For Constance Greene's challenge.

Haha, I blame you, Constance. Here's me, writing another Akuroku. (Shock) Ah, well. It made be bad, but I hope it meets the criteria, and that you don't despise it.

Disclaimer: I own nothing.

-- - --

What a great way to ring in the New Year.

"Stupid, vindictive…!"

Slamming his boot against the tire of the car, he snarled and whirled on his heel, pacing back and forth as he drove both hands through his hair. Of course, it had to happen to him. The first car his painfully small wages can buy, his first long trip out of state for the sake of getting away, and he's stuck on the side of some random interstate at night, only a small strain of cars flying past. He had no idea where the nearest gas station was, and he really didn't find hitchhiking a fun pastime.

Whirling around, he slammed his fist onto some random section of the junk heap he called his vehicle, and then winced and clenched his teeth when the pain raced up his arm moments later. Bad day was a gross understatement to the time he was presently having.

But fifteen more wasted minutes later and a path of dust to show his footsteps pacing back and forth, his rage finally simmered and died, so that he hung his head in defeat while standing at the side of car. No one was going to stop (and maybe that was some blessing in disguise, considering he didn't know what kind of weirdoes lived in…wherever-the-hell-he-was), so he would have to push the godforsaken devil-on-wheels to the next exit and then figure out what to do from there.

"Ugh," he muttered, hands slipping of the car as he straightened himself and trudged around the back, placing his hands on the trunk and glaring openly at the cause of his problems.

Feet slipping and scrambling on the gravel as he made to push the vehicle, he grunted, fingers curling and eyes narrowing as he snarled in frustration. Great. Now a freakin' car was showing him up on strength, which he'd liked to think he had.

"I'm going to kill you," he threatened lowly, head bowing further as he scraped his feet against the ground, one knee bent, the other slipping as he gave another push. And the car gave way finally, rolling a little, but from his angle he had no balance, and as it slipped forward his hands lost grip and he fell to the ground, crying out somewhat.

A curse escaped his lips as he crawled to his knees, brushing off his shirt. A car was presently passing, going fast enough to indicate they weren't stopping but slow enough that the passengers could laugh at him. Rolling his eyes, he gave them the finger as they continued on, and then he stood and trudged back to the car that had only rolled away a few inches.

As he placed his hands on the trunk again, he winced as high beams hit his peripheral vision, coming up from behind. He made to ignore it, but they were coming closer, and then they were blaring so brightly that he whipped around, irritated, arm over his forehead to shield his eyes. He arched an eyebrow to see the vehicle pull off to the side of the road behind him, and the person inside cut the engine and opened their door, stepping out.

He suddenly felt like he didn't have time for this. Not only was it about twelve o'clock, but he was in a place he had no idea how to get away from. Getting kidnapped was not on his agenda.

"Car trouble?"

The arrogant voice had him snapping out of his thoughts, and he lowered the arm he realized was still on his forehead. Shooting a sarcastic look towards the stranger – he was tall, dark, and mysterious, which wasn't really helping his opinion of him any – he rolled his eyes and crossed his arms over his chest.

"No," he drawled as the figure passed him, eyes clashing with his for a second. He caught the green tint in the passing headlights of a car, and noticed that his mess of hair was a vibrant red in color. "I just randomly stand on the sides of strange highways and push my car for fun."

"However you get your kicks, buddy," came the reply, smirk evident in his voice. And then, shrugging, he turned around. "Well, if that's all, then…"

Roxas watched as the figure strolled back to his vehicle, tossed a look over his shoulder at his broken-down car, and then looked back. Cursing, he forced himself to push away his pride and jogged after the redhead, grabbing his sleeve.

Startled, he looked over his shoulder. "What?"

The words not coming, he gritted his teeth and guessed he'd have to swallow his dignity, too. "…don't go," he finally managed, refusing to let go of the man's sleeve. He arched an eyebrow, and Roxas let out a sigh. "Help me. Go get help, drive me somewhere, I don't care."

