Meaning of Silence
Disclaimer: The Writer Triumphant disclaims any legal ownership to these characters.
Opening Note: So, a couple of weeks ago I was at the park going through some soccer drills with my little sister in anticipation for the upcoming soccer season. We were the only ones there as it was about 11 in the morning. As we were finishing up, this older man shows up in a big pickup truck and starts collecting garbage from the few trash cans chained to trees, and I got to thinking...
I set out to write this in order to get over my little issue with age difference in some pairings. Though there were points where writing became really difficult, I got through it, and I am glad that I pulled through with everything as I envisioned it. The ending was the most difficult, but I had that scene worked out from the beginning.
Title Note: I had a hard time coming up with a title when I first wrote this, and if you've read it before you'll notice that the title has changed since then. Initially it was I Waste on Dream of Silence but then I wrote the second part without intending to post it here and titled it You're Satisfied With Silence. I decided to merge them into a twoshot rather than give the impression that I was writing a sequel. So the title has changed, but I kept the word "silence" from the theme song, "If You Were Here" by Kent. The new title is a play on the book The Meaning of Night by Michael Cox. If you finish this fic and like it, I recommend that book. Though I might add that this story is not a direct translation into the KH universe from that novel. But the mood seems to fit.
1. If You Were Here - Kent (general theme song)
2. Creep - Radiohead (Axel's first theme)
3. Kryptonite - 3 Doors Down (Roxas's first theme)
4. This Time - Johnathan Rhys Meyers (Axel's theme)
5. Jeremy - Pearl Jam (Sora's theme)
6. Bones - The Killers (Sora's theme)
7. Loser - 3 Doors Down (Roxas's theme)
8. Never Too Late - Three Days Grace (Axel and Roxas, first theme)
9. I Dare You to Move - Switchfoot (Axel's theme)
10. Meant to Live - Switchfoot (Axel and Roxas, second theme)
11. Kiss From a Rose - Seal (Axel's last theme)
12. Iris - Goo Goo Dolls (ending theme)
13. Welcome Home - Coheed and Cambria (Sora's last theme, bonus track)
Act I, Scene i
When I was five years old, my brother Reno, who was ten at the time, pushed me off the jungle gym. He got out of trouble with my parents by claiming that I'd jumped of my own volition, playing fireman. Since then I have held a bitter grudge against playgrounds, public parks, and my brother. But somehow the only job I manage to get my senior year of high school involves the small neighborhood play park two blocks away from the apartment I share with Reno. It's my first job and half volunteer work My duties consist of raking leaves, collecting garbage, and reporting damages to the city. Every once in a while the slide shows signs of rust, the swing seat would needs replacing, or the jungle gym needs a few bolts tightened. Some days I'm required to scrub away a few traces of graffiti, but otherwise the maintenance was relatively easy. Every week I take a report/ time card to the community service department at city hall, and my dad puts 200 munny in my account at First Twilight Bank.
I don't exactly hate the work. It's pretty monotonous, actually. I don't even hate the kids. They're kind of loud, but they never get in the way of my labors. There's this one group of kids that comes around ever few days. A kid who is probably thirteen – too old for the play park, maybe – with a feminine sort of silver sheet of hair that falls to his shoulders; two little girls of eleven or twelve, one blonde, one redheaded; a little boy their age with haphazard brown hair and a huge smile; and then the youngest of them, a kid with honey blond hair that sticks up at a weird angle and a glower on his face. He can't be more than ten. Mostly they climb up onto the jungle gym and talk. Sometimes the girls swing and giggle about things the boys have only begun to be curious about. The older boys race each other around the winding circle of cement that separates the sandy ground and the clean, yellowing grass.
The youngest boy sits at the top of the slide. Doesn't budge. Some days he brings a skateboard and attempts to balance on it. When the place is crowded with other kids besides his brother and their friends, he sits and runs his finger through the sand.
I'm not supposed to talk to the kids at all. There's a first aid kit in the truck in case one skins a knee or something, but mostly I work on the edges of the park doing the yard work and trash collecting until they're gone so that I can check the equipment.
His brother and the silver haired boy are sitting high on the jungle gym some distance off, and the girls have vanished, holding hands and singing a jump-rope ditty.
