Part of a series read in this order: Cities of the Future, Black Sun Rising, Parvulus Nefas

His brother is barely dead a day before Roxas comes to him.

His eyes are brighter than Seifer's, but Seifer has an excuse, he's a pretty SOLDIER boy still getting the shots out at the Academy every week.

"Roxas," Leon warns, like it'll mean something, like he thinks that it will ease the pain and guilt and horrible warmth that he knows Roxas is feeling, he knows it.

Roxas' mouth quirks and his eyes glow just a little bit brighter blue. Bliss blue.

"Leon," Roxas murmurs, his body melts and rebuilds. He's like fluid energy, like a cobra, swaying, hypnotizing him.

Leon turns his head away insistently and massages his temples. "You…"

The boy, he isn't really much of a boy, never really been a boy. Not quite, not something so pretty and pure as a boy; that was never Roxas.

So, the boy, with his sun-violent eyes and blond hair and his clothing slipping off of his tiny body, the cobalt and white stripes of the sweater are bright flags of emphasis to what compromises him. The day-glo green pants, with the mocking effacements of cherries, at least, hold no significance other than as prelude to the pitch-black boots.

Leon has seen those boots step directly into a skull.

Has seen them splattered in blood.

Seen that washed away under diligent polishing.

The boy skitters in closer and smiles. "What are you about to say, Leon?" he accuses. "That I know you want to support me, but you just don't have the time, not since you've been left in charge of Kingdom Come?" Roxas punches him a good one, hits right in the solar plexus and lovely green bile goes spilling to the concrete over the boy's shoulder, missing those pretty abyss boots entirely. Roxas supports him, his shoulder wedged up uncomfortably into Leon's armpit.

Squall Leonhart coughs pathetically, his throat burning on stomach acid.

Roxas lowers him to the floor, hugging him and biting painfully at the upper shell of his ear.

"High and mighty since Merlin left you in charge…aren't we…too high and mighty to realize I can help. Will help. Anything you want, I'll do it, but you have to hold me up, Leon. Compromises, the world is made of compromises."

There's heavy silence, the boy's weight settling on him, the boy's teeth warning him.

"You've never been a boy," Leon mumbles and laughter rumbles up from Roxas' chest. "But there's nothing else to call you, even if you make that word so dirty."

Stripes waver in his face like banners. White, white like a bleached skull, and cerulean…cerulean like water he isn't afraid of drowning in…water he's afraid won't drown him at all.

"If that's how it is, that's the way it should be."

"No more Bliss."

Roxas bites until he bleeds.

"No more Bliss," he agrees hotly. "Now…about…"

Seifer stands in the doorway to Leon's apartment.

His jade-mako eyes forcing their way in.

Something like the seething sky looks back at him, something sparkling and fading and hungry.

"My dose of uppity SOLDIER was lacking," that pretty voice twinkles out of the gloom.

"Funny," Seifer growls. "I wasn't missing you at all."

"Get out, Almasy."

"Let me offer you a mint before I leave."

The echoing growl is terrifying. What the boy says afterwards is pitiful.

"Shri Rudram."

"You invoke your Gods for forgiveness, Roxas?" Seifer laughs, throwing his head back, exposing his throat vulnerably to the wolves, in defiance. "You will never find forgiveness."

Those eyes dull just a bit more, Seifer knows they will never stop glowing altogether. Roxas will never wash away his sins. Never.

"Get out!"

The boy lunges and Seifer shuts the door quietly in his face, leaving him back to his darkness and its wiles. He hears the boy's body slam against the door, then hears long nails clawing uncontrollably, screeching, screaming, against metal.

Cities of the future, Seifer laughs. He's so glad to be alive…living in the cities of the future, where the doors are made of something more reinforced than steel.

It's not much of a coincidence.

That is, meeting Dr. Fred Edison and simpering and tugging at his sensibilities. Mumbling over drinks about experiments…how, now that the Turks are too busy dealing, mostly dying, over Hearts and trying to stop the Nobodies…who would know if he did a few human tests for the betterment of the city? The SOLDIERs? Oh, Doctor Edison, don't you know anything? The SOLDIERs are purely for deployment, outside conflicts.

Once you perfect this, Fred, we can stop those damn Nobodies, bring the city back…some people would give themselves to this…some wouldn't, and some of them deserve to die…Oh, Doctor Fred, you know it's a good idea…

And Edison will go stumbling back to his home, calling wildly for Hoagie and Laverne. "I met a little darling with a face…with eyes like a star…Find me Bernard! We've work to do."

Roxas dreams.

Leon watches him, holding his gunblade in his hand, poised and ready to end this all.

He's disgusted.

He's…he's aroused and he's hurting and breaking and laughing.

He'll never be able to forget all of that blood.

What he couldn't stop.

What Roxas couldn't stop.

He can…he can kill Roxas, have that red stain on his sheets for the rest of his life, but he can…He can…still see the gore. The broken bones, the intestines drooling like spaghetti from…the smell…the chewing…sounds…

Roxas' eyes flicker open, striking out through the dark.

"Leon," he says plainly. Pretty pink tongue extending, caressing the ridge of the blade. Dribbling blood onto the sheets.

Leon can't stop himself. The gunblade is dropped as he crawls into the bed, laying his long body overtop of Roxas, kissing his forehead, protecting this sin from the eyes of the world, because it has already suffered too much.

"Shut up."

The words ring throughout the warehouse.

