Disclaimer: should I even bother?
Pairings: AkuRoku, slight RikuSora
A/N: I'm sorry if I've OOCed the characters beyond recognition.
WARNING: Lack of other characters.
Loneliness is like the vast ocean under your feet. The lonelier you are, the deeper you drown until there is no more breath in your lungs. What follows is despair.
Sora didn't come home again today. It was evident when Roxas opened the door of their apartment and only silence and darkness were there to greet him. This stoked the angry flames licking the bottommost part of his heart. For how much longer was Sora going to stay away from home?
In his quiet anger, Roxas didn't realize that there had been someone standing behind him as he opened his apartment door. Now that Roxas turned around to face him, his presence was hard to ignore. The man practically loomed over Roxas with his impressive height and that long shock of red hair begged for attention.
"Excuse me," the red-haired stranger repeated. "My name is Axel. I'm a friend of Sora's. Do you mind if I come in?"
This man could very well be lying. He could be the serial killer on the news lately. Or perhaps he was a petty robber looking for gullible people to steal from. Either way, he was a suspicious character. Despite all of this, Roxas stepped aside to let Axel into the apartment.
Murderer or robber – none of that mattered. He was company and that was all Roxas wanted.
Roxas switched on the lights of the apartment and went to the kitchen to make some tea for the both of them. He never expected Axel to enter the kitchen as well to help him with the tea. "So," he began, "you're a friend of Sora's, huh? Do you attend the same high school? I don't remember ever seeing you around."
"I'm a college student, which is why you don't see me around your high school," explained Axel as they waited for the water to boil. Green – his eyes were green. Roxas had expected them to be as red as his hair. Green eyes made him less menacing…less mysterious. But they were so piercing. "To get to the point, I got thrown out of my apartment and am in search of another place to stay. Sora said he had extra space in his apartment to house me until I find someplace else. Is that okay with you…?"
"Roxas. The name is Roxas. And how long will you be staying?"
Axel gave a shrug. "A few days…a few weeks…truth to be told, I'm not too sure either."
Roxas nodded in understanding. "You can move in. Where are your bags? I'll help you with them."
Axel smiled. "It's not a problem. I'll bring them over tomorrow."
The right thing…the wise thing to do now was to phone Sora and ask him if he really had a friend called Axel. Instead, Roxas pointed to the couch, told Axel that he could sleep there, and retired to his bedroom. This was, by no means, a sensible thing to do. But at least the apartment won't be empty anymore and the one who greeted him when he came home would not only be silence.
Two months before the national exam, Roxas stopped attending cram school. This was approximately one week after Axel moved in and Sora had not returned home once. His classmates, who attended the same cram school, tried to persuade him to return to cram school for his own sake, or rather because they didn't want to suffer cram school alone.
"I've never going back to that shithole," Roxas declared. "It's a waste of my time and money. Even without going to cram school, I can score higher than any of you." Roxas had not meant to sound arrogant. He was merely implying a fact that he was a top-ranked student and naturally gifted in the art of studying.
But his classmates scoffed at him and deserted him. Whatever. They weren't actually friends to begin with. They were humans that played no important role in his life. The same went to the girls who fawned over him constantly at school. Because of his perfect face, he would receive multiple handmade lunches from different girls every day. This was why lunch was usually like a buffet for him.
This only lessened his popularity with the boys in his school. They hated him for accepting the girls' affections so cavalierly, but then again, who was he to justify their jealousy? It was no secret that Roxas was a pretty-faced, arrogant bastard and the only person who could stand him was Hayner, but that was only because they were childhood friends.
"Give me some of that tempura!" Of course, Hayner had a share of Roxas' lunches as well. And he always picked the tempura. "Hey, Roxas," said Hayner, with half of a vegetable tempura hanging out of his mouth, "who's that guy who picks you up from school every day? The one with the bright red hair and the really loud motorcycle."
"A freeloader," replied Roxas nonchalantly. Lunch was interrupted when a girl approached them, asking if she could speak with Roxas alone. Lunch hour ended when Roxas said, "Sure, I'll be your boyfriend," and the girl walked away, blushing.
Roxas didn't even know her name, had not even noticed that she was in the same class. He knew almost nothing about her. But she was company, and that was all Roxas wanted.
Axel knew Riku. That was because both of them attended the same college. Although Axel didn't hang out much with the silver-haired boy, they were pretty good friends. When Roxas found out, he didn't speak to Axel for a grand total of three days. If Axel had told him right of the bat that he was friends with Riku, Roxas wouldn't have let him enter his apartment.
