Title: Si Tu Disais
Series: Kingdom Hearts
Disclaimer: I own nothing.
Notes: Dumb ditty that sneaked up and bashed me over the head while I was in the middle of trying to write something else -- two something else's. Written in under an hour, which implies something about the quality. As always, comments and criticisms are highly appreciated. And it's probably painfully obvious, but a cookie goes to anyone who can name the book I've referenced so liberally :)
si tu disais
if you said
The Dark City always smells like cold wind, rain water and raw sewage despite the complete absence of life, and this is because the city doesn't want you to know what it really smells like.
At this moment, you are tediously aware that the minute you walk out of there, round that corner, disappear from view, it will appear to the rest of the world that you left without saying goodbye. This isn't actually true. In fact, you asked Axel to come with you.
And he said no.
This is what you don't get. Axel doesn't even like the Organization, and he hates working for them. There aren't a lot of ways to interpret I motherfucking hate doing these goddamn missions. He rolls his eyes when the Superior starts pontificating about hearts and the emptiness of being, drags grudging smiles out of you making loopy fingers at the side of his head. He isn't particularly loyal to the rest of them either, all but left Demyx to get swarmed and possibly eaten alive that one time you heard about when they got partnered up for a recon. Now no one goes with him but you.
He's reckless and headstrong and an unspeakable infuriation, one that has a habit of pressing its mouth to the base of your neck for luck before going into a fight. There aren't a lot of ways to interpret that either.
You never believed for one second that he had nothing to do with whatever happened at Castle Oblivion, but that's a whole other can of worms.
Even so, you asked him to come with you. This is how it went.
Your palm is flat against his long, restless back, methodically counting the bony bumps of vertebrae, and he's got his fingers firmly in your hair. There is the horrible discomfort of sweat, sticky and warm and cloying, but for the moment, you'll allow it, let it become a non-issue. Axel's got his face turned to you and you are looking at it, taking note, trying to see if his eyes and the line of his cheek might have some meaning. Everything means something, and the fact that you don't is partially the reason you're leaving.
I'm leaving, you say. Come with me.
You've always known you'd leave, it was just a matter of time. It's not a question of intent; it is in your nature as a Nobody not to belong to anything, and if you do not belong to any place in particular, you always have the option to leave. Plus, there are answers to seek, you know that now. It is reassuring to know something at last. A solid fact to hold in your hands, knowledge you can clench your fingers upon, a poor man's gold.
You haven't always known that you'd ask Axel to come along. This is just something that occurred to you one night, when you fell asleep with your fingers on his spine.
And you remember how, for the longest time, you couldn't figure out why. People who go off on extended trips are sometimes allowed one personal item, and you have a high time of it picturing Axel shrinking to portable size, his long, spindly limbs folding together like a collapsible chair. You picture yourself attempting to stuff him into a nook in your valise (you do not own a valise, you don't know why you think this). Too gangly! Doesn't fit anywhere! It's only a joke of course—Axel is a Nobody, like you, so he can't belong to anything, and anyway, who'd want him?
No, that is not it at all. You ask him to come along because you are responsible. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed.
This is not your own thought, but something you once read in a book. A story about a prince, his rose, and a fox. You are not an avid reader, not because you're not fond of the habit, but because the opportunity fails to lend itself. Your life shifts around too much, with the uncertainty of something that shouldn't be, like an amateur film with all the frames jumbled and rearranged. By the time you pick up a book again, you have already forgotten how the story started.
But this is a small book, a slim, slight thing barely larger than the size of your palm. The words are simple and the sentences short, translated from a language of which you have no knowledge. Each chapter has only a couple of pages, quite a number of them dominated by small, simplistic illustrations. Here is one that you remember in particular: a drawing of the protagonist watching the sunset, which is an illusion of perpetuity due to the fact that the prince's home is so small. It makes you smile, thinking of Twilight Town.
You don't pay the book much attention, in truth, read in intervals of five pages and leave it on end-tables and in the inside pockets of your coat, fully expecting to forget completely and never be able to find it again. But the book keeps turning up. Perhaps a bit dogeared, with a new water stain on the faded cover, but it is never lost, and perhaps it is for this reason that it endears itself to you.
You read it all in one sitting, some grainy, top-heavy afternoon when returning to Never Was is the last thing on your mind. The world you are in is nameless but full of light, flickering in intensity, the wind kicking up dust in the distance. It is your own fault, says the prince in the book. I never wished you any sort of harm; but you wanted me to tame you. And the fox says, Yes, that is so.
It is the fox who tells you that you become responsible for what you have tamed. It is all the time you waste on something that makes it important, makes it unique from all others, and as you look at the fox's slanted eyes and bushy red tail, you think, Well, I can relate to that.
You lose the book, in the end, and it gets consumed by some world that is collapsing in on itself, but by then you have already had all the words committed to memory.
Back to the point. I'm leaving, you say. Come with me.
Beneath your hand, Axel's back stiffens imperceptibly into alertness. Where are you going?
I don't know. Anywhere. I can't stay here.
