99 Bottles of Beer on the Wall
Disclaimer: noun (law) a voluntary repudiation of a person's legal claim to something. I claim no legal ownership to Kingdom Hearts. 覚えるしますか？
Opening Notes: You utter fools! Are you trying to do reverse psychology on me or something, or are you just that dense? If you read my LJ – which you should, especially if you look forward to new chapters of mine as much as you profess – you would have read that: Because so many people wanted a sequel to this story, you're not getting one. But! I am going to continue writing. This story has 125 favorites and 131 alerts. The numbers don't lie. So here we begin the return trip from Roxas's POV.
Eleven: Commit the oldest sins, in the newest ways.
"Why can't Riku drive?"
"My liscence was revoked."
"Revoked?" Axel repeated, eyebrows shooting up.
"He ran into a tree," Sora explained.
"A tree?" Kairi repeated slowly.
"A tree," Sora confirmed.
I smirked. "I knew you were an idiot, Riku, but that's even too stupid for you."
"It's not my fault," Riku huffed. "If Sora's hand hadn't been—"
"—And you really don't need to finish that sentence," Axel and I added hastily, in stereo.
Kairi giggled. "You two are made for each other."
Axel just smiled and went back to studying the map. We'd been getting that a lot lately from everyone. Kairi mostly. Sora and Riku occasionally. Even some lady at the last gas station who overhead us exchanging friendly banter.
We were sitting in the booth of a Denny's – one of the few chain restaurants the other four didn't get banned from – plotting the shortest route home. Besides me and Kairi, though, everyone else was pretty navigationally challenged. So why did Axel have the map?
Because watching him study it intently was something of a turn on.
And because he was the only one done eating.
Kairi was poking a Caesar salad, Riku was finishing up some steak, and Sora was ignoring his chicken fingers and doodling detailed, intimate pictures of Riku and himself with the crayons they'd given him with the kid's menu. I figured that if the waitress saw them, she'd either faint or report us to her manager. I popped the last French fry into my mouth, leaned over Sora, and snatched the map neatly from Axel's hands.
"I think you'd better let me help you," I said, scooting over Sora's lap and seating myself beside him.
He took a sip of his iced tea and shrugged.
With one of Sora's crayon's – "Hey! Give me back Mr. Red!" – I drew a line. "Traffic is going to be heavy through here," I murmured, going around Axel's plan. "So we're better off taking a back road for a bit."
To my surprise, Axel was listening carefully.
"Hey!" Sora piped up, "We should have gone to Disneyworld!"
"No," I said firmly. "Never again, Sora. Not after last time."
Riku looked up from his mashed potatoes. "What happened last time?" he asked, curious. Sora muttered something and went back to doodling with his blue crayon.
"We were five," I informed him. "Sora got lost, and then when we found him, the guy in the Goofy costume and the lady in the Donald Duck costume quit their jobs."
"What did you do to them?" Riku asked in awe.
Sora blushed and shrugged. "I don't remember."
There was a moment of silence, and then Kairi spoke up. "We can stay a couple of nights in Vegas, though. Right, Axel?"
"Provided we get there by Thursday," he replied.
"I wanna stay at Circus Circus!" Sora said, forgetting his crayons.
Kairi pushed her salad away. "Forget it, Sora. You're not Axel's favorite anymore."
Sora pouted. "That isn't fair! Make Axel take us to Circus Circus, Roxas!"
I blinked. "Why me?"
"Because you're my favorite now," Axel said, smirking matter-of-factly.
"Capricious, aren't you?"
He put an arm around me and pulled me close. "Come on, Rox," he said, speaking low, "Three words. Don't' make me say 'em."
I felt my heart stop and turned slightly so that our faces were inches apart.
"You. Are. Special," he said smugly. Then, taking advantage of my stunned silence, placed a light kiss on my cheek before pulling away to call the waitress over.
Riku and Kairi were beginning an argument over the gender of Las Vegas showgirls, and while Axel ordered chocolate cake for Riku and Sora and a blondie for me – he knew what I wanted without having to ask – Sora looked over at me and winked. I could almost read his mind. Axel really likes you, little bro.
Nothing much more was said, and then we all piled into the van – Axel driving, me in the front seat, Sora and Riku behind us and Kairi in the very back.
"But I'll get sick back here!" she protested.
"It's your car," Axel shot back. "I don't care if you throw up."
She crossed her arms and declared that she was never speaking to him again.
"Great," he said, getting onto the freeway and turning up the volume, knowing Kairi hated this song.
Oh I know I
Lived this life before
Somehow I know now
Truths I must be sure
Tossin turnin, nightmares brunin
Dreams of swords in hand
I wasn't really listening to the music, too busy fingering the Bond of Chakram in my pocket. I was special. I was special. I was special. I mulled the three simple words over in my head. What did Axel mean by that, exactly? I fell asleep wondering, and when I woke up it was dark. Kairi was curled up on the backseat, clutching a heart-shaped pillow. Sora rested comfortably in Riku's arms.
"Where are we?" I asked, not recognizing the highway.
"Oh, you're awake." Axel smiled fondly at me. "We're somewhere north of Tallahassee. I had to take a different road because I had to find a gas station."
"Axel, are you sure you know where you're going?"
He didn't answer me.
"Pull over," I hissed. "I'm going to drive. You shouldn't be the only one behind the wheel. I'll get us back to the main highway and find a hotel. It's nearly ten, anyway."
"Do you have a license?" he asked, pulling over and unbuckling his seatbelt.
"No. Mom never gave me lessons or took me to Driver's Education."
"But you're going to drive the car?" he asked, a note of suspicion in his voice. Doubt?
"Don't worry. Naminé let me drive her car sometimes. I know what I'm doing."
He sighed and opened the door, walking around to the other side. I really hated driving, but there was no way I was going to let Axel keep at it all night. He needed rest, too.
Luckily, everyone else was asleep and I could pretend they weren't there, which was a lot easier on my nerves. It took me about an hour, but I managed it, finding an inexpensive hotel at last.
Riku carried Sora into the room and put him on one of the beds as carefully as possible, then climbed in beside him. My brother turned to him immediately in his sleep and soon they were a loose tangle of limbs, Sora's head tucked under Riku's chin and their hands clasped over Riku's chest lightly rising and falling. Kairi started to pull Axel to bed with her, but spotting me, he said I should share the other bed with Kairi.
"I'll sleep on the cot," he offered, gesturing to the pathetic little thing the bellhop had brought in along with our bags.
"Don't be stupid. You need to sleep on a good bed. I'll sleep on the cot."
"I'll sleep on the damn thing," Kairi said finally, throwing her pillow onto it and pulling the thin sheets over her head.
"If I hear anything tonight I'm going to steal Axel's wallet and abandon you guys here. I'll take the van and go to Vegas. So keep your hands to yourself, Axel. Goodnight."
Axel smirked and glanced at me sidelong. "I don't know," he said after a moment. "Who could resist Roxas?"
I felt heat rise to my face and was grateful for the darkness of the room. Axel chuckled, seeming to know the effect of his words. But he stayed on his side of the bed, only reaching out to take my hand as sleep claimed me, twining his fingers loosely with mine.
- The Writer