The Politics of Roommates
Chapter One : A Hate-Hate Relationship
The abuse started on the first day. Which was really fucked up when Axel thought about it, because he was the one renting out the room to Roxas, yet he was also the one catching a fist in the face when he accidentally walked in on the blond using the bathroom five minutes into living together.
For a moment, Axel could only stare, one hand on his zipper where he'd been fiddling with it as he entered the room. He could tell he was going to have a painful, knuckle-shaped bruise across his cheekbone and underneath his eye, judging by the numb throb that had set in. His head slowly turned back to look at Roxas in open-mouthed shock at the hard knot that had formed on his cheek, and he shuffled forward a step to close the door and push the lock.
"See," he said, pointing at it. "We have locks. They work well for preventing these kinds of situations."
Roxas gave the redhead a disinterested look. "You just locked us in a bathroom together."
"Yes. Yes, I did." His eyes traveled downward. "And you're still holding your dick."
"And you're still looking." A fierce blush swept over the blond's face as he hurriedly tucked himself in.
Axel arched his eyebrows and looked pointedly at Roxas's now-zipped pants. "Well, it was kind of hard not to."
It was then that Roxas realized the alarming reality of having a roommate. At any point in time, he could be interrupted, awoken, or walked in on, and so from that moment on he vowed to punish any transgression on Axel's part with significant amounts of pain. For his own personal preservation, of course. It would be an attempt to maintain some sort of balance, seeing as Axel had already greatly invaded Roxas's privacy, regardless of the redhead's actual intentions.
It was all downhill from there.
Axel had inherited the condo from his dead uncle along with a handful of pocket change and a car he couldn't drive. The bills were more than his meager minimum wage job could afford, partially because said minimum wage job changed like clockwork every two weeks. Rather than moving back in with mommy and daddy, Axel had been almost grateful to scrape together spare change and get a roommate to split the steep monthly fees. Until he'd actually met said roommate.
Roxas had described himself on craigslist as a 'quiet, unobtrusive twenty-three year old non-smoker and non-drinker with very clean habits.' Axel hadn't been aware 'very clean habits' had actually meant psychotically anal.
"Have you thought about seeing a therapist?" Axel asked as he walked inside to the incredibly amusing sight of Roxas wearing a sterile-looking white apron tied in an elaborate bow at the small of his back. The little blond was standing on his tip-toes, dusting the top of a rarely used bookshelf in the corner of the living room.
He stiffened at Axel's words. Slowly, he turned to glare at the other boy, practically bristling, and hissed, "What are you talking about?"
"The apron." He squinted one eye as he leered and asked, "I mean, I know you like to clean, but is it really necessary?"
"My mother gave it to me," he deadpanned, then smiled and cocked his head. "Is there a problem with that?"
"Yes." Trailing up and down Roxas's figure with his eyes, he lingered over the delicate frills lining the bottom hem. "It's ugly."
Roxas's eye twitched. "Did you just insult my mother?"
"Nope." He grinned. "I just insulted your mother's apron."
And that was when Roxas grabbed a clock off a middle shelf and hurled it at Axel's head. It was a thick cherry wood block with a gold-plated face in the center, hard and heavy and thrown with enough force to draw a surprising amount of blood from Axel's forehead. To add insult to injury, Axel staggered backward, swaying once before he collapsed onto the floor, hitting his head solidly on a nearby door on his way down.
Total monetary damage: $100 co-pay at the local Emergency Room.
Axel had since learned to appreciate private insurance companies and wonderfully low co-pays, although his respect for the blue-collar worker stayed the same. The redhead didn't seem to have an inkling of a clue where benefits were concerned, mainly because he'd never stayed at a job long enough to be eligible. In fact, he'd never kept a job long enough to get a second pay stub.
Roxas's moving in had coincided with the first day of Axel's newest endeavor, a cashier at Wal-Mart, and had given the blond the impression that Axel, despite all appearances, could hold a job. Much to his dismay, he was quite mistaken in his assumption, because the first time Axel mentioned work, it was to say,
"So, I think I need a new job."
Roxas looked up from the bowl of cereal he was munching on, a single corn flake stuck to the side of his face. "Why's that?"
Axel stared at the corn flake on Roxas's cheek, curious as to why his new roommate was eating breakfast food at ten o'clock at night. He attempted to wish it into oblivion with his mind and, taking the hint, the blue-eyed boy brushed it into his mouth with his thumb.
"I don't look good in blue," Axel said.
It took Roxas a second to comprehend the absurdity of the sentence before gaping in shock. "You what?"
"I don't look good in blue," Axel repeated before turning to search for something in one of the large oak cabinets. "It doesn't look good with my hair."
"How long have you had this job?"
"Uh, a day. Ish." Axel continued shuffling his hand around until coming upon a hidden Special K bar buried deep within the confines of the cabinet. Even with his long arms, he wasn't able to maneuver through the seemingly endless sea of cereal that Roxas had insisted on buying, just in case he had a craving. Which he apparently had. "Well, I maybe kinda started today. Does that count?"
Roxas seemed to lack an immediate verbal response for Axel's stupidity. Calmly, he pushed his bowl of cereal forward and rose to join Axel in front of the cabinets, staring at him for a long moment as the other boy's fingers finally closed around the cereal bar.
Then he slammed the cabinet door shut on Axel's face.
"Motherfucker!" Axel yelped when he pulled away, dropping the breakfast bar as both hands flew to the twin lines of hot searing pain on either side of his head. "What the shit was that for?"
"Being a dumbass." The petite blond trekked back to the kitchen table and flopped on a chair to finish his cereal. "If you're so pissed off, why don't you just hit me back?"
