"Let's meet again in the next life."
Twilight Town Station, November the third. It was 4:43 on a windy Wednesday afternoon. The sky was sheathed in a blanket of grey which towered ominously over pedestrians as they raised their open umbrellas. The city was bleak. Black asphalt blended into the raised office buildings in the distance as they stretched towards the endless sky. The complexes were practically empty; the usual black suited men and woman in short pleated skirts, tapping robotically against the keyboards, had retired for the day. Most of them were gathered in the same vicinity as I. It drained the colour from the world. Their black, black clothes and pale, ghostly faces against a city as cold as stone.
They felt so foreign yet so familiar. He looked so out of place in such a dull town. All that colour, all that light: it didn't belong in that bleak, colourless station. That was my first thought on that mysterious stranger that stood on the other side of those train tracks.
That was the first time I saw him.
That was the first time we met.
He looked out into the distance. One hand was shielding his bright eyes against the few rays of light cascading down from the small openings in clouds. His smile flashed something brilliant in my direction; I felt my legs wobble slightly underneath me. He thrust his free hand towards me, eyes locking on mine.
"Name's Axel," his smile widened, "be sure to memorize it."
Beep. Beep. Beep.
"Ugh." I groaned, pulling a pillow over my ears and searching blindly for the snooze button. Ah, I hate Wednesdays. I don't know why everyone always complains about Monday, the real devil is that dreaded mid-week mood dampener. There's three days of school left and all the assignments are past the point of being put aside for another day.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
I opened the back of the alarm and knocked it aggressively against my dresser. The batteries tumbled to the ground, the alarm clock quickly followed. I gave a half hearted yawn and proceeded to detangle myself from the grasp of linen sheets. While attempting to free my ankle, I lost my balance momentarily. A heavy thud was quickly followed by a string of not so friendly curses and a raised fist to the inanimate object that cushioned my fall.
I lay on the floor for awhile, gazing up at the cracked paint and burn marks that decorated my ceiling. Sometimes I wish I could just stay in my dreams forever, then I would never have to follow this painful routine every morning. I could be with him in my dreams. Even if I wasn't in real life, that was just fine with me. Reality feels a dream most days. I can't even tell the difference: it's all just one blur fading into the next.
The obnoxious numbers '8:13' caught my attention in the bottom corner of my open laptop. I was going to be late again.
I arrived at the station at 4:30 exactly. Despite being late practically every morning, I never failed to miss leaving school as quickly as possible. The usual suspects were lingering around the station, ears plugged with music and eyes facing forward. Four girls, one of whom was in my Home Economics class, were giggling on one of the nearby benches. The smalle smiled at me and another waved. I courteously returned the gesture in a slightly more awkward fashion. I was never very good at interacting with the opposite sex. I was never very good at interacting at all.
Moving along, I approached the small kiosk located next to the ticket booth and exchanged pleasantries with the auburn haired girl who worked there. She was nice enough, always flashing me a brief smile as I entered the area and setting aside a copy of 'The Twilight Times' for me everyday.
"Your usual, sir?" she grinned knowingly, pushing the neat stack of thin papers towards me. It was a rhetorical question, we both knew. The present copy of Wednesday's paper on the table and the green numbers on the cash register were answer enough. We were just going through the motions.
I smiled and dug around the back pocket of my worn down jeans. Pouring the contents, a crumpled note and a few silver coins, on the table, I muttered a quick thanks and preceded to my usual spot to read. Popping a squat on the decaying green bench I proceeded to get comfortable, shuffling into the hard wooden armrests. It was slightly warm from being sat on which distributed me a little.
I wasn't really all that interested in the deluded words of local citizens and their stories of cats being rescued from trees and high school foot ball matches. They were the least of my worries. The paper was really just a shield from civilisation, a ruse to keep others from my rather large comfort bubble. Antisocialism comes with the whole 'crazy dreams' package I'm afraid.
The annoying voice that echoed place names and times throughout the station reminded me of my objective. Sighing, I placed my unread paper down next to me and pushed myself from the bench.
That's when I saw them. No one would miss me.
Pure Green. That's not true.
Looking in my direction. I would.
My heart pounded wildly against my chest, dancing rapidly in my ribcage. The rest of me was frozen. I couldn't move, couldn't breathe. An immovable statue stuck in time. That's all I ever was.
"9:43 train to Evergreen." Wait, what time was it? This feels so familiar yet... This. His smile widened. Feels. The glimpse of light coming round the corner. So. His eyes glanced down at the newspaper next to me and he flashed me a knowing grin. Real.
This is real, right? I'm awake, aren't I? This isn't a dream... is it?
When do the dreams end and reality begin?
"Found you." Trails of red light cascaded down his features from the low glow of warning lights, reflecting in his seemingly blank expression. "Roxas."
