The Thorn Covered Rose
Hey everyone! This is a oneshot request fic that I did for a friend a little while ago, but my twin got sick and couldn't beta this for me, but she is all better now! It was a challenge for me to write, seeing as I am not used to this pairing, but sure was fun! Matt, this is what I came up with from the idea that you gave me! I hope that you like it, same with everyone else out there!
Disclaimer: Still don't own any of the characters, except in plushie form….I swear, Axel keeps moving closer to Roxas on his own….
Everything was quiet. It unnerved the teen as he made his way through the familiar cavern. Had it really been nearly two years since he had last been here? It sure didn't feel like it. Then again, time flies by fairly quickly when you are asleep in a pod for a year.
The damp grey walls were relieving to see, the white scratches still preserved even after the islands had disappeared then reappeared. The years he had spent in here with all his friends drawing on the blank canvas with rock shards, thinking that each picture was a masterpiece, that it was the next big thing in the art world. That is, until they thought of something better to draw and washed it all away.
Looking over all of the remaining pictures, the teen smiled, and noticed that none had changed in his absence, save for one. Some time after the islands reappeared, someone, presumably Kairi, had added a second paopu fruit to the drawing that they had done of each other all those years ago. Bending down and running a gentle finger over the chalk, Sora let out a deep sigh. That was so long ago. Before he knew of other worlds, before he had made all of his new friends, before he had known so much about himself.
When he had first added the paopu fruit under Kairi's portrait, he had been convinced that either he or Riku would be marrying Kairi and this was just one way for him to move himself a little closer to that goal first. However, after visiting so many other places and learning about so many different ways of life, Sora knew that he would never be happy in that sort of life.
But how could he break that to Kairi? She'd be absolutely heart broken, wouldn't she? Obviously when she had added her hand sharing the paopu with him, it meant that she wanted them to end up together.
"What am I going to do?" Sora whispered, removing his fingers from the wall, looking over at the world door.
He could leave. That was always an option. He was a keyblade master. Oh, how easy would it be to pull the mystical blade from deep inside and reconnect himself to all those other worlds. To his other friends.
"No, I can't do that." Sora scolded himself, quickly turning away from the temptation. "I can't leave again, at least not so soon." Unsure of how long he would be able to resist, Sora looked around the cavern one last time, unsure when he would be strong enough to return. With a final glace to the recently altered piece, Sora began to trek out of the cave, ironically happy that he finally had to duck to get into the tunnel. Not much mind you, but it was enough for him.
Finally back out into the muggy heat of the setting sun, Sora stopped to observe the only home that he had ever known. Nothing had changed since he left, and it caused Sora to wonder if the people had changed. Would his mother still be the happy go lucky person she had always been? What about Selphie? Had she changed from being the hyper active romantic or was she still the same? Could the same be said about Tidus and Wakka? Had they changed much in the past two years? Letting out a sigh, Sora reluctantly admitted that even if everyone else had stayed the same, so many changes had happened to him in the past two years that nothing would ever be the same again.
A rustling in the bushes next to him broke him out of his depressing thoughts and caused the brunet to turn and search out the noise.
The large umbrella leaves were definitely covering something, and that something was moving slightly. Unsure exactly what it might be lurking under the covering, Sora called upon the keyblade inside him before progressing any father.
Another moan emerged from the undergrowth, causing Sora to jump back a step cautiously.
"Is someone there?" Sora called out. After hearing the pain laced moan, he realized that there was little chance of it being an enemy. Hearing another moan, this one even more painful than the last one, Sora decided to push the large leaves out of the way, only to see the undergrowth overgrown and out of control. "I could have sworn that the groaning was coming from here." Sora whispered, knowing that there was no one around to hear him. Just as the brunet was about to let go of the foliage, a pale object against the emerald and jades of the underbrush caught his attention. Looking closer, Sora realized exactly what it was.
A human foot.
