Prompt: Axel/Kairi, driving lessons. "That's not the brake pedal, Axel!"
Notes: For hetchallenge. Originally, it really was supposed to be a "Kairi teaches Axel how to drive", but then I remembered the wrecked truck in TWTNW, and came up with a theory about it. This fanfic is the result. Enjoy!


He looked like Helios, mythical god of the sun. When Kairi first saw him, that was her first impression. Even his name "Axel" meant "Divine giver of life," and when he spoke, his shock of red hair shone like horizon sun rays. He still made her skin crawl. Had to have been the eyes, she figured. He had bright, piercing green eyes, accentuated with eyeliner, plucked eyebrows, and tear drop tattoos right below them. Axel couldn't be trusted, so she ran into an unknown abyss that led her to unknown, but friendly children her own age.

When he grabbed her and took her some time later, she no longer compared him to Helios. Instead, she saw him as the Devil himself. His face had no expression, but she knew he'd burn her alive if she crossed him. She couldn't stand the sight of him, but she couldn't keep her eyes off him either. At least Pluto followed her, and she felt a little safer, better even.

Axel never let her go, not even for a breather, or anything that resembled stopping. Kairi felt his gloved hand tighten around her arm, even when she wasn't struggling. Even through soft leather, he felt like he had a fever. She looked around, seeing only tall buildings with light that did nothing to curb the darkness surrounding anything. Only a heart-shaped moon gave the place any real resemblance of light.

"Where are you taking me?" She asked.

"I'll tell you soon," Axel answered, his voice curt and nowhere near as "friendly" as when she first met him. She'd been right from the start. He wasn't friendly at all, and she couldn't begin to imagine anyone wanting /him/ to be their friend.

She found herself being dragged toward a large vehicle. Kairi remembered seeing something like it in Radiant Garden, but the years felt like centuries and she couldn't recall its name. She only knew that such a thing transported many things and people. Axel dragged her to the back of the thing while Pluto still jumped around both of them.

"Cut it out, dog!" Axel snapped while he opened one of the doors. Still holding Kairi's arm, he grabbed a yelping Pluto by his collar, and dumped him inside. "Now stay in there!" The dog tried to jump out, but Axel slammed the door shut. Kairi could hear the echo every time Pluto barked.

"Is this a Gummi ship?" Kairi asked as Axel pulled her toward the front of the vehicle.

"Nope," Axel replied. "We're going Old School."

"Old School . . . " Then it hit her. /A truck. Yes, of course/. She could have kicked herself for not recognizing it right away, even though it had been years since she saw anything resembling a truck. Given that Axel used magic to get around, she wondered why he even bothered, but before she could ask, he opened the driver's side door and pushed her into the passenger's seat. She watched him settle behind the steering wheel, listing to the chains on his black coat rattle as he grabbed the keys from a sun visor.

"Do you even know how to drive this?" Kairi asked, noting that it wasn't one of the "simple" sorts from what she remembered back before she arrived at Destiny Island. As Axel stabbed the key in the ignition, she noted that the truck had three pedals under his booted feet, not two, and the stick he grabbed switched the gears. She'd never drive such a thing herself, but she felt certain that she knew the theory.

Axel looked at her with narrowed green eyes. "Dear, I can drive anything."

Kairi cringed at the sudden noise from the rumbling engine. Pluto barked from somewhere behind her, but she couldn't do anything to help him. She couldn't even see the poor dog, but she can surely see the Devil redhead, his lips curled in a grin as he made the truck sound like hell itself. Kairi could have decked his smug face if she didn't find herself plastered to the seat at the sudden acceleration.

She heard poor Pluto slip, slide, and bark all over the back. "Axel--"

"I know what I'm doing!" He snapped without even looking at her. "I always know what I'm doing."