His voice is layered with throaty ribbons, and I wonder if he'll have a good singing voice when he's older. After puberty. He can't be more than ten. He's sitting on one of the swings. His feet touch the ground, though. I put down the clipboard and pull back on the chains that hold up the seat, let him go, push him once firmly, and walk away.
The next time he comes he practices his skateboard, looks over at me as I trim the bushes. After an hour his brother comes over and they take turns attempting a trick, the silver haired boy watching, the girls sitting on the jungle gym, swinging their skinny legs back and forth. The girls leave before long, skipping innocently down the street. The silver haired boy and the boy with the big smile start to follow them, but the youngest boy stays behind, scowling down at his skateboard because it refuses to cooperate with him. He plants one foot on it, puts out his arms, and kicks off hard from the ground. I know what's going to happen before it does.
The boy with the big smile turns around when he hears his little brother hit the cement, and then he's fussing at a scrape on his shin, the honey blond boy not crying. He can't be more than ten. The silver haired boy walks over to me, watches me throw bags of loose branches into the bed of the pickup.
"Do you have a band-aid?" he asks.
I reach into the glove compartment and pull out the first aid kit, follow him to the fallen kid, who pushes his brother away with, "Leave it alone, Sora." Sora pouts. Almost like his brother. The skin has broken and he's bleeding a little. I clean it up with a disinfecting wipe, holding onto the soft part of his calf with my free hand, stretching a band-aid over it. I have the strong urge to scoop the kid up in my arms and carry him piggy-back to his front door. He only stands up and wipes his nose before going back to his usual glower. Cute.
I go back to my usual routine, and Summer fades into Autumn. There are more leaves to be raked, and the slide needs to be replaced. It's my senior year of high school, and I pull out of the student parking lot an hour earlier than the rest of the school because I only have five classes this year and I'm graduating in May. I'll be eighteen.
There are little parades of school kids walking down the sidewalk when I park the pickup at the small concrete turn-in and start working. The leaves are falling steadily and I rake every day. For a small park it has enough trees. There's not much work to be done otherwise, just collecting the garbage. The city is making plans to erect a group of picnic tables out in the grassy area behind the jungle gym. If they do it I'll be in charge of maintenance there, too. I might even get paid now, instead of an allowance from my dad. I think I like that.
Sora and his friends come more often; it seems that the park is between their school and their neighborhood. I remembered his name from the other day, but I don't talk to him. It's his brother's name I want to know. And I want to know why I feel such a weird clenching around my chest – as though my ribs are constricting around my lungs and heart – when I look at him. He doesn't remind me of myself at that age. I was a loudmouth. I wanted attention most of the time, and I couldn't sit still. I don't pity him, either. He blatantly chooses to remove himself from the other kids. When they gather around him, he doesn't seem to mind, but he prefers to be alone.
Sora and the redhead girl are laughing as he tried to climb a tree. The silver haired boy is nowhere to be seen, and the blonde girl sits on a bench, drawing with colored pencils. I pull back on the chains again, noting that one of them needs to be adjusted, noting that the kid hasn't removed the band-aid I put on him, even though the shallow cut must be healed by now.
I lift him as high as I dare and let go, hoping that he won't fly off. He doesn't laugh or even smile, but keeps calm, pumping his legs once and feeling the wind rush by him. I stand there and watch him a little longer until he slows, drags his feet a little in the sand and stops.
"You're the garbage man."
It sounds funny coming from him, but his face is serious.
"Not exactly." I don't know why I feel the need to explain my position better. "I take care of the park."
"Did you always want to be that when you grew up?"
It's an innocent kid question. Little kids, when thinking about the future, always ask that kind of thing. I wonder if he's thinking about what he wants to be.
"No. I wanted to be a fireman."
He makes a curious little face, as though trying to choose the right words to say, and when he speaks, I think I know why. "You can still be one, though, right?"
He looks away sharply then at his brother's call from across the sand: "Roxas!"
He jumps down from the swing and glances at me sidelong. "Go away. I forgot that I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
I chuckle in spite of myself. "I'm Axel." I don't know why I'm telling him. I don't expect him to commit it to memory. "And you're Roxas." He stiffens a little, and I feel a strange spike of guilt for using it so freely. "So now we're not strangers."
He scoffs, kicks at the dirt and says, before he goes to his brother's side, "That's almost what the clown said to Georgie before he pulled him into the sewer and murdered him."
