Disclaimer: As much as I identify with Roxas, I own him not. Nor Axel, of course, since I would so be sexing that man up if I did.
A/N: I have honestly been trying to write a story around a pack of peanuts for a while now. It has come in the form of this gift-fic for the ever-stunning Dualism, for whom it will hopefully be one of those unexpected but not unwelcome presents rather than the lumpy sweater from Great-Aunt Ida. I thought I'd try going a slightly lighter route than usual as well. Hope you enjoy!
"I know of no more disagreeable situation than to be left feeling generally angry without anybody in particular to be angry at." – Frank Moore Colby
"What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight-it's the size of the fight in the dog." – Dwight D. Eisenhower
Sometimes being short was handy. At five-foot-four one never had to worry about colliding with lintels, always got to stand in the foreground of a photo, and received the adoration of grandmothers everywhere. Being small was convenient for sneaking out of (and back in to) houses. Also, when one was already low to the ground, all sorts of potential disasters involving messy projectiles could be avoided.
There were other times when being short was the bane of Roxas' existence. First he had to dig for his driver's license to convince the perky ticket girl that he was not an unaccompanied minor. And again for the sake of the steward who laughed in his face when he said he was well over twenty-one, thank you, and might that drink be forthcoming?
Now he stood crushed among a throng of grotesquely tall travelers as he attempted to propel himself in the general direction of his seat. His transfer was a smaller plane than the first, and all the beanpoles aboard were bumping around the narrow aisle, banging their extremities and cursing.
Roxas reached his seat winded and ill-tempered, only to find it occupied.
The lanky redhead was wrestling with his own unruly limbs, attempting to coax his enormous feet and the thick-soled boots encasing them into some semblance of a comfortable position beneath the seat before him. Though Roxas took quick, subconscious glee in the plight of one of the giants, the irate passengers grumbling as they maneuvered around him rather ruined the moment.
The stretch in front of him jerked in surprise when his field of vision was obstructed. He leaned back to observe Roxas without bothering to read the boarding pass inches from his nose.
"You need something?" he queried dryly.
Roxas resisted the urge to grind his teeth – a lesson he had learned only after the two caps masking an ill-fated collision with a hockey stick became intimately and painfully acquainted.
"You're in my seat. Moving your ass would be a start."
Tall Jerk finally read the boarding pass, squinted, and pulled his own from a bulky computer bag stored overhead. With a bout of sulky mumbling he took the seat by the window. Roxas was absorbing the sensations of takeoff and blessing the empty seat between them when TJ made himself known again.
Roxas would have said that he could hear the music word for word, but loosely assigning such terms as "words" and "music" to the violent noise seemed a bit generous.
Freezing his face into an impersonation of civility, Roxas asked him to turn it down. And asked again. He waved his hand in front of TJ's lidded eyes, and even resorted to poking the man in the shoulder repeatedly.
Finally he jerked the contoured earbuds out of TJ's head and the sleek mp3-player. TJ blinked as if disoriented, then carefully removed his gear from Roxas' rigid fingers. Roxas grabbed the buds before they could be replaced. He felt the twitching over his right eye intensify.
"Is this the part where you tell me about the bomb in the cockpit? Because dude, I so don't care."
Not for the first time, Roxas reminded himself that murder was illegal. And morally reprehensible, of course.
"Your music," he growled, "is too loud. Turn it down."
"This is Celtic Frost. Quality metal. And you're asking me to play them quietly. That's like telling the Sistine Chapel it should be painted in grayscale. Perverse. So just chill, shorty."
"First, I'm not asking you to turn it down. I'm telling you. Second, I'm not short – you're just freakishly tall."
"So what you're really saying is that you dislike me based solely upon my height?"
"I dislike you because you're an asshole. That you're tall just proves a point."
They were interrupted when the stewardess cleared her throat discreetly. She poured their drinks as per order, and tossed a pack of peanuts onto the fold-out tray that Roxas had unlatched in hopes of wrenching the plastic free (the better to beat TJ over the head with it).
Her lips pursed when she reached back into the cart for another pack. With an apologetic shrug, she handed them both napkins.
"I'm so sorry – that was the last of the peanuts. I'll see if we have any more in the kitchen, but I think that's it. I'll be back around to refill your drinks soon, 'kay?"
And so the gauntlet was thrown.
"You know those are mine, right?" TJ challenged.
"Actually, they would be mine. Because you're an idiot and I have a brain. The world needs smart people to survive, but there's no real demand for idiots. Therefore my own well-being is more crucial than yours." Roxas stated smugly. Then he dipped his voice in acid sarcasm.
"Then again, the saying is age before beauty, right? Maybe you should have them before you keel over."
TJ corrected him sweetly. "Ladies first."
"Then what are you waiting for?"
As TJ paused to summon an appropriately witty retort, Roxas lunged for the peanuts. TJ moved a moment after, but captured the foil package in the same moment by dint of his unfairly long reach.
Roxas still would have had it, however, if he hadn't been distracted.
Some people obsessed over breasts. Or behinds, or eyes, or feet, or necks, or whatever. There were as many fetishes as there were minutes in the day.
Roxas' unfortunate affliction was a fixation involving hands. So of course TJ had shapely, tapered fingers, broad, immaculate nails, and generally speaking the most gorgeous hands Roxas had ever seen.
Roxas' fingers grew slack just long enough, leaving him to snatch at the package as a victorious TJ crowed and pulled it away.
He caught hold of it just so, and watched in awe as the flimsy material tore clean in half, sending peanuts flying like shrapnel in every direction.
The Battle of the Peanuts had to end, if only because there was nothing left.
TJ spoke dryly, surveying the battlefield with arched brows, "I'm Axel, just so you know. May this idiot ask the name of his worthy opponent?"
Roxas watched him idly pick up the lone peanut that had reached his tray and rub it between thumb and forefinger, leaving a faint smear of gleaming salt on the skin.
Axel glanced down, then back up at him, face contorted in comical disbelief.
"You… licked me. And you stole my peanut!"
"My peanut," Roxas hummed, daintily tonguing the salt from his lower lip before crunching the nut between his molars. "And this idiot's name happens to be Roxas."
The ensuing silence was awkward for only a moment, as Axel stared transfixed at his damp lip. Slowly, he seemed to regain his power of speech.
"So, Roxas… ever had sex on a plane?"
Roxas snorted in disbelief. "No."
"Ever wanted to?"
Roxas thought of hands, pleasantly husky voices, and body heat. Then he thought about the reek of public toilets, disinfectant, the loud complaints of passengers and the possibility of arrest.
"No," he stated flatly, watching Axel squirm in his seat. The faint blush that appeared was at odds with everything, and certainly with Axel's flaming hair and seeming lack of shame. But it was endearing all the same.
"No… But you can buy me a cup of coffee at the airport."
A/N: I'm actually taller than Roxas, so I was laughing at him (just a little bit) as I wrote this.
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