The redhead vanished from view as the train grinded to a halt in front of me. The strong breeze that had been running with it swept along the skirts and hems of skirts and jackets of evacuating passengers. It carried through the almost empty station towards a pile of abandoned paper and sent it skyward in a flurry of black and white.
"Dammit," I cursed my luck and begin flailing my hands wildly in the air in hope of catching the rogue paper before it littered itself throughout the town. I may claim to hate Twilight but that didn't mean I was a litterbug. Despite my seemingly useless paper capturing techniques I had managed to recover the majority of the original print. I looked around for any pieces that had escaped my grasp and caught a stray paper moving at speed towards the east side of the station. My legs moved automatically and despite not being much of a runner, as my appalling form gave away, I was going pretty fast. A little too fast I later discovered as I smashed dramatically into something very hard yet surprisingly warm.
An indignant yelp was quickly followed by a string of curses from the outrageously hot being underneath me. I snuggled into it a little before realizing our situation. I opened one eye cautiously, catching a quick glimpse of red before realizing were my hands had rested. Right on his chest. Oh yes, it was defiantly a he. My hands told me that much as I felt firm muscles underneath the thin black tee he was wearing. If that wasn't bad enough, my legs had decided to make the position even worse by straddling his waist.
'Can this get any worse?' I thought as I tried to pull away before being stopped by an unknown force.His arms were tightly knitted around my form and my head was perched comfortably against his chest. Ah. In any other situation I might have enjoyed this very much, but right now it was downright embarrassing. I could feel the heat rising up my neck and to my cheeks.
'Pull it together Roxas!'' Coughing awkwardly, I pushed myself off the stranger and readjusted my ruffled clothing. Part of me regretted it a little; it was cold out and that guy had been really, really warm. It was like he was a moving central heating system or something.
"SORRY!," I blurted out, extending my hand to the poor guy who I had brutally knocked down. Word vomit came spewing out my mouth in all directions "I am SO sorry. Ah, I'm such an klutz sometimes... I could've mentally damaged you for life or- or- worse! I could've killed you! Do you need medical attention? I'll go get a doc-" Warm fingers wrapped around my outstretched hand and my incessant ramblings ceased in an instant. He pulled himself up and dusted himself off before locking his eyes with mine. They're so green.
"Hey," a deep voice filled with concern flooded through my head. "Are you alright?"
For the first time since bumping into the unfortunate stranger, I actually stopped and looked at him. Bright red hair, dark tattoo's under his eyes. His eyes. His piercing green eyes. Looking at me in concern. Waiting for an answer. Ah, an answer! "Um, yeah. I'm fine!" I put on an over exuberant smile and punched the air bashfully to prove a point. His look of concern only increased as he put one of his hands on my forehead gently. I subconsciously leaned into his touch and closed my eyes in content. I was practically purring to the contact of his hot hand against my face. 'He's a complete stranger! Snap out of it!' Some inner part of me was screaming all the things wrong with this picture but I just couldn't move. I was putty in his hands.
"You pretty hot," he said, withdrawing his palm. I blushed at the double meaning in his words. Thinking my reddened face was due to a rising temperature rather then embarrassment, the redhead inclining worry skyrocketed. "C'mon," he gestured towards the exit, "I'm taking you to a doctor." He grabbed my hand and began to drag me away from the station. I was going along with the situation until I felt the whoosh of the train I had failed to board. It was the last train home and I didn't have any other method of transportation.
"Hold on!" I began to retaliate, attempting to detach my hand from his. It was of no avail; despite being so obscenely skinny the man had an iron grip and some serious strength. "Nero, hold on a second!" I didn't realize what I said until I said it. Nero is the name of my cat. Well, I should say was. He had run away recently and I haven't seen him in about a month. It's a shame; I really loved that fluffy monster.
'Nero' stopped dragging me, let go of my hand, turned around and proceeded to stare at me intently.
"What did you just say?" His word were slow and careful, deliberately so, like he couldn't sound out what he really wanted to get across to me. Green eyes scanned my face, looking over every inch of it for an answer. He looked so desperate.
"He's going to wake up? Right?"
"I said hold on." I whispered, not mentioning the extra word that we both knew had escaped my lips. I looked away, opting to gaze down at the piece of gum on the floor rather then looking into those eyes. I couldn't look at them right now: I might just fall apart.
"No! He's going to wake up! I'm not going to let you give up on him!"
"Look," I began, averting my gaze to his hands which hung loosely at his sides, "I'm really sorry for everything I've put you through but right now you should worry about yourself rather then a complete stranger." I couldn't judge his reaction accurately from just his hands but it looked like he winced slightly at the word 'stranger'. That seemed strange, in my opinion, since that's exactly what we were. Strangers, by definition, are people who didn't know each other. Right? No, it didn't seem right. It didn't feel right, it wasn't what this relationship felt like to me. It felt like so much more and I didn't even know why. We had only known each other for three minutes.
