So, I had this really amazing idea to keep me going about this story. XD Actually, it was a thought I'd had while reading anyhow. Between each normal "chapter" is going to be a different kind of chapter. It doesn't really link directly to the plot, but I think these chapters will be interesting and helpful. Also, you never know why history repeats, Oi?
So, I'm giving to you… The Story of… Life 20! Next will be the actually second chapter, which will take from where I left off in chapter one. After that will be Life 19, and so on, and so on until I reach Life 1, and the chapter after that will be where the story ends.
So, yeah. You don't HAVE to read this to understand the story… but I'd like it if you did.
Disclaimer: I don't own this. If I did, I'd have a huge house, and maybe a pool full of chocolate pudding.
Warning: Angst, character death, General Unhappiness, Boy Love.
This life wasn't a whole lot better than the life before it, Axel decided. He scanned his surroundings, gritting his teeth in anger when he realized he was not in a house. Damn it. Homeless, again?
He'd woken up in a car. It looked –and smelled- old. The paint job seemed to have long since rusted. What little paint that was left seemed to be red, but the whole thing was too banged up for Axel to be sure. The interior was almost as bad. Maybe in some point of time, it had been brown leather. But now, cotton leaked out of the seats, and the lingering smell of burnt cheese and tuna fish seemed to float around in the air.
The worst thing? There were three bags in the back seat, containing what Axel guessed were his clothing and personal objects. What was scattered around the car seemed to be even worse. He appeared to be in some sort of… junk yard? It was a dump, with other broken vehicles, tires, and just general piles of junk scattered around the clearing. There were several trashcans with fires going in them. Scrawny people in large coats and an abundance of other clothing were sitting around them, some with hotdogs, and others with other strange kinds of food.
His seat, the driver's seat, was reclined back all the way. He dutifully moved it back into its normal place, ignoring the creaking noises that sounded like a bullfrog being stepped on by an elephant. He looked down at his attire and sighed. A large, olive-ish colored coat hung on his tall, skinny frame. It was tattered and in a rather ugly shade. A few patches appeared to have been sewn on with care, most likely by someone other than him. A pair of off brand jeans hung on his legs, which seemed to be skinnier and less muscled than he remembered. A couple pairs of thin, ugly tees hung on his chest below the jacket, and on his hands were a pair of leather gloves. A lighter was in his pocket, but since there weren't any cigs in there, Axel could only guess he didn't smoke. On his head was a dark brown hat that went over his ears and pushed down his unruly red hair. It looked more like a stocking cap than anything, but it was warm, so Axel didn't care all that much.
He slowly got out of his car and headed for the nearest trash can. Damn, it was cold, and he'd never felt the wind so strong before. It had to be a winter. It was probably because he was in Chicago, being the Windy City and all. He raised a hand to paw at his eyes, mewing softly in sleepiness. His neck ached, probably from sleeping in a damned car. His body felt like it was starving, probably because it was. He sighed again and as a few people greeted him, he instantly knew their names.
"Hey, Axel! Want a hotdog?" one of the asked, and he nodded his yes, catching the hotdog offered to him. Another one of his so called 'acquaintances' handed him a stick to use, and Axel slowly started cooking the 'dog over the fire.
"So, I heard that the X is coming tonight for the party," a young looking boy, maybe only 12 or 13, with tan colored hair told another young boy. They grinned stupidly to each other and turned to Axel.
"You finally going to join the X, then, tonight Ax?" they asked, their eyes shining bright with hope and pride. Axel took a moment to remember who the X was. His new memory caught up with him quickly. They appeared to be a large gang. Most of the homeless people in the Lot appeared to have joined them, but Axel never had because until… two weeks ago he'd had a job. Now, it appeared he was unemployed. Would he join the X?
"Maybe," Axel shrugged, but was a lot more interested in trying to figure out where Roxas would be now, and how he could find the little blonde with his obvious lack of funding.
Axel chatted a bit more with the two boys before they got bored and ran off. Before Axel could go off looking for another hot dog, an elderly woman latched onto his arm. Axel raised an eyebrow but felt his face merge into a smile.
"Ax, I happened to overhear you talking with those boys. Now, I know you just think I'm telling you that you should join the X because my grandson is in it, but really, Ax, I worry about you. A nice strong boy like you needs to belong somewhere, and if you don't… you never know if the X might see you as a threat. I just worry about you, Ax, all alone and-"she rambled on, but Axel stopped her with a grin and a hug.
