DISCLAIMER: Well, that just says it all, doesn't it? I don't own Kingdom Hearts, nor do I have any affiliations with Squeenix (Although that would be pretty freakin' awesome).

Chapter 16

Day? Don't know. Time? Don't know.

Axel let out a small gasp and started coughing angrily. He felt…extremely heavy.

"Axel? Axel, are you awake?" He tried opening his eyes, but was blinded by a bright white light. He groaned, raising a hand to shield his eyes, only to find that it was strapped to something.

"Wha' the hell?" he muttered. "Wha's goin' on?"


He managed to open his eyes by blinking about ten million times. When everything actually came into focus, he could see that several people were leaning over him.

"Wow…this must be what animals at the zoo feel like," he grumbled. "Back up off of me, will you?" They obeyed and Axel pulled himself up, marveling at how heavy he felt.

"How are you feeling?" Riku asked.


He looked around in a daze. There was a brunette woman he was fairly sure he'd never met before in his life, Riku, Naminé, Kairi, Reno, his mother, Demyx, Zexion, and Sora. Sora…Roxas.

"Where's Roxas?" Axel demanded, sitting up straighter. "What happened to Roxas?" Axel couldn't really remember anything. He remembered watching Roxas get shot and falling backwards, almost as if in slow motion. It had been almost graceful, collapsing back onto the bed and then sliding to the floor all in one fluid motion. But after that…nothing. Axel pushed the blankets off himself and made to stand up, but the brunette woman placed a hand on his shoulder to keep him where he was.

"Stay where you are. Getting up is pointless."

"What happened? What happened to Roxas?" Axel begged.

"I can't reveal that to non-family…" she sighed.

"Sora," Axel said quickly, turning to face the brunet. "Please, tell me."

Sora looked away, his big blue eyes pain-filled. He looked so much like Roxas…

"Don't worry about it, So," Riku murmured quietly. "I'll tell him…"

"No," Sora shook his head. I should do it. I have to…"

Riku merely nodded, looking away while Axel was ready to scream in annoyance. Couldn't they just tell him? For god's sake, how was Roxas doing?"

Sora took a deep breath and looked looked straight into Axel's eyes.

"He…took a bullet to the chest and it pierced a lung. He almost drowned on his own blood. Luckily for him, he was in the hospital when it happened. They were able to save him at that point, but his lung collapsed and…well, it was a big mess." Axel could almost feel his heart stopping, waiting for the bombshell to drop.

Tears filled Sora's eyes and he choked through a slight sob, "He didn't make it out of surgery, Axel. My twin is dead." And his heart stopped. Immediately, he felt as if he'd died again (or was it for the first time?). Either way, he was going to die. He could feel his soul shattering. It wasn't fair! It wasn't fuckin' fair! Axel was alive, in his own body…and Roxas was dead.

Axel slumped back against the bed and stared past everyone looking at him blankly. Roxas was dead…and he hadn't done anything about it. Roxas was dead because he had been protecting Axel. Axel hadn't even really tried. He hadn't forcibly removed Roxas. He could have…he could have possessed him or shoved him out of the way…but he hadn't…and Roxas was dead.

"Axel, honey?" his mother spoke softly. "Did you know this boy?"

Axel didn't answer, too numb to speak. How could…how could every thing have gone all to hell? This wasn't supposed to happen. Sephiroth wasn't supposed to have shot Roxas. Roxas wasn't supposed to be dead, dammit! A flash of blue caught his eyes and his own green orbs connected with Sora's. So much like Roxas. But for the hair color, they could have been identical. It hurt terribly to look at him, to know that he would never touch his twin again, never hear his sweet laugh or see his adorable pout. It hurt so much, he had to tear his eyes away and close them. He heard the quiet sighs around him, and Sora's nearly silent sobs. The constant reoccurring sound eventually lulled him to sleep.

Three days later, Friday, late night

Roxas' scent was soaked into every inch of the room. Axel leaned back against the wall, hugging Roxas' pillow to his chest, his face buried in the soft case. The house was completely silent, a gigantic void of grief. He sat on Roxas' bed, once his own, and stared at the wall. It was all he could do. He wasn't ready to let go, even if he'd only known Roxas for a week. It hadn't taken much. Maybe it was the big blue eyes or the adorable pout, but he'd seriously fallen for his Roxy and fallen hard. And he'd never found out if Roxas returned his feelings. But did that really matter now?

