Who would've thought I'd write more with this pairing? Certainly not me. Please do leave me a review; tell me what you think.
You carry disease, I carry the only remedy.
But once you ingest, the side effects are permanent.
("Friends", Paint By Numbers.)
Within Small Differences
One-Shot Unique Chapter
"Is it true?"
Axel admits – only to himself – that he is caught off-guard by the question. But he does not make any questions, doesn't change the relaxed way in which he sits and eats his ice cream; only looks at Roxas, thinking he has a vague idea of what he means before Roxas clears it up himself.
"The hearts," he says.
"It's not true."
"I don't know."
"It's not," Axel insists, wondering for a second why Roxas would doubt this, of all things. "Don't listen to anyone with their head so far up their own ass."
Roxas seems distracted, gazing far off into the constant sunset of Twilight Town while his sea-salt ice cream starts to melt and drip, long ignored.
"How do you know?"
"I feel. I know I do. Don't you?"
"I don't know."
"I know you do."
"I don't know."
Axel is frowning a little now; somehow he knows things are changing, Roxas is changing, and the thoughtful expression he wears when he mentions his Somebody – too often for Axel's taste – really does not help ease him, not in the least. Of course, Roxas seems thoughtful most of the time – damn serious boy, Axel would say – and it's not very easy to tell the difference, but Axel thinks he's got a hang on it, more or less.
"How would you know?"
"Let's cut to the chase. You want to know how you can be sure."
"Fine," Roxas accepts, leaning back to look squarely at the green-eyed Nobody, and he just knows Axel's got something in his mind. "Try me."
Axel raises an eyebrow; from the start, he believes the games of I-know-what-you're-thinking and see-if-you-catch-me are unnecessary and a bit annoying, but that is sometimes, and some other times it can and does become useful. He feels the odd need to prove Roxas wrong before anything happens; he isn't sure what could happen either, but hearing Sora's name two times in two days, he thinks, might have something to do with it.
"Sure. Here's how it goes," he says, beginning to smile in that particular manner that often worries Roxas. "We'll just do a test, and you tell me if you feel anything."
He isn't sure whether Roxas knows what he's thinking anymore. Perhaps that means he's won.
And either way, the blonde agrees. "Okay."
Axel doesn't move. Instead, he simply stares at Roxas for a while, then adds with a smirk, "Side effects are permanent, Roxas."
"I think I'll take the risk," the boy replies, chuckling, challenging.
With that, Axel leans forward and grabs a fistful of the fabric of Roxas' cloak. He keeps his eyes just slightly open, glancing at his face as he tilts his head and brushes, just brushes – Just brush, Axel – his lips with Roxas'.
For Axel, there are no such things as lines to cross. And he doesn't make any of it into a head-splitting, huge deal – in fact, he doesn't give it much thought at all, only barely decides that this is nice and Roxas is indeed quite cute like this.
He hasn't pulled back yet, and he can feel Roxas gasp – he would've never noticed, were he not in this position. The key bearer's cheeks are tinted pink so slightly he would've never seen it, were he not that close.
He doesn't give it much thought, though, even when Roxas stays completely still and answers, "No."
He just grins against the other's mouth and leans in just a bit more, actually kissing him this time.
Roxas doesn't move, doesn't do a thing, and it lasts only for two seconds or so anyway. Axel's lips are hot and deliberate in touching his; it's not passionate, or romantic, or even emotionless. It's just a test, and Roxas does try to concentrate on whether he's feeling anything, eyes half-lidded unlike Axel, who has closed his.
Only when Axel pulls away does it occur to him that it wasn't a lot: just a press on his lips, just a second, just closing his eyes for a bit and just doing it, nothing into it but a test.
Except Axel doesn't quite pull away; his hand stays where it is and he only pulls back enough to give himself space to speak.
"Feel anything?" He repeats.
Roxas shakes his head, and it all starts again.