Those three days of not speaking to Axel was spent with going to school, taking the subway home instead of accepting a ride from Axel, hanging out at the mall and making out with his new girlfriend. On the fourth day, Roxas walked in on Axel using the kitchen before going to school. The red-haired gent was making rice balls and as if on cue, Roxas' stomach growled with hunger.
Ever since obtaining a girlfriend (his first one, at that), the lunch boxes he was so used to receiving stopped coming. He should've anticipated that along with Hayner's continual whining due to the absence of buffet-like lunches. And to add salt to the injury, his new girlfriend can't cook for shit.
Axel noticed him looking and offered him a rice ball wordlessly. Roxas' first words to him after the three-day silent treatment were: "I don't like sour plum." That day was the first time Roxas brought his own lunch box filled with three rice balls and several red bean jam cakes, courtesy of Axel. None of the rice balls had sour plum in them and they were all surprisingly delicious.
Thinking back on this morning as he enjoyed a red bean jam cake, Axel's first words to him had been: "I don't like you kissing your girlfriend."
A month and a half after Axel moved in, Sora finally returned home. It wasn't as if he had disappeared or run away from home. In fact, Roxas had known exactly where Sora had been all this time as well as the reason why Sora did not return to the apartment for the past month and a half.
Sora had obviously been staying with Riku. Because they're dating. Roxas understood. When you were in love, you want to be close to your lover. But just because he understood didn't mean that he wasn't going to be angry at Sora for not telling him beforehand.
When Sora had strolled into the apartment and announced, "I'm back," Roxas regarded him coldly before retreating to his room. Sora sat on the couch, on which Axel made his bed every night, and sighed sadly, wondering how he was going to make it up to his twin.
At about the same time, Axel returned. "I'm back," he sang as he waltzed through the threshold of the apartment with a bag of groceries in one hand. "Roxas, are you free? I could really use some help making the oden tonight." His voice died on his throat when he saw Sora sitting on the couch.
"Why are you still here?" asked Sora with a frown on his face. "Didn't Riku update you?"
"He did," said Axel with a strained smile.
"So why are you still here?"
"Because I want to be."
Roxas chose that moment to come out of his room, checking to see if it really had been Axel's voice that he had just heard a moment ago. He stopped cold in his tracks when he saw Sora and Axel glaring at each other. Weren't they friends?
"Welcome back, Axel," he said, taking the bag of groceries from Axel. He didn't want to know why his twin and Axel were glaring. After all this time, he didn't want to believe the story that Axel being Sora's friend was a lie.
"Axel found a new apartment," said Sora out of the blue.
Roxas' hand faltered slightly as he was putting away the groceries. This was wrong. He knew the day would come eventually. So what was this feeling that had grabbed his heart? Fear? Fear of what? Loneliness? "So when will you be moving out?
In reply, Axel grabbed Sora's hand and pulled him out of the apartment. "I need to talk to you, Sora." There was something wrong. They were hiding something from him. Roxas crossed his arms over his chest defensively. It's not like he didn't already know.
Several days after Sora came back, Roxas' girlfriend upturned his lunch box, dropping the eggs rolls and rice balls onto the classroom's dirty floor. Roxas looked at her speechlessly and then stared at the mess that was once Axel's handmade lunch. She slapped him across the face and stormed out of the classroom to cry in the girls' lavatory. Several of her friends ran out after her, throwing him dirty looks.
"What was that all about?" asked Hayner. The entire class looked at him, anticipating a gossip-worthy response.
"Just because she didn't know how to cook, doesn't mean she has to take it out on my lunch…bitch."
Roxas knew it was entirely his fault. Lunch boxes were usually made by girls and Roxas himself had admitted that his daily lunch boxes were not self-made. His mother was not in Japan and he didn't have a sister. Therefore, his girlfriend had probably jumped to the conclusion that Roxas had been happily eating a lunch box made by a girl other than herself.
Upon reflection, Roxas realized that he had neglected to tell her that it had been Axel who made all his lunches. Whether or not he had purposely refrained from telling her, Roxas himself wasn't sure. Did he do it merely to spite his girlfriend? Did he want to test her?
But Roxas knew for sure that the final blow had not come from the lunch boxes. Ever since he received his first lunch from Axel, Roxas had stopped making out with her. He did not even allow her to kiss him and in so doing, courted his girlfriend's suspicion.