My lungs and heart are tightened as I drive to city hall to turn in the day's report. I ask for a few days off under the pretext of studying for some upcoming exams.
At night I dream of Roxas riding his skateboard around the concrete circle, and I follow behind, catching him when he falls, my hands lightly grazing over his soft, innocent skin.
Act II, Scene ii
A week passes without a sign of Roxas, and I want to breathe easily. But the weekend comes, and there he is, sitting alone at the bottom of the jungle gym, five or seven other kids around him all playing and laughing. Some of them are his age. Most are younger. Sora and the silver haired boy are sitting in the shade of a tree. Twilight falls, and the younger kids are gone, the older ones wander off. Sora and his friend are still there under the tree. Roxas sits at the top of the slide, eating a sea salt ice treat.
I hate the way I watch him languidly lick the dripping salty sweetness from his fingers. There was more work than usual to be done today, and I feel that I need a good cold shower for more than one reason. I climb up into the truck and stretch out over the seats, closing my eyes to will the hard thumping of the blood in my ears away. My feet hang out the door, and just as I feel the heat and soreness start to abate from my muscles, I feel a gentle tug on the hem of my pant leg.
I sit up, twist around, and watch as Roxas performs a simple skateboard trick. And then another. He's still wearing the band-aid, and I don't ask why. He offers half a smile and then walks off to join the retreating backs of his brother and the silver haired boy. I have to erase the image from my mind before I start driving.
He gets better at it, and eventually he's gliding along effortlessly. I don't want to watch him. I don't want to walk over to him when he's alone on the swing, have his hair brush my chin as I pull back on the chains to start the arch. But I do.
"You're not a grown-up."
I tell him I'm seventeen. He's ten.
On Thursday he comes early, and I watch him climb the jungle gym. He seems upset. I do my work and more kids come. Sora and his friend race each other around the cement circle. The redhead girl skips behind them, her skinny legs wobble a bit. Roxas is sitting on the swing, drawing circles in the sand with his toe.
He shrugs, leans back, resting against my torso. I'm a little surprised. My hand slips down the chain and touches his. He squirms, and I pull away gently. The silver haired boy is watching, eyes narrowed. I return the gaze, and the hand that rests so lovingly on Sora's shoulder drops.
I don't stick around to watch Roxas ride his skateboard, and I forget to fill out the maintenance report.
Act II, Scene iii
I pointedly avoid him. He's in the back of my mind each day. My grades slip, and I'm lucky – or not – that my "job" isn't dependant on those marks. Reno says I'm getting thinner, but I eat every day. Just less and less. I go earlier to the park each day, finish my work before Roxas and his brother come.
One day Roxas skips school.
He's sitting on the swing when I pull up, ad I don't notice him until I start trimming some of the bushes on that side. He stares at me for a long time, and I stand there like an idiot, frozen in the act of cutting the thin branches. Finally I put the shears down and approach him. He stares straight ahead, pushes feebly at the ground with the tips of his toes, and I take it to mean he wants to be pushed. But I grab the chains from the front and crouch down to meet his eyes.
"Shouldn't you be in school?"
He shrugs. "Riku and Sora said I'm not supposed to talk to you anymore."
Riku must be the silver haired boy. I felt that he somehow understood what was going through my head about Roxas, but then, I could understand his situation, too.
"You should listen to your brother."
"You don't want to see me anymore."
He didn't sound hurt, but I knew something about him, and it was obvious he thought I'd be happy that he skipped school to come see me.
"Look, Roxas… I've got a job to do, and you've got to be in school."
He frowns. It's adorable, the way his eyes darken like that.
He jumps down from the swing and throws me a vehement look, then walks away. Sighing, I get back to work and begin the near impossible process of erasing the kid from my thoughts.
He comes back the next week. He doesn't say anything, and neither do I, hoping that if I ignore him he'll leave. But he stays, and it's nearly time for the other kids to show up. I wonder if Sora knows where his brother is. They're not in the same grade, but surely Sora seeks Roxas out once the bell has rang, to walk him home.
Finally I walk over and pull back on the chains. He doesn't tell me to stop, and I watch him for a while before the other kids start showing up and he walks down the street, obviously hoping to beat Sora home before he finds out where he's been. I smile a little, but quickly go back to the report. I've been slacking off a little lately, and I don't need an "inefficient" comment on my community service record.
