31; flames

The truth about my relationship with Axel broke in the beginning of September.

It happened on the night after the VMAs.

Axel had been harassing me for weeks on end about the stupid VMAs. He was relentless in begging and pleading with me to fly out to California with him, Demyx and Zexion for the weekend of the show. At least he promised me that we'd be back in New York as soon as the awards were over and down with. So, I went. I eventually got tired of his begging anyway and I knew he wouldn't give it up unless I finally consented to going with him.

I did enjoy myself somewhat. Though I do believe that the awards might have been rigged. I find it highly believable that Britney Spears was magically able to win her first three VMAs after the less than stellar performance she had given at the awards the year before. There was also the fact that MTV kept hyping up the point that she had always been nominated for an award and never won. MTV was definitely playing kiss ass alright.

After the show I wanted to head back to our hotel and just rest for the ride home. But, Axel dragged me out to an after party to 'hang out and mingle'. I don't hang out and mingle with people. All you have to do is look at my history of what happens every time I go out with Axel to know that. You know, disaster usually strikes…

That night was no different.

Long story short, after we had spent some time in the main area of the party, Axel dragged me off to the side for a little while so the two of us could be alone. We went outside to a small secluded area with a spectacular view of the Californian sky line. Neither of us made much of an attempt at conversation, we simply made small comments to each other when we felt like talking.

After awhile, I eventually drew in closer to Axel, resting my head against his shoulder and interlocked my hands with his. He in turn, leaned in to give me a quick kiss on the cheek. I admit that it probably wasn't exactly a smart thing to do, being that we could have easily been seen. As far as I knew, security had taken extra measures against intrusion of privacy on anyone's part that night, so I suppose we were relatively safe at the party …

Right, I'll already say it now. I was wrong.

Palm trees? They provide wonderful cover for looming paparazzi who are in PLACES they aren't supposed to be.

After a year full of outlandish speculations, the media finally had the proof that they needed. It was everywhere I looked. The photos of us had spread all over the internet and every gossip column was talking about it. It was even on the evening news.

Right. As if my love life is worthy of being seen on the evening news. Give me a break.

While I was still out in California when the story first broke, Rikku was the very first person in my family to call me. Whatever she was yelling about was borderline unintelligible, so I put her on speaker to vent out her frustrations. I wasn't going to listen to her until she calmed down. When she was finally done, she talked to me like a civil human being and excused herself so she could get her bearings. Sora called a little while later. His awkwardness was in abundance, as was typical for Sora. After some small talk, he simply told me that he'd be waiting for me when I finally got home and that he would support me through the worst of it all.

Cloud …well, Cloud sort of did his silent approval thing and that was that. He tries to stay away from the drama. He's more of a 'come and tell me the real story yourself' type of person. He's always had a strong disdain for tabloids and such. I don't really know what my parents thought on the matter. Guess they were just pretty used to me making tabloid headlines; it didn't really faze them at all to begin with.

Demyx and Zexion weren't in too much shock. Actually, they were hardly in any shock at all. Demyx went about just pointing at me, then at Axel and then did a whole bunch of random shrugging and went about his merry way. I could have sworn I saw a hint of a smile on Zexion's face even though he didn't say much to either of us about the whole thing.

The media storm surrounding us eventually died down a little after a few weeks. But it seemed that just about everywhere we went, our picture was being taken. Be it paparazzi or just random people on the street. Someone was always there whipping out a camera to snap away at us. If our pictures weren't being snapped everywhere we went, it was the endless amounts of interview offers that kept pouring in.

Everyone wanted the story on the two of us, and they seriously were putting up a lot of money to get it. We'd gotten attention when the two of us were just friends, but as a couple, it just became insane.

Honestly, after awhile it really started to drag to a point where I was getting sick of it. Axel was the one to finally release a public statement after he could see me getting irritated with all the attention we were getting. …But seriously, I don't think it did much but add fire to the already burning flame …

Apart from my love life going on public display, I started to work at my family's company.