"Holy shit," he whispered, throwing the keyblade to the side in a rush and frantically began to rip away the undergrowth in a hurry to free whoever it was from the plants. Even through his gloved hand, Sora could feel the sharp thorns on his palms. And as they scratched him, it only strengthened his resolve to free the person trapped under everything.
"Hang in there!" he called as he uncovered the other foot, as well as both legs. The ashen legs had burns covering them, and as Sora cleared away more and more, he noticed two things. First thing was that every patch of skin that he exposed was covered in dark burn marks, and the second thing was that whoever it was wearing absolutely no clothing. But there was no time to think about the nudity, and without any consideration, he cast a high level cure spell on the prone figure.
Inch by inch he began to uncover the person, the little whimpers escaping the body was the force that drove Sora. Whoever it was, they were hurt. As Sora uncovered the shoulders of the now obviously male person, he noticed something beneath the burn marks. A black XI.
"Eleven? Shit." Sora muttered, before finally uncovering the person's face. The face it's self was free of any burns, but the thorns had left their mark on the skin framed by the feathery pink hair.
"Marluxia?" he asked, yet he didn't hesitate in reaching out and pulling the taller man out of the bushes. Marluxia made no movements or noise other than a slight groan, as Sora draped the barely conscious man over his shoulder, in a carry that, to him, felt so familiar now.
Looking around the sunset soaked beach, the brunet wondered where he could take the fallen Organization member. If Riku were to see Marluxia, he would probably attack first, ask questions later. The guy was here, injured, some how escaping disintegration like his fellow members. He did not need an angry keybladest attacking him based only on his association to the Organization.
Knowing that he wouldn't be able to carry the prone man up the latter to the tree house, it left only the old shack. Checking to make sure that Riku and Kairi were still on Paopu island watching the sunset, the brunet half dragged the lithe man to the rundown building, careful not to look down.
Setting the pink haired man against the wall, Sora found the ragged blanket that was always kept here and draped it over the unconscious man. He received no thanks for his deed, other than another pain filled moan that shot right through Sora's being. Curious as to if the man had a fever or not, the brunet placed an ungloved hand on the assassin's forehead. What he felt was not the expected heat, but an ice cold touch that caused him to retract his hand quickly.
"Fuck." Sora cursed. "I've got to get you warm." He began to debate on whether or not he would risk Kairi and Riku seeing the smoke from a fire if he dared light one in the small pit on the side of the room. Knowing that Marluxia might die if he didn't, Sora stopped hesitating and cast a low level fire spell on the charred wood, and to his relief, it caught the first time.
As he fanned the flames to get it going hotter, a thought crossed through Sora's mind. Why on earth was he helping someone who had once tried to kill him, and was also the central figure in the loss of all his memories? Why was he trying to keep a member of Organization XIII alive, when the entire Organization had used him for their own sick and twisted plans?
Because it was the right thing to do, that's why.
"I'm just going to catch a fish and get some fresh water, alright? I'll be back in a few minutes." Sora whispered to the man, unsure of why he was telling the unresponsive man any of this. Stepping towards the rickety old door way, the young brunet couldn't help but spare a glance back before crossing the threshold.
In only a matter of minutes, the celestial colours had gone from various shades of pinks and oranges to being a soft midnight blue, the white stars spotting the heavens like freckles on the sun kissed nose of a child. It looked so pretty, and it was just another reminder to Sora of everything that he had done in the past two years. He couldn't remember ever having a night that there were so many stars in the sky. Now that all the worlds had been restored, Sora was free to live his life the way he wanted it to be lived. Taking a look around, Sora noticed that there was a light fog rolling in from the sea, exactly what he need to hide the smoke from Kairi and Riku's eyes.
Quickly realizing that fog meant harder conditions to fish in, the keyblade master ran right down to the waters edge, disappointed that the water was already dark with murk. But he had to get something in the way of food for Marluxia. Ignoring the spray of the increasingly choppy waves, Sora proceeded to wade right into the chilled water.