He laughed. "A little forward, aren't we?"

Sighing, he dropped his hand and shrugged. "Fine. Whatever. I'll wait until some other stranger passes this godforsaken road and bothers to stop."

He turned around, but a hand landed on his shoulder and spun him back. Tripping over his feet, he jerked his head up, arching a brow at the person.


He jerked his head to the vehicle behind him, smirking. "Get in."

-- - --

Cold, golden rays were streaming into his eyes as he blinked blearily, and, yawning, he registered the chilled window against his forehead and the feel of the seat beneath him. Two facts registered immediately then. One, that did not feel like his car seats did, and two, the car was moving and yet he wasn't driving.

Moaning at his stiff muscles, he moved his gaze across the interior of the car, eyes lighting first at the glowing numbers in the dashboard, which read that it wasn't even five o'clock yet. Then, finally, his eyes rested on the profile of the man he vaguely remembered from last night, green eyes more vibrant in the sunlight, red hair a flare of color, and tattoos blatant on his cheekbones.

Sensing his stare, he glanced over with his eyes and then smirked slightly. "'Morning, sunshine."

Resting his shoulder against the door, he arched an eyebrow. "How old are you?"

He laughed slightly. "You really are forward." Roxas made a face at him, to which the man laughed at again. "And what age are you? Twelve?"

"Seventeen, thank you," he grumbled, tiredly running a hand through his hair as he moved his stare to watch the various fast food restaurants and stores flit past. Apparently they were long off the highway.

If only he knew the area they were in now, though.

"Well, I'm not seventeen. So, sorry, but you really have no chance with me."

"Disappointing," he drawled, distracted by the gray of the morning and the sites passing his eyes.

"What were you doing on that road so late anyhow?"

"Running away." He saw no point in hiding it, after all. This guy would just drop him off somewhere to be rid of him and he'd go on his way, continuing on his goal to get as far away as possible from Twilight Town and all the memories he'd left behind.

"Umm, why?"

"And you care why?"

"My radio's broken. I have nothing else to listen to."

Roxas snickered a little, feeling his spirits lift just slightly. Just a day ago he'd lost it all, had had nowhere to go, and was looking for a way to erase his past. And now, strapped into a strange car with a guy who could be insane for all he knew, he was achieving that far better than he ever thought he could, the pain ebbing away as he threw caution to the wind for the first time in his life.

Tracing his finger through the fog on the window his breath had conjured, he felt his eyes soften, his shoulders relaxing. He felt so calm.

"You still in there?" came his quizzical voice, and Roxas grinned, eyes still on the scenery past the window.

"I just needed to leave. There was nothing holding me back."

The man snorted. "Yeah. Kids up and leave for no reason all the time, and you certainly come across as those stupid, pathetic losers."

His grin widened. "You know you just accidentally complimented me, right?"

Eyes wide, the redhead tossed him a surprised glance. Catching his grin and easy posture, a grin of his own slowly slipped onto his features, and he shrugged, feigning nonchalance as he looked back ahead, one hand turning the wheel in a bored fashion as his left arm rested on the car door.

"I'm allowed to make a slip-up every so often."

Roxas laughed, looking back out the window. "I'm Roxas, by the way."

"Axel," he said. Then he tossed his attention his way, Roxas catching the action from his peripheral vision. Turning his head he arched an eyebrow, regarding him curiously. "Got it memorized?"

Roxas laughed. "Is that your own personal catch phrase?"

He winked and looked ahead. "You know it."

Still chuckling, Roxas settled down further into the warmth of the car seat, arms crossed gently over his chest as he tilted his head and caught the passing sign. Something about Hollow Bastion. He didn't know if they were coming out of it, now in it, or approaching it, but they were somewhere in the vicinity, meaning he was far, far away from home. And that was satisfactory news to him, so much so that he was smiling quite contently.

"Where're you headed, anyway?"