Contrary to popular belief, I don't believe that I'm suited for desk work and all that other business stuff. I can only handle it but for so long …it's just too constricting. It takes awhile for me to get bored of the same routine on a daily basis. However, being cooped in a four walled office every day with my father, his executives and advisers just around the corner, made me feel like blowing my brains out with a loaded gun.

Oddly, that sounds vaguely like something Axel would say.

He was definitely rubbing off on me for sure as time went on.

Speaking of him, Axel visited me at my office on more than one occasion. The first time he ever showed up, he drew the eye of every female worker in the building out of her cubicle and stumbling behind him. My secretary—my father simply insisted I get one—even fell prey to his charm when he approached her asking for me. She could barely get a word out beyond, 'tall man' before I immediately told her to send him in.

…Axel made it a habit of coming to visit me at work on his time off from promotions and such.

Not that I minded though. He was a welcome distraction from all the paper work I had to look through and fill out. Why, I even developed a new appreciation for my office desk when Axel showed me a few certain things that we could do on it on my break times. …Those sorts of things if you catch my drift. I think we might have scarred my secretary a couple of times …

Ahem. Moving along.

Axel left for the Organization's Eurasian tour in the beginning of October. The night previously we had had a somewhat quiet (it got a bit louder later on) evening at my house. I had basically kicked Sora to the curb and sent him packing to Riku's for the night so I could spend some time with Axel before he had to leave.

The morning after, the time I had been dreading for the longest had finally come. Our goodbye at the terminal gate was short and bittersweet. We stared at each other for a long time before Axel broke the tension by cracking a smile and ruffling my hair and told me to behave and take it easy while he was gone. All I could do was nod my head slowly, return the hug he gave me and watch him walk away from me, waving to me as he went.

Axel left wearing my promise ring...

(Which might I add, the tabloids claimed was an engagement ring. Guess Axel got his wish after all)

My last session with Ansem ended on the day after Axel left. I could have ended long before then, but I wanted to see Axel off first before I did. Then I'd have no distractions and I could go into Ansem's office with somewhat of a clear mind and be ready to talk.

The session I had with him then was by far the longest I've ever gone through. It was more or less a sum up of what I'd be doing for the rest of my life now that I'd gotten through the majority of my problems that had been mounting over the years. Ansem and I ended on a good note, and he told me he would welcome me back with open arms should something else arise that would prompt me to return to him.

I kept the offer at the back of my mind.

Axel and I kept in touch when we could. Mostly through text messages and the occasional phone call when he could manage the time to call me. Honestly, the next time Axel went on tour, I was going with him. The second time Axel left was nowhere as bad as the first. It was lonely, don't get me wrong. But I kept myself occupied with work and whatever else I could find so my mind didn't go straying.

However, in the beginning of November, everything stopped. We went from nearly daily communication, to none. Naturally I began to worry as to what had happened, but I chalked it up to him probably being busy that week and I'd probably receive something from him soon.

No go.

By the next week, I finally got my answer to what happened.

I got pulled out the middle of a business meeting by a call I wasn't expecting at all. It was Zexion. All he did was tell me that it was important that I get down to St. Vincent's hospital as soon as I could. He left me no time for questions but told me to give my name to the receptionist as the front desk and they'd take care of the rest. Obviously confused as to why Zexion was back in the city during the middle of November, I immediately excused myself from the meeting and basically raced out of the building to hail down a taxi as fast as I could.

My mind instantly went into overdrive and all I could think of the following: What if something had happened to Axel?

I more than walked into St. Vincent's Hospital—nearly broke down the doors would be more accurate. After producing the proper identification and relinquishing my name to one of the woman behind the front desk, they phoned up somewhere and then gave me authorization to use the elevators.

The minute I opened the door to the room number they had given me, I breathed a sigh a relief when I saw Axel sitting on the hospital bed, drumming his fingers against his cheek as he stared blankly at the television above him. At that same moment, the three of them all turned to look at me. Demyx grinned upon seeing me, Zexion looked relieved that I had made it and Axel flashed me one of his best "I did something kind of bad, but you still love me anyway" smiles.

