The Politics of Roommates

Chapter Two : A Public Affair

Roxas wasn't quite sure if it was the doorbell or the sound of Axel scurrying around in the basement that had woken him up. Wearily, he sat up and dragged himself out of bed, pulling up his yellow and green striped pajama pants before trudging to the door. With a small yawn, he ventured into the living room and began heading down the stairs to the basement to follow the noise when Axel suddenly appeared before him.

The redhead gave Roxas his best innocent grin as he attempted to keep his wet, sagging pants up. Roxas blinked once, eyes falling on the sodden jeans before moving up to Axel's equally soaked white tee.

"What the hell did you do this time?" he demanded as he tried to push past Axel and into the basement.

"Doorbell!" Axel exclaimed as it rang again before grabbing Roxas's wrist and dragging the blond back up the stairs. Roxas snatched his arm away as Axel nearly tripped over his falling pants, and he took a deep breath in an effort to remain calm.

His number one priority, he decided, was getting rid of whoever was at the door. Then he would be free to beat the shit out of Axel for whatever he'd managed to destroy in the basement.

Roxas threw open the front door to find… well, he wasn't sure who the hell they were, actually. A little brown-haired guy with big blue eyes was hiding behind a taller boy whose silver hair mussed from sleep, staring at Roxas with an intense aqua gaze.

"Can I help you?" he snapped, gripping the doorknob with near-white knuckles.

"It's three in the morning," the taller one drawled in a none-too-amused tone. "Could you guys possibly try not destroying the wall connecting our condos?"

Roxas very carefully stopped himself from exploding with an irate, 'Destroying the walls connecting our condos?' but it was difficult.

"Sorry," he managed to say through gritted teeth. "It wasn't me. My roommate here," he grabbed Axel by his fiery red hair and forced him into the doorway, giving the sheepish-looking boy a sideways glare of death, "seems to have caused some sort of disaster in the basement."

"Yo," Axel said by way of greeting with a jaunty, two-fingered wave. "Sorry. I was trying to do laundry."

"In the middle of the night," his very annoyed-looking neighbor deadpanned.

"Yep." Straightening with some difficulty due to Roxas's firm grip on his hair, he grinned and scratched the back of his neck in embarrassment. "I guess I overloaded the washing machine or something. I dunno. There's soap and water everywhere, and it was jumping when I came downstairs to check on it…"

This time, Roxas could not contain his violent outburst. "You flooded the basement?" he shrieked and punched the redhead in the shoulder. "Are you retarded?"

"Oww," Axel said as he rubbed the spot where Roxas had hit him. "It was an accident – can't you be a little nicer about it?"

"…Axel?" asked the silver-haired boy suddenly, looking surprised, and Axel blinked at him before grinning in unexpected recognition.

"Hey, Riku!" His expression brightened. "I didn't know you were still living next door."

Riku gave him a strange look. "I've been living here for the past five years. What made you think I moved out?"

"Dunno." He shrugged. "Just haven't seen you around since my uncle died." Then, face growing mischievous, Axel turned his blazing green gaze to the shorter boy at Riku's side and asked, "Who's this?"

"I'm Sora," the brunet spoke up before Riku could answer for him. He crossed his arms behind his head, flashing everyone a megawatt smile and laughing. "I'm glad it was just the washing machine exploding, because I totally thought you guys were fighting or having sex or something, and that would have been reaaally awkward to interrupt."

"Sora," Riku admonished, looking torn between laughter and deep mortification. "I thought I told you not to bring that up."

Sora stuck out his tongue. "It doesn't matter, since that's not what they were doing, anyway." And then he suddenly seemed to notice Roxas's lack of shirt and the way Axel's pants had fallen halfway off his hips, and his blue eyes widened in surprise. "Err, was it?"

"No!" Axel and Roxas shouted at the same time.

Laughing, Riku put his hand on Sora's shoulder and pulled him back almost imperceptively, just enough so that the door wouldn't hit him if Axel and Roxas got the bright idea to shut it in his face. "Sorry, Sora's brain filter of things not to say," here, the taller boy's grip tightened on the little brunet's shoulder, "doesn't work this late at night."

"Technically, it's early," Axel said with an easy, forgiving grin. "Sorry for waking you up."

Riku waved it off. "Don't worry about it. I'm just glad your roommate wasn't murdering you."

"Er." The redhead shot a nervous glance at Roxas. "Yeah. Not yet, anyway."

Roxas was a split second from hissing something cruel and scathing when Sora beamed and chirped, "I don't think he'd do that. He looks nice to me."

A near-invisible wince. "Um, yeah. Roxas is a really… great… guy."

The blond slid his hands behind his back and discreetly began cracking his knuckles. "Anyway. You guys probably want to get back to bed, and I'd like to fix the washer before it floods the entire subdivision, so…" He trailed off, smiling almost painfully politely, and looked pointedly toward Riku and Sora's doorstep.

