ALL IN THE NAME
-- + PART TWO + --
have meaning and names have power. Some people think that if they
change the names of things, the things themselves will have changed,
too. Well, some people are fools."
— David McKay
The first time Axel saw him: that was it. He'd already lost his heart.
With his sun-kissed hair rumpled in a way that looked too natural on him… with those cerulean blue eyes—deeper than any ocean, darker than any blue skies—haunting him in a way that was utterly unnatural... From the moment when he had come on the screen in nothing more than a plain, white t-shirt smeared with dirt and paint, Axel knew.
This boy, this boy was the one for him.
It didn't matter that he'd been merely in high school at the time. It didn't matter that, with this movie, the love of his life would become a new sensation. None of that mattered because, as far as Axel was concerned, he'd get this guy—famous or not—and make him his.
Roxas Hashiba had no choice in the matter except to fall willingly into his arms and profess his reciprocated love.
Well, God certainly has a way of dropkicking a guy in the gut.
Three minutes into meeting the guy, Axel had somehow managed to not only offend him, but to put himself onto Roxas' hate list. Then, to make matters worst, Sora and Riku—those two ridiculously happy and conniving bastards—had decided to play matchmaker. Even though, at first, it had worked pretty well (Roxas looked like he was responding to Axel) the blond had then up and decided to flip a one-eighty.
So, in goes the stick and out goes Axel.
Throwing down the magazine, which held the photo-op of Roxas, smiling into the camera, as he cradled a newborn in his hands, Axel scowled, throwing himself onto a chair. He looked so perfectly perfect in that offhand shot taken probably by some newbie photographer, who worked for the magazine. And yet, there probably wasn't another person in the world that could match this blond in beauty.
The first time that Axel had met Roxas in person—the world stopped. Quite literally, the redhead felt the entire world tilt for one split, heart-thundering second. It had spun right off of its axis, realized a second later of its frenzied mistake, and had righted itself all before the blond had noticed him and smiled in greeting. Granted, it had been nothing more than an impersonal smile, given only because the social gathering had demanded it, but the way those lips had tilted and the way those impossibly blue eyes had crinkled, had the world popping off it's rotation all over again. Some people might call it being star-struck, but Axel had known it was love.
Before Roxas—and Axel does refer to his life as the Era Before Roxas and the Era After—had entered into Axel's life, before Axel had set eyes on that gorgeous blond for the very first time on screen, the redhead had been the height of cool. With his tall, firm build, his cat-green eyes, feline smile, and hair that could put a cherry to shame, Axel had practically dominated his high school.
Girls sighed when they catch sight of him. Guys wished, in the depths of their heart, that they could be him. Teachers loathed him on principle, but they respected and admired his Go-Fuck-Yourselves-I'm-Independent attitude anyway.
And he was. Independent, that is. It didn't matter that the Akuseru happened to own the biggest franchise in the financial world. Axel had up and decided to leave that suffocating house three years prior, found himself a decent paying part-time, and had lived with the rats for a whole term before his best friends had found out about it and decided to have their say.
Then Roxas made his debut in the senior year of Axel's high school life.
And, independence be damned, his heart wasn't even his anymore.
The next year and a half, Axel worked like a man possessed. His friends were seriously debating whether they should contact his family home or ship him straight to the nearest shrink. The only reason they didn't was because Axel had always been crazy prior to that point and the fact that the redhead would probably bust out of any rehab center and kick their sorry ass after, helped. Work and money dominated Axel's life. Auditions and contests came the year after, when he'd worked up enough money to head to the big ol' city of dreams.
Well, the dream worked for him, because it was there that Axel had his first big break. The modeling industry snapped him up immediately, cooing over his alabaster skin, awing over his gem-like eyes, and absolutely raving over his naturally flame-tipped hair. In the year that he worked as a model, he'd moved from the newbie that gets a page or three of shots in a magazine, to an entire spread dedicated only to him.
By then, Roxas and his brother, Sora, had already achieved a reputation and status as the reigning sweethearts of the entertainment world. Only the best and the greatest ever got near the two. So Axel, chasing after his one and only, had modeled and showed, strutted and posed, until he was the best. The crème-de-la-crème. The cream of the crop.
"Hello," had been Roxas' first word to Axel. He'd glanced at him, tops, for maybe three seconds, before moving right along to Axel's companion, who just so happened to be an acquaintance of Sora's and thus, an acquaintance of Roxas'.
Axel couldn't remember another time when he'd despised his modeling partner, Riku Sugisaki, more. The fact that Sora was friends with Axel, too, didn't filter across. Oh no, it was the simple fact that Roxas knew who Riku was and had no idea that Axel Akuseru—his friggin' soul-mate—was standing right in front of him, ignored.