"Aww, its ok Teresa. I do well enough. I know you worry about me. Anyhow, you're like my grandma… I might join the X. I'm sorry that I'm making you worry," Axel replied sheepishly, but at the same time, smirking a little. Teresa had always cared for him. She made sure he didn't starve to death, and he didn't let anyone fight with or pick on him. Axel knew she meant what was best for him. His new memories let him recall that she was like a mother to him.
Teresa seemed to take that answer well and after commanding Axel to eat more, she walked away. A few hours later, Axel found himself with three hotdogs in his stomach and a warm cup of coffee in his hands. The people in the Lot may have been homeless, but they were generous too. Most of them had some cash intake, probably because of their work with the X more than anything.
It appeared that there was going to be a party involving some gang members from the X. The people of the Lot were setting up a tent, and a few went to get cheap beer and other alcohol. The fire pits were placed in the four corners of the tent and all of the children were given a smaller tent to play in, probably so they wouldn't be beaten by drunken adults. Axel was surprised. It seemed that homeless people didn't have as little as he'd been told. Then again, what he'd been told was probably stereotyped and biased, so that didn't mean a whole lot, he supposed.
A lot of the people were changing into what appeared to be their best clothing, so Axel went back to his car to look for something suitable. He rummaged in the bags, looking for something that didn't smell and preferably hid that he was kind of a bag of bones. He eventually ended up wearing a pair of black jeans that were a little too big on him and a red and black striped sweater with only a few holes in it. Sure, it wasn't exactly perfect, but it appeared to be the best clothing he owned.
He walked up to the tent after that and helped a few girls set up decorations. Being as tall as he was, he figured it was probably the best he could do. Plus, it gave him time to flirt shamelessly and get information about the X.
They had more than 300 hundred members, although not nearly that many would be coming to the party tonight. The two girls, Sarah and Naomi, informed him that the gang had no members below the age of 15, but on their birthdays, they wanted to join. He was also informed about recruiting. Apparently, to be initiated into the gang, your gang members had to beat you up and leave you in the Lot for a few days to see if you'd survive. It sounded harsh, but the girls insisted it was necessary to weed out weak members.
The more Axel learned about the X, the less he wanted to do with it. The gang leader, a man by the name of X-Terra, seemed to be blindly ruthless and cruel. Axel wasn't sure if it was worth the connections and money it might take to find Roxas. He immediately got rid of that thought, though. Anything was worth finding Roxas. If being beaten up was what it would take, Axel would take a beating.
The party started, and after a while, Axel couldn't even dance anymore. There were so many people, so many faced. The tent was full and the smells of alcohol and sweat clouded the air. Axel found himself sitting by one of the fire pits in the corner of the tent, just gazing mindlessly into the fire, thinking about everything and nothing.
There was so much to think about. There was so much he couldn't think about. The past and the present were combining before his eyes, and he couldn't even think about it. He'd wasted, or used?, so many lives… so many lives searching for his reason to live. He could've gone to heaven by now. He should've gone to heaven by now. If he was a selfish person, he could have.
Maybe he was selfish after all, though. All of his friends wanted him in heaven to enjoy an eternal paradise. But here he was, making them watch him suffer on Earth, all because there was one thing he was missing. He already knew, he'd already found, his reason for living. He could go home. But he didn't want to. He didn't want to go home alone.
Roxas. It was his every word, his every thought, his every reason for being. Roxas was every person on the sidewalk, every cloud in the sky. He was every candle, ever star, every bite of food Axel had ever tasted. Roxas was every shadow, ever brick, every wall, and every home. Roxas was every life and ever death. In a way, even Axel was Roxas and Roxas was Axel.
Axel would never be able to leave without him. Selfish or Selfless, Roxas was every part of him, every thing in his life, good or bad, and being without him was like being without his eyes. You could hear everything, you could feel everything, but to get up every morning and have to live and breathe… it was hard.
A shout broke loose and the crowd moved in a circle, surrounding what looked to be a fight. Intrigued, Axel moved towards the front of the crowd, his friends and kind of… family of the Lot letting him. When he got to the front… well, he wished he never had gotten there at all.
