosty windows, admiring the snow as it fell to cover the city. But any other day was not today.

Any other day was not a birthday. Any other day was not a day when a boy turned eighteen and became an adult. Any other day was not a day when that same boy did not even know he turned eighteen, so deep he was in what the doctors diagnosed as permanent, hopeless slumber. Any other day was not the eighteenth birthday of the boy he loved.

Today should've been a happy day. Today should've been the day when they would finally take the vows that would tie them forever till death do them part but that was not the way Fate wanted to play.

Instead, cruel Fate almost killed his poor, beloved Roxas and sent him into a coma exactly two years ago and left Axel alive to mourn over the boy in limbo. Axel often wished it was him in the coma instead of Roxas but upon realizing he could not change the past, he strove to change the seemingly bleak future instead.

Everyday, during his lunch break between his classes at Traverse University, Axel went to the hospital to sit by Roxas's bed. He would hold his hand and talk to him in whispers as though he didn't want the life support machines to hear.

He would tell him how his day was going, how life was going, how things were changing, how the Keyblade War was progressing, how much he missed him, how much he loved him, please wake up.

Everyday, Roxas would show no sign that he heard any of this. He still lay prone, silent and pale and small against the vast ocean of sterile white sheets as machines all around him beeped and hissed to keep him alive. Everyday, Axel would sigh and kiss Roxas's hand then his mouth, promising he would be back the next day, telling him he loved him over and over again as though both of their lives depended on his utterance of the three words. Everyday, as soon as he stepped into the ammonia scented halls, the nurses and doctors would look at him sadly, their pitying eyes telling him to give up all hope, give up Roxas and let him go. It was time. It was always time.

Everyday, he would defiantly stare them down, his hard, jaded green eyes reflecting the same answer. No. Never.

I'll take your love, I'll take your hate; I'll take your desires. I'll take the world when it turns on you;
I'll set it on fire….

He ignored the pink haired, bubble-gum chewing waitress trying to flirt with him as he exited the café. He shivered as the cold sting of winter bit at him, causing him to reflexively pull the collar on his long, black coat higher as his shoulders hunched in an attempt to block out the cold. The snow had begun to fall again as he stood waiting for the light to change at the intersection leading away from the coffee shop. Cold green eyes that were usually devoid of emotion with the occasional leaks of shuttered pain and jaded defeat softened and saddened as he watched the big white flakes drift down from the sky.

Roxas loved the snow.

They used to run together in the snow until their legs grew tired and heavy from the wetness of the melting ice and they would flop down wherever they were and make snow angels. With noses and cheeks pink from the cold, they would race home to their apartment for hot cocoa with marshmallows and red-striped candy canes.

They'd stare at each other from across the kitchen counter, exchanging coy smirks and sly glances before Axel could take it no longer and lounged at Roxas to pin him against the refrigerator. They'd kiss until their lips were swollen and their breathing heavy and Axel would scoop his arms under Roxas's knees and carry him to their room where they made love until Roxas complained about how he wouldn't be able to sit the next day if they went at it again.

In the mornings, before Roxas stirred awake, Axel would lie in bed and stare at Roxas – his Roxas and thank all the gods in the heavens for the beautiful blond boy that loved him and whom he loved back more than life itself. He never knew he could love someone so much.

He would be at awe as to why Roxas would be with him: grungy, snappy, and not too smart but made up for it in wit, pyromaniac Axel. He would be grateful that Roxas loved him and he would love him back more than ever.

Axel didn't know what he would do without Roxas. Roxas was his proverbial Annabel Lee. They shared the same tragic love story but Axel went to bed alone every night with the prayer at the tip of his tongue that their love story would have a different ending but that didn't seem all too likely at the moment. He would curl up in a ball in bed; painfully aware of how empty and cold it was without Roxas and think back to how things used to be.

They had grown up together on an island in the sea. They were best friends and then lovers even before Axel moved to Traverse Town for college. Axel, being four years Roxas's senior went to Traverse Town first and sent back for Roxas when he found an apartment and a job.

Roxas had left his home, his life and his friends for him.