Well, three years after that, at the height of his career, the Hashiba Twins had decided to pose for a couple of magazines due to the request of a friend, and Axel... Axel finally got his chance.
But like all men in love, Axel was an idiot.
Once upon a time, Axel might have made a claim that if there was one thing he was amazing at, a natural-born talent you could say, it would have been the art of love. Ovid's Metamorphosis wouldn't have been able to hold a candle against Axel's own book of love. So when God decided to punish him for his arrogance, decided that Axel needed a rude little awakening, maybe an extra slap or two, it took him some time to realize that Roxas wasn't falling flat on his ass for Axel.
If anything, Axel was falling more and more. The more time he spent with the little golden blond, the more Axel began to panic. After all, it wasn't supposed to be like this. Roxas wasn't supposed to be distant, wasn't suppose to be able to retain his reason and amusement, as he treated Axel like nothing more than he treated...who knows. Like Oprah Winfrey. Like any other random celebrity that he might or might not know.
Roxas was supposed to fall for him, at first glance, in the same way Axel had fallen for him.
Thus, as he failed so miserably at his first attempt at love, Axel could only watch as his beloved, the one who'd changed not only his life but also his whole world, slipped through his very fingers.
One of these days, one day soon, Axel was going to fucking rip out Riku's balls. The only reason that he hadn't done it yet was that Sora would cry if he lost his nighttime activities because of Axel's anger management issues. Then the little brunette would've sic his twin on him… and any hope Axel might have at having a relationship with the blond would be gone. Simple as that. Once Roxas Hashiba hates someone, he hated that someone.
Which is why, now that Roxas had most likely decided to hate him, Axel was seriously contemplating on castrating his friend some day soon. Preferably with a pencil.
"Fuck off!" Axel screamed as Riku dragged him off the limo. Scowling, disregarding all the curious stares he was getting from the pedestrians, the redhead tried to punch his friend, as Riku practically bulldozed the two of them into the hospital.
"I don't know who the fuck you think you are, Sugisaki. But if you don't get your slimy little matchmaking arm off me this instant I'm going to the nearest tabloid and tell them you slept with me last night." Scowling, as all Riku did was tighten his grip, Axel reared back and tried to punch the silver haired model again. "I'm fucking serious. Your precious relationship's gonna fall apart because, eventually, Sora'll start believing my stories."
"Not even Sora's that naïve."
"God." Riku wheezed, when one of the flailing punches Axel had released grazed him at his jaw. "Shit, that hurts, you son of a bitch."
"Fucking get off me and you won't get hurt."
"Like Hell. I'm not letting you back into that apartment just so you could mope around." Grunting a bit, he hauled him into the elevator and pressed the button to close the door, ignoring the indignant screech of the old woman who wanted to go in with them.
Axel, glaring at the glowing number thirteen button, scowled just before he pressed every single button from the ground floor to thirteen. Even as his friend started yelling in defiance, the redhead settled onto the wall of the elevator to regard his silver haired model and partner.
It had been five in the morning when Riku's voice had sounded over the intercom to tell Axel that they were both going out, whether he wanted to or not. Since the redhead had been near drunk at the time, the other model had deemed it necessary to stuff his head in the coldest shower his sorry ass for a friend could manage before stuffing him into the waiting limo.
Axel nearly castrated the guy right then and there.
"It's been days, fucktard," Riku scowled when all Axel did was glare at him. Once upon a time, he might've cowered under that glare. Axel remembered when Riku first entered the modeling industry with him. But noo. Now that he had Sora, the rest of the world could go friggin' drown in icy water for all the care Riku showed.
"If you think I don't know that you're worried out of you mind, then you obviously don't consider me a friend." The look that Riku gave him had Axel frowning, as he turned his eyes back to the numbers. "If you don't think that I don't freaking know that you're still in love with Roxas, you obviously think I'm blind."
The quiet ding! that resounded throughout the elevator let the two of them know that they'd reached the tenth floor. Escaping out of the door, before Riku could object, the redhead raced down the hallways.
Axel didn't need the goodwill of a blissfully happy couple. He didn't want it. The last time he'd listened to them and had gotten close to Roxas, the blond had turned tail and ran faster than Axel could even say his name.
Goldilocks had cried.
Jumping into one of the rooms, quickly shutting the doors, Axel slumped behind it as he waited for Riku's footsteps to pass.
The last time he'd been in this hospital, Roxas had lay on the hospital bed, paler than any live person should be. It had, honestly speaking, scared him shitless. Those lips, usually so full and red, had been paler than snow. Gaunt and soulless eyes had stared past Axel into something only he could see.
And it was all Axel's fault.
"The stick's wedged pretty...deep," he'd said. It was all he'd said right before he'd pass right out again. The redhead had stayed with him the whole night, listening to those groans, enduring those whimpers, and had known that he was the reason why Roxas had collapsed.