He stiffened as the doorknob jiggled and opened, relaxing a bit when he saw Sora enter the room. Sora didn't look too shocked to see him, he merely sat on the end of the bed and stared at him in silence. They sat like that for a long time, neither saying a word, but both joined in a loss. Finally, though, Sora glanced away from him and spoke, "I feel half empty," he murmured. "Like a gigantic piece of me was just torn out and destroyed."

Axel was still silent. "It's…weird. Me and Roxas…we were kind of like one person. One soul split between two bodies. And now…it's like half my soul is just gone…and I'm not quite sure what to do about that."

Axel nodded. "I don't really know how you feel. I don't have a twin…but I've seen the way two connected and I know that Kairi and Naminé have a freaky close connection. I can't imagine losing someone so close to me."

Sora nodded. "Same thing for you. You…"Sora paused. "You loved my brother, didn't you?"

Axel nodded. "Yeah. Yeah, I did."

"He loved you too, ya know," Sora said quietly. "I could feel it. We had a connection like that."

Axel had to admit, that didn't really make him feel better. In fact, it made it worse, with thoughts of what could have been. Him and Roxas, they really could have had one of those lasting relationships, he was sure. After all they'd gone through. Yeah…it could have worked.

If it wasn't for that bastard Sephiroth…they could have had something. It was bad enough that Sephiroth had gotten away. The police had been stunned enough at seeing their own chief, frozen long enough to let him escape. No one could find him now, but it was only a matter of time…and when they did…Axel would kill him. There was no doubt about that.

Sora sighed and looked around.

"I wanted to come up here and look around, but now that I'm here I feel like I'm trespassing." Sora stood and cast one final glance around the room.

"I'm going to bed. I'll see you later, Axel. Don't fall asleep up here, I don't know how mom would take it."

Axel nodded and watched as Sora made his way out of the room. He was trying to convince himself to go home to his new house when the impossible happened. Roxas appeared next to him on the bed, looking a bit put out. Axel blinked slowly, looking at him and blinking. He hadn't thought he was so out of it that he would start hallucinating.

"You're not hallucinating. You're just seeing my spirit. You see ghosts, just like I used to."

It took Axel a moment to process this information. "Wait…what? I thought you had to be a twin?" Axel questioned. It occurred to him that he should be freaking out and glomping the hell out of Roxas, but he couldn't get past the fact that he was seeing a ghost.

"I think it's because you lived in the spirit world yourself. You're still connected," Roxas said thoughtfully.

"Roxy…why are you here?" Axel whispered.

"I just…wanted to tell you that I love you…and ask you not to hurt Sora too much. He really likes Riku, so you have Riku let him down easy, please."

Axel was confused and pleased. Roxas loved him. "What does Riku have to do with anything?"

"Well…he's your real love, isn't he? Just don't hurt Sora."

Axel blinked at him and then laughed. He threw his arm over Roxas' shoulder, pulling him close. "No, Roxy. Riku and I aren't together. We never were. We shared our first kiss to get rid of the awkwardness, but that's it. I love you, and I told you that."

Roxas looked at him, his bright eyes dancing. "That's good, Axel. That's…all I'm here for. I just wanted you to know that. I'm…I'm leaving now, all right?"

Axel gripped his arm and shook his head violently. "No! No, Roxy, you can't just leave me!"

Roxas looked sad. "I'm dead, Axel. I have to go. My time for life is over, but you…you live long and well…fall in love and be happy, all right?"

Axel was about to protest, but Roxas caught his lips in a chaste kiss, silencing him quite efficiently. When he pulled away, Axel leaned his forehead against Roxas'.

"Please, Axel…do this if not for me, then for yourself and the people who love you. Just…don't forget me, all right?"

Axel almost had to laugh. "How could I ever forget you, Roxy? I love you."

Roxas smiled and hugged him tightly once more.

"I'll see you later, Axel. Much later, I hope." He reached up and hand and ran his thumb across Axel's cheek, wiping away a tear that had fallen without permission. Axel leaned down and caught his lips once more, kissing him sweetly until he disappeared forever.

Of course he would never forget his Roxy…and he would be happy…eventually, if only for Roxas' sake.


Hm…I can't decide whether I like this ending or the other better. They're both quite interesting, if I do say so myself. Thank you all so much for reading and reviewing. It's been a great run.