"Right. We'd better be going, then." Smoothly, Riku guided Sora down the sidewalk connecting their front doors and called back over his shoulder, "Good luck with that."

"Bye, Riku!" Axel said, bracing one hand on the door way to wave energetically. "I'll come talk to you more often now that I know you live here!"

"I've always lived here," he heard Riku mutter just before the other two boys disappeared into their condo, and Roxas took the opportunity to slam the door on Axel's fingers.

"What the hell were you thinking?" he yelled, feeling no sympathy whatsoever as Axel yelped and pulled his hand away, shaking it rapidly as though that would ease the pain. And then he stuck his fingers in his mouth and sucked on them, hair and clothes still soaking wet from the exploding washing machine, and Roxas suddenly had trouble coming up with something to say next. "You should have, um… You should have…"

"I should have what?" Axel glared, looking for the first time like he might seriously fight back, his green eyes burning and mouth turned down sharply in a frown, and Roxas's jaw snapped shut with a click.

After a few awkward moments of gawking, Roxas rediscovered his ability to glower and pointed one finger threateningly in the taller boy's face. "Just try to clean everything without waking me the fuck up, okay?" he growled, giving him one last scowl for good measure, and then stomped back upstairs to curl up in bed and forget the downright disturbing scene he'd just witnessed.

At least he'd finally managed to meet the neighbors.

In hindsight, Axel decided, it had not been a good idea to start a load of laundry at such an ungodly hour. Not just because he'd ended up nearly flooding the entire condo – that much was obvious – but because he worked the early shift at Wal-Mart the next day, which meant he got next to no sleep, especially after spending the remainder of his night/day mopping up their laundry room.

Such was life for Axel: sucky beyond all belief.

And so he figured he at least owed a nice lunch to himself. Untying his stupid blue apron from his too-small waist, the lanky redhead tossed it into the backseat of his'83 Firebird as he got out and walked into the closest nearby restaurant.

Everything was going well up until the point where he sat in one of their ridiculously high chairs and had just finished looking over the menu and glanced up, noticing the back of a blond head attached to a rather nice-looking body and an even nicer ass next to the cash register. Axel was five seconds from turning on the charm when said blond turned around and Axel practically dove underneath his table.

So. This was where Roxas worked.

Luckily, his overly-aggressive roommate hadn't seemed to notice him yet, as he was involved with a rather intense staring contest with the register. His hips were cocked to the side, one arm wrapped over his stomach, his hand resting lightly on his hip as he chewed on the tip of a pen. He tapped the pen against his lower lip once, twice, and then waited a split second before biting it between his teeth and punching the screen.

And if there had been any doubt before in Axel's mind that this was Roxas, that would have chased it away.

"Oh shit," he muttered to himself, looking around his table in fear. Oh shit, oh shit, oh shit, his inner mantra continued, and Axel scooted toward the window, hunching down in his seat in an attempt to hide himself, as though his flaming mess of spiked red hair wouldn't give him away almost immediately.

Maybe he's in a good mood today, he tried to calm himself. After all, I didn't wake him up last night, and everything was clean in the morning. Maybe he won't use this as an excuse to put my head through the table…

He was just about to scrap the fantasy of a nice, well-deserved lunch without pain or punishment and hightail it the fuck out of there when he heard a sharp intake of breath to his left, and he looked up to find his roommate staring at him from only a few feet away, not quite scowling yet, merely appearing somewhat surprised.

And then the deathglare kicked in.

"What are you doing here?" Roxas snapped as he stalked over, his black apron slung low on his hips, where the blond jerkily stashed his pen and pad of paper.

"Getting lunch," Axel explained, managing to hold his ground and not shrink away in the face of the little blond whirlwind of irrational anger. "I didn't know you worked here."

"Hmph." Crossing his arms over his chest, Roxas squinted at him for a few moments and drummed his fingers on his bicep before he said, "I've got a break in about ten minutes."

Axel blinked. "So?"

Roxas rolled his eyes and leaned against the table casually. "So, if you wait, I can get us some free food, okay?"

"Oh!" Axel perked, caught off guard, yet ultimately pleased. "Okay, then. Thanks."

His roommate made a noncommittal noise and shrugged. He blew his bangs out of his face, purposely not looking at Axel and said, "Yeah, yeah. In the meantime, what do you want to drink?"

"Water," he responded, trying not to look too satisfied with the situation, lest Roxas change his mind and pull everything out from underneath him.

"Okay," Roxas said, and then he even offered him a faint smile as a brunette waitress walked by, although Axel suspected it was just for show. "I'll be right back."

As promised, Roxas came out a few minutes later with a glass of water and a straw, which he placed in front of Axel without a word before sweeping off again toward the kitchen. When he returned, he was carrying two plates, each with a cheeseburger and fries, and he set them down with a neutral expression as he seated himself across from the redhead. Axel didn't move, just looked back and forth between Roxas and his lunch, wondering privately to himself if Roxas had somehow been bodysnatched.

"Well?" Roxas heaved a lengthy sigh and leveled a 'stop staring or die' look at Axel. "Eat."

