Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts.
A Day Without Axel
Roxas stomped out into the courtyard moodily. He didn't care what Xemnas said. He could feel the boredom eating a hole through his skull.
Life was absolutely no fun when Axel wasn't around to help him cause trouble. Not that he needed help to get into trouble. It was just always better (and usually more destructive) with Axel.
He glared at the placid garden, sucking irritably on his ice cream. He started considering some massive landscape deconstruction. Marluxia had recently taken to lecturing him on his eating habits, denouncing his beloved sea salt ice cream at every opportunity. It was really annoying.
As if he didn't get enough of that from Lexaeus. But the Not So Silent Hero When It Came to His Favorite Topic did it because he was a health nut. Marluxia did it because he was a jackass with a superiority complex.
His mind made up, he tossed away his empty ice cream stick and summoned a key blade. Time for Marly's precious garden to meet Oblivion, heheheh.
Dang that was a bad joke. Axel would've smacked him for that one.
Grinning evilly he started forward when he heard something crunch under his boot. He looked down at what he'd stepped on. It looked like a piece of paper, a drawing in fact. Dismissing Oblivion he picked up the picture.
It was a picture of him. Axel was there too. It wasn't what he'd consider good exactly. It looked more like what doting mothers hung on the refrigerator than what you'd find in a gallery. But there was something very real about the image. In fact he knew exactly what it was a picture of. It was the first time he'd met Axel. Someone had seen it and thought the moment important enough to commit to paper.
The artist had managed, with crayon and colored pencil, to capture their expressions, to convey with perfect clarity every thought going through their heads when he and Axel had looked at each other and something went click.
Someone had captured his memory. Of course now his memory had a huge boot print on it.
Now that he thought about it, he did remember someone toting around a sketchbook. A little more mental scrounging produced a face, thin and pale and pretty.
He knew there was someone else that Marluxia constantly lectured. A timid shadow so pale that he had taken it for a Dusk that had botched its orders. He hadn't thought it important.
Now it was vitally important. For some reason the pale figure (she, he was now certain the artist was a she) was suddenly extremely important to him, and try as he might, he couldn't put a name to the face. He had to find her.
Perhaps she was still in the garden somewhere. As he began to search, something slowly dawned on him.
This wasn't one of Marluxia's gardens.
The Graceful Assassin imposed a strict, formal order on his plants. There was never a leaf out of place he was so anal about it. This place had a rambling look about it.
As he got closer he heard the sound of running water, accompanied by the buzz of insects and the croaking of frogs. When he saw the pond, he knew. This was Demyx's water garden. From here, he see could the large, open glass doors that led to the conservatory. It was a good thing he hadn't gone medieval on the garden then. Demyx had built the water garden specifically to house his beloved koi. He went totally tsunami on anyone who threatened the fish. Axel had done it once in jest. It had not ended well for the pyro. Lexaeus had had to give him CPR.
Axel had avoided Demyx for some time after that.
There was a melody, just on the cusp of hearing, coming from inside the doors. That meant Demyx was in there. He had to find the artist. He really owed her.
He stepped out onto the gravel walkway that meandered around the garden and looked around.
Ah, there she was! A thin slip of a girl all dressed in white instead of black like the rest of them. A white dove amidst a flock of ravens.
Hold up. Had he really just thought that line?
Since when did he go in for all that romantic poetry stuff? That sounded like something Marluxia would say. Maybe instead of tuning him out like he thought he was, all that crap the Graceful Assassin was always spouting at him was actually sinking in at an unconscious level. Like learning to speak a foreign language by listening to recordings while you sleep.
That was a scary thought.
Mental note: Go to Twilight Town and buy earplugs.
Shaking off the worrying idea that Marluxia might be screwing with his subconscious, he turned his attention back to the girl.
She hadn't seen him yet, he was fairly sure. She was too focused on her drawing. A tiny thought curled up in his mind that it might be nice if she focused on him like that.
She was sitting on a stone bridge, long coltish legs hanging over the edge so she sould dip her bare toes in the water.
She really was quite pretty. She reminded him of the seashore, what with her sunlight colored hair and ocean blue eyes. And Roxas loved the beach.
Oh blast! Marluxia really was rubbing off on him.
Well might as well stop staring before she noticed and give her drawing back. The gravel crunched noisily beneath his boots and she looked up startled.
Roxas stopped and swallowed hard. His ears were getting hot. Dammit! He wasn't blushing was he?
"Um…hi." he said.
She looked a little scared. He didn't want her to be scared. He held out the paper as he came closer.
"I…er … I found you picture over there."
Real sharp, Roxas. Real sharp.
She took the picture from him and stared at.
"Umm… sorry about that," he mumbled. "I, er, didn't see until too late. It's a really good picture though."
Way to go Roxas you stud muffin. She's all yours!
Shut up voice in my head that sounds like Axel.
"Uh, thank you," she said quietly.
"Um, could I see what you're drawing? I promise I won't step on it or anything."
I said shut up brain!
The girl giggled. "Okay," she grinned, "as long as you promise."
Oh yeah! Take that brain! Who da Nobody? I'm da Nobody!
He sat down next to her and peered over her shoulder. To his surprise, it wasn't a picture of the garden. It was Demyx at the piano. Again there was that very real quality to it.
"How do you make it look so real, um…er. Um…what was your name again?"
She pouted. "I don't know it's just a talent. And my name is Naminé."
"Naminé," he murmured. It had a nice sound to it. "Naminé?"
Hmm, okay, so she was annoyed with him. Fair enough.
"I was going to go to Twilight Town. Do you want to come? There a great view from the top of the train station. You could bring your sketchbook, and we could get some ice cream. You know, to make up for stepping on your picture and all."
She twirled the pencil in her hand while she considered his offer.
"Why were going to go in the first place?" she asked. He shrugged.
"Ice cream. Oh! And earplugs."
"For when Marluxia starts lecturing me. Even though I don't listen, I'm afraid it's getting inside my head anyway and turning into a tumor."
Yay! She thinks I'm funny!
"Okay sounds good." Roxas stood up and held out a hand to Naminé to help her up. When she took his hand his stomach went all fluttery. Oh why had he put his gloves on this morning? Stupid, stupid gloves!
She slipped he shoes on. "Just let me go tell Demyx, and then we can go."
"Demyx? Why does he care?"
"Because he'll worry if I just disappear. And then he'll start annoying the whole castle and then someone'll deck him." She ran off towards the doors.
Roxas glowered after her. Why did Demyx care about Naminé? Well he would just have to find out then wouldn't he?
Other than this revelation about Naminé, he rather liked Demyx. He was no patch on Axel, but he fun to be around. Come to think of it, Roxas was surprised older blond didn't hang out with Axel and himself. The Nocturne usually hung around with Luxord.
Roxas frowned. Axel's behavior towards the Melodious Nocturne was becoming increasingly confusing. He just couldn't seem to leave IX alone, and Demyx had had his fill of teasing from the pyro. There was some kind of unresolved tension between the two.
That reminded him. Xigbar had said some things about Axel and Demyx at breakfast that morning. Roxas hadn't really understood what he'd meant, but the comments had made Xaldin choke on his coffee.
Perplexed, he'd asked Xemnas what Xigbar was talking about. If it had been anyone other than Xemnas, Roxas would have sworn he had blushed. The Superior had shot II a murderous look, and told Roxas he'd explain later.
Well he'd go find Xemnas when they got back. Naminé was running towards him smiling, and his stomach did that fluttery thing again. He took her hand again (Damn! He'd forgotten to take his gloves off.), and opened a portal to Twilight Town.
Today was turning out to be interesting after all.