Roxas shrugged. "Anywhere."

Axel laughed. "I'm pretty sure I can find that, then."

"Then lead the way," Roxas grinned back in response.

And as easily as that, they somehow stirred up a friendship.

-- - --

Four days on the road, three stops in the hotel, and five meals in five different and yet completely crappy restaurants, and Roxas found himself rather inseparable from Axel's side. The twenty-six-or-something man just had such an easy-going manner, and Roxas found that to be quite a relief compared to the prying eyes and disappointed faces he'd had to deal with back home. Axel didn't judge him that he'd been the only one to survive a car crash brought about by his own father's alcohol-induced stupor and sporadic driving. He didn't care that Roxas, so screwed up even after a year of losing the only parents he'd ever known, had pushed away his friends through his random violent breakdowns, so that they just refused to fight back and left him to suffer on his own. And he didn't care that Roxas had broken the heart of the only girl he'd ever remotely cared for and who'd cared for him back, blocking her out until she couldn't take it anymore.

He was fine about it all, just waving his problems away and saying that it was nothing, and he should just forget, like he was trying to do. And Roxas grinned at that, because it was exactly what he had been searching for.

Axel was one of a kind, that was surely so. He stood up for him – not obviously, of course – in a way no one else had, not even Olette, when he was the delinquent and short-tempered screw-up back home, and actually cared about his well being. He would just sit there, draping his arm over the back of his chair, and stare back with arrogance and a challenge alight in his green eyes, daring anyone to question the strange friendship the two suddenly had. He would try to conceal his softer side by shoving Roxas through doorways so he'd be the one to pick the bed as Axel took the couch. And he would randomly bring up a topic with no urging at all, sharing his past with no qualms and laughing about all the stupid mistakes he made, for the purpose of shattering the silence that cause Roxas too often to be swamped by memories.

Roxas appreciated it all, and felt rather flustered in the man's presence.

He called it hero worship, the way he so respected the man and looked upon him with adoring eyes. But, of course, he knew that was just his cover-up.

Sitting presently now on a bed in the motel Axel had stumbled upon, he curled his legs under him and searched through his duffel bag – thanking the Lord he'd remembered to run back in retrieve it before Axel had driven off – and pulled out his CD player, eyes surreptitiously spying his redheaded friend as he fell back on the couch, hands linked behind his head and ankles crossed on one of the armrests. Grinning slightly, Roxas turned the power on to his device and then shuffled through the other contents hidden in the black bag, not looking for anything in particular.

"Hey, Axel," he asked absently, brow furrowed as he groped for his notebook hidden somewhere that he suddenly decided he wanted.


"Where're you…" he paused, leaning over the bag to see if his hand had landed on the notebook, but sighed when it hadn't. Continuing his search, he glanced up distractedly. "Where're you headed?"

Axel, who'd turned his head to watch Roxas with a grin, shrugged and moved his eyes to the ceiling. A bitter smirk was playing on his lips. "I'm just like you. Running away from a past I'd rather forget."

"Is that why you didn't dump me off at the first stop," Roxas asked as he concentrated back on his search, not really disturbed by the topic. "Because I'm just like you?"

"Nah, kid," he said with a laugh. Glancing up, Roxas arched an eyebrow, catching his friend's emerald gaze. "I like you."

Roxas grinned and lowered his head back down, and then sighed when he still couldn't find what he was looking for. Giving up, he shoved the bag aside and fell back, arms spread wide as the music filtered into his ears.

"Where to next, then?"

There was a pause. "…you decide."

Roxas stared at the ceiling, trying to think of anywhere, anywhere at all, that he really wanted to go. And then it hit him. There was only one place where he would be accepted, where he wouldn't be looked down upon, where he would be happy.

"My cousin lives in Destiny Islands," Roxas ventured, turning his head slightly as he watched the ceiling so his voice could be heard. "They have great beaches there, too."

Axel laughed, though it sounded slightly strained. "Fine, then. Destiny Islands it is."