Not wanting to waste time dilly dallying, Sora cast aeroga on himself, quickly getting the desired effect. The water around him moved out of the way; as if someone was pushing a giant invisible ball down to displace all of the water. And just as he hoped, three medium sized fish flopped around on the ocean bed, splashing the remaining drops of water all over Sora's ankles. But the teen had no patience for such an insignificant thought, so he reached down and grabbed two of the fish; he ignored the other one and made his way back to the shoreline, leaving the windy sphere in the water. Knowing that he could get some fresh water from the waterfall, the only problem Sora saw was that he had no idea what to put the liquid in.
"Shit, shit, shit." Were the only words running through Sora's head as he thought of all the empty bottles he had gotten rid of from depleted potions during his travels. Knowing that after the final battle with Xemnas, he had none left, the keyblader began to panic. Marluxia would need nourishment and liquid when he woke up, and now Sora had nothing to put the water in. Grumbling to himself, Sora began to run back to the old shack, clutching the fish in his hand, not even checking to see if Kairi and Riku had left the island yet or not. Pausing only to break off three sticks from the bushes, he finally made it back to where Marluxia was, the man still unmoving from the position that Sora had laid him in.
"I got some fish." He spoke quietly, hoping not to disturb the man, just in case he was sleeping. As soon as he had entered the small hut, Sora had been assaulted with heat from the tiny fire, and it was all he could hope that it was helping at least a little to get Marluxia warm.
Noting that his magic had recovered, Sora cast round of cure on the pink haired man once more, only to earn another groan, this one a little louder yet still as painful. But the teen took this as a good sign, one that meant that Marluxia would soon wake up. And that meant that Sora could ask him what was doing not only here, but alive in general.
But none of that would do any good if he didn't get the fish cooked and some fresh drinking water for him.
Positioning the three sticks into a makeshift spit, Sora skewered the two fish on one rod and set it on the two sticks buried halfway down in the sand, so the fish sat right above the dancing tips of the flames. And while that was beginning to cook, Sora checked Marluxia's forehead again, only to find a little bit of heat returning to the pale skin. That relieved him a little, but it would be better if he could just find something to hold some drinking water for the man.
After a brief examination of the contents of the shack, Sora couldn't find anything of use in the single roomed shelter, and with a quick huff of frustration, Sora flopped down in the sand next to the cooking fish, and with some added pressure to his backside, Sora jumped up with a quiet yelp of pain. With a whispered curse, Sora rubbed a hand over his ass, and he felt the object which caused him the discomfort and mentally smacked himself up side the head.
The bottle which Kairi's letter had come in.
Sora completely forgot that he had attached it to his back belt. This was going to be perfect!
"I'll be right back!" Sora exclaimed excitedly, earning a groan from Marluxia's unconscious form as the teen bolted out the door and up the few stairs that lead to the waterfall and secret spot. Dead and uprooted foliage covered the ground, and from this angle, it made Sora gasp. Had that many plants really been covering the pink haired man? It was amazing that Sora had been able to find him, let alone get him pulled out on his own.
The churning waters of the waterfall broke Sora out of the reverie that he had found himself in, and the brunet quickly shoved the gloved hand that was clutching the bottle under the icy flow of the water. Even through his gloves Sora felt the frigid temperature of the water, and as soon as the small bottle had been filled, he pulled his hand out of the chilled liquid.
Not knowing when Marluxia would come around, Sora rushed back to the shack, not wanting the former Organization member to wake up without anyone there. Throwing the door open as quietly as he remembered, Sora eagerly entered, hoping that his guest would have returned to consciousness while he had been gone, but having no such luck.
Letting out a heavy sigh, Sora set the cold bottle down on one of the stairs, then walked over to the cooking fish and began to slowly turn the food as to not allow it to burn. As he sat there turning the meal, the brunet allowed his mind to finally think about the events of the past half an hour. Why was there an Organization member here on the island? A member who Sora had thought to be dead for nearly a year? What happened to injure him like that, and why the hell was he naked and covered in burns?