He opened his mouth to say something, but Zexion instantly held out a hand to silence him and pointed at the pad in his lap. With a resounding sigh, he scribbled something out on the pad and as I crossed the length of the room to reach him. When I looked down on the paper, I instantly frowned.

Promise you won't get too worked up before you hear what happened?

I narrowed my eyes at him in confusion. Zexion immediately cut in to explain.

Turns out Axel had developed a vocal cyst from straining his voice early on in the tour. After his voice dwindled into basically nothing over the course of their past few shows, they finally got him off to a doctor who instructed them that it would be in his best interest if they put the tour on hold in regards to Axel's health. Which would explain why they were back in New York so suddenly. He was due in for surgery the following morning.

Zexion and Demyx excused themselves from the room to allow us a moment of time to be alone with each other. The first thing I did was yank the pad out of his lap and smacked him as hard as I could upside the head with it. Axel ducked in anticipation, recoiling from the hit. Afterwards, I threw the pad off to the side, and threw my arms around him and murmured into his shoulder how worried I had been. In what remained of his voice, he whispered into my ear, I'm sorry for being an idiot.

Yeah, well he's my idiot.

Axel's surgery went on with little to no complications, and he was stuck in speech therapy for awhile. I suppose the development of the vocal cyst was kind of beneficial in a lot of ways because it got him to stop smoking. Although …it prompted Axel to find a new hobby in the form of …knitting. …Yes, knitting. …I still don't know if the first thing he ever knitted for me is suppose to be a scarf or a hat …I didn't even bother to ask.

I brought in the New Year with Sora, Riku and Axel. The four of us were huddled around the plasma screen in our apartment watching the ball drop in Times Square. Riku and Sora eventually went off to celebrate not long after we entered the new year. Axel and I laid awake in my bed for half the night listening to the two of them. What a way to end the year. …Listening to your brother get it on with his boyfriend ...nice. Either way, that was the end of 2008. Or as Axel called it, "The Year I Rocked Your World."


I guess all that's left is to talk about what everyone's been up too in these past few years …

Rikku traveled to London right after the summer of 2008 ended. Yuna was taking a gap year from school, so she went with Rikku. She stayed with Rikku for about a year before she returned to the states. My sister fought to establish herself in the fashion world. She did a few magazine covers when she first got out there, but her focus soon switched to design.

Sora, Cloud and I flew out to England to see her at the end of 2009 to see the debut of her fashion line she called Godhand. She also ended up with her own reality show on the Style network which documented her daily life in London and her break out into the fashion scene. It ran for about three seasons before being put on hiatus.

I don't know why, but shortly after she turned twenty she came back home to New York. She said she needed to get away from Europe for a little while and she didn't elaborate any further. She moved in with her friend Paine when she came back. I suppose when she feels up to it, she's looking to head back out on her own again for more fashion endeavors. I think she's setting her sights on Japan this time around.

Cloud's story is a bit …more lengthy.

Whatever was going on between him and Leon broke off in early 2009. Honestly, no one in my family knew what was going on with the two of them. Rikku suspected they were 'hot' for each other; Sora was blind as ever and I was somewhat on the same boat as Rikku, seeing as I vividly remembered what I had heard on Thanksgiving in the past year.

Cloud, however, remained tight lipped and private. He never confirmed anything or made an attempt to debunk suspicions. Leon eventually moved out of their shared apartment and moved all the way down to the East Coast to Florida where Cloud mentioned he had family …or something. As far as tabloids go, supposedly it was my brother's fault for the infraction on their relationship.

So I'm not entirely sure who's to blame for whatever happened. Either way, the two of them kept quiet on things no matter how bad the media seemed to want to pry. Cloud eventually found himself with a Victoria Secret lingerie model by the name of Tifa Lockheart in the spring. I guess … my brother wasn't as gay as we thought.

They dated for a couple of months before Tifa announced to the media that she was pregnant with my brother's child towards the end of 2009. A little while later, we were all surprised to find out that instead of giving birth to one baby, Tifa was pregnant with twins. By the following summer she gave birth to a pair of fraternal twins. A boy, Denzel and a girl, Marlene. I'm not sure if my brother plans on marrying Tifa in the future, that's something that remains to be seen. However, completely unrelated to Tifa, I've heard that he's started talking to Leon once again. So whatever that's supposed to signal for his future, I guess I'll just have to wait and see.