Another two weeks pass, and I'm torn between being happy that Roxas hasn't showed up again or being miserable… because Roxas hasn't showed up again.
Wednesday morning he's there before me, and I wonder how he can fool his older brother and that Riku. He's sitting on the swing again, twisting a little so that the seat sways, but not too much.
He says it innocently. We both know he should be in school and I shouldn't be paying attention to him like this. I stand in front of him this time, pulling the chains toward me. He isn't heavy. I don't let go, though, waiting for him to tell me that he wants to go higher or that Sora and Riku don't know he's here. But he surprises me by leaning forward enough to rest his forehead on my shoulder. I slowly straighten my arms, but don't pull away from him. My hand slides down, touches his. He doesn't squirm or even seem to notice.
I'm not sure for how long I stand like that, slightly bent over, until my hand drops to his knee. I don't even remember how I get back to the apartment. All I remember is Roxas swinging, shoving a blank maintenance report into the glove compartment, and knowing that Roxas will come back.
Three weeks pass, and I can almost forget the feel of his skin. It's getting colder, and pretty soon, school will be out for the holidays. Roxas wears a dark red swear the next time I see him, and he sits on the same swing and waits for me to come push him. Then he comes every day, and so do I even though I've been given three weeks off. The park doesn't need much care in the winter. Fewer kids show up, and I don't ask how Roxas gets out of the house without Sora knowing. I just push him and then stand there with him leaning against me, stroking his cheek when I'm bold.
He doesn't say anything about me touching him. Of course not. I can't bring myself to touch him in a way that's less innocent. I hate myself for wanting to.
And then spring comes.
It's still wintry enough for a jacket, but now when I pull up to the cement, I see daffodils coming out, and Mr. Sun shining in a very hopeful way. Kids run screaming and laughing to the jungle gym when school is out. I'd gotten a leather jacket for Yevon-mass from Reno. When I'm done with work I put it on and sit on the tailgate of the truck and watch the kids for a while before driving off.
Roxas comes one day after the first spring rain, sun shining something obnoxious and a rainbow fading over the train station in the distance. He cut school again, and as soon as he gets to the park he sits on the swing and waits for me to finish tending to the weeds. I drink some water and put on my jacket, then go to stand behind him.
He doesn't answer, so I just stand there, lean against the chains and wait, content to feel his warmth against me.
"Sora said I'm not supposed to come here anymore."
"Maybe you should listen to your brother."
"You've got a job to do and I should be in school."
My words coming from his mouth sound cruel. I don't concur, and he stays silent again for a long moment.
"Play with me," he says finally.
I've never seen him play before, unless his attempts to learn skateboard tricks count. Most of the time he just sits on this swing or at the top of the slide. I try to imagine him laughing and running and climbing.
"We'll play fireman," he says simply. I smile because he remembered.
"Do I get to be the fireman?" I ask.
He shrugs. "You're going to be one when you grow up," he says, hopping down from the swing. He starts to climb the jungle gym. "I'm in a burning building," he declares. "You have to save me."
I chuckle lightly.
"Roxas, if you're in a burning building, you should be scared."
He rolls his eyes and settles into a more hopeless pose. Quietly, almost reluctantly, he begins to wail and moan in what he must hope is a convincing sound of panic. It's the first time he leaks more than a little emotion, and it makes me smile to think he's doing it for me.
"Don't worry, little boy," I call up to him, mentally wincing at the clear truth in the last two words. "I am a fireman, and I will put out the fire and rescue you."
He stops moaning and wailing at once.
"Firemen don't talk like that," he scoffs, almost amused.
"Yes they do," I insist, putting up a foot and beginning to climb hand over hand, step over step to him. Once I get to the top, Roxas smirks playfully.
"My clothes are on fire," he says.
Grinning, I take off my jacket and throw it over him, pulling him close and pretending to smother flames before lifting him and climbing back down. I pretend to put out the fire with the watering can I use for the flower bed, and then he sits down on the swing again, obviously tired of the game.
"Your jacket fits me big," he says quietly.
The collar loops around his neck and droops, the sleeves seem to swallow his hands, and the hem falls to cover the seat of his pants.
