By: Ellipsis the Great
DISCLAIMER: Kingdom Hearts and everything affiliated with it belongs to SquareEnix and Disney. All I own is the plot…
Summary: Axel's therapist suggests that he get a cat to help him get over an accident involving his little brother's best friend. It doesn't take him long to realize that strange things are afoot, however…
Rated: T just in case.
Spoilers: None that I know of…
Warnings: CHARACTER DEATH!
EPILOGUE: I'll Love You Forever
It's January 9th, 2009. Exactly one year from the day I woke up, and apparently one year since Axel started wasting away. For three months after I woke up, he seemed to try to keep living—he went to work…ate…slept…but then, after his breakdown in Zexion's office, he just…gave up. He's in the hospital now, hooked up to all sorts of machines. I don't think even the doctors know what half of them are for, except that they're supposed to help keep him alive.
Even though I love him—and I do love him, because he's Riku's brother and I've always felt like he saved me from my coma, somehow—part of me wishes they would just let him die. He doesn't want to be alive anymore. Pulling the plug would be…a mercy killing, I think.
But there's a reason they haven't done it, yet. A reason he hasn't let them.
My mom was pregnant.
I say 'was' because she had the baby today, early this morning. Her pregnancy was the strangest thing, too—mostly because Axel's the one who told her she was going to have a baby. He just looked at her one day—a few days after his breakdown, actually—and his eyes filled with tears and he said:
"Yuna…you're going to have a beautiful baby boy."
And then, two months after that, we found out that she was pregnant.
So today we're welcoming a new little boy into the family. He's so tiny! He hasn't opened his eyes just yet, but I'm sure they'll be blue. All of the men in my family have blue eyes.
Axel's holding him right now. Mom insisted on it, and Dr. Weiss said it would be alright.
"What's his name?" Axel asks without looking up.
"Roxas." I say. "Mom wanted to name him after the boy you talk about."
He smiles softly, even though there are tears in his eyes again. "He's so beautiful." He whispers. "He'll have blue eyes—like yours, Sora, but clearer. And even blonder hair than his dad. It'll spike up on one side, like an extreme cowlick. Oh, he'll be so beautiful."
"Axel…" I say. He gets like this, sometimes. Like he's…omniscient, when it comes to this baby. It's kind of creepy.
Then the whole room gets quiet, because Roxas' eyes are fluttering open.
And they're the most brilliant blue I've ever seen.
"Hey there, Roxie." Axel says, his smile widening as Roxas gurgles and reaches up at him. "It's so nice to see you again. It's…it's so nice."
"Axel, you've never seen him before." Kairi says, standing to one side with her fiancé. He's a rather strange character, especially for a cop, but he saved her from an attack by some guy name Xehanort who was trying to kidnap her—for the second time, if stories are true. He's nice, though, and he's good for her.
"He's Roxas." He replies with a shrug. "I know him."
"Axel…" She begins.
Axel just sighs happily and leans back into his bed, carefully freeing one hand and brushing his fingers against Roxas' cheek. "I really did love you, Roxie. I really…really…did…" His eyes drift closed. With one last sigh, the EKG machine at his side flat lines, letting out a steady, foreboding buzz.
Roxas lets out a sharp, forlorn wail, as if he's been physically hurt.
"Axel!" Reno yells as Dad takes Roxas out of Axel's arms.
"Axel? Axel, no!" I say, choking back my own cries.
"Doctor!" Riku exclaims, running out of the room. "Dr. Weiss! Anyone! We need a doctor!"
Dr. Weiss comes running in, shouting orders at Tifa, but I think we all know it's too late. They use the defibrillator and shock him once—twice—three times—but it's no use.
Axel is wearing the most peaceful expression I've ever seen on his face as Dr. Weiss pulls the sheet up over his head and announces what we already know.
"He's gone. I'm sorry."
Two Years Later
It's February 21st, 2011. Kairi's baby was born a week ago, and today Riku and I are taking Roxas to see him. You would think he knows what's going on, because he's been antsy and surprisingly well behaved all week. Right now he's sitting in his car seat, kicking his legs and humming some nonsense tune that he probably heard off the television.