Axel lets go of his cloak and places his hand on his shoulder, pulling him forward slightly, gently urging him to respond, to see if it feels like anything as he kisses him again, pulling back and moving in again and again, making each kiss short and deliberate. Somewhere between the first three and the next five, Axel tilts his head to the other side, lingering on a kiss in the process, and Roxas finds that he's subconsciously responded to the action, tilting his head in the opposite direction and parting his lips just a little, giving an opening for Axel to… whatever he's doing to his bottom lip, Roxas doesn't quite want to know.
He has a victorious grin, and Roxas can't figure out why it doesn't fade when he, again, answers "No".
"Oh well," he says as he pulls away, sits perfectly casually again and brings his remaining ice cream to his mouth.
One way or another, the rest of the day goes by undisturbed, unchanging in comparison to all the other days before it. None of them is shocked by this, not in the slightest.
He hasn't slept yet, but he pretends to be woken up when the door to his room opens and a figure just stands there, in the doorway, in the dark. Roxas turns and sits on the edge of his bed, raising an eyebrow. At Axel's expression, it's his turn to feel oddly victorious, and he knows there's not much to it anyway.
"Axel," he states more than he calls.
Axel takes a step forward and then stops, quietly closing the door behind himself.
"Roxas," he responds with a nod in his general direction. Axel just puts his hands in his pockets and sighs, leaning against the nearest wall, all along looking like he's about to say something, but there's no more after that one word.
He raises his head and looks straight into Roxas' eyes, and Roxas doesn't hesitate to meet his gaze. Both understand by now what's not being said.
"Fine," Roxas gives a light laugh and shakes his head. "Try it."
"Right," Axel barely grumbles and steps towards the blonde, silent in his every action as he sits by his side and grabs both of his shoulders, pulling him forward and kissing him again without any sort of adieu.
Axel's lips are always hot, Roxas decides, as his eyes become half-lidded again. This kiss is firmer, fuller on its purpose. Axel is frowning slightly, but this softens gradually until he pulls away; by then, there's a smirk at the corners of his lips again that gets lost within a second kiss, then a third one, and Roxas starts to find himself kissing back. He decides that Axel is quite a good kisser and this, at least, feels somewhat pleasant, but not necessarily in the sense Axel expects him to see.
Axel's grips strengthens, and between long, lingering kisses and toying with Roxas' bottom lip again, his hand comes to place itself on the key bearer's cheek while his lips part further and his tongue brushes against Roxas', testing. Roxas isn't quite aware of when or how he gave such a response, but there is something he needs to see, and he wonders if therein could lie his answer.
And so he lets himself follow the other's motions, letting Axel pull him closer and against his body as their tongues meet again and again, leisurely licking at each other, lips crushed together, and while one of Axel's hands remains on his cheek, the other slides down his side to stop on his hip. He pushes Roxas back without stopping any of his actions, leading them to lie on the bed, but Roxas stops this with a firm hand on Axel's chest, pushing him away to regain their previous position. After a while, however, Roxas finds this uncomfortable and firmly grabs onto Axel's shoulders, pinning him down on the messy sheets and laying on top of him.
While he does this, he pulls away to catch his breath; the look Roxas gives him makes Axel sure that this is as far as it goes.
And so, he just places his hands on Roxas' hips and closes his eyes, kissing him with increased intensity and the same slow pace. He can feel Roxas grabbing fistfuls of his hair and pulling as close as he can, searching, trying to understand. The urgency in his movement is too clear, and Axel stops for a while, fully grinning against the younger Nobody's lips.
"Feel anything yet?"
"I don't know…" Roxas mutters, frowning lightly at him.
Of all the times he claims not to know, this is the first one in which he really does not.
Axel finds another victory in this, and claims Roxas' lips again, leading, not letting the other's tongue slip in just yet. Roxas grunts, irritated, fisting his hands in Axel's cloak.
"Nothing?" Axel asks, pulling back fully to give Roxas a defiant, teasing look – a good number of his expressions were of this same kind, but Roxas knew the little differences by now.
And so, Roxas closes the distance between their faces and kisses him first.
"Nothing," Roxas answers against the warmth of Axel's lips on his own, long and firm again, charcoal, cinnamon, ambers, eyes closed.
He never quite understands why Axel gives another victorious grin before kissing back with renewed fervour. Side effects, perhaps.