My father and mother have been fine. They're trying to steadily rebuild a relationship that's been tarnished for years and getting themselves back to where they used to be. According to my mother, they're looking to move into a quaint little estate upstate away to get away from everything and settle down.

I've kept up with Pence and Olette within the past few years, and we've reestablished our friendship as it once was. Last I heard from Pence, the two of them were looking to get engaged after they found out that Olette was two months pregnant at the end of this summer. Pence hinted very subtly to me that if they were going to get married anytime soon, he had the perfect idea of who he wanted to be his best man. …He better not be thinking of me.

Speaking of friends, I got to talking to Naminé in the past year. We've gotten our relationship back to the point where besides turning to Axel for something, I'll call her up and talk to her about whatever. She's looking to go off to Paris for a year or two to get a change of scenery. Supposedly things with Larxene weren't exactly …going that well and she wanted to get away before anything too drastic happened. Axel merely told me over dinner one night, "Larxene tends to have that effect on people after awhile."

Finally …there's Sora and I.

Sora and I sold our apartment in the beginning of the spring in 2009 and moved into our own respective places. Sora moved in with Riku—big surprise there—in his apartment on the Upper West side and I moved into a loft in the East Village… with Axel.

Sora's Crimson Jazz has become somewhat of a household name over the entirety of the city. He's looking to possibly branch out the chain into other states, starting in California, but that remains to be seen. I haven't mentioned her in a while, but Sora mentioned that he's talking to Kairi again. They have a 'friendly' relationship as Sora likes to call it. She's going out with some guy named Setzer now. He's this really really really flamboyant male 'underwear' model. …Guess Kairi just has a thing for guys that aren't as straight as they let on. Either way, Sora's happy with Riku though …and the two of them are pretty content with life as it is.

Soro ended up coming with me when Sora and I split, when it was Sora who got her in the first place. "She likes you more!" Was the reasoning he gave me when he shoved her off into my care. I've been pretty much stuck with the spastic dog ever since. …Not that I mind though, sometimes it's kind of cute when she wakes you up in the morning by licking your toes …or nose. …Not so cute when she manages to get into other parts of your anatomy and you think it's a certain red head trying to give you a rather nice wake up call, but no, we won't go there.

Organization XIII is still going strong although Axel is always telling me how he's considering an early retirement. Right, as if he could do it. Demyx and Zexion are regulars at our loft. Demyx is usually eating us out of house and home and Zexion is pretty much a mediator between all the stupidity that goes on whenever Demyx and Axel get together. …Just like old times, you know.

The tabloids still pick up on whatever it is that we do, but I'm sure the general public has gotten used to the idea of us being together. I don't mind as much as I used to. We've even managed to earn ourselves a stupid couple nickname with time. Ready? Wait for it …


…Yes. Roxel.

Axel thinks it's hysterical. I think whoever created it needs to have their head ripped off.

Off topic from Axel for a moment, there are other things I should mention. I've made it a priority to go out and visit Hayner's grave every year on the anniversary. Axel usually comes with me although he tends to be a bit wary of what to do at times. I don't hold onto Hayner like I used to. I still miss him, yes, but …things are better now. I've got someone to look after me like he used to …

I've also heard on the news recently that Xemnas turned up dead in his cell recently. They ruled it as a suicide. …I'm not sure what to make of it, and maybe it'd be a bit harsh to say justice was served, but ultimately, to me at least, it was. As time passed, little by little, the story of what Xemnas did to me came out. Axel, in turn, told me some horrific stories of what his own mother used to do to him as a child.

Oh, I also took an interview offer from Barbara Walters this autumn and sat down with her to talk about what life has been like since I met Axel and just about everything that came before it. It ran for as a prime time special …and I suppose it was received generally well by the public. I didn't care actually, I just wanted to get the true story out there and stave off all the stupid rumors, and I think that's what I was aiming at to begin with.