The questions came one after another, each one seeming just a little bit stranger than the previous one and not a single question had anything that even remotely resembled an answer. It was starting to get on his nerves, and piss him off just a little bit.
He was broken out of his thoughts by a longer string of moans from the injured man, causing Sora to look over at him, and immediately he noticed that the dark eye lashes fluttering against the alabaster cheeks rapidly.
Casting another round of Cure spells on Marluxia; Sora hoped that this time, the man would actually wake up.
"Marluxia? Can you hear me?" Sora asked, completely ignoring the fish in favour of checking on the lithe man.
"Roxas?" the prone man sighed, turning his face in the direction of he voice. Sora sighed at the repeated use of his Nobody's name, but shrugged it off due to the fact that Marluxia was severely injured.
"It's Sora actually. But Roxas is here with us in a way." He explained, hoping that knowing there was another member of the Organization still around, even if it was in a less than conventional manner.
"Keyblade?" the whispered question was almost to quiet for Sora to hear, although the volume did do anything to help him understand what Marluxia was asking.
"Keyblade?" Sora repeated in a whisper. Then it hit him. "No. My keyblade is safely where it belongs. I'm not going to hurt you. Do you want some water?" Unsure of what else he could do to help until his magic charged enough to cast another round of cure, Sora tried to think of what he could do to help the man at the moment. Receiving a small nod, the brunet jumped up and rushed over to the stairs where he had let the small bottle, and after retrieving it, he knelt back down beside Marluxia and held the cold glass against up to the injured man's lips, tipping the container just a little once the older man's lips parted slightly.
Sora continued to feed the pink haired man the water at an extremely slow pace until the assassin closed his lips, clearly not wanting anymore. Without hesitation, Sora cast cure on the man one final time, and in response, Marluxia finally was able to open his eyes to take in the sights around him, the ability to move his neck at last restored to him.
"Where am I?" the former Organization member whispered, his gaze ultimately landing on Sora, who was walking over and removing the fish from the fire, sticking the tip of the spit into the sand, as not to ruin the meal.
"You are on the play island of Destiny Islands. My home world." Sora answered, emphasizing on the 'home' part of his sentence.
Marluxia nodded his understanding, still not yet one hundred percent coherent. "The castle?" he groaned, attempting to sit up, before Sora placed a hand on his shoulder to stop him from doing so and straining himself.
"Castle Oblivion has been deserted for nearly a year. Xemnas was defeated not that long ago, same with all the rest of the Organization. Besides Roxas, who rejoined with me, right now, you are the only member remaining." Sora felt miserable being the one to break the news to the other man, but knew that it was necessary that Marluxia knew this information right away.
"Everyone?" Marluxia's eyes went wide as a look of pure hurt ran through the sapphire coloured depths. Seeing a tear pooling in the corner of his eye, Sora felt a twinge of guilt deep inside, along with something else that he couldn't identify.
"I really am sorry, Marluxia." Sora whispered, leaving his hand on Marluxia's shoulder and giving it a squeeze of comfort.
With a careful shake of his head, Marluxia shrugged off Sora's hand, leaving the two of them just sitting there, shoulders barely touching, in complete silence for different reasons. Marluxia remembering his fallen comrades, and Sora wondering what he could do for the Nobody.
"I guess it was to be expected though." The pink haired man sighed, lifting a hand up to his face, effectively hiding his face from the teen. Watching the artificial emotions passing over Marluxia's features, Sora couldn't find anything to say, so he remained silent, and allowed Marluxia to deal with his grief the way he wanted to.
"Aren't you going to say anything? Or try and get rid of me?" Marluxia looked over at the brunet, removing his hand.