Physical and mental exhaustion, to the point that he'd collapsed into a dead heap at the entrance to the biggest studio in the city. And Axel had caused it.
Why the Hell was Riku and Sora so adamant in bringing him to the blond?
When the footsteps disappeared from the hallway, Axel slowly inched the door open. Making sure that the hallway was empty, the redhead snuck past the hall again, turned the corner, and made another mad dash for the elevator. Swallowing, praying that Riku won't be heading back any time soon, green eyes lit up in triumph when the bell signaled the arrival of the elevator.
The redhead made to run into the elevator, hand already reaching for the button that'll shut the door, when familiar blond hair and blue eyes entered his vision.
Like so many times before, like the very first time, the world tilted and slid off its axis. His heart nearly jerked right off his chest as cat green eyes caught the familiar cerulean that could only belong to Roxas. Blinking, freezing for maybe a millisecond, Axel felt his lips tighten as he stepped carefully off the elevator again.
"Hey Roxas." Beside Roxas, Sora waved a little, sticking out a foot to keep the elevator door open, he pulled the redhead into the elevator. "Good timing. I was about to go look for Riku—I'm assuming he's on this floor. Can you hold this bag for Rox, while I look for him?" Dumping the bag into Axel's lax hands, the brunette grinned as he waved. "Thanks."
And before either of them could protest, the quiet bell of the elevator—the damned traitor—had the door closing and moving down again.
"So, I heard you're being released today," Axel muttered as he leaned against the wall. Roxas, on the other side of the elevator, nodded silently as he stared at something just past Axel's shoulders. "Are you...feeling better?"
Feeling his heart clench, as Roxas nodded mutely again, Axel nodded his head in reply. In reply to what, he had no idea. Turning the duffle bag restlessly onto his other hand, green eyes roamed over the slight frame of the blond. Shuddering, despising the fact that he'd lost so much weight, the redhead felt something broke at the very real misery behind those blue eyes. Silently, his words from their previous encounter filtered through his mind.
"You have some stick up your arse, so you hide from every fucking person that tries to get close to you? Just how fucked up are you, Goldilocks? Huh?"
Closing his eyes, nearly suffocating from the pressure in his heart, Axel released his breath a little, as he tried to alleviate some of the ache. Swallowing, when all that breath of air did was filling his entire system with Roxas' scent of mangos and antiseptic, Axel forced a smile onto his face.
"Listen Hashiba," he said as the elevator neared the fourth floor. "About last time." Large blue eyes snapped onto his own green ones as he groped desperately for words.
The elevator neared the second floor. Handing the light bag over to the honey-golden blond, who accepted it mutely, Axel sucked in a breath as that continuous pressure squeezed until his heart damn near imploded. Fuck, at this rate, he'd fucking bleed to death.
The ding! of the elevator sounded again.
Releasing the hold on the duffle bag, the redhead scratched his head a little, as he felt his eyes mist. Quickly scratching his bangs, making the flame tips cover his eyes, he grinned at the still silent blond. He wished he could hear that voice just once more.
Stretching lazily as the warm breeze rippled through him, Axel let out a breath as he let himself fall into the warmed sand. The waves, every few second or so, would lick hungrily against his bare feet. Above him, gulls cried every now and then, telling the others that nightfall was about to come. A few wisps of golden clouds floated quietly in the evening sky as the sun slowly, but surely, slid quietly into hiding.
"Good shot, Axel!"
The loud cry from the photographer shattered the tranquility of the area. Eyes snapped open again, gleaming from the last of the sun's rays, as he slowly sat up. Sand slid noiselessly down, streaking over white skin edged by a bit of honey. Taking a deep breath, relishing in the smell of the paradise island, Axel smiled as one of his assistants helped him to his feet.
"Good shots today, Axel," his photographer for this project smiled, as he slapped the redhead happily on his back. "Go and enjoy yourself for the rest of the night. We'll be making another shoot first thing in the morning."
Nodding, Axel walked off towards where his stuff sat. Pulling on a t-shirt, the redhead nodded at his manager before stalking towards where his friend laid, shades on, arms behind his head, and the biggest smile he'd seen in a while lit on that face.
"Lazy ass, get up," Axel drawled as he kicked the sun-chair slightly. Smirking in amusement when Demyx Karagi, his best friend since birth and brother since oath, fell right off the white thing, Axel turned to grab his water from the blond man's grasp.
"Damn it, Axel," Demyx, rubbing his head slightly, pulled his headphones off his head as light blue eyes looked up in annoyance. "I was finally getting into it."
Axel shrugged. The blond was currently running one of the biggest recording companies in the world. There was some sort of innate music sense in the laid back man, which had him smelling out a singer and a performer when he saw one. Pulling Demyx' sitar case from beside the table, the redhead watched as his friend rubbed his hands a little.