…On the topic of Axel again, I've got to talk to him about what we're doing for the holidays this year.

I'm thinking about getting everyone together at our loft for a Christmas party or something. My family, Pence, Olette, Naminé, Demyx …Zexion …and maybe Axel can invite his grandparents and Reno down if he feels up to it. (I'll never forget the first time he took me to see his grandparents. His grandmother—the person he gets his crazy green eyes from—took an instant liking to me when she first met me. She told him to, "Bring that nice young boy around again! I like him!" I have to admit, it was definitely a change of pace seeing Axel blush for once.)

It's been almost three years since I met Axel, and we're still together.

Life is …pretty much better than what it used to be in past years. It's not perfect, I don't believe it can ever be perfect, but I find that I can deal with everything a lot better than I used to. And I know if I ever fall back into my old habits again, I'll have Axel right by my side to pick me up again and set me right. It's been weird letting someone get close to me again but I'm able to work through it …

Because you know what?

I'll be fine…

Just fine.




Bring out the tissues because that's the ending guys.

Finito, finished—done. It's over.

Thirty one chapters and I've finally hit the end. So where do I start? Honestly, I have no clue. I'll just start writing how I feel, I guess.

Firstly, I want to take the time to dedicate this story to someone. I told her I was going to do it, she told me not to, but I'm going to anyway. I know you're going to maim me for this the next time you see me, but so be it! So, here we go.

I would really like to dedicate this story to a good friend of mine by the name of Winter Still.

Why, you may ask?

Well, I can't put how I feel into words, but I'll try. Beyond always being there to listen to my daily rambles and complaints about how crappy my writing was, or how I thought the current chapter I was writing sucked, or how I needed help sorting and devising plot, etc. She's just … really great.

That's the only way I can sum it up. I don't think she realizes it, but she really is. And even though our relationship with each other hasn't been the greatest at times, I still appreciate her. This is going to sound kind of funny, but the relationship between Axel and Roxas in Inertia is somewhat heavily inspired by our own. She's like my Roxas—or as Axel says, "My little surly, Roxy!" She's probably going to kill me for that one, too. Heh, but it all works out. Cause I'm her wonderfully eccentrically retarded, Axel.

Seriously, sometimes when I had no idea what the hell I was going to write for a conversation between Axel and Roxas, I'd start off by using something from a conversation the two of us had had previously. So you remember all those infamous one liners from Roxas? Half of those were from her. I digress. Before I get off track again, what I'm trying to simply say is …thanks.

Really, thank you.

So there. My terribly ultra super gay dedication is over. Moving along.

Inertia Creeps was a story I originally thought of during a turbulent time in my own life. A lot of the story is written from combined personal experiences—from people that I know and that of my own—even though I am in no way rich nor famous like our two leading men in this story.

I suppose that's why I felt that it was so easy to write Roxas's character in the beginning chapters of this story. Around chapter eleven is where the shift in Roxas truly begins, so things after that proved a bit challenging to write. I'm not exactly sure I perfected it even then, but I did my best. At least, I think so. I hope so.

Anyway, the storyline went through a ton of revamps. In earlier versions, I was going to have Axel move in with Roxas and live with him on a day to day basis instead of being around whenever someone wasn't around to watch him. That steadily changed though, and I'm glad it did. It gave me a better flexibility with writing things.

As for the job that Axel does, I'm pretty sure something like that does exist in real life. In the story, Roxas is under something like a conservatorship; with Axel being the person that's kind of keeping watch over him. So yeah, pretty sure it does exist, but I'm pretty sure it doesn't happen like it does in Inertia Creeps.

Which leads me into this point.

I spent a good portion of my time researching a lot about psychological and mental disorder to form an appropriate tone for the characters and the story. Although I already do know quite a bit of the basics of psychology, I needed to make sure I got things to a point where they were real and believable. I wanted the characters of Inertia Creeps to have a reason for their behaviors and why they reacted to others in the way that we did.