"Because." He stooped to retrieve his snack and pointed it at Roxas, still rubbing his throbbing face with his free hand. "You look like a girl."
Roxas's shoulders hunched. "Excuse me?"
Axel realized his mistake too late. "I mean," he rushed to save himself, "you're just so effeminate. And…delicate?"
That only made it worse. The shorter boy gritted his teeth, hands clenched on the table top, and slowly turned in his chair to pin the redhead with a seething blue glare. "I'm not feminine."
Axel looked pointedly at Roxas's thin wrists, soft face, and slender neck. He was already as good as dead, so he might as well go down with a fight; he smirked. "You keep telling yourself that."
For the second time, Roxas got out of his seat, bowl of cereal in hand, and stalked over to Axel. He tilted his head back, chin jutting out stubbornly, and practically growled as he overturned his soggy corn flakes on the dumbass's head. The bowl shattered on the floor, and it was the only time he ever left a mess for Axel to clean. While the redhead was sputtering and recovering from the shock, the blond looked up into his face and jabbed his chest with one finger while hissing, "Never. Be. Alone." And then he swept out of the room.
The fact that Roxas had a tendency for destroying things on Axel's face did not help the redhead's equally unfortunate inclination to accidentally blow up appliances. He didn't blow things up, exactly – no, sometimes he accidentally set them on fire while other times they just smoked and sizzled a lot before finally crapping out. It happened a lot, and between Roxas's violent disposition and Axel being accident prone, they were constantly in a battle to stay financially afloat.
"What the fuck happened to the microwave?" Roxas growled as he carefully hung his keys on a hook next to the refrigerator. The remains of what had previously been their microwave sat smoking on the counter, the door hanging crookedly open to reveal the smoldering remnants of… something.
"I wanted an enchilada," Axel explained, giving Roxas an annoyed sort of look that said, 'Isn't it obvious?'
Roxas glanced between Axel and the ruined appliance, pursing his lips and furrowing his eyebrows before finally giving a resigned sigh. "We can't afford a new one, so you're on cooking duty." Before Axel could even cut in to disagree, he added, "Deal with it," and stomped out of the room.
As it turned out, Axel was a pretty good cook when he was paying enough attention to not incinerate things. It probably helped that Roxas stood over his shoulder and barked out directions the entire time.
"You turned on the wrong burner," he noted dryly as the redhead was mixing eggs, cottage cheese and ricotta cheese in a medium-sized plastic bowl.
"Eh?" Axel glanced behind him at the pot of water. "Are you sure?"
"Yes." He pointed to the red-hot burner next to the pot. "Are you blind or something?"
"Oops." Axel abandoned the spices he was going to add into the bowl to switch on the appropriate burner.
Roxas rolled his eyes. "You didn't turn off the one that was already on. God, how have you not burned this place down already?" Elbowing the redhead out of the way, he turned off the knob Axel had just twisted on and moved the pot onto the already heated burner.
"I dunno," Axel muttered as he picked up the bowl of lasagna filling and turned to face the blond. "Luck, I guess—" He abruptly trailed off as he bumped into Roxas and half of the bowl spilled down Roxas's black work shirt.
They stared at each other for a moment, both of their faces pulled into identical expressions of surprise. The blue-eyed boy opened his mouth once, twice, then three times, before finally grimacing and spitting out, "I will fucking kill you."
"So much for luck," the taller boy mumbled, watching as Roxas stripped off his dripping shirt and threw it into the sink.
"Just keep stirring," he hissed, then turned on the faucet and began washing off the white egg and cheese concoction. "And don't burn anything when I go to change."
"I never burn anything on purpose," Axel said under his breath as he carefully did not bump into Roxas and began stirring in some spices before putting the bowl back down on the counter. Then he seemed to pause, as though mulling something over, and slowly broke into a perverted grin. "You're covered in…white stuff."
Pulling his shirt out from underneath the flow of water, still half-covered in the lasagna filling, Roxas wrung it a few times before snapping it in Axel's face. With a satisfied smirk at Axel's yelp of pain, he laughed and said, "So are you."
"Sadist." He wiped the smear of food off his face with a wince.
The smaller boy didn't even bother to dignify that with a response. Huffing, he finished rinsing his shirt and stalked off toward his bedroom, pretending like he couldn't feel Axel's eyes lingering on his naked back.
The rest of dinner went off without a hitch, except for a small incident involving some boiling water and Axel's hand, which was, oddly enough, not Roxas's doing. The blond was even kind enough to serve dinner while the green-eyed boy sat at the table, sucking at his burned fingers.
Axel was surprised when Roxas gracefully swept into the room, balancing the plates of lasagna, rolls, and a bowl of tossed salad he'd thrown together at the last minute, all without even breaking a sweat. He set everything down on the table and ignored Axel's impressed look.
"I'm a waiter," he snapped by way of explanation as he settled into his chair, taking a sip of the water he'd brought out earlier to avoid saying anything else.
"Oh." Axel blinked at him and picked up a fork with his uninjured hand. "Okay."
"Yeah." Roxas suddenly felt awkward as he followed suit and poked at his lasagna. "So, thanks for dinner."
"No problem," the redhead said with a grin, suddenly looking in much higher spirits, and took a bite of his food. "Thanks for being a waiter."
Predictably, Roxas threw a roll at his head.
It was weird how they somehow seemed to balance each other out.
A/N: Please review. :D Also, for anyone who thinks Roxas is too violent... Remember the computer scene, dude. With the keyblade. And the anger. He's definitely the aggressive type.