Sora was surprised at Marluxia's question, but at the same time, he expected it. "Well, there must be a reason why you didn't disappear like the rest of the members. Not to mention that of all the worlds, you ended up on mine. But what exactly happened? I mean it's been a year since our fight at Castle Oblivion. Where were you? Because after we fought, you just kind of disappeared, but it was not in the same way that the rest of the Organization did." Sora rambled on, afraid that if he stopped, something would happen to Marluxia.
"I can only remember darkness and pain. The last thing that I remember was you coming towards me to land the final blow. I tried to teleport, but something happened." His voice was still soft, and Sora began to panic, hoping the man wasn't still in too much pain.
"Are you okay now? What are the burns from?" Sora wanted to add 'And where are your clothes?' but an embarrassed blush crept over his cheeks, preventing him from doing so.
"I believe that is what brought me out of the darkness." The Nobody held one arm up, and noticed that the burns ran all the way up his arms, covering his hands as well, but strangely enough, he felt none on his neck, or his face. "Seeing as the burns only cover my body where my robe would have covered, I assume that once you defeated The Superior, all remaining ties to the Organization melted away, including my robes." Sora was impressed by the intelligence contained in Marluxia's voice, how even being severely injured, the man still knew what was going on. And that peaked his interest on other issues.
"Why doing you think that you ended up on Destiny Islands? Most people went back to their home worlds, and I'm pretty sure that you didn't come from here." Sora's voice wavered slightly, afraid that he might have pushed the man too far.
"That's simple. This was the last world to be disconnected from the rest. In order for you to return after defeating The Superior, this world had to be the last to close itself. And with that, it pushed me out of the darkness for you to have a path here." Marluxia was becoming more and more coherent with every passing moment, and it pleased Sora to see that.
"Wow. I never realized you were so…" Sora paused, realizing that no matter how he finished the sentence, it could be viewed as an insult.
Marluxia let out a soft chuckle. "Don't worry about it. Most people only see me as a pink haired, flower loving sissy." He smiled slightly at the memory of Xigbar's initial introduction of him to The Superior.
Sora stayed quiet for a moment, a blush again rising to his cheeks. "I never thought of you in that way." He whispered. "I always thought of you as a worthy opponent with amazing combat skills and great determination."
Marluxia let his mouth hang open in surprise, before a small smile broke on his face and he looked up at the planked ceiling. "You two are so much alike." The sound was barely enough for Sora to hear, but he did.
"Who?" he asked, as he took in Marluxia's profile, before cursing his cheeks, they just seemed to keep blushing on their own.
"You and Roxas. You both made me feel like I had a heart. And you both made me question the purpose of Nobodies." Marluxia said, turning and giving Sora a small, yet sad smile, which only intensified the crimson stain on Sora's cheeks.
"Axel said the same thing right before he disappeared, too." Sora confessed. He didn't know why he felt so nervous while in Marluxia's presence.
One side of Marluxia's mouth hitched up in a smirk as he looked over at the naïve teen. "Well, that's because Roxas is within you, and he and Axel were lovers." He watched as Sora's eyes went wide with this new information, Marluxia could ignore the pain for a few minutes and for the first time in a long time, he felt a little like himself again.
"L..Lovers?" Sora stuttered. He thought that they were just best friends! The blush now reached all the way down Sora's neck, up to the tips of his ears, and Marluxia couldn't help but notice how endearing the sight was. He nodded in response to Sora's question.
"They were happy." The man said in a wistful voice, a feeling arising in him, one that he couldn't ignore.
"Oh." Once again over come by embarrassment, Sora's couldn't find it in himself to say anything more, or make eye contact. Every breath Marluxia took, Sora could feel, and vice versa. For some reason, that really helped calm Sora's nerves as well as his stomach.
"Thank you." Marluxia was the first to speak after the lengthy silence, both of them just sitting there.
"For what?" Sora's head snapped up as he looked up at the pink haired man.
"For doing all this for me. Everyone knows that you should have killed me on sight for what I put you through." Marluxia's voice was barely above a whisper, so Sora had to strain to hear everything that his one time enemy was saying.