"Song any good?" Axel asked, nodding at the music player as Demyx accepted the sitar case easily.
Demyx shrugged. Waving at a couple of mutual friends they knew from the entertainment business, the blond pursed his lips a bit, as he pointed to the white iPod in his hands. "Pretty good," Demyx decided as they headed back towards the hotel. "The guy who wrote this—he's brilliant. When you listen to it, it's like...uh. Like that Greek myth, with what's his name. When the guy went off to the bottom of the ocean looking for his long, lost girlfriend."
"It's Orpheus, Demyx," Axel rolled his own eyes at his best friend. "And he didn't go down to the ocean, he went down to Hades. And it's not his girlfriend, it's his dead wife."
"Whatever. Same thing," Grinning, Demyx waved his hands dismissively. "Wife, girlfriend, ocean or Hell, they all give off the same feeling."
Axel was about to point out that there was a pretty big difference between following someone to the bottom of the ocean and death when he realized, if he really thought about it, there really wasn't that much of a difference. Either way, the guy would die. Scratching his head again, the redhead nodded to the doorman, as they headed towards the restaurant within the hotel.
"And let me tell ya," Demyx was saying, as the maitre'd led them to a table. "Whoever the lyricist is, the man's a genius."
Nodding absently, as the blond went on and on in his tirade about the lyricist, Axel tuned out the voice of his best friend, as a passing waiter served a dish of trout to the couple at the table over. Staring at the trout, he swallowed slightly as he quickly turned his head in the opposite direction.
Outside the window, through the clear glass of the windowpanes, pedestrians strolled leisurely in the little light left in the evening. The few streetlights around the wooden boards slowly flickered on one by one, illuminating the bubbling families that were on vacation, the quiet couples enjoying each other, and the couple of local kids dashing home for dinner. Some lights flickered on for shops that would stay open throughout the night, as others flipped the signs to show that business, for them, was over for the day.
"That couple looks happy, huh?" Demyx sipped his pink lemonade quietly, as shrewd blue eyes regarded his best friend.
Green eyes remained softened on the happy couple, who were, no doubt, on their honeymoon. The way their eyes remained resolutely on one another, totally disregarding all the other people that were walking on the same street, had the redhead sighing.
Demyx was quiet for a moment after that. Just as Axel was about to believe that the blond wouldn't pursue the subject further, he placed his glass back onto the table and turned towards him. "You miss him."
Axel closed his eyes. It's been weeks since he'd accepted this project. Since the entertainment circle was so small, if he'd stayed in the city any longer, the chances that he and Roxas would run into each other again was pretty high. Remembering the pain he'd seen in the blond's eyes at the hospital, before the hospital...remembering those tears, had moved Axel from the city.
He didn't want to hurt Roxas anymore.
The project, which brought him halfway across the world to the most renowned paradise island, would give them both time and space away from each other. Roxas would soon forget about Axel, and Axel...
Axel would stay out of Roxas' way.
On the third day at the shoot, Zexion had decided to come down and visit. Demyx, delighted in seeing his boyfriend after the weeks of absence, disappeared together with the man to only God knows where. Feeling slightly bored, and inexplicably alone, Axel threw on a shirt as he stalked out of the hotel room.
The laugh alerted him first.
Eyes widened as he recognized the slight chuckles mixed in with one of the cheeriest laughs in the entertainment industry. Ducking by the cleaning lady, who stared at him strangely, as he smiled in reassurance, Axel swept his eyes down the hall and very nearly groaned when he saw the familiar sight of the familiar twins walking towards the elevators.
Roxas, who was being pushed towards the elevator, was scowling at something Riku had said. Something inside him lit up when he saw that the haunted look in those blue eyes had diminished somewhat, some of the weight had come back a little, and a bit of shine was already returning to that face. He was smiling.
And yet, even as a smile wanted to fly onto his face, the unmistakable desire to cry was nearly overwhelming him. Cursing in his mind, as the eyes of the cleaning lady widened even further, Axel quickly shushed her as he searched frantically for a handkerchief or a tissue or something.
It really was Axel that was hurting Roxas. Choking a little, the biggest smile on his face as streams of tears started sliding down his cheeks, Axel let loose a breath as that pressure which has been always around the edges of his heart came back, full force. Without Axel around, Roxas could smile again.
Snapping back his eyes towards the cleaning lady, who was frowning at him in sympathy, Axel blinked a little as he swiped at his eyes with the back of his hands.
She was holding out a bathroom towel to him.
"Here," she repeated as she held the white fluffy towel to him. For some reason, for some strange reason, that made him want to cry even more.
Quickly taking it from her, smiling in thanks, Axel took it and turned back to his room. Satisfied that the twins had disappeared into the elevator, Axel sighed, as he wiped the towel over his eyes and face.