"Right," Axel said, jumping into action, and began shoving french fries in his mouth. He chewed as he spoke, "You didn't tell me you worked right down the street from me."

Cringing at the green-eyed boy's lack of manners, Roxas pointedly did not look away from his cheeseburger as he took a bite. He made a show of actually chewing and swallowing his food before he responded, "I thought it was kind of obvious." His gaze suddenly darkened. "And are you really so dense that after almost two weeks of living with me, you never noticed the O'Malley's on my apron?"

"Actually, I never even noticed the apron," Axel admitted, absently chewing on another fry. "In fact, I didn't realize you were leaving for work most of the time…" He trailed off as something bumped his foot, and he glanced underneath the table to find Roxas's shoe tapping against his own. Looking up, he raised an eyebrow at him and smirked a little.

Roxas was too wrapped up in his annoyance to notice. "You do know my name, don't you? And that I live with you?"

"Yep. Rox-as," Axel deliberately dragged the name out. Then he felt another nudge against his ankle and began to grin.

"What the hell is that look for?" he demanded as he took a vicious bite of his burger.

"Nothing," Axel murmured, leaning back in his chair. Roxas's eyes narrowed, and Axel nearly laughed as he peered under the table again and said, "You're playing footsie with me."

There was a breath of silence as Roxas realized that he had been tapping his foot against Axel instead of the table leg, and for a moment Axel thought maybe the smaller boy was going to smile and laugh it off, up until the point where the blond's expression morphed into a cold, clear smile, and he reared back and kicked Axel's chair over.

"Shit!" he swore violently as he hit the floor. Rubbing the back of his head, he glared up at his roommate and started to hiss something threatening when the brunette waitress that had walked past earlier came rushing over.

"Are you okay?" she asked worriedly as she held out a hand to help him up. Axel took it, and she snapped her gaze to Roxas, who was still smiling quite placidly in his seat. "Roxas, I thought we talked about this. No matter what a customer says, you can't abuse them!"

"I'm on break," he pointed out sweetly. "So, he's not my customer right now."

Easing Axel to his feet, she rolled her eyes and said, "That's no excuse and you know it. You should apologize!"

"Olette," Roxas said, bristling. "It's none of your business."

"It's fine," Axel cut in once he'd stood and Olette had released his hand. He offered her a slight smile, rubbing his now-aching head. "I'm used to it. We just moved in together."

"Oh, really?" Her expression turned speculative as she studied Roxas with bright, inquisitive green eyes that were a few shades darker than Axel's. "Hmmm."

"We're just roommates," Roxas growled and ferociously bit into his food.

Olette looked disbelieving but was wise enough to remain quiet.

Cautiously, Axel climbed back onto his chair, careful to stay out of kicking distance. He eyed the blond warily for a few moments before he decided it was safe to start eating again. Taking a sip of his water, he looked at the waitress through his eyelashes and said, "Thanks, I think we're good now."

"No problem." Olette flashed a bright grin. "Just call me if blondie over here starts beating you up again."

"Olette," Roxas hissed, but it was too late, as she had already turned and flounced away to another table.

Axel watched her go with a smirk. "She's nice," he commented slyly, stirring his ice with his straw. "I like her."

"Just shut up," the other boy muttered, suddenly appearing rather uninterested in his lunch. He pushed his plate away and unfolded from his seat to stand. "I've wasted enough of my break on this."

"But I thought we were bonding," Axel mock-whined with a roguish glimmer in his eyes. "Don't you wanna stay and eat with me?"

"No," he said, and as if to prove a point, picked up the remainder of his food and stalked away to the kitchen.

Shrugging, Axel watched him go and busied himself with eating and looking out the window and even scoring a free dessert from Olette, who felt bad enough for him to give him extra whipped cream. The whole ordeal didn't seem too bad until Roxas and his anger management issues came storming out of nowhere and up to the table again.

"Yo, Roxas," the redhead greeted him, hoping he'd calmed down some.

Unfortunately, the blond just ignored him and dug around in his apron for a slim black booklet. "Here's your check," he spat.

Axel blinked at him. "I thought you were giving me a free lunch?"

Roxas slammed the check down on the table harder than necessary. "I changed my mind," he hissed, and then turned and walked away.

At first, Axel could only stare. Then, after staring thoughtfully at the check and growing more and more pissed off as time went by, he calmly pocketed the salt and pepper shakers, all the silverware at his and the surrounding tables, and anything else he could find, and then he left without paying a single cent.

Total monetary damage: $100.

A/N: This took longer than we thought to put out because ConfessYourSins came up with the bright idea that everything in her room had to be checkered because of Roxas. And then she decided she wanted more than just black and white checkers, so we had to go to the store and buy dye for scarlet, royal blue and aqua pillows, so that she could have Axel, Sora, and Riku pillows. And then, after all that, she didn't even have enough for herself because I made her make me all the pillows.

Anyway, here it is, and we hope you enjoyed. Please review!