"Are you excited to meet your new cousin?" Riku asks, looking back at him. It's a good thing I'm the one driving.
"'S not m' cousin, Unca Riku!" Roxas giggles in that slurred toddler's voice of his. "'S Axe'!"
I can feel Riku give me a questioning look, which I return briefly before putting my eyes back on the road. We hadn't told Roxas what Kairi and Hayner had named the baby, and we very rarely spoke of Riku's older brother. It was…it still hurt that he was gone.
"Where did you hear that name, Roxas?" He asks.
I can see Roxas shrug in the rearview mirror. "'S his name."
"Well…are you excited to meet him?"
"'M very 'cited, Unca Riku!" He chirps happily. "We's there yet?"
"Yep, we're here!" I say as I pull into the hospital parking lot. "Let's go!"
Roxas lets out a delighted squeal, bouncing impatiently as he waits for Riku to get him out of his car seat. We have to grab his hands to keep him from taking off across the parking lot, but he just pulls us along as if we're the toddlers instead of him.
"C'mon, c'mon!" He says, tugging restlessly at our hands.
"Slow down, kiddo." I say. "We don't even know where in the hospital he is, yet."
"You're looking for Kairi?" Aerith asks as we approach the desk.
"Nope!" Roxas says. "We's lookin' for Axe'!"
"Well, he's with his mother right now." Aerith says, hiding a laugh behind her hand. "They're on the third floor in the maternity ward, room 217."
"Okay!" Roxas says. "C'mon, Bruvva! C'mon, Unca Riku!"
"See you!" I call over my shoulder just before Roxas pulls us around the corner and out of sight, foregoing the infamously slow elevators in favor of the stairs. He goes up the stairs surprisingly fast for someone who's usually too scared to go near them alone (he fell down a set once and hasn't quite gotten over it yet).
"Where's he at?" He demands when we reach the third floor.
"Here, Roxas." Riku says, leading the way to room 217.
"Axe'!" Roxas calls ecstatically as he sees Kairi holding a baby—the baby—in her bed.
"I thought I told you not to tell him?" Kairi asks, pretending to be annoyed. "I wanted to be the one to tell!"
"We didn't, Kairi, I swear." Riku says. "He just knew."
"A likely story." She says, rolling her eyes.
"Unca Riku and Bruvva din't tell me, Unca Hayna." Roxas says. "He's m' Axe'."
"He is, is he?" Kairi giggles. "Well, would you like to hold him?"
Roxas nods so quickly that it almost looks like his head will fall off.
"Alright, sit down here." Riku says, pointing at the rocking chair a few inches away from the bed as he takes the baby from Kairi.
Roxas sits cross-legged in the chair, holding his arms out eagerly.
"Here you go." Riku says, handing the baby to him carefully. "Mind his head, okay?"
Roxas nods, not looking away from baby Axel's face. An expression of pure happiness is on his face, and for some reason it reminds me of the look on Axel's face when he held Roxas.
"Hey, Axe'." He whispers when Axel opens his eyes—a vivid green that he must have inherited from a distant relative of Kairi or her husband's, since all of their immediate family has blue or brown eyes. "'S 'bout time you get here."
Axel burbles at him, reaching up and grabbing at his face. Roxas smiles and eases one hand out from under the baby, letting him settle in the crook of his crossed legs. He holds his hand up, his smile widening as Axel curls a fist around one of his fingers.
"'M gon' take good care o' you, Axe'." He says, grinning. "You he'p me an' I he'p you, got it mem'rized?"
Riku gasps, grabbing my hand. None of us has ever told Roxas about Axel's 'catchphrase.'
Roxas doesn't seem to notice our shock and discomfort—well, that or he's choosing to ignore it—as he begins rocking back and forth until Axel falls asleep.
"I' wuv you f'reva, Axe'." Roxas whispers, kissing Axel's forehead with a tenderness I've never seen in a child.
As I watch them, I get the feeling that I've been waiting for this to happen for as long as I can remember, and I can finally rest easy.
And if Axel sometimes acts (and looks) a little too much like his namesake…if Roxas is sometimes a little too overprotective of him…if they sometimes seem a little too close for children to possibly be…
Well, that's a different story entirely.