"Thank you," Axel smiled. He held out the towel a little, realized that she probably can't put it in any room now, and took it back. "Allergic reaction. Always makes me cry like a baby."
"Well then," Crisp, nearly blunt, the lady turned back to her cart as she wheeled it towards the next room. Without looking at him, she knocked on Demyx' door before swiping it open. Axel, taking that as an indication that she'll keep her mouth shut, was about to walk off when her soft murmurs reached his ears.
"I suppose you have a mighty big allergy against that pretty little Roxas Hashiba star, then."
Axel froze. Laughing, he pressed the towel to his eyes again as he realized the irony of the sentence. "No. Actually, I think he might be allergic to me. I'm just allergic to pink lemonade."
Taking the towel back to his room, leaving a generous tip at the nightstand, Axel grabbed one of the caps, his biggest pair of shades, and slipped from the room. He dashed into the elevator the moment it rang and pressed hastily for the lobby before making a dash out of the hotel.
Night had already overtaken the entire island. The sky was a rare shade of purple, and the first star of the night was shining, already, in the sky. Taking a deep breath, almost grateful for the chills the night brought, Axel walked into the crowd of tourists. The sound of laughter was everywhere. Locals danced happily, getting ready for a festival that the entire island was participating in, in just a few days. Tourists clicked away in excitement, sharing the moment with a mother or brother, lover or best friend.
Getting off the main road, the redhead walked over to the isolated beach. The sea was already drenched in the shine of the moonlight. Waves brushed languidly under the guidance of the silver moon. Stepping carefully onto the shore, Axel let the shades drop.
Green glimmered against silver, against black, against purple. Tears slid, disregarded, as the redhead slumped onto the sand. The tranquility, under the cloak of night, very nearly became solitude.
It's been eons since he last sang.
"You said to me with eyes full of tears...That fairytales are nothing but lies...That I can't possibly be your prince..." A quiet whisper, nothing more than a sigh, those green cat eyes, nearly hazel under the moonlight, closed as the quiet melancholy of his voice echoed throughout the sea.
"You don't understand... I'm willing to be that angel you loved inside the fairytales. To spread my hands, to become wings and protect you...Believe, believe that we can be like the fairy tales...
"With our own happily ever after."
Eyes snapped open when he heard the quiet steps behind him. Even as fear ransacked through him, Axel felt something burst open in his heart, pushing back against the pressure that was constantly suffocating him. Turning, eyes widened when he recognized blond hair.
"I can't remember the last time you sang one of my songs." Demyx remarked as he stepped beside his best friend. Taking in the soaked eyes, light blue eyes narrowed as he turned towards the sea. "I thought you said Axel Akuseru's not a singer."
Axel felt his heart fall. Turning away, groping for his shades, Axel flinched when he realized that Demyx had already taken it hostage. "Stop hiding from me, Akuseru," Demyx frowned, as he tucked the glasses into his pocket. Sitting beside the redhead, eyes stared into Axel's own irresolute ones, before he sighed.
"I guess you saw Hashiba, then."
"Yea. I guess."
"He laughed." Feeling like he was breaking, Axel laughed too. He held a hand up against his eyes, squeezing the bridge of his nose as a fresh wave of tears coursed through him. Ah, fuck. He was getting tired of his emotional roller-coaster. God, he'd though that once he'd gotten to meet Roxas in person, things will be so much easier.
What a joke.
"Roxas," he added when he realize that Demyx was waiting for him to continue. "He laughed when I saw him. He's doing so much better. Better than I'd hoped."
"Why'd you run away, Axel."
Looking up at Demyx, who was now scratching his ears, as he fiddled with iPod, Axel turned back to the sea. "I didn't. Roxas needed me away from him."
"And now he's a lot better without you, I know." Demyx shrugged. "So why aren't you happy with it?"
Eyes scrunched together. "Fuck off, Karagi."
"Too bad. I can't. Zexy went back off to film his next award winner and I'm not willing to play alone."
"You know what I think, Axel?" Demyx continued, ignoring whatever Axel was about to say. "I don't think you left for Roxas at all." Sighing loudly, as Axel made to get up, the blond reached over and tripped the redhead back onto his seat. "I'm not done. Lemme finish, then you can go stick your head back into your room and hide until tomorrow. Anyway, did you even ask Hashiba if he wanted you gone from his life?"
And Demyx rolled his eyes. "I didn't think so. Before you pull an MIA on the guy, don't you think you should ask if he wanted you to disappear first?"
When Axel didn't respond, Demyx nodded. "Right. Thought so too. So what does that say, Axel? You didn't run for Hashiba. You ran because of yourself."
"You know what?" Jumping up now, eyes blazed slightly, as his breath hitched a little. Swallowing a little, eyes turned away from Demyx when all the blond did was stare straight back. "You know what? I'm done here."