For example, Roxas's sexual abuse as a child and then Hayner's unexpected death gave reason to Roxas's standoffish and distrustful nature toward Axel in the beginning. Roxas, clearly pissed off at Axel's sudden intrusion into his life would prompt anyone (or so I believe) to react in the way that he did in the beginning. I suppose after his break down he could have continued to react to Axel in the same way, but I suppose he had had enough of what his life was and maybe saw that he could get back to a functioning level if he stopped fighting with Axel and cooperated with him.

I've always seen Axel as someone who looks after Roxas and genuinely cares about him. Out of fandom, canon, in fandom, whatever. I mean look at what happened in KH. The guy basically spent the entire game trying to get his best friend back. Hello, "He made me feel like I had a heart."

On the topic of Roxas's whole dream and the reincarnation thing, I thought that after everything in Roxas's life had fallen to shit, Axel …kind of came back to him and sort of helped him fix and mend it up again, you know? …Hence: Let's meet again in the next life/I'll be waiting.

As for the environment that I created in Inertia Creeps, the setting I mean, I wanted it to be somewhere familiar. What better than to pick the city I grew up and live in? Although not completely written to the exactness of the city, I tried to be as accurate as I could. Apart from being familiarized with the area, it's so big and unconfined. It made it more interesting to write about where the characters could go different places rather than having the action situated in just one place.

And, yes, traffic can be as crazy as described in the story.

I've had people ask me about this. All the chapter titles are song titles. I'm … really too lazy to list artists, but if you're really dying to know the artist of whatever song, just send me a PM and I'll tell you. Some songs were supposed to tie into the chapters lyrically, and others were more of the feeling of the music than anything else. I also had a habit of changing chapter titles last moment before I actually posted them because I'd found some song at the last minute that I felt tied in with the chapter more.

After I wrote this epilogue and looked through it to see if there was anything I missed, I got the idea that this final chapter could have been interpreted as Roxas writing a long overdue entry in the journal that Ansem told him to keep, as opposed to him speaking out directly to the reader. Although, if you look at how I wrote this, it kind of has a different feel than the other chapters. So I guess it's all up to how you want to interpret it.

I'm not exactly sure if I could have added more to wrap things up but I didn't want to drag this chapter out to be too long. I wanted it to be sort of short and sweet, you know? I think …I did that. I hope I did that. You guys tell me.

Hmm, well, that's everything, I think. So, I'll end with this.

I think ultimately what I was trying to convey in Inertia Creeps is that …we all need someone.

I believe most of us, if not all of us, have memories that honestly are best left forgotten and never to be unearthed or recovered again because they're just too painful to remember. And I know people may feel as if they're being weak by opening up to others and telling them, "You know …this happened to me when I was younger, and I find it hard to get over it." And whatnot, because sometimes people can be so judgmental of others, it's horrible.

We're all human and … I know we can't be saints all the time and welcome everyone we meet with open arms but if we can put a smile on someone's face for just a few seconds …then I think that's a lot more helpful in the long run than just ignoring someone in need. I'm not saying to rush out your house and help nearly everyone that crosses your path but …well …people say it all the time, and it's too damn true. They're just too many people out there without a shoulder to lean on when they feel as if the weight of the world is on their shoulders.

So I'm saying that if you can just reach out to one person at all and make them feel a little bit better about themselves be it from a compliment or actually sitting down to listen to what they have to say …then I think that's a lot more effective than going on about your life complaining about society as it is than actually taking a stand and trying to rectify wrongs.

I know we all wrong people all the time and we also let others break our faith and trust in people, and it's hard to get over that …really hard because we're so fragile. But sometimes all it takes is opening your heart up to that one person you meet and you'll learn that not everyone's looking to break your spirit or faith in what you once believed in.

…Well, then …that's it. I think I've said what I wanted.

Hopefully you've picked up something from this story be it small or something big. I hope that maybe, perhaps, I was able to help someone out in some way. I had a lot of fun, everyone. Thanks for all your reviews and fan art and so on. Sometimes when I felt like I wanted to give up on writing, you guys definitely inspired me and got me motivated again.

So thanks. Really, thank you. To all of you. Without you guys, I don't think there would be a point to me writing this story at all. Keep rocking, lovebugs.

I'm out.