"Everyone deserves a second chance." Sora shrugged, his guard completely down, unprepared for what came next. One moment Sora was just casually talking to his new friend, the next, said friend placed his lips upon the teens. Sora let out a yelp of surprise, but as the slightly chapped lips began to slowly massage the brunets, Sora began to enjoy this entirely new experience. The kiss was slow to start with, and as Marluxia began to pull away, accomplishing what he started out to do, Sora let out a whimper of disappointment, before wrapping his arms around the pink haired man's neck, crashing their lips together once more.
Through their connected lips, Sora felt Marluxia smile, before returning the gesture. The sensation of their lips rubbing together rubbing together at an increasingly fast pace made Sora feel like melting right there, and that feeling only got more intense as Sora felt Marluxia wrap a single arm around his shoulders, pulling them closer together still.
Sora had never felt this way before; the exhilaration of his first kiss ran through his veins at breakneck speed. It felt amazing. Every little movement elicited a slight shudder from the brunet, a fact that Marluxia exploited to its full potential. But nothing was able to prepare Sora for the sensation of Marluxia's lips parting ever so slightly; before the Nobody's soft pink tongue traced the outline of Sora's lips, as it did a secret little dance that asked for entrance into the forbidden cavern.
Not wanting to deny Marluxia any longer, Sora allowed his own lips to part, eagerly greeting the questing tongue with his own, their teeth clicking together as the kiss started to pick up in intensity. Marluxia permitted his tongue to explore the virgin territory, as he ran the soft pink organ over Sora's in an ancient seduction ritual. Sora slid his hand from around the back of Marluxia's, up into the feathery pink strands. He began to feel the heat from the fire immensely at that point, and he silently wished that the moment would never end.
Sora thrust his tongue into Marluxia's mouth to do a little exploring of his own, but he felt a little surprised to find that the inside of Marluxia's mouth wasn't warm, but an icy cold that was too odd to be natural.
It snapped Sora out of his hormone induced state, and he immediately noticed that Marluxia's arm, though still wrapped around Sora's shoulder, was also an unnatural temperature.
"Marluxia?" Sora questioned, reluctantly pulling away. When he finally opened his eyes, Sora was shocked at the sight in front of him. Marluxia was growing more and more translucent by the second.
"I'm sorry. I knew this was going to happen." Marluxia smiled the sad smile again, and it nearly broke the keyblader's heart.
"I'll cast cure!" he pleaded, as he tried to think of any excuse to keep the fading Nobody from disappearing completely.
Marluxia just shook his head. "Save your magic. You've already done more than enough to help me."
"But…" A tear began to form in the corner of Sora's eye as the thought of his first kiss disappearing truly hit home. "There has to be a way to do something."
"It's my time. I have to go join the rest of my family. I am glad I got to see you one last time. You really did make me feel like I had a heart." The Nobody was barely visible now, as he evaporated at an alarming rate.
"Marluxia!" Sora cried, as he tried to grab onto anything, a hand, an arm, anything that would keep Marluxia in this world.
"Goodbye…" The sound was whispered, and with a burst of darkness and blossoms, Sora was left alone in the old shack, a ragged old blanket still warm from human contact, and uneaten pair of fish and a light dusting of pink petals covering everything.
Reaching down and picking up a few of the petals, Sora looked up at the ceiling, blinking back a few tears that threatened to fall.
"I'll never forget you, Marluxia." Sora whispered, gently squeezing the pink petals in his hand as a solitary tear fell down one flushed cheek.
So???? How was it? I'm kinda happy with how this turned out. It was a nice break from the other ones that I am writing at the moment. If anyone else has any requests that they would like to see me write, email me at crimson passion (just remove the spaces) and I will be more than happy to see what my twisted little mind comes up with for the pairing that you might want! Once again, thanks to Matt for this wonderful challenge and I can't wait to get my next chapter of either Key or Accident out, I'm not sure which will be out first at this rate! Until next time, please read, review and recycle (just not other peoples work)!