He hadn't seen Sora in three years, and now he finally had the chance to find him again. It was something he had a hard time believing, considering good things didn't play a hand too often in his life, but a smile was playing on his lips nonetheless, and he finally had a feeling of homecoming. It was a long time awaited, but it felt right, and maybe he really did belong there.

Rolling onto his side, he moved his head and grinned at Axel, but he was turned away from him, using his arm as a pillow. "Thanks, Axel," he replied softly, closing his eyes.

There was a soft, tired sigh, and then a, "No problem, kid," but Roxas was already drifting off to sleep.

-- - --

A hand was brushing through his hair as he stirred awake.

Moaning, he flipped over, curling his legs closer to his chest as he fought for the remnants of sleep that were so quickly escaping him. And the hand was brushing again over his head, a deep chuckle following. Blinking, Roxas stared through bleary eyes at the wall facing his vision until his head cleared, and then he rolled onto his back, catching the profile of a dressed-and-ready Axel staring off into nothing.

"Axel?" he murmured, rubbing the back of his hand against one of his eyes.

Said redhead flicked his emerald gaze downward toward him, and his pale lips lifted in the ghost of a smirk as he inclined his head. "About time you got up, sleeping beauty."

He yawned, smile pulling at his mouth as he made to cover it with his hand. "Sleeping Beauty woke with a kiss, y'know," he replied smartly, stretching his arms then over his head.

"Smartass," he laughed gently, ruffling Roxas's hair fondly as he tilted his head completely so that they were eye to eye. Roxas watched as a frown then pulled at the corners of his friend's lips, and he arched an eyebrow. "But don't talk like that."

He stared up at the redhead in confusion, head tilted and leaning into his touch as much as it was conveying how much he didn't understand Axel's sudden mood swing. But the redhead sighed and snatched his hand away, tapping his fingers on his knee as he sat stiff-shouldered and bothered about something.

"I'm leaving you at Destiny Islands."

Roxas's eyes narrowed furiously, but he sat up with an air of calm, smoothing the wrinkles in his dark pants as he avoided his friend's face. "So no more road travel, then," he said shortly, eyes straying back to the wall. "You're finally done with traveling, and you're gonna stay---"

"Idiot, I said I was leaving you."

"Then you lied to me!" he suddenly snapped, whirling furious eyes back to Axel as his fist clenched the fabric of his pants tightly. "You said you wouldn't just drop me off somewhere!"

"I did not!" Axel retorted. Tilting his head, he crossed his arms and glared at him with a kind of haughty confidence, sneer on his lips as his eyes glittered in fury. "You asked why I didn't drop you off at the first stop. I gave you my answer. I never said I wouldn't just get rid of you later on."

"So now I'm a freakin' burden!" Roxas spat. "You said you liked me, you moron! Or were you just lying like everyone else?"

Axel cursed and turned his head away, rising slowly to his feet as he walked the length of the room, muttering under his breath. Shoulders slumping, Roxas looked away and glared at the foot of his bed, catching the corner of his duffel bag that wasn't hidden by the down comforter.

"I didn't lie, Roxas," Axel finally conceded, and he hesitantly flicked his gaze over to the older youth. He was pointedly looking away, fixing his own stare on the faded beige of the walls, arms hanging limply at his sides. "I like you. Too much."

Roxas straightened, grinning somewhat. "But that's not bad, Axel. I---"

"You're a kid," he said, turning his head further, shrugging in defeat. "It's not gonna happen."



Turning his head away, he glared at the floor, shoulders falling. It was the first battle he'd never been able to win, and he didn't like the feeling of defeat that was clawing at his stomach. And if he didn't taste the bitter edge in his mouth, the sign that he, in some way, also knew that what he said was true, he would've hated Axel.

But he just couldn't. And probably for more than just that reason.

"Fine," he said stiffly, crawling off of his bed and ignoring Axel's sudden gaze on the back of his head as he kneeled down and shoved several discarded items into his duffel bag. "Drive me to Destiny Islands and just ditch me like everyone else."