Anywhere. That is the beauty of it, you think. Finding answers will take a long time, no doubt, but after you leave you will have that, time, so much of it, bunching up around you and stretching out like a glass ribbon. Time will be all you have—and Axel, but who thinks these thoughts? You could see the world, all the worlds there are to see, just drift from one to another and drink in all the sights and customs. Wake up some place where sunlight pours in to drape over you, soft and indulgent. The universe is large and overwrought, but eventually, all paths cross.
In Agrabah, you might spare a moment to go out into the desert and look for the little golden snake (not the prince, for you are certain he is back on his little star, back with his little rose). The snake claims to be able to return everyone it touches back to the place they came from, even the prince who came from a star; you wonder what it would say to you, you who belong to nothing. And while you search for these answers in the sparse isolation of the desert, Axel could do… something. Admittedly, you haven't thought that far. But the details are irrelevant, the details will have to sort themselves out. He's always been the first to complain about the dreariness of the World That Never Was, lingers off-world and cracks jokes about going native. You've been expecting him to make the first move. This was never even a question.
You do not say this, any of this, of course. You do not think it necessary.
I can't stay here. You don't want to. Let's go.
There's a sudden sharpness in the air. Axel's hair bristles, like the mane of some great, wounded animal. Don't be stupid, Roxas. You can't leave the Organization. They'll kill you.
I'd like to see them try. But inside you are gnarled with pique. Does he think this has never occurred to you?
("You are no thicker than a finger..." "But I am more powerful than the finger of a king.")
They will want you punished, but so what? You'd like to see them try. And anyway, the Organization is not as intimidating as it might once have been. The two of you alone already make up nearly a third of the existing members. In the event of defection, you will likely be pursued, at least for a little while, but for the most part you think, or rather hope that they would just forget about you. You can think of no one who could possibly care if you simply did not turn up one day. No one except…
I never pegged you for a coward.
Having a brain is not the same thing as being chickenshit. You're the one who's talking like a moron. Come off it.
Are you saying no?
He doesn't even look at you, just flops back down onto the bed and makes a harrumphing noise. Yeah, I'm saying no. No one is going anywhere.
It hits you like a claw to the guts. Oxygen rushes silently through the open hole of your mouth, the one that used to be shaped like a snarl. Axel hears it, though, because he jerks up, narrow-eyed, wraps a hand around your wrist like a human handcuff, almost painful.
I'm serious. Don't go.
His voice scrapes like glass out of a metal chute, but it's probably your imagination.
Why not? Because they might kill me if I betray them?
It occurs to you that you are waiting for him to say something. As horrible as it sounds, you are waiting for him to ask you to stay. Not because of the Organization, not out of fear of any repercussions, but because he wants you to. If he says it, now… perhaps nothing would change. But he will have said it, and you will know he has said it, and that in itself might be enough. It will be an acknowledgment that all the time you've wasted has meant something.
Yeah. Because of that. So don't be an idiot.
Figures, was what you thought then. Nobodies. Can't trust them as far as you can throw them.
Axel is here all of a sudden. Now the story can move forward, at last. He's reacting to all the things you never said, standing in the almost-rain and making some sort of big dramatic gesture. It's fitting; parting is for rainy days and rainy thoughts, but you were never much of a poet. He's throwing all the old arguments at your retreating back, and you can't help but be annoyed, why does he think any of them will work any better now than they did the first time around?
He's treating this development like it's some big reveal, as though the two of you haven't talked it up and down and in circles and you haven't pressed long, sleep-softened kisses into his neck and asked him to come with you.
This thought makes you angry, just a little bit.
Axel's become so repetitive now, it shocks you to realize. He used to be so much more interesting, always full of surprises, jaunty, skin-breaking thoughts, he wasn't this dull, histrionic little person yelling empty words at the back of your head. His afterimages trail after him now in a smear of half-moon, photo negative copies that mimic everything he says to the point of incomprehensibility. Again, he is shrinking in your mind, except this time it doesn't stop and he just keeps getting smaller until he disappears completely. Even his eyes and the line of his cheek that you once thought had some sort of meaning, and maybe it's time to get out after all, if this is all that's left.
The little space between the two of you shivers, and immolates.
He'll never know that desert now. This thought makes you sad. One runs the risk of weeping a little, if one lets himself be tamed.
Well, you don't really get sad, do you? Instead, you give the best answer you can think of and then you get the hell out of dodge. You don't stop to think about what it all means, to you or to him. Later, you think. I will think on these things later, when I remember to think of them again. It will make you angry, likely, to remember Axel, his bark of laughter, his long stride, the greedy hands on your face. The images will come in sunbright flashes, jumping through your memory, probably. They will make you angry, but you don't stop.
For you, there is only the dark night, and many answers to seek. Maybe. The rain is warm and slightly acidic, tickles on your skin.
"Goodbye," said the fox. "And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye."
if you said let's go
if you said i'm sick of this place
i would listen to you
i wouldn't hesitate
and whether it's for a town
a godforsaken place
it wouldn't bother me
i'd be ready as if
i was waiting
i've been ready for a while
but you never say
you never decide
never think of what we could do
i don't know why you're still here