It wasn't that he hated kissing. It was just that Axel had said: "I don't like you kissing your girlfriend." He would rather lose his girlfriend than lose Axel because he knew that losing Axel spelt more loneliness than not having a girlfriend.
Three days after his girlfriend dumped him at school, Sora left home again. Roxas opened the door of his apartment and was greeted by the heavenly smell of sukiyaki. He found Axel in the kitchen as usual, humming to a song that poured from his headphones as he cooked. Roxas slid down the headphones, catching Axel's attention effectively.
"Roxas! Sorry I couldn't pick you up today. My motorcycle broke down after I came home from grocery shopping. But you could've easily taken the subway, right?"
Roxas shut him up with an amused smirk and an eyebrow lifted high. "I noticed that Sora's not home again. Did he say anything before he left?" It was funny that he had taken Sora's departure so lightly when he had a serious anxiety attack the last time Sora pulled a disappearing trick on him.
But there was a distinct change in Axel's expression. The wide smirk he had suddenly took on a grim mood and he gripped the sides of his headphones hard. "Hey Roxas, I'm leaving in two weeks. Riku found me this nice apartment near his so…"
The memory of silence and darkness suddenly all came rushing back to him. Roxas bit the inside of his cheek and didn't say anything. Axel, too, was at a loss of words as he slipped on his headphones again and continued cooking.
From the expression on his face, Roxas had the impression that Axel didn't want to leave either. But there was an obvious secret hanging between the both of them. That night, they ate in silence and the lingering scent of sukiyaki was the only proof that dinner ever happened.
"This is bad, Roxas," declared Hayner. "All the girls are avoiding you because they think you treated your ex-girlfriend like shit or something. You have to find a way to win them back; otherwise we won't be able to get a buffet-type lunch ever again!"
"I don't care," said Roxas flippantly, turning a page in his History textbook. The national exam was in two weeks. He had more worries than girls and lunches. His grades had been failing. He could almost feel the I-told-you-so glances given by his ex-classmates at the cram school he used to attend.
There was just too much to concentrate on. Aside from his studies, he couldn't ignore the fact that Axel would be leaving about the same time the exams started.
"It's not okay, Roxas!" Hayner did not stop pestering him even after school ended. Roxas walked just a little bit faster to get away from Hayner. "The whole class is having a huge party after the exams and almost everyone will be bringing a partner! How are you going to get one if the girls all hate you?"
Roxas sighed in relief when he saw Axel's roaring motorcycle waiting for him outside the school. He was about the break into run, almost imagining himself jumping into Axel's open arms gratefully, when Hayner pulled him back and demanded, "What are you going to do, Roxas?"
"I'LL JUST GO WITH A GUY THEN, DAMMIT!" yelled Roxas. He twisted away from Hayner's grip and hopped onto the back of Axel's motorcycle, urging him to speed away as fast as he could. Hayner watched with stunned silence as Roxas rode away with the red-haired bombshell on a motorcycle.
By the same time tomorrow, everyone in school thought Roxas was gay.
In the following week, Roxas studied like there was no tomorrow. In his deep fervor, he did not notice the number of eyes on him in school increase with each passing day. He did not wonder why his guy friends started to touch him more and why their touches linger and bordered on intimacy. The boys who once hated him were suddenly his friends. But that did not mean Roxas treated them in kind.s
All he cared about was pushing on to the next page of the textbook and revising everything in time for the exams, which was why Roxas was confused when Hayner told him that the girls didn't hate him anymore. Hayner didn't add that it was because they thought that being gay was the reason behind Roxas' cold treatment towards his ex-girlfriend.
Roxas raised an eyebrow and told Hayner to shut up as he ate lunch. That day, Axel had made some tempura for him. Much to Hayner's dismay, Roxas didn't let him have any.
When Axel moved out, would he still make lunch for him? That was stupid. Of course he wouldn't.
For the second time in two months, Roxas' lunch was interrupted by someone who wanted to talk with him alone. It was a guy from his class. Roxas didn't know him, other than the fact that he was captain of the kendo team. Hayner had this freaked out look as Roxas followed him out of class.
"I like you."
Never in a million years would Roxas have figured out that the school's kendo captain swung that way. Roxas' thought process shut down for a while as his hand searched for a something to hold onto. He settled for the windowsill and dared himself to look at the kendo captain in the eye.
"Why do you even like me?" Roxas wanted to know.