"Hey, I'm not---"

"I'll be in the car," he growled, and then he stomped to the door, slamming it behind him as he left Axel alone.

-- - --


Pointedly glaring out the window, he turned the volume up louder with his left hand, tapping his right hand viciously on the windowsill. With every passing car, tree, fast food place, and various other landmarks, they were getting closer to Destiny Islands and growing farther and farther apart. He didn't want to leave on bitter terms with Axel, because he'd never cared about a person so quickly and so much before, but he couldn't help the rage and betrayal that such a few words from the redhead had stirred in him. It was his curse, after all.

Everything about the redhead affected him too much for comfort.


He turned the volume up higher, not even wanting to hear his voice. It hurt too much, to think that in maybe even as little as a few hours it would be the last time he heard his voice ever again, seeing as Axel probably didn't care enough to visit him later on. His strange flame of red hair, his arrogant, expressive green eyes, and his cocky, joking smirk would be nothing more than fragments of memory, to be blown away into the wind in time.

His fingernails dug into the car door, and he sneered at another passing tree, heart twisting in his chest. It wasn't fair that, for the first time, he was being abandoned and he actually cared about it. It wasn't fair that, for the first time, he wanted something that he could never have. And it wasn't fair that in only hours before he'd been happier than he'd ever been, and now that had been taken away.

"Roxas!" Axel snapped, pulling over suddenly and killing the engine.

Stiff-shouldered in shock, he continued to stare out the window, heart racing and music blaring in his ears. But that didn't last too long, because Axel yanked off his headphones and threw his whole CD player into the back of the car, the backing falling off so that the batteries rolled onto the ground. Whipping his head around, he glared viciously at the suddenly smug redhead, who was leaning against his car door with his arms over his chest and his person – as always – unprotected by a seatbelt.

"Why the hell did you do that?" he snapped in rage, nails digging further into the car door so as the hold him back from slamming his fist into his friend's gut.

"I was trying to talk to you," he said, rolling his eyes.

"Well I don't want to talk to you, moron! Why would I want to talk to a guy who's just going to drag me off into a place I haven't been for three years and then dump me so he can be better off!"

"You said you wanted to go there!" he cried incredulously.

"Stupid me, I thought you were coming, too!"

Axel's eyes softened somewhat and Roxas looked away, chest heaving and eyes burning. Fist curling on the car door, he fought against all instinct, trying not to shed tears before the redhead and then ultimately become a weakling in his eyes. He'd been strong through so many years of hurt and hadn't broken down like that once. He could do it now, too, even if the person he cared about was stabbing him in the back.

"I'm twenty-six, kid. What makes you think I'd be with a runt like you forever?"

Roxas cringed, but stubbornly kept his eyes on the trees, hearing the cars pass to his left and catching some of them from his peripheral vision.

"Besides, it's been…what? Five days? A week?" He sighed. "You're too naïve, Roxas. And you don't even see it."

"Shut up, you asshole," he growled, eyes narrowing. "Just stop talking to me."

"Oh, and I'm gonna take orders from a kid like you?" His tone was teasing, sarcastic, and Roxas cringed again, a slight shake in his leg as he tapped his fingers more incessantly and desperately on the car door.

Axel laughed, an arrogant sound that grated in his ears, and Roxas gritted his teeth. "Are you ever gonna look at me again, Roxas?"

"Screw you."

He grasped his shoulder, probably meaning to say something, but at his touch Roxas flipped. Jerking his shoulder away, he twisted and batted his hand back, eyes furious as he fixed Axel's wide-eyed stare with the most imposing glare he could muster.

Breathing shaky, he struggled then with his seatbelt, which at any other time would've been easy to maneuver. But with his trembling hands and slight panic to just get away before he lost any more control, it kept slipping from his fingers and his cursing was growing louder.