Kairi wanted to ask if he really did, but when he kicked into a different gear, she kept her mouth shut, and her eyes glued to him. She had to admit that even though he wasn't very nice, he certainly looked nice. Except, why would she care about that now? Kairi had no idea what he would do to her, but she didn't even think of escaping because she'd have to leave Pluto and she couldn't do that. Besides, where would she go? She had no idea what the place was, or how to get out, but Axel clearly did, and he clearly knew what he was doing. He kept one hand constantly on the gear stick, his gloved fingers drumming the top. His other hand moved all over the steering wheel, but he kept a firm grip on it. When he shifted, he didn't step on the pedals, he stomped on them, but everything felt smooth, and seemed right. Not even Pluto made as much noise now.

/I guess you really do know what you're doing/. Kairi could see the buildings whizzing by her, but they all looked hollow, lifeless, and beyond them, she could see what looked like a Castle. But, not even the heart-shaped moon could keep her from looking at Axel once more.

He briefly looked at her, his lips curled in yet another smug grin. "What are you staring at? You like watching me? Eh?"

Kairi's stomach dropped. She couldn't admit that she'd been watching him operate this thing, but his grin widened.

"Yanno, uhm, you're not the only one who did."

She didn't ask who he was talking about. Instead, she asked, "Why are you even driving this? You can use that black thing to get anywhere you want."

Axel nodded. "Yeah, I could do that, but this," he pat the steering wheel, "is control. I like having it."

"Yea, I can see that," Kairi muttered. /At least he doesn't need driving lessons/.

"Hey, now. I don't mean you any harm," Axel said.

"Then let me go!" Kairi demanded. "I want to find Sora!"

"If you want to find Sora, then you'll have to stick with me. There's someone who can help you find him, so I'm taking you to her first."

"Her?"

"Yea, her. You'll know who she is when you see her." Axel snickered. "Don't worry. She won't bite. I would 'port there, but around these parts, I'd more than likely get caught by someone who makes me look like an angel, and I can't have that."

"But, where exactly are you taking me?" Kairi asked, looking out the window. The castle loomed ever closer, but it still looked like it'd take hours to get there, despite the nearby buildings looking like blurs.

"To an alley beyond the Memory Skyscraper. It's past that Castle you just saw. I want the people in there to think that I'm taking you them, even if it's the slower way." Axel grinned. "I do that sometimes. Once we get to the alley, I should be able to get to her without getting caught." His smile faded. "Just don't think about escaping, okay? If I don't get you back, then you'll be caught by someone a whole lot worse, got it memorized?"

Kairi had a feeling that he asked that question often, but she nodded. "Yes, I do, but why do you need me?"

"You'll find out when you get there, then I'll get what I want."

"What do you want?" Kairi looked intently at Axel, who deftly navigated a curve. She hardly even noticed, but she listened to the chains on his coat rattle.

"I told you back at the beach. There's someone I care about, and I'm going to find him." Axel sighed, leaning back against the driver's seat. "He's my best friend."

As soon as Axel mentioned 'best friend', he smiled. Not a devil's smile or one that promised malice, but one that glowed like a sunrise. Kairi couldn't help but smile back, even when Pluto scraped the walls of the truck.

"You look like the sun," she said in spite of herself.

"Hmph." Axel nodded. "I've been told that before. Heh, I guess it's true."

Kairi didn't know what to say after that, so she simply nodded and looked at the oddly shaped moon. He seemed nice now, especially after mentioning his 'best friend', but she still felt like a pin cushion. She just plain didn't know what to think of him at this point, and when she felt leather coated fingers gliding down her neck, she jumped. "Axel?"

"You okay?" He asked, his green eyes briefly fixated on her before looking back at the road.

"I don't know . . . " She replied. Kairi found herself staring at him again. His hands were back at their usual spots, his fingers drumming the wheel and the stick. Even when the city lights made shadow puppets on his face, his eyes still shone bright, and his hair still looked like fire.

"You find me attractive, Kairi?" Axel grinned that damnable smug grin again.

"Uh . . . er . . . " She tried to avert her gaze to look at anything BUT Axel. However, she only partially succeeded as she still watched him from the corner of her eye. "Who wouldn't find you attractive?" She wanted to vanish. This could end in tears.