"Well…" The kendo captain blushed and scratched the back of his neck sheepishly. "You don't care what anyone else thinks about you. You're arrogant, which makes you kind of cute. You impress me, I guess. You stand out…and I heard that you were looking for someone to accompany you to the big party after exams."
Where did he hear that? Roxas frowned. "I'm sorry…"
"You like someone else, don't you?" said the kendo captain when he sensed rejection coming his way. Roxas stood stock still. Was this a rumour about him that he had yet to know of? "It's that guy, isn't it? The red-haired guy that picks you up after school…everyone says that he's your lover and that the two of you are living together."
"I understand." The kendo captain pecked him on the cheek and walked away. Roxas returned to his lunch, dazed. He growled when he realized that the rest of his tempura was missing and glared at a whistling Hayner.
Axel wasn't there to pick him up from school again. Today had been the first day of exams and taking the subway home wasn't very uplifting for Roxas' spirits. He sighed tiredly as he opened the door to his apartment. Fear clenched him when darkness jumped out to greet him and silence echoed in the apartment. Where was Axel?
Roxas nearly jumped out of his skin. He turned and saw Axel's slumped silhouette on the couch. As his eyes adjusted to the darkness, Roxas made out a large bag sitting by Axel's feet. His heart clenched uncomfortably again. Was Axel leaving today?
"Sorry, I switched off the lights," said Axel. "I didn't want to leave the lights on when I dragged my bag out of the apartment."
"So…you were planning to leave before I returned?" asked Roxas softly.
"Yes…I had too much fun living with you. I was getting too comfortable, and I almost forgot that this was supposed to be temporary."
Axel's voice was coarse in its whisper. Roxas felt a shiver run through his body. "Does it have to be?"
Axel slumped even lower; his head lower than his shoulders. "It's confession time, Roxas. I lied to you. I lied to you on the very first time we met and all the way through. I didn't get thrown out of my apartment and I wasn't looking for a new place to stay. Truth is, Sora wanted to move in with Riku, but was afraid to leave you alone. So Riku suggested having me live with you in exchange of letting Sora live with him."
"You…you were Riku's housemate?" asked Roxas.
"…yeah. Midway, Sora thought that it wasn't fair to you and decided to come back. But you see…" At this point, Roxas thought Axel's voice broke slightly. But because of the darkness, he couldn't tell if Axel was crying or not. "…I didn't want to leave. I didn't want to go back and live with Riku. But in the end, it was Sora's decision. He chose to come back and live with you and gave me two weeks to pack my things and leave. So if you want to hit me now, just do it because I'm about to go."
The silence that followed the end of Axel's explanation was heavy. Roxas remained motionless, staring at the dark form of Axel. He was looking at his back because Axel was refused to look at him. It had all been a lie. It was a plan devised behind his back. By his twin, no less. But this betrayal…wasn't the reason why his heart was clenching.
Roxas took the seat next to Axel on the couch. He felt Axel tense next to him, probably expecting a punch or an exclamation of some sort. But Roxas did nothing of the sort and stared at his feet instead. His voice was soft, barely a whisper. "Don't…go. Please…don't leave,"
A shift in weight of the couch told Roxas that Axel had moved a bit, probably in surprise. "Roxas, did you hear what I just said? I lied to you! From the very beginning, I lied to you! I used you!"
"I DON'T CARE!" Roxas tried his best to pick out Axel's green eyes in the darkness and held his stare. "I knew about it. I knew Sora was doing something behind my back. I would have to be stupid not to suspect something. I know it all. I know so please…don't leave. I don't want to be alone so…"
If you leave me, I will drown. Please don't let me drown.
It had been a desperate cry from a lonely child. Roxas had not meant it in any other way. That was why he was surprised when Axel suddenly scooped him into his arms and kissed him full on the mouth. He reacted weakly to the kiss, not knowing what else to do. But when Axel hugged him, Roxas responded accordingly, holding Axel tightly as if he was never going to let go.
Companionship was all that mattered to Roxas. Being alone was unbearable. As long as he had someone – anyone – by his side, he could move on. He could pass his exams with flying colours, he could handle not having buffet-style lunches, and he could try ignoring the lingering touches his guy friends continued to give him.
"I like you."
It was almost like déjà vu, except with a different person confessing to him this time. Roxas frowned. "Why do you like me?"
"Because you need me. And there is no bigger turn-on than being wanted by someone." What Axel said after that was a blur because it was hard to distinguish his words when he spoke while sucking and biting his neck. Roxas keened and gripped Axel's forearm.