"Goddammit!" he shouted, choking back the sobs that were lodged in his throat but he wouldn't let forth. And then, suddenly, Axel was clasping his wrists and undoing the buckle, and then Roxas was forced into his chest, shivering as the redhead gripped some of his hair loosely and placed his chin atop his head.

In that instant, Roxas realized he was deathly afraid of getting any closer to Sora, no matter how much he'd missed his cousin for the past three years. Anger collapsing in a rush of emotion, he clung to the redhead's chest, the shake of his limbs so evident now and the shudder of his breath loud in the quiet that had fallen over them.

"Take me with you," he pleaded.

"I can't."

"I'm almost eighteen. Legally, I'll be an adult in two months, Axel. You can---"

"It's still too much of a distance, Roxas."

He pressed his face more into his chest, fingers digging into the fabric of his shirt. "It's not…"

"I'm so sorry, Roxas."

"Like hell you are," he murmured brokenly, but couldn't force himself away any longer.

There was a sigh above him, and then Axel was stroking his hand over his hair, saying nothing further on the matter. Narrowing his eyes but knowing it was beyond discussion, he moved his head and rested his cheek on his friend's chest, staring at nothing but his arm moving in slow, deliberate movements. The shake in his breathing was softening as he concentrated, and then his eyes were lowering, so that he wasn't fighting anything but sleep any longer.

And again, it was a losing battle.

-- - --

"This cousin of yours, uh…"

"Sora," he interjected dully, forehead resting on the window.

"Yeah, this Sora knows you're coming, right?"

He nodded noncommittally. "Called him a while back. He's ecstatic." A hesitant smile slipped onto his lips before he could help it. "He's gonna meet me with a couple of his friends at the main beach."

"And this main beach is…?"

"The one we always played at together when we were kids." When silence followed, he sighed. "I know where it is."

"Good, that's one less who's gonna get lost," came the joking reply, and then there was silence.

They'd passed the Welcome to Destiny Islands sign fifteen minutes back, and the atmosphere had grown tenser than either wanted to admit. They knew that at the present their informal goodbye was happening, and though Roxas couldn't speak for Axel he knew that he himself wanted the time to stretch on longer than it was. He'd even jerked himself out of the mere half-hour sleep he'd had, so afraid that he'd wake up and Axel would be gone for good.

But Axel had rested at the edge of the road the entire time, arms crossed over his chest as he stared off into the distance, some thought or another inhabiting his mind.

"He must be a good kid, for you to like him so much," Axel tried easily, desperate for conversation.

"He's selfless," was his reply, he too tired to elaborate further. "Who wouldn't like that?"

"Sounds cheesy and superficial."

Roxas laughed weakly. "Apparently you wouldn't."

He shrugged, which Roxas caught from the corner of his eye. "Guess I'm biased."

Heart falling at that remark, he lowered his eyes, catching the jittery bounce of his knee. As depressed as he was, he couldn't deny the nerves and mild excitement that was stirring in him.

Plus, in a way, he just wanted this all to be over and done with.

"Where to now?" Axel asked.

"Left," he muttered, glancing up and then down weakly.

And silence fell again, the atmosphere choking, overwhelming. He tried to think of Sora, tried to be genuinely curious about whether he was still friends with Riku or not, tried to get into the spirit and look forward to teasing Sora and Kairi about their relationship-but-not-really situation, and tried to be excited about the prospect of seeing Naminé, his longtime best friend, again, but it wasn't working. Bowing his head, he rested his chin on the arm resting by the window, and he sulked slightly, every so often mumbling directions as Axel grew increasingly uncomfortable by the quiet.

And then they were there.

The surroundings had all been strange, Destiny Islands suddenly urbanized with the influx of fast food chains and multiple traffic lights, the traffic itself booming and quite a pain. But the little beach they would all lounge at, with the dock they would jump off or hijack boats from for the purpose of rowing to the smaller, untouched island, was all preserved like it had always been in his memory. And even as he rested his chin still on his arms and peered out with saddened eyes, a reminiscent smile floated to his lips.