I stand in front of him, making the swing sway a little. Roxas's hand reaches up and touches mine. He's not looking at me, though. I curl my fingers around his, and he doesn't pull back. My other hand is on his knee, and I can't seem to breathe as it slides up, the light fabric of his pants gathering and folding under my palm. I feel sick. I feel dizzy. I feel sane. My thumb draws a soft circle inside his thigh, makes him release something between a whimper and a moan. He does meet my eyes then, but I can't read the expression there. I feel him tremble when my fingers close around the soft length in the fork of his legs. I want to trail my tongue over the exposed skin that touches the leather of my jacket and the cotton of his shirt.
"Get away from my brother!"
Roxas is torn from me, a fist drives hard into my gut.
"Don't ever touch Roxas again!" Riku's fists are shaking, behind him Sora holds Roxas tightly, oblivious to his protests.
"Pervert," Sora hisses.
Roxas doesn't look at me.
It's only days later, after I've gone to the City Offices and told them I need to quit working at the park to take my college entrance exams, that I realize my leather jacket is missing. I vaguely picture Roxas, shoulders hunched in the heavy leather, being tugged away from the park by Sora, Riku's hand on Sora's shoulder. There was nothing valuable in the jacket, some spare munny and a little Yevonite pamphlet from the temple by our house. But it will take months, even a couple of years for Reno to forgive me for losing the Yevon-mass gift.
By that time, I've moved out of the apartment and into a dingy little dorm in the Hallow Bastion district of Radiant Garden, studying fire sciences by the dim light of a cheap lamp, trying to forget Roxas's eyes.
And then winter comes.
I put up with a trigger-happy roommate for three years, graduate from the university with a double major in fire sciences and chemistry, and then get accepted into an academy. I graduate from there and am immediately snatched up by the Radiant Garden Fire Station. A week later I wake up early and my chief hands me the phone. It's Reno, calling from a borrowed cellphone, and the most I get out of him before the signal breaks is "Going to Port Royal for a bit… take care of the apartment." Two days later, I find out he was involved in some illegal Ether trade. He was lucky to get a Gummi ship out of Twilight Town.
Putting out fire is both more and less exciting than I'd hoped for. On quiet days, and there are many, thank Yevon, I find my mind wandering to that park. I hate myself for it, and I hate myself most because of Roxas. What did I do to him?
And then one day I'm transferred to the fire station in Twilight Town, and I'm moving back into the apartment that Reno left for me. Every now and then he writes. Sometimes from Agrabah, sometimes from Port Royal. I strongly suspect that he's involved in another form of illegal trade there, but I say nothing. Twilight Town is as quiet as it ever was, and for weeks I avoid walking down Sunset and 5th toward the park. When I finally do, I see it packed with kids as ever, laughing and screaming and throwing piles of dead leaves at one another. Off to the side, huddled around a picnic table, a brunette boy sits, loosely wrapped in the embrace of a taller, silver-haired youth. They'll be twenty and eighteen now. With them are those two girls, still slim and fragile-looking, and another boy with dark hair. I don't wait to see if Roxas will show up.
It's almost a whole week after that when a fire breaks out on Twilight and Station Heights.
When I was little, I used to love going camping. Not because of sleeping under the stars, the possibility of seeing wild animals, or peeing on trees. I liked the campfire. I could sit for whole hours at a time, watching the flames eat the wood, the sparkling pieces breaking off, alive with heat. It was like there was a whole other world there in the fire. That's what firefighting is like. If you're sent in to scan the building for citizens, there's nothing but flame and heat and the sound of everything breaking. Occasionally you'll hear a wail or a scream and you have to be able to judge if it's from outside or if there's really someone there with you in that bright, deadly world. And if there is, then you have to save them.
The building was about four stories high, and within the first three minutes as we started to control the flames, a handful of people crashed out of the fire exit, but they claimed that there were at least two people unaccounted for. Leon and I were sent in, and for an agonizing two minutes nothing seems to happen. I should get out before the place collapses. I can feel it.
Then… a moan. A tiny, suppressed sound that exists somewhere ahead of me.
I run, calling out. "I'm here! I'll save you! Hold on!"