Three tall men wearing large, black hoodies and what appeared to be leather pants were beating the shit out of a short, blonde kid. The kid was fast and could block things, but three against one couldn't be pair. He already had a shiner and what appeared to be a bloody lip. He was dressed simply in a blue tank top, although it was winter, and a pair of dark blue jeans, tight against his girlish hips. His blonde hair stood up in random places and when he spun around quickly, punching one of the guys in the gut, Axel could tell he had blue eyes, like summer and winter and spring and fall all rolled up into the ocean and served with a side of blue Kool aid. They were that perfect.
After a few more minutes of being pummeled, a sharp whistled sounded through the tent and the fighting stopped. The blonde was escorted, more like thrown, out of the tent. He landed near a pile of trash, but wouldn't stop there. The rest of the party went on as normal, seeing as the Initiation was over with for that night. If the kid survived, he'd be their newest member.
Axel, though, watched the blonde, who he was sure had to be Roxas, stumbled away and lean against a car. But not any car. No, it was a rusty, chipped, maybe red car. His car.
Axel quickly sneaked out of the party, wanting to make sure no one saw him leave. He was sure if they were allowed to help new members. He would guess not. Either way, he wasn't going to take any chances.
He walked over to his car, his hands in the pockets of his jeans. He tried to appear casual, but in reality, his hands were shaking, his legs were shaking, everything was… shaking. He was so nervous he thought he might puke.
He knelt down near Roxas, who appeared to be unconscious. He was wrong, though, and after a few moments, the blonde opened his eyes, and Axel knew for sure. It was Roxas. He'd found him. He'd found his Roxas, again.
"Axel, right?" Roxas asked, and Axel almost fainted. He remembered him? He finally remembered him? Axel must've looked shocked, or maybe creeped out, so the blonde blushed and continued quickly.
"I mean, I've heard of you. They all really want you in the X. Something about being too dangerous by yourself, I think," Roxas quickly said, and looked down, missing the look of pure despair in Axel's eyes.
"Oh, I see. Well. Kid, you're leaning on my house," Axel told him, trying not to cry or hug the poor kid. Roxas blushed and looked up at the car. He nodded and made to move, but was obviously in pain.
"Hey, I didn't say you had to move," Axel told him quickly, and the blonde immediately relaxed and leaned back. Axel moved next to him and leaned on the car too.
"So. You look like shit, and if I'm cold, you must be freezing," Axel started, looking away. "You got a place to spend the night?" he asked, looking over to the blonde.
"No," Roxas said, looking at the ground, "If I don't… if I don't get in the X, I don't have anywhere else to go," he told him. Roxas looked close to tears, so Axel gently put an arm around the blonde.
"No friends? Family? …Girlfriend?" Axel inquired and the blonde blushed again, although Axel didn't know if it was from his arm or his words. He seemed to be doing that a lot. He shook his head and was quiet for a moment.
"Nah. Mom and Dad kicked me out… and my friends… I guess they kind of kicked me out too," Roxas told him, and a fat tear rolled down his cheek. Axel barely faltered, although he wanted to cry as well. "Why?" Axel asked, tilting his head to meet the boy's eyes.
Roxas blinked and chuckled bitterly. "You're not going to want an arm around me when you find out," he told Axel, but Axel made no attempt to move his arm from around the blonde's shoulders. This startled Roxas, but he continued anyway, "I'm gay."
Roxas expected to be slapped or beat up again. So he practically jumped out of his skin when he was met with loud laughter. Axel put his head back and laughed into the night sky, his laugh joining the smoke and haze drifting to the stars.
"God, Roxy, and here I thought you killed someone or something," Axel told him, wiping his eyes from cheerful tears of laughter. Roxas blushed red and looked away.
"It's a pretty big deal to most people," he mumbled, and Axel just laughed quietly again.
"Well, I'm not really most people," Axel told him, and whispered into the blonde's ear, "Want to know a secret?"
The blonde appeared startled but obviously wanted to know. He took the bait. "What?" he asked, in awe and longing to know a secret. He wasn't used to people sharing things with him and telling him secrets. This almost-stranger was the closest thing he'd had to a friend in a long time.
"I'm as flaming as a pair of rainbow boxers," he whispered into the blonde's ear.
And that was the start of a beautiful friendship.
Weeks passed quickly. Roxas moved into the Lot and was there when Axel got inducted into the X as well. They went on missions to steal things and hurt people together. They slept in Axel's car at night and stole food from supermarkets during the day. For the first time in a long time, Roxas was having fun, and a lot of it.