"Shit. When did you get so damned pathetic?" Demyx exploded. "Where's the old Axel Akuseru? The one that could make all the teachers and staff cry in frustration. The one that could make girls freakin' faint with just a glance. Who are you?"
And that final part of Axel, the part that's been fighting off that immense pressure, collapsed. Hands covered his eyes as he sighed again. He wanted to laugh. He was about to cry. His heart was falling apart. That constant pressure that's been eating at him since he'd left Roxas was slowly taking his heart whole. God, it was even worst than when Roxas had cried because of him, when Roxas had fainted at his feet.
"I'm tired, Demyx." Axel turned. Headed back to his room at the hotel. "So tired. So I think I'll go back and sleep for tomorrow."
The photographer sighed as Axel blinked back to the present. Cursing under his breath as he realize how many films he'd probably messed up, the redhead sighed as he waved for water. "Shit. Sorry, camera-man," he sighed, massaging his temple a little as the beginnings of a headache started to throb.
"Come here," Cid Highwind growled, as he pulled the redhead away from the set. "What's wrong with you today, kid?" He scowled at the look in Axel's eyes.
"Sorry, camera-man," Axel repeated as he rubbed his head. "My head wouldn't stop throbbing."
"Somebody get me an aspirin." Cid glared down at the redhead. "Fine. That gets rid of one excuse. What else you got, kid?"
Axel blinked. Looking up at the gruff man before him, the one who'd first introduced him to the modeling scene all those years ago, Axel swallowed. "Nothing, sir."
"Oh yea? Well that's not what I heard." Feeling more miserable by the second, Axel's head snapped up at Cid's next words. "Sora Hashiba's here. You've got fifteen."
Head whipped towards the chairs. Sure enough, there was the little brunette. Swallowing, feeling as though he'd prefer not to take the break, Axel looked back at Cid's glowering face and sighed.
"Axel." Sora's eyes widened at the sight of the redhead. "Uh, well damn. You look like crap."
"Thanks, little Sora," Axel muttered, as he settled into the seat, beside the brunette. Accepting the water and the aspirins from one of the assistants, Axel sighed as he gulped the pills down.
"Are you sick?" Sora frowned.
Batting the hands away from his face, Axel leaned back. "No." Though things'll be simpler if I'm really just...sick. Looking at the other star, Axel shrugged. "So what's up little Sora? I've only got fifteen minutes."
"Well." Still frowning, Sora sighed. "Initially, I wanted to yell at you for Roxas. But I don't think I can do that now that I've gotten a good look at you."
"Thanks for the mercy."
"Not that you deserve it," Sora scowled, as he pointed a finger at him for emphasis. "You ran away just when Roxas needed you the most. What the heck was that?"
Oh man. Closing his eyes, Axel almost laughed. It was almost funny how similar Sora was to Demyx sometimes. "I wasn't running away, Sora."
"Yea, you were! God!"
Surprised at the insistent and exasperated tone from one who was usually so carefree and cheery, Axel felt his eyes widen. Sora threw his hand up in the air, standing so abruptly that the chair swung back.
"You were running, damn it! God, you're even more of a bonehead than Roxas!"
"And it'd serve you right if Roxas really does hate you because..." Axel froze. And suddenly the little brunette deflated before his very eyes. "It would've been because you didn't fight for him."
Staring at all the photos Cid had sent to him for approval, Axel rifled through the shots, frowning at a couple before dumping the whole lot back into the envelop. Flopping onto his stomach, he threw his hands over his face as the headache from before came back.
Turning resolutely away from his thoughts, Axel flipped onto the TV. The brilliant image of Roxas flashed onto the screen, cerulean eyes distressed, hair mussed, and that t-shirt hanging loosely on his thin frame.
"You didn't fight for me." The cool gaze of the heroine swept past Roxas' character, as the camera moved onto the scene where a lean young man smacked another ball across the net.
"Love – thirty!"
"I know I didn't," Roxas, portraying Deiran, swallowed. Fear reflected behind those eyes as he reached out towards the girl who'd been his, once upon a time. "I know I didn't."
"I'm sorry," Smiling, reaching out to hold the hand that was by her cheeks, the camera rolled until it was brought to Roxas' face. Watching the screen, avidly, Axel felt his breath hitch as Roxas' expression changed from one of desperation, to fear, before slowly turning to resignation and acceptance.
All within the span of a couple of seconds.
The feeling of pride overwhelmed him, nearly crushed him from the way his heart nearly burst, for some unfathomable reason. Incredibly proud that Roxas could show such genuine emotion on screen, he felt the desire to both laugh at his love's talent, and cry that he couldn't share this joy with the blond. Chuckling, feeling the same bubble of hysteric and panic Roxas had shown on screen, Axel threw his head back. God.
