(A/N): So when I'm horribly behind on my messages and fending off disturbingly creative threats directed at my vital organs (which I'm rather fond of, actually) over the latest installment of Waiting - well, obviously it's the perfect time to go off and do something completely random. No idea where this came from. I blame too little sleep and too much music. You know - the usual. Yep.

Disclaimer: Also the usual.

Bright Lights

Axel watched the kid spin between the Heartless, Oathkeeper and Oblivion singing in his hands. Axel tilted his head back, tracing the paths of the freed hearts as they streamed toward Kingdom Hearts. He destroyed any Heartless that wandered into his range, but for the most part he hung back, content to watch the Key of Destiny fight.

Roxas leapt up and away from the throng of Neoshadows, coat streaming behind him as he twisted in the air, black bodies dissolving like liquid around him. His eyes glinted briefly in the backwash of neon lights before he was twisting in a different direction, Keyblades arcing through the air with deadly grace. Axel rolled his eyes at the blank expression on the boy's face before he pushed himself away from the wall, clapping mockingly as Roxas came to rest on the pavement.

Roxas jerked around and glared at him, eyes narrowed. Sweat was streaming freely down his face, but his breathing was even and the Keyblades were held firmly in his grip. The kid's eyes widened as heat unfurled in Axel's palm and manifested into one of his chakram. Roxas took a step back, shielding his body with the Keyblades as Axel hurled the weapon at him.

The chakram ripped through the Neoshadow behind Roxas, and a glowing heart erupted from its chest as it dissolved back into nothing. Roxas started and shied away, watching the glowing object speed toward the heart-shaped moon. Axel's lips curled in amusement as he strode forward, clapping the boy on the shoulder and laughing a little when Roxas refused to look at him.

"Shouldn't let yourself get distracted like that," he commented, cuffing the blond lightly across the back of the head. Roxas held himself stiffly before he shrugged and let the Keyblades fade.

"Whatever." Sighing in exasperation, Axel struck him across the back of the head again, more forcefully, scowling at the boy when Roxas turned and glared at him.

"Stupid kid," he muttered, moving past him and continuing on down the street. Roxas growled in irritation, but he followed. Axel hid a smirk at the sound of the blond's footsteps behind him.

"You could've helped me, you know."

Axel glanced back over his shoulder at Roxas – the boy's face was drawn in its perpetual frown, eyes like chips of ice as he glared at Axel from beneath his dark hood. Axel snorted and turned away from him again. "What, and spoil your fun?" he drawled mockingly, waving a hand dismissively over his shoulder.

Axel summoned a dark portal, stepping through it and into the comforting shadowed corridor, not looking to see if Roxas followed.


Axel tracked the boy to the top of Memory's Skyscraper later – the blond was standing at the very edge and staring down the sheer face of the building, the glare from the neon lights creating fantastical shadows across his face and making his eyes shine with an eerie intensity. "You thinking of jumping?" he asked sardonically, grinning widely when Roxas started at his voice.

The Key of Destiny glared at him for a moment before he turned away, drawing his shoulders up irritably. "What do you want?"

Ignoring the question, Axel moved to stand next to the blond, the toes of his boots poking over the edge of the roof as he leaned down and squinted, trying to figure out what the hell the kid was staring at. As far as he could tell, there was nothing to see. He straightened with a sigh, running a hand through his hair and frowning.

"What do you want?"

Axel glanced over at the quiet voice to find that Roxas had tipped his head back and was studying the multitude of stars spread out above them. Sensing his gaze, the blond rolled his head around to stare at Axel, blue eyes flat and unreadable. Axel's lips twisted up in a smirk before he shrugged. "Dunno."

Roxas only stared at him for another moment before he turned away. Axel crossed his arms over his chest and stared at the boy's back, waiting. Finally, Roxas glanced over his shoulder, a small smile ghosting across his lips when he found Axel watching him. "If I did jump," he muttered, his eyes flicking back to the sheer drop they were standing over, "if I did, would you try to stop me?" Axel kept his expression carefully neutral, and Roxas ducked his head with a wry chuckle, leaning out over the ledge. "Yeah," he sighed, eyes glinting an electric blue. "That's what I thought."