Sometimes, Axel blamed himself for dragging Roxas from the secluded beaches of Destiny Island to the harsh alleys of Traverse Town. If he hadn't plucked his love from his sand and paopu fruit, Roxas might not have been hit by that drunk driver. He might not be in the two-years-and-running coma. He might have been happier on his island. He might have been happier with someone else instead of Axel who could offer him little more than love and a lifetime together.

There were so many ifs and might's.

If you're sleeping are you dreaming and if you're dreaming are you dreaming of me?
I can't believe you actually picked…me….

He remembered how they began and hoped that the current situation would not be the way they end.

Axel tried to block out pessimistic thoughts as he wrapped himself up in the past, bringing up memories from long ago that had shrunk and dried like flowers kept in the attic. These memories were the proverbial flowers kept in the very back of the attic of his mind. He summoned these memories every day to keep himself sane, trying simply to live his life through and to see Roxas wake.

He remembered the first time he ever said anything to Roxas about liking him and their first kiss. He had stuttered and mumbled, blushing. Axel never blushed and he certainly never stuttered. Roxas had laughed and pulled his face down for a kiss, saying, "Yes, I like you too! I always have."

He remembered the first time they made love. They kissed until their lips were tingling before Axel trailed his kisses south to Roxas's neck and chest. His heart had nearly burst at the sight of Roxas gasping and squirming beneath him as he brought his kisses lower yet. He took Roxas whole in his mouth until Roxas screamed his name and came into his mouth. The moment he entered Roxas's hot, tight body was the moment Axel knew he would want to spend the rest of his life with him.

He remembered asking Roxas to move to Traverse Town with him. Roxas knew he could only keep the transient, secular pyromaniac on the claustrophobic island surrounded by water for so long. He knew Axel wanted to move and explore the world, go somewhere foreign for college, travel and live from place to place. When Axel asked, Roxas had been too happy to say yes. He knew Axel would leave and anywhere that Axel went, Roxas wanted to follow.

He remembered giving Roxas a promise ring as he left for college to Traverse Town with nothing but a bag of his meager belongings and the knowledge that Roxas would join him later on. He had kissed Roxas goodbye before he stepped on the Gumi Ship. It was the first time he cried and the first time he ever saw Roxas cry. His heart was breaking but he knew it was only temporary.

He remembered asking Roxas to marry him. It was Roxas's sixteenth birthday and Axel had just turned twenty. Roxas threw his arms around him, kissed him and with glowing eyes and flushed cheeks, he had exclaimed, "Yes, yes, yes."

They would be married on Roxas's eighteenth birthday.

But like all couples, they had their ups and downs. They've had their fights but nothing ever drove them apart and that was the thing their friends envied about them. They were meant to be together and it was simple as that. No one ever questioned it and Axel and Roxas certainly never did.

They were best friends, first and foremost and they never forgot that. Even when they fought, they remembered and found that they could forgive each other for just about anything.

Can you imagine no love, pride, deep-fried chicken? Your best friend always sticking up for you even when I know you're wrong; Can you imagine no first dance, freeze dried romance, five-hour phone conversations?
The best soy latte that you ever had… and me….

Snapping back to the present, Axel glanced down at the hardcover book he held in his gloved hands. Crime and Punishment. Maybe this was his punishment. Punishment for loving Roxas too much.

If that was so, Axel was willing to accept it because he was guilty as charged.

Unconsciously, his black booted feet had led Axel all the way to the hospital. He was so used to walking past the same buildings and streets for the past two years that he did not even have to look to see where he was going. Sometimes, he avoided seeing intentionally, in hopes that an accident might happen so he would no longer have to endure life without Roxas. Sometimes, even he, Axel, the great optimist felt the onslaught of depression just waiting to engulf and swallow him whole.

He used to tease Roxas for being so pessimistic and dreary while Axel saw life in a kaleidoscope of bright colors and his own was especially brilliant.

He pulled open the heavy glass door and strode through the lobby and waiting room of the hospital. He quickly walked past the patients waiting to be treated, careful to avoid looking at their wounds as they waited, sitting in hard plastic chairs for hours on end.

Security and nurses waved and offered sympathetic smiles as he walked past, just like they did every day but the smiles seemed more strained today. They were all wearing masks and the masks were cracking.

So was his.