Irvine freezes up, so does Zell. They look cautiously to see what Squall is going to do.

"Shut up, Leon," Roxas says again, with raging accent.

Irvine coughs.

Zell's fingers twitch. He doesn't much like Roxas, he's waiting for the excuse to bag the kid, just waiting.

Squall Leonhart doesn't do a damn thing.

He tilts his head to the side, considering doing something, but getting caught up on childhood memories somewhere along the way. He hates himself for it, mostly, so he lashes out with something so much like the petulance of a teenage girl.

"You know, I never took that crap from Seifer or Sora."

Roxas spasms. Something feral and uncontained flashing through the atmosphere.

Irvine's hand goes straight to the gun.

Zell makes a fist. He's never liked Roxas. The kid has this way of looking at you like…like you're there, but you don't matter. Like Roxas is in another world where he's content, where he knows who and what he is and that's all he needs and Zell envies him. Envies him like fuck.

"Yeah," the boy rasps, clothing slipping further from his shoulder as he coils in on himself. "Well, we know where they are these days. One of them is a steroid popping, military dog slash rapist. The other one…" He laughs, his voice ringing out painfully on the walls, which threaten to buckle under the intensity of his hysteria. "The other one…"

Leon grabs him by the neck.

Holds and knows he's probably about the lose that whole arm, probably that whole side of his body but,

"You can talk to me that way if you earn it, Rox."

"Don't. Don't call me Rox. You can't. Not you. Not…not…"

"If. You earn it. Roxas."

"Yeah? Yeah, okay, fine."

When Roxas isn't out earning it, he's at the graveyard.

Roxas is so pretty in the graveyard.

It's one of those little Wutanese things, where the thin headstones are crammed together into a tiny corral because someone realized that remembering the dead was important but didn't care enough to go beyond this. It's about the size of what would have been a vegetable garden a million years ago when there was still dirt. That irradiated shit doesn't count anymore.

Roxas, tiny and perfect and pretty is perched in there. His body fits just right between the small tombstones. He's a flower. He's an offering to the dead, static and vivid. His eyes are still so bright even though he's said to Leon he hasn't so much as thought of Bliss for months.

He's a blue and white flower with a green stalk and black, black, roots.

He pulls a dark little hat Leon's never seen before down onto his head to shade his eyes from the violent blaze of the sometimes-sun.

"It looks good." Leon isn't sure why he bothers.

"Beat up a kid up for it."


"Why not? I needed a new one."

And that's what Roxas is made of, everything he owns. He doesn't have things because he wants them, he doesn't do things because he wants to. He does what can be done, needs to be done, weighs the paths and finds the one of least resistance.

"How is Sora."

"Don't say his name."


"He wants to know why."

"Why what?"

"Why there are only seven stars. Why I'm not dead."

"Because I haven't killed you yet."

"And the other?"

"I…I don't know what you're talking about."

Roxas can't cry. He looks as if he wants to, so desperately. But he can't.

Something hisses.

The boy laughs instead, his poison voice laying itself thick to the air like paint. "Because there aren't eight, Leon."

In the end, there's something about the showers, which appeals to him.

Maybe it's openness.

Maybe it's the act of cleansing.

Leon's got no idea.


The blond turns, his ivory skin shimmering, liquid, and fluid and his Bliss eyes pick up the colors of the water, leeching and stealing. He doesn't bother himself with saying so much as a word in reply.

"What do you want with me?" Leon doesn't peel off his clothes. He's busy trying to make himself believe Roxas' eyes aren't burning him. He steps into the water and it gets that much harder, he's naked, laid bare even though Roxas isn't really looking. Their eyes are locked and…Leon's peripheral sees the droplets running their course along the boy's flesh.

"Want with you?" Roxas repeats delicately. He smiles politely, primly, but he's mocking, the sarcasm settles like lead. "I want you to fill the hole in my heart where Sora used to be. I don't want to care for you, I don't want you to care for me. I just want you to be mine. I want you to hold me up and you will do it."

Leon knows he will. Understands himself, can see through enough of Roxas' veils to see that Roxas knows it too.

Worst of all, he's fine with that. He moves forward and gets his arms around the boy's waist. Feels the kid stiffen and…

"What does Rudra say."

Roxas leans forward, bracing himself against the wall of the shower cubicle and pressing back against Leon. He stays that way for a few short seconds before shoving him away. Cocking a hip, twisting his body and not looking at Leon, but baring his neck.

Making himself beautifully, temptingly, vulnerable, more exposed than just naked and knowing Leon isn't going to do a thing. It's a dare, it's a demand, it's a plea, and he's just so stunning. His blood and his breath and his life running through the thin paper off his neck, all together in that one revered junction.

"Rudra says no, fuck you, we're wasting our time. That you looks so good and delicious and we should eat you and keep you with us forever, just like Sora."

His fingers ghost over his stomach and Leon feels the blood leaving his face when he think about Sora's death like that. Hates Roxas for using that against him, even though he's done the same thing…

"Why are you so cruel?" He wonders, asking the air, asking the walls. "Why can't you ever just be human?"

Roxas eyes flame. He slams Leon back against the wall, the plastic paneling resounding hollowly. Leon's sagging clothes squish halfheartedly.

"Human?" Roxas twitches. "I'll be human the day the black sun rises."

But then they're kissing anyway and...

"I'll kill you long before then."

Roxas smiles. "Feel free to try."

Standard Disclaimers: wuuuut?