The next morning, Axel shifted his things to Sora's room and (after some explanation) Sora moved permanently into Riku's apartment. The second morning after Axel moved into Sora's room was the first time Roxas ever experienced early morning sex. Actually, it was the first time Roxas ever experienced sex, period. As a result, Roxas had trouble concentrating on his exams later that day.
The big party after exams was held in the school hall with permission from the headmaster. The food was laid out buffet-style (much to Hayner's delight) and there was a projector presenting photos of memorable times during classroom hours on the wall of the hall. There was a huge uproar when Roxas' photo appeared. It was a side shot of the kendo captain kissing Roxas on the cheek.
The kendo captain laughed and elbowed Roxas in the side. "Back then, I thought you would hit me for doing that." Roxas smiled feebly at him but gasped when Axel suddenly appeared at his side and clasped the kendo captain's shoulder roughly.
"Axel, let him go!" exclaimed Roxas.
Axel released the kendo captain reluctantly. The kendo captain rubbed his shoulder and looked at Axel warily. "So, you're Roxas' lover."
"No." Axel put his arm around Roxas' shoulders and smirked. "I'm his husband."
The kendo captain was stunned for all of two minutes. "The both of you…are married?"
"Yeah, turns out Roxas has this thing about not having sex before marriage. But we did it thoughtlessly so he forced me to marry him." Axel broke into a wide grin. "Isn't he cute?" No one expected Roxas to kick Axel in the face. Heck, no one knew Roxas could kick that high. Axel held his bruised cheek in his hand even as his said, "Aww, you know you love me, Rox!"
Actually no, Roxas wasn't sure. By odd circumstances, they were living together and by even odder circumstances, they were married. But did Axel truly love him? Did Roxas even like Axel that way? There were still no answers to that question. Roxas doubted there ever would be.
The best thing about Axel was that he was abnormal. It was normal for humans to get bored and switch partners, especially when they were young and still so full of life. Even after three years of being together, Axel who was now a university student had not cheated on him even once. It was as if being with Roxas was like a drug. With Roxas around, Axel didn't need anyone else.
This suited Roxas just fine because what he needed most in life was a constant companion; one that would never leave him and expose him to loneliness again. In that sense, they were perfect for each other.
"Ngh…harder," breathed Roxas as his fingers grasped the fabric of the couch beneath him tightly. This was the same couch that used to be Axel's bed. Now it was merely a place for them to consummate. "Axel…harder!" He tried lifting his hips to get more friction.
This caused Axel to chuckle hoarsely as he held Roxas close against him. "I am going harder. You're just insatiable." He slammed into Roxas with all the energy he could muster. The boy under him was a masochist, no doubt. And a sex whore at that.
With his head against Axel's chest, Roxas took the opportunity to nip and suck the other man's nipples. Axel cursed softly and moved faster. Come on, faster!
The door opened to darkness. Sora switched on the lights and yelled. "SHIT! Riku, don't come in!" It was too late. Riku stared at Roxas and Axel with his jaw hanging. Axel looked up and Roxas released Axel's nipple from his teeth languidly.
"Oh hi, Sora. Welcome back," greeted Roxas.
"Put on some clothes!" screamed Sora hysterically. "And Axel, pull out of my brother now!"
"Okay." Axel continued to thrust into Roxas until the younger boy gave out with a cry, pulling Axel into completion at the same time. Axel pulled out of Roxas with a look of satisfaction. His smirk grew wider at the looks of horror on Riku and Sora's face. "What? I pulled out, didn't I?"
Roxas got off the couch dazedly and looked at the calendar. "Were we supposed to have dinner together tonight? I'm sorry. It completely slipped my mind. I'll go get changed (read: put on some clothes) now." It was hard to deny the fact that he shared the same amusement as Axel's at the look Sora gave him. It was weirdly fun and exhilarating.
This was his life now: attending college, making new friends, making out with Axel and of course, having sex with him. Sora and Riku visited often for dinners and he loved introducing himself as a married man to his new college friends. He got a kick out of the shocked, disbelieving looks they gave him. It wasn't a bad lifestyle. He was content. It was the most comfortable part of his life.
And little by little, Axel was winning his heart. Roxas longed for the day that he desired Axel not out of the desperation for a companion but rather out of love. But hopefully by that time, Axel would still be in love with him.
A/N: Oh no...I made Roxas a sex addict.