"Axel," he heard from behind him as he headed down the hallway in the Neurology wing of the hospital. He turned to face Naminé, a petite blond nurse that he had come to know as a friend during the course of Roxas's stay. He offered a small, tight smile as she approached.

"I have some bad news," she told him, her eyes sad and empathetic. "Roxas's condition is worsening. The doctors said they don't know what would happen if he wakes up… if he ever does. His brain functions are decreasingly rapidly. Even if he ever wakes, he would never be the same. The brain damage has been too much. We're all surprised he had lasted even this long. His brain function is gone."

Axel's breath caught and the light sprang in his wide eyes were doused, replaced by anger.

"We don't think he's ever going to wake," she continued. "Even I am beginning to lose hope. Maybe it's time to let go, Axel." She bit her lip as she glanced up at Axel.

He did not say anything as he walked past her towards Roxas's room. He slid into the chair by Roxas's bedside and took his hand. Hot pinpricks irritated his closed eyelids as he screwed his eyes shut. The tears were threatening to fall as he sat slumped in the plastic chair, his hand shaking as he willed himself not to hope too much for the impossible.

"Roxas," he whispered; his voice was breaking. He opened his eyes to look at his unconscious lover. Axel reached over with a gloved hand to lovingly smooth back the blond spikes scattered across Roxas's forehead as his hand gripped the boy's ever tighter.

"Happy birthday, love," Axel murmured lovingly. He smiled sadly as he continued. The tears were dropping unchecked from his eyes as he talked. He barely noticed the wetness trailing down his cheeks until his vision blurred and he raised a hand to swipe at the saline tracks.

"Do you remember what day it is?" he asked. He didn't really expect an answer to his question as he stared down at Roxas's left hand. He eyed the ring on the fourth finger almost resentfully as he continued.

"Today was the day we were supposed to be married."

I am thinking it's a sign that the freckles in our eyes are mirror images and when we kiss they're perfectly aligned. And I have to speculate that God Himself did make us into corresponding shapes…
like puzzle pieces from the clay….

It had been two years – two long years and even Axel's hope had begun to dwindle and erode. The hope that Roxas would wake was finally gone. Axel was finally ready to let go of the childish hope that everything would work out for the best in the end and that good things always happened to good people. He had to let go of the hope that Sleeping Beauty would ever wake up.

He would finally listen to the doctors and let go of Roxas. He was dying as he held Roxas's hand while the nurses switched off all of the machines and announced Roxas's time and date of death. It was the same day as the day he was born, with eighteen years in between.

A week later, Axel and eleven of Roxas's closest friends stood on Sunset Hill.

Axel did not cry as he reached his hand into the heavy ceramic urn and took out a handful of his lover's ashes.

"Goodbye," he whispered as he let go.

At home, Axel went straight to their room, not bothering to attend to the mourners who had come to give their condolences. He knew they never meant any of it. They never knew Roxas… not like he did. They didn't really know "what a sweet boy" Roxas was. They never knew if he was really "so smart, so young." They didn't know anything. Axel holed up in the dark room and let his friends take care of the guests.

In the darkness, he stumbled to the dresser and pulled out a heavy metal object. He had gotten the gun a year ago after the doctors told him Roxas needed to be put on life support. He wasn't sure why he bought it and always kept it loaded but now he knew.

He was going to see Roxas again.

He lifted the gun; his arm felt heavy and leaden and he almost dropped the weapon but he hung on.

"I'll see you in the next life," Axel told Roxas.

Looking around the empty room, he could almost hear Roxas's voice and see Roxas standing next to the mirror, smiling. "I'll be waiting."

Axel chuckled sardonically, smiling a false saccharine smile. "Silly. Just because you have a next life."

Bam.

I'll be your number one with a bullet….
A loaded God complex, cock it and pull it….

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Review please. I like the idea of Axel and Roxas possibly getting married. The idea had been stuck in my head for some time now. But I don't believe in happy endings.

The first quote was from Brian Andreas, an artist. The rest of the Italicized lyrics, in their respective order were: "Walking Dead" by Chester Bennington and DJZ Trip; "Calling You" by Blue October; "Drops of Jupiter" by Train; "Such Great Heights" by the Postal Service; "Sugar, We're Going Down" by Fallout Boy.