"Quite the place," Axel tried, but Roxas merely nodded, shoulders slumped and body screaming defeat.

And then there was Sora, bouncing eagerly on his heels as he whipped his head around, every so often glancing at his watch. Roxas laughed a little, attracting Axel's gaze, as Kairi whacked the brown-haired boy across the head, no doubt trying to make him cool it. And Riku was lounging in typical Riku fashion, apathetic to his surroundings as he stretched out on the limb of a fallen paopu tree, head turned on his arms as he stared at the scene playing out. Roxas's brow arched slightly to see Naminé playing with his silver hair as she smiled down at him.

She'd been terrified of Riku when they were fifteen. What had changed?

"You'll be well-off here," Axel reassured his silent doubts, and Roxas looked over, mournful smile on his lips.

"Don't go," he murmured, one of the first words he'd ever said to his friend, and he knew the redhead remembered by the way he stiffened. But then he sighed and shook his head, ruffling Roxas's blond hair as he forced a smirk.

"You have to grow up sometime."

"Please, Axel…"

He waved his hand nonchalantly, but Roxas noted that he had to look away. "Just get out of my hair, kid. It's better off this way."

The conversation was over. It was done. They were going their separate ways, and, again, Roxas could do nothing to fight it. And he should've been angry. He should've been mad as hell that his friend was just shoving him out the door and was washing his hands of him. But he couldn't be.

And as he undid his seat belt and rested his hand on the door, he hesitated, taking in the striking, unique features of Axel once more.

Eyes straying to the window, he caught sight of Kairi, who was presently dancing around with Sora's watch in hand as he chased after her, struggling to get it back. And Naminé was laughing, a scene none of his memories could recall, and an action that brought a smile to his lips. And Riku, normally a person who bugged Roxas to no end, seemed harmless and content under the summer sun, actually there to welcome him back, no matter how grudgingly.

And, despite it all, he wanted to go to them, because it really did look like home.

But he couldn't seem to move.

"Go, Roxas," Axel prodded gently, and Roxas glanced over, desperate. At his friend's smile and the glitter of sadness in his eyes, though, he leaned forward and rested his head on his chest, trying to say goodbye without having to force out the words.

Axel patted his arm and then slipped a piece of paper into his hands. As Roxas made to look at it the redhead trailed his fingers through his hair, causing a shiver to run down his spine, and then Axel pushed him back, grinning despite everything.

And Roxas shot a smile back, still unfurling the paper. "What's this?"

He shrugged, waving his hand again. "Oh, I dunno. Look me up some time, if you really find you can't go on without me."

Roxas was beaming as Axel laughed and pushed him to open the door, and as he did so and stepped out Sora suddenly gave a shout, and he turned his head to see the boy running towards him, tripping slightly in the sand. Roxas laughed and closed the door, bowing his head as Sora slapped him on the back and ruffled his hair, saying how good it was to see him and he was glad that he came.

From the corner of his eye he caught Axel leaning over the wheel, grinning slightly at the sight, cocky expression on his face.

And as Sora walked with him and helped him drag his bag out of the car, Roxas surreptitiously slipped the paper into his pocket, grinning Axel's way as he patted the trunk. There was nothing to do now but let him drive off, and as Sora tugged at his arm that's just what he did, waving his hand absently in the air as Sora's chatter filled his ears.

The sea breeze descended upon him, and as he shouldered his duffle bag into a more comfortable position and lifted his face to the breeze, he felt a smile flutter to his lips, knowing he was home and realizing how much he had grown in just a few days.

Maybe he wouldn't see Axel again. But, as always, he wasn't giving up without a fight.

Fighting had gotten him this far already.

-- - --

Whoo randomness! Yeah, I didn't think there was enough Akuroku-ness to rightly put it under romance, so y'know. And this probably sucks. Sorry about that. Please review, though!