Axel was having fun too, but he was nervous. He'd told Roxas about his many lives, although he never told Roxas about his role in them. He was worried, because when things went well… there always had to be something that screwed it up.
The day that ruined their friendship was a Saturday. They'd gone to a nearby lake in Axel's car, which kind of still worked, and went swimming. It was summer then, hot and dry, although still windy. They didn't have any missions or things to do, and since it was hard to get into a pool without a lot of money, a lake seemed to be the perfect thing to do.
They went swimming and had a lot of fun. They stole sandwiches and soda from a local shop and just had a lot of fun. Axel noticed, though, that Roxas seemed to be spending a whole lot of time staring at Axel in his swimming suit. Every time the redhead asked if something was wrong, Roxas just blushed and mumbled something about daydreaming. They watched the sunset on the shore of the lake when their friendship ended.
Axel had been sitting there, talking about something or another. Roxas, though, couldn't really tell what it was he was talking about, because he was too engrossed at staring at Axel's lips. They were so pink and soft looking… Roxas wanted to cover them with his own so bad.
Impulse finally took over and Roxas pushed Axel over onto the shore and kissed him. For a moment, the redhead didn't move, so startled, but the moment passed and Axel was moaning into the kiss and trying to get Roxas's tongue to come out and wrestle.
Axel ended up climbing onto Roxas and pushing the blonde into a happy submission. What little clothing that had on was soon discarded. The empty shore was soon full of touches and moans and "Please, please, faster" and "Harder, harder!" and "Oh my god, Axel"s and "Uhhh Roxas"s. Afterwards, they lay, panting on the shore, tangled up in each other, just staring into one another's eyes. Blue and Green ended as the colors mixed and became one in each other. Everything was perfect. That day, their friendship ended. Something bigger took its place. Something called love.
The saddest thing about love is that sometimes it ends before it really begins. Their love, as some love is, ended before it had a chance to really grow and become as large as it should have.
It started the day they failed a mission. It was a huge mission, a really, really huge mission. They'd been told that if they failed, they'd be killed. It was just that simple. Surely, they wouldn't purposely fail a mission, right?
The mission had been simple. Kill everyone at The Lot. The people of the Lot had come to rely too much upon the X and the X wanted them to be taken out. Their newest members, who were also their best fighters, were assigned to plant a bomb in the Lot, and drive as far away as they could. The bomb would kill everyone, and take care of their problem.
Roxas and Axel couldn't do it. So, with a group of Resistance, surprisingly at least half of the X, Axel and Roxas battled against the X. Weeks went by with Guerilla Gang warfare, hit and run attacks, and general violence between the two groups of the gang.
Axel knew it was going to be the beginning of the end. He held tightly to Roxas during those times. They made love when they weren't fighting; they made war when they were. They both spent days lying around, hoping it wouldn't be the day they died. Then finally, both leaders of the groups met up and decided on a time and place. They would fight in the Lot in a month. No prisoners, no survivors of the gang who won.
That month, Axel and Roxas pretended there was nothing wrong. They spent as much time as they could together, making love or just loving. They walked to parks, they spent all of their saved money, and most importantly, their dreamed, and they hoped.
"When we win, we'll move across the country and have a shop," Roxas told Axel one night. "We'll sell books, or coffee, or something. And… and we'll have a dog named… um… Pluto. We'll spend all of our money on stupid things like candy and television, and then we'll get old and tell kids to get off our lawn," Roxas added. He grinned and looked up at Axel who grinned back.
"We'll… we'll get married in Canada, and maybe get a kid named Martin," Axel added on, slightly shy for once. He was rewarded with a smile and a kiss. "Marvin Roxel The third," Axel added, grinning stupidly.
"Yeah, that'd be just perfect. And… and maybe we could go to Spain or Switzerland for vacation every year. And we could be millionaires and have our faces on the back of cereal boxes and be famous for being famous… Or… you know. For being really adorable," Roxas mumbled, and Axel pulled him really close, so he could hear the beat of his heart in synch with the beat of Roxas's own.
"That's exactly what we'll do, Roxas. And then we'll live happily ever after," Axel mumbled, and Roxas gave a tired grin, and then yawned.
