(A/N): I am so tired I can barely see straight. This is one of the results of that, I guess. Reviews are good for my mental health (or something).
Disclaimer: Insert witty disclaimer here.
All Fall Down
Axel stepped out of the darkness into the Proof of Existence, pulling a hand through his hair with a sigh. His eyes immediately moved to Roxas, standing stiffly in front of his stone, expression blank. Frowning at the emptiness in the younger Nobody's eyes, Axel cleared his throat noisily, rolling his eyes when Roxas only twitched in response.
"Hey – the Superior wants you to –"
He broke off at the way Roxas stiffened at the mention of Xemnas, cold blue eyes searing into his own for a moment before Roxas turned his head away. "What?"
The way Roxas's frame shook belied his disaffected tone. "He's lying to me." Axel was pinned beneath the younger Nobody's frigid stare once again, the blond's hands curling into fists at his sides. "And so are you."
Eyes narrowing, Axel took another step forward, crossing his arms across his chest. "I've never lied to you," he growled, tilting his head slightly. Roxas turned to fully face him, eyes still hard.
"You won't tell me who I am." Axel scoffed and glanced away.
"You're Number XIII – Roxas." Roxas turned his back on the redhead, shoulders held painfully straight. "It's the truth," Axel shot at him, voice hollow.
"But it's not an answer," Roxas spit back, refusing to look at the older Nobody.
"Maybe you're not asking the right questions," Axel sneered, lip curling.
"I'm not staying here," Roxas said tightly. Axel's jaw tightened as he strode forward – grabbing the blond roughly by the shoulder, he spun him around to face him, wrapping his hands around Roxas's upper arms and squeezing until the younger Nobody winced.
"You selfish little shit." Axel's voice was toneless as he shook the boy, waiting until the blond glared up at him to continue. "What about us? What about Kingdom Hearts?" Roxas scowled and cut his eyes to the side.
"I think there's an easier way," he muttered, wincing when Axel's fingers dug into his arms again.
"For you, you mean." Axel chuckled humorlessly. "There's an easier way for you."
"Let go, Axel."
Axel released the blond and stepped back, expression blank as Roxas adjusted his jacket, staring up at him. Axel's fingers twitched, and heat unfurled in his palms as the chakram flared to life. Roxas's eyes widened in the split second before Axel lunged at him, weapons arcing toward the blond's chest.
There was a high-pitched ring of metal, and then Axel was grinding the spikes of the chakram into Oathkeeper and Oblivion, crossed protectively over the younger Nobody's body. For the first time since he'd entered the room, Roxas's eyes flared with what should've been emotion, and the blond ducked his head before he shoved Axel back. Axel landed easily, dancing back a step to put more distance between himself and the Keyblades clutched in the boy's hands. He grinned tightly at the blond, his expression feral, hungry, and Roxas's eyes darkened before he streaked forward.
Steel met steel as the two clashed again and again, Roxas feinting and twirling in a deadly arc, the Keyblades singing through the air. He feinted with Oathkeeper, bringing Oblivion up in a devastating arc aimed at Axel's side – the redhead twisted away, bringing his chakram up and catching the teeth of the Keyblade on the interior curve of the weapon. He twisted his wrist, jerking Roxas's arm forward and causing the blond to stumble. Before the boy could recover, fire exploded from his hand, racing up the shaft of the Keyblade, and Roxas was forced to relinquish his hold on the weapon, letting it fade in a burst of darkness.
With a flick of his wrist, Axel sent the blazing chakram at Roxas's head. He expected the boy to duck under the attack, already prepared to sweep his legs out from under him with his second weapon; instead, Roxas jumped, Oblivion reappearing in his hand as he twisted in the air to bring the Keyblades down in a crushing blow across Axel's back. Cursing, unable to keep the grin from his face, Axel dismissed the chakram and leapt out of the way, bringing his legs up over his head in a graceful tumble before he was on his feet once again, chakram clenched in his hands as he turned to face the blond once more.
Roxas was already on him, inside his guard, and Axel barely had time for the smirk that crossed his face before Roxas slammed the flat edge of Oblivion into the redhead's chest. Axel staggered back, the chakram disappearing in twin bursts of flame as he dropped to one knee, one arm wrapped protectively over his chest.
"Not bad, kid," he gasped, tasting blood on his lips. Roxas straightened slowly, Keyblades still clenched in his hands. They stared at each other for a moment before Roxas dismissed the weapons.
"You can't stop me," he murmured, and something in his expression made Axel's empty chest clench.
"They'll order me to kill you," Axel sighed, wiping the back of his gloved hand against his lips. Something shifted in Roxas's gaze, but Axel didn't have a name for it.
"Would you?" Axel laughed dryly, the sound harsh and abrasive in his own ears.
"You know I would." A smile ghosted over Roxas's face before he turned away.
"I almost wish you could," he said softly. Axel scoffed and spat a mouthful of blood on the floor as he rose gingerly to his feet.
"When?" Roxas didn't turn to face him, shoulders rising in a shallow shrug.
"Not yet." Axel stared at the boy's back for another minute before he sighed and ran a hand through his hair.
"Xemnas wants you." Roxas chuckled thinly before he strode away from the redhead, calling up a portal to the darkness.
"I'll see you, Axel." Axel didn't answer, a chakram tearing through the empty space Roxas had so recently filled before the room erupted into flames.