Crash and break and burn and then I see an open doorway, fire eating up the walls around it and the broken parts of everything littered around. There's a person standing there, and as I come forward, he leaps over the pile, trips and rolls. A flame lashes at his clothes, and I throw my jacket over him, press an oxygen mask to his face and lift him up. He isn't light, but he isn't heavy, and then we burst out of that world and I'm still holding him.
Half of the building behind us explodes in shards of heated glass and pain.
"Take him to the ambulance," my chief calls over to me and I obey, leading the boy over to the van. He's about a head and an inch shorter than me. He sits down beside an older woman who's arm is being bandaged, takes off my fireman's jacket and hands it back, muttering, "Your jacket fits me big."
His hair is a darker honey blond, his eyes are the same and he's wearing my old leather jacket. All I can think of is that I was right about his voice.
Act IV, Scene ii
He's right where I know he'll be. I come to the park in the early hour just before the mothers start bringing their four and five year olds after their brief school day at kindergarten and preschool. When he was ten the tips of his toes rested on the worn dirt path under the swing. Now his feet are planted firmly there, and he has to lean back a little bit so that he doesn't have to bend his knees so much. He's wearing my leather jacket still, and it suits him so well that it seems to be a part of his persona.
I'm thinking about what I'm going to say as I approach him. I've been thinking all night. Because I have to say something. The bitterness in my stomach, the dizziness, the overwhelming gravity of my sanity demands that I acknowledge my part in scarring him. Because I must have, those years ago. What damage I must have done to his innocence.
I approach him, and in an act of familiarity, lean against the chains, making the swing sway. I want to speak, but I have no idea how to start. I never told anyone about what happened at this swing, and it's shameful, but Roxas wasn't even a part of it. He probably didn't understand.
But he speaks first.
"Why did you leave me?"
Like every other thing he's ever said to me, it strikes me as strange and amazing at the same time.
"Roxas…" I flinch at the name coming from my throat.
"They tried to take it away from me, you know," he continues, referring to the jacket, though I know that the first question will come again. "Sora did. Once he even gave it away to our neighbors for their yard sale. I bought it back."
"He made me look up 'pedophile' in the dictionary."
The word stabs at me. The swing sways.
"Why did you leave me?" he asks again. Up until this point I haven't met his gaze, but it burns into me now.
"I had to," I will him to understand the words.
"I didn't understand," he says, but he's talking about something else and the same thing entirely. "The way you were touching me."
Another stab. I force myself to stay here and listen to him. I owe him this.
"I liked it."
The silence that follows this confession swallows the whole park.
"I mean, I wasn't a horny little kid or a pervert," he says, kicking at the sand and averting his gaze in near-embarrassment. "But I always watched Sora and Riku… they were always holding hands, or Riku's hand would be on Sora's shoulder. I noticed that Sora was a different kind of happy from those touches. Different from when I hugged him or when Mom held his hand. I wanted that kind of happy."
I nod, understanding. "You thought that I could…"
"You did," he interjects suddenly.
"I looked up that word so many times, Axel. Every time Sora caught me trying to sneak back to this park or whenever I talked about you. I know what it means… 'one affected with sexual perversion in which children are the preferred sexual object'."
Each word cuts into me hard. I notice that some of the links on the chain need to be adjusted.
"Is that all you wanted me for?" he asks quietly. I can hear his voice shaking. It's beautiful. "Because if that's all I was to you then I can be mad at you, and you can leave again if you want."
I don't know what it was with Roxas. Attraction certainly wasn't a factor, and I had no desire to molest him sexually. Touching him was like wanting something I didn't know I was missing. I never wanted to hurt him by touching him, even though I realized later that I must have damaged him.
"Did you love me?" this question is fired faster than the others.
"It's easy to love a little kid," I say.
He holds my gaze for a long time before slowly standing up. He's a head and an inch or so shorter than me, and his hands are trembling as he touches my face, the heel of his palm brushing over my jaw line and I want to scream out of the burn that it leaves but it feels good, too. And he's standing on tip toe, reaching to pull me down enough by the neck to slowly drag his lips over mine in a perfect kiss. So perfect I forget that he's seven years my junior. I forget that there's solid earth under my feet.
"Did… did I do that right?" he asks. His voice is like honey and I want to hear him sing. "I've been thinking of how to do that for a long time."
The dizziness is back… the gripping vice around my organs making me sick. I feel sane. So much more than I ever have been.