This roller-coaster ride will never end.
"It would've been because you didn't fight for him."
The pounding on the door had Axel shutting the TV off again. Getting off the bed, the redhead padded over to the front door. Eyeing the peekhole carefully, Axel slid the door open when he saw Demyx.
"Get your butt out of this hotel, now!" Eyes wide, hair mussed, and one headphone dangling off his ear haphazardly, the blond reached forward to drag the shocked redhead out of his room. "Now, retard! Go! Roxas is leaving!"
At this, the redhead froze. Leaving? Leaving where?
"Go, you stupid, freaking moron! What the Hell have you been chasing after all this time?"
And Axel was off like a shot. His heart, for the first time in weeks, in months, burst with something more than just fear. Panicked, hysterical, and something he couldn't quite pinpoint erupted out of him as he raced, impatient with waiting, down the stairs. Eyes saw nothing but the road in front of him. Jumping out to the street, he waved at the limo.
"Airport! Now!! Step on it!"
As the long stretch limo peeled out of the driveway, all the redhead could do was breathe. Thumping a hand across his heart, willing it to slow down and let him think, Axel swallowed, as he gulped some of the water inside the limo.
What would he say when he saw him? What would he do? How the Hell should he tell the guy he'd been avoiding—like a fucking plague—for the past few months that no, he didn't want him to leave? He didn't want him to disappear?
That he refused to let him go without a fight?
What the hell do you say in a situation like this without getting slapped?
Axel blinked. But he deserved to be slapped. Closing his eyes, breathing deeply, the redhead shook his head. It didn't matter if Roxas slapped him, kicked him, punched him, until he couldn't even be recognized anymore.
Not if it meant he'd stay.
Opening the door the moment the limo slid to a stop, completely disregarding his driver, Axel flew through the gates. Stopping before the counter, Axel huffed as he tried to make out the words he was trying to say.
Only to realize he didn't even know the flight Roxas was on.
"Fuck!" he cursed, slapping his head as he realized he didn't have his freaking phone on him either. "Shit!" The girl behind the counter stared.
Leaning forward again, eyes betraying his desperation, Axel swallowed as he tried to explain. "Look, I really don't know what flight he's on. He's on one of them! Leaving here today, I think. I don't know where he's going, and when he's going. But he's leaving soon and I need to stop him."
Freezing, Axel turned and stared when he caught sight of the blond who'd stolen both his heart and his independence away. Releasing the counter, swallowing, Axel walked forward numbly.
Roxas frowned. "What's wrong?" he asked as Sora murmured something to him before disappearing. The blond barely waved.
Blinking, swallowing again, Axel very nearly laughed.
Still here. Still here.
"Who were you looking for? Demyx?"
Swallowing a little, feeling ridiculous for some odd reason, Axel covered his face again. Roxas was still here. He'd witnessed Axel's hysterics, had calmly walked up to him and asked him what's wrong. And started talking to him about Demyx.
"Roxas. Listen Goldilocks," At the name, Roxas' eyes widened. "Just listen to me okay. A minute. No, a couple of seconds."
Those cute honey golden strokes drew together in that customary fashion only Roxas had. Seeing them drawing together in that way, the way those cerulean eyes—though cool—remained solely on his face, nearly made Axel cry. The simultaneous urge to both crush the blond to him and run the opposite direction ransacked through him.
"You know what, Axel? I don't think you left for Roxas at all."
Staring into those eyes, Axel swallowed as he nodded. No. It hadn't been for Roxas at all.
"Listen," Axel repeated. Swallowing, disgusted at the lump that was clogging his throat, Axel closed his eyes as he realized just how fucked up he'd been. Shit. I'm the fucking biggest coward in the world.
"I'm listening, Axel," Roxas' quiet voice hung between the two of them. There was none of the hatred, which he'd thought the blond would emit. It was actually going pretty well. He hadn't punched him yet.
"Okay. The truth is...truth is," Swallowing again when Roxas' eyes widened, Axel nodded. "Yea. Cid—the photographer, Cid Highwind, I don't know if you remember him—he loved us in the last shoot. And he really wanted us to do another spread together."
Those eyes dimmed. "Oh. Well, I'm sure your manager can contact mine." Looking at the redhead again, Roxas shrugged. "Is that everything?"
"And!" Axel cursed. Cursed that he couldn't remember any of the rules to dating he used to create. Cursed that he couldn't be smooth in the most important moment of his life. Cursed that this one blond, this one small guy before him, could make him into the biggest babbling freak in the world.
"And?" Roxas repeated.
Axel turned his eyes away. "And...don't leave."
The longest silence, the most pregnant of pause, resounded after that statement. Releasing a breath again, Axel crossed his arms in his attempt to lighten the pressure that was still constantly pounding at his heart.