"Yeah. Happily ever after," Roxas repeated, and they both fell asleep, sitting in the back seat of Axel's old, cruddy car.
The day of the fight, Axel didn't want Roxas to get up. He wanted them both to leave, to desert their gang. Roxas almost agreed, but couldn't. He knew that without them, their gang would die without even being able to put up a fight. So, instead, they made love for what they both knew might be the last time.
The fight was long and hard. Gang members had guns, knives, bombs, flames… there was no limit to the weapons they had. Bodies soon crowded the lot, some of innocent children, some of men with families, but all of gang members. Roxas and Axel were fighting fairly well, but the battle soon took a turn for the worst. While fighting, Roxas was stabbed in the back by a long gang member, and fell to the ground, bleeding with his eyes and mouth wide open in shock. Axel, who'd seen this, quickly went into defense and stood over him, protecting him while fighting with renewed vigor.
Soon enough, there were only three people standing left on the field. Axel, X-Terra, and Roxas, who wasn't exactly standing were the only ones left alive. Axel quickly went into a battle with the other gang leader. Axel was already bleeding, with his blood falling into his eyes and off his legs. Roxas was begging and pleading for him to stop, sobbing on the ground and asking for mercy, but Axel continued his battle.
It was an accident that allowed Axel to win the battle. His knife sliced against X-Terra's throat, and the older man stumbled back, clutching it with awe. Thinking the battle was over; Axel rushed to Roxas's side. X-Terra, although dying, pulled out a pistol and shot Axel in the back. With a strangled cry, the redhead fell to the ground. The shot had only hit him in his upper back, but Axel knew that along with his other wounds, he was going to die. While X-Terra died, Axel crawled over to Roxas, who was crying.
Of all the times he'd been killed so far, this one had to be the worst. He sighed and pulled the blonde against him, watching as Roxas smiled softly, and kissed him softly on his forehead.
"Did we win?" The blonde wanted to know, shifting uncomfortably in Axel's arms, probably because of the blade sticking out of the back of his oversized black hoodie. The equally maimed redhead's face held a ghost of a smile, which turned into a tiny smirk.
"Yeah, we won, bud, we won," he murmured into the blonde's hair, hiding his face from the blonde so he wouldn't see the tears rapidly streaking down his bloodstained face.
In the background, the sound of police car sirens and ambulances could be heard, but Axel knew they would be too late. By the time they arrived to the scene of the gang fight, there would be no survivors, just a bunch of dead people, most of them barely even legal adults.
"Axel, what happens when we die?" Roxas whispered, knowing the answer before he asked. Axel always gave the same answer, because Axel always knew. After all, Axel remembered being dead, he remembered all of his deaths. He'd never talk about them, but he remembered them, every single one. And Roxas believed him.
As normal, the redhead responded simply, saying the same thing he always said, "If you did everything you needed to do, you stay in heaven. If you didn't, you get another shot."
Roxas nodded into the redhead's chest. His vision was starting to become a little foggy, probably from the blood loss. "Hey Axel?" he murmured softly into the redhead's chest, which was only barely covered by a thin green shirt.
"Hmm?" the redhead responded, blinking back more tears. Roxas would die first, of course. He always did.
"I love you. I love you so much. And I don't want to die. What if I never find you, next time? What if I don't get a next time? I don't want to die," the blonde mumbled into the redhead's shirt, his body shaking, either with sobs or shock, Axel couldn't tell.
I'll find you again, I always do, Axel thought, but he didn't say that. Instead he sighed and responded very simply, but passionately, "I love you too, Roxas, I love you."
The blonde seemed to be comforted by that, and he snuggled into the warm, although quickly cooling, chest of the redhead. Could he even be considered a blonde anymore? Probably not, his hair was so matted with blood he looked to be as much a redhead as Axel himself.
"Love…you…Axel," was his last words before he stopped breathing. Axel sighed, and with all the strength he had left, he shut his friend's open, peaceful eyes, and shutting his own eyes, he murmured back, "Always, Roxas, always."
And that was Axel's 20th life.
Author's Note: So, I'd planned to have lemons in here… but I chickened out. XD Sorry! So, yeah, it's not my favorite life to write about, as I'm thinking you all can probably tell, but I thought I did an okay job with it.
Review? Pllleeeaaseee? Even flames feed my want to write! Well, sort of. Sometimes. Anyhow, muffins and eternal love to all who review.