But I walk away.
Act IV, Scene iii
Finally, I go back. He's not there, and I feel heaviness drop to the bottom of my being like a burnt, wasted coal. I wait for a long time, watch the other kids laugh and scream and play. Riku and Sora don't show up. It's the late strain of sunset when I get back to my truck, parked at the back of the lot, near where I used pile up all the cut branches and dead leaves.
Roxas is sitting on the tailgate, swinging his legs back and forth.
"You don't love me."
Like every other thing he's ever said to me, it strikes me as strange and amazing at the same time.
"Are you ashamed of me?"
Somehow it hurts more to hear that than anything else he's said. I have to climb up onto the tailgate beside him and think for a long time before I tust myself to speak.
"Not of you… not exactly. I'm ashamed of myself, Roxas."
And it feels so good to finally say it. To be free f that Sin of keeping it to myself.
"I'm not a little kid anymore, Axel." He understands exactly, and it makes me feel better. So much that I can actually look at him. Look him in the eye. "I'm going to be eighteen in a few months."
I want to smile.
"But I'm still older than you." We're actually discussing this.
"I don't care."
"Why? Because you felt me up when I was in third grade?" He says venomously. "You said yourself that the touching wasn't… intentionally sexual." He dares me to deny it.
"But it wasn't entirely innocent."
He scoots closer to me, puts up his hand and tangles it in my hair. "But I was old enough to stop it," he stresses. "I didn't. And I told you why."
"If you couldn't love me…" his fingers tighten. "You would have told me."
I know it's true. I know that I love him in ways that are too complex and wonderful to believe.
"And besides," he says softly, his tone indicating that the argument is over, "I love you."
I want to say it back, but by the way he's looking at me, I know I don't have to. My hand is on his knee, I lean in and capture his lips. He moves against me, pushes me down and deepens the kiss. I let my hands travel down his back. He straddles one of my legs, grinding against me. The fact that he can arouse me is amazing, because it's a new feeling. So is the hardness in the fork of his legs, proof of his manhood. I feel another stab of guilt.
He's looking down at me, blue eyes dark, fully aware of what he's done to me.
"Do you want me?"
Every word out of his mouth, honey-laced, makes my mind speed up a bit. He sits up, grips my thigh, rakes his hand upward. I have to fight a moan. The button and zipper of my pants are undone deftly, Roxas's hand sliding between cloth and skin. He mirrors my attentions of tracing fluid circles along my inner thigh until my hand shoots out and seizes his wrist. He looks alarmed, but I smirk, kissing him lightly.
"You like torturing me, don't you?"
He pushes me down again, roughly returning the kiss, his tongue scraping past my teeth, pushing and stroking against mine. The tips of my fingers lightly trace the subtle sculpted features of his face. The pads of his press into the base of my arousal. He's not shy about the touches, and I wonder if he's been waiting to do this, too. I decide it's too late to talk myself out of this. I love him. And he loves me. The age difference will take some time.
I come, allowing a gasp moan of pleasure finally leave me. Roxas looks down at his hands, both horrified and pleased at what he's done. Slowly, he takes one of the digits into his mouth and sucks, closing his eyes and humming. It's erotic.
I use my elbows to sit up, dragging my eyes down to rest on his own hardened shaft, straining against the denium of his pants. He follows my gaze and undoes the fastenings, slowly pulling away the cloth, hissing a little as the band of his boxers brushes against the underside of his mahood.
Fully esposed, he pushes me down again, sliding his own hands down the length. I watch, transfixed.
"Axel," he murmurs, and I realize what he's doing. With each stroke he lets my name fall from his lips, along with a series of pleas, quietly expressing his desire for me to touch him. I give in just before he comes, our fingers lacing together over the throbbing member. The kiss that joins them is perfect in every sense of the world.
He stares at me, pouring out his heart to me through his sapphire eyes, my hand resting in his dark golden honey hair.
"I love you."
He doesn't need t say it back, but he does, carefully fixing the bindings of our clothes without letting his gaze wander.
He can't be more than seventeen.
- The Writer
I wrote the second part recently because I felt like the story wasn't over. It's different from anything I've ever written, and I want to warn you on that now. I'll borrow this from Tad Williams:
"Welcome traveller, the roads are treacherous today..."