"God, I don't know, Goldilocks!" Throwing a hand towards his hair, his eyes, wild and frantic, zeroed back onto Roxas'. "I don't know, Goldilocks. But I know that, if I lose you now—this fucking heart's gonna bleed to death." Gripping his heart, and grabbing Roxas' hand with the other, Axel released another breath
"I don't get it," Roxas muttered, shaking his head a little. "Why?"
Looking up again, a slim, slender hand, reached up to gently press against the fist that Axel had over his heart. "Why would this break, Axel?"
"Roxas...Goldilocks...Shit!" Cursing, ransacking another hand through his hair, Axel very nearly laughed. "Shit. Do you have any idea how long I've loved you?" When blue eyes widened, he did laugh. "Yea. I didn't think so. You are related to Sora. Not that I'm saying your brother's stupid or anything! But he's kinda...you know. Slow."
"Did you say my name that many times before?" Axel swallowed. "I think I would've noticed. God. I waited years to hear my name coming out of your lips."
"Oh man. Goldilocks...Roxas. Did you know? The first time I saw you, you were in your first movie. Namae. I almost died when my heart flew out of my chest and plastered itself against the screen. And then, I met you a couple years later and you were so damned aloof. You're not supposed to be aloof. You're supposed to fall for me the minute you met me. I'm supposed to be calm and collected. Smooth. Suave. I don't know. Everything you ever wanted."
"But, God. God must hate me. Not only did you hate me, you just refused to fall for me. You just didn't. I keep messing up with you. Shit."
"Axel." Without waiting this time, the blond reached up, curved his other hand around Axel's neck, and pulled it down towards him. Lips brushed against lips, eyes remained on each other for one precious second, before both drifting blissfully close. Someone sighed, it didn't matter whom, before both eased back.
Curling his hand back around Axel's heart, he brought the redhead's hand towards his own. Roxas reached up to pull back the bangs on the taller man's head. "You need to stop babbling."
And he swallowed. "Okay. Sure."
"Axel, tell me straight. Do you love me?"
"Yes. Fuck. Yes, Roxas."
And, rather than punching him, or slapping him, or kicking him until he's unrecognizable, the most beautiful smile that Axel had ever seen on the blond to date spread over that face. And again, one more time, the world tilted. This time, it wasn't ever going to get back on its axis, no matter what. Screw mistakes. Beneath his palms, Roxas' heartbeat sped, nearly matching his own.
"Good," the blond smirked as he leaned forward again. "Cause I've loved you since our photo shoot together. Guess you didn't know, Mr. Suave."
"No, you didn't."
"Yea, I did." Roxas grinned. "Well, I didn't notice either until I saw the picture Cid Highwind picked to be the cover for the ad we did." Smirking when all Axel gave him was a blank look, Roxas shrugged. "I was staring at you like there was nothing else in the world."
"That's love at first sight, Roxas."
A bubble of laughter erupted out of him, as Roxas shrugged. Something bright, exultant, something lighter than air itself, and utterly indescribable burst from the center of his heart and spread. The pressure, that damned annoying pressure that'd been eating at his heart since eternity and a day, promptly faded under this new sensation.
"That's the stuff of fairytales," Axel added as the first jovial laugh escaped from his blond. "Goldilocks, that's a fairytale."
Something inside him wanted to cry again. However, this time, rather than the pinpricked feeling that came every time, peace, delight, and God knows what else, engulfed him, as he crushed the smaller actor towards him.
"Axel," Roxas murmured, as he twined his own arms around the redhead.
"Say my name again, Roxas."
"Roxas." Closing his eyes, deciding that, crying at this point would be unmanly, Axel laughed. "God, I love you. I love you."
"It's about damn time!"
Blinking, the two sprang apart. Cerulean blue and feline green stared into the goofy grins of their friends as Sora, Demyx, Riku, and Zexion stepped towards them. Coming before the others, Sora placed a kiss on his twin, before turning to regard Axel.
"Took you some time," Demyx agreed as he cuffed Axel from around the neck. "Tard."
Axel blinked. "Wait a second."
"Do you have any idea how much effort it took to get you two together?" Riku added. He rolled his eyes. "And I thought Tidus was slow in proposing to Selphie."
"Axel's always been stubborn," Zexion shrugged.
"Man, Roxas too."
And it was then that the newly made couple realized. "Well, shit, you guys!"
And they lived happily ever after.
The song Axel sang was a translation of Michael Wong's song "Tong Hua" and not mine.
The two shot is officially complete. To ALL who has or might read this in the future: please take a little time and review, whether it's a simple "good job" or a criticism of where I can improve. It'd be greatly appreciated and highly useful for the next time I decide to work on an akuroku.
As always, thanks for reading!
Lots of love,
Edited by: Wake-Robin
Last Checked: February 25, 2007