"You'd be surprised." Axel didn't sound so cocky this time. "Anyway, we're getting close now, so you don't have to worry any more."

Kairi looked out the window and her eyes widened at a huge skyscraper that clearly represented some sort of landmark. The castle stood nearby, but she still couldn't quite tell what it looked like because it shined too brightly to be part of anything, much less a dark city. She looked ahead, and from a distance saw a black cloud. Kairi frowned, knowing damned well that black clouds didn't float on streets, and they certainly didn't turn into someone who appeared to have blue hair. She almost choked.

"Stop!" She cried. It's a person!" Axel, however, didn't stop. Instead, he frowned, pressed his lips together, and slammed on the gas. "That's not the brake pedal, Axel!" Kairi quickly grabbed the wheel, taking control away from Axel, if only for a second. She heard her own scream amidst the squeal of brakes, shattering glass and the scrape of metal against concrete.

Kairi didn't know how long she lay plastered against the door, but it felt like an eternity to her as she almost cried when she found that she could actually move without too much pain. Kairi felt like Axel grabbed her, shook her, then beat the crap out of her. She looked in horror at the shards of glass that littered the way-too-close pavement. Kairi didn't see any blood on her, so that meant nothing cut her. She couldn't help but sigh in relief, only to gasp at seeing Axel right above her, one arm slung around the steering wheel. He didn't move, but he still drew breath from between parted lips.

Even with his eyes closed, he still looked angry, except now, Kairi didn't see the Devil, she saw an unconscious Helios, and a chance to escape. She grabbed the steering wheel, hoisting herself over Axel while muttering "sorry" while she stepped all over him. Kairi sat on the frame of the truck once she managed to get the door open. She could only think of running the hell away, but it didn't stop her from looking at Axel for one last time.

"You look like the sun," she whispered before an echo of barking dog interrupted her. "Oh, Pluto!" She quickly scrambled off the wrecked truck, almost squeeing in delight as the dog jumped out from the back door. "Pluto!" Pluto put his paws on her chest, and she hugged him, wanting to cry, not sure if it came from relief, or actual worry for Axel. Kairi looked back at the alley, now within easy walking distance. "Is that where the girl is?" She had no idea if Axel told the truth or not, but she nowhere else to go.

"Cone on, Pluto!"

She barely made it to the front of the skyscraper before her heart almost burst from her chest when someone grabbed her by the neck. "Axel, let me go!"

Only it wasn't Axel. Kairi's jaw dropped when the blue haired man glared down at her with golden eyes. Scars cross-crossed his forehead, and while she could say he was handsome, he reminded her of a lone moon--beautiful from a distance, but horrifying up close. She couldn't even move. Not even Axel had such an effect on her.

"No, not even close," he replied, his voice soft, romantic even, but full of dominance.

Kairi understood what Axel meant now, and she tried to struggle, but this man proved even stronger than Axel. Pluto barked helplessly nearby. "Where are you taking me?"

"To the castle. You'll be safe there."

"But, Axel--"

The man raised his eyebrows. "Axel? He intended to kill you."

Kairi felt like a popped balloon. "No, he's not a bad person."

"Hah! You believed that?" The man shook his head. "I've known him for years. He will say and do anything to get what he wants. He intended to use you to turn Sora into a Heartless, and then see his friend again."

"Wha--?" Kairi blinked. "No..."

"Axel believes that his friendship is worth the lives of others. Did you really want to die for his friendship?"

She couldn't believe what she heard. Why should she? She didn't even know this man, and he certainly didn't look like the sun. He looked unbelievably cruel. She wanted desperately to say something, anything, only to lower her head when nothing came out.

"I'm sorry," Kairi whispered as the truck disappeared from view. She didn't see Axel, but she knew that'd he'd be okay, just like she knew that she'd see Sora and Riku again. She had to hold onto that knowledge because, other than Pluto, it was all she had left.