"Roxas? Can you hear me?"
The redhead sighed and turned towards the retreating figure of a missed train in the distance. He stood like that for a while before tilting his head towards me and catching his green eyes with my blue. All the trains and people and noise seemed to vanish. There was just the two of us trapped in this moment in time.
"Roxas," his words echoed throughout the empty station, echoing from wall to wall. "You really don't remember?" He gave me a look laced with disbelief and... foreboding? Did he already know exactly what I was going to say and how I would respond? "It's me?" He continued, searching for a response. I didn't give him one. I stayed motionless as the rhythmic tapping of heavy boots paced slowly around me, eyes wandering up and down my form.
"You know..." he stopped directly in front of me, leaning down to meet my face. We were really close now. I could see the steam of his hot breath in the frigid air escape his lips and tangle with my own between us. While my eyes searched his face for expression, his were focused on my mouth, waiting for a voice to escape from it's toothy cage.
"C'mon Roxas! Talk to me! One word, that's all I need!"
He smirked when my breathing quickened and my eyes met his. We just stood there, staring at one another, getting closer and closer till I could feel his body against mine. He tilted his head to the side slightly when our noses bumped against one another's. I did nothing. If anything, I was encouraging him by opening my mouth slightly and closing my eyes. I lifted my head up which caused our lips to brush gently against each others. His were rough and calloused. I felt a warm, wet tongue lick across my bottom lip, begging for entrance. I felt his grin widen when he got it. I moaned a little and wrapped my arms around his shoulders, stretching on my tops of my toes in order to reach. Just when things got really intimate the redhead pulled away, leaving about a centimetre in between lips.
"Roxas... I'll wait for you."
"Roxas," his head fell on my shoulder and his lips began to trail up my neck eventually reaching the shell of my ear which he cautiously nibbled at. I felt his warm breath in my ear, sending chills down my spine. "You've got to wake up now."
"Please Roxas, just wake up!"
My eyes shot open. Everything became unfocused around me; crowds of people began to reappear around me and the screeching of trains was returned to the world. "Wait!" I screamed, feeling the presence next to me slowly vanish, "Please! Don't Go!" I began chasing after the retreating figure, rebounding of people like a pinball as I dashed madly through the station. I should of learnt from past mistakes; I wasn't really a very coordinated person. The loose shoelace from my converse lay in my path and I began to realize that I was falling quickly to the ground. I hit the concrete with considerable force. So considerable that felt the air being knocked out of me and my world began to spin and twirl. I felt my eyelids begin to close even though I was trying so desperately to keep them open. Every part of me felt so numb and dead, I couldn't even tell if I was alive anymore.
Just before my vision faded completely, I saw the figure of a man in black with bright red hair and deep green eyes kneeling on my chest, crying desperately. How did he get here? I thought he disappeared.
"Roxas" I heard in between the sobs that were muffled in my clothing, "Please wake up! We've been through too much for it to end like this, you know?" The sobs lessened and the growing puddle of saltwater on my chest stopped... growing. I felt my hand encapsulated with warmth and my cheek was cupped with a strangely familiar fingertips. The smell of disinfectant and 409 filled my nose. The saturated the stale air around me felt so clean, so unnatural, it made me want to vomit.
"Roxas..." I heard the voice get closer, yet it was quieter somehow; it was barely a whisper. "If I could take your place, you know I would, right? You know I'd do anything for you right? I'd get in your head somehow and save you if I could... you know that, right?" The hand tightened and the word became more forced, more desperate. "You know that, right? I'd wait for you forever, right? Protect you forever?"
The voice stopped and so many other sounds became apparent. The low buzz of a television, a clock gently ticking away time, the steady breathing of the man next to me and the rhythmic beeping which probably belonged to a machine of some kind. I felt his fingertips trace over my face gently, following every line and curve with his gentle touch.
"If I could life a thousand lifetimes." The voice was becoming more and more clear, the crackling and distorted sounds that surrounded it began fading away one by one. "If I could take a thousand different shapes." Drops of water began falling on my face, mingling with the wet tears that were coming out of my closed eyes. I didn't even realize I was crying. "If I could live in a thousand different worlds..." A thumb wiped away the liquid, but it was soon replaced with another ongoing stream. The beeping got louder and there were footsteps somewhere in the distance. The man didn't seem to move at all though. I could feel his bony hips against my chest as he leaned over my body to reach my face. A lose strand of hair was moved behind my ear and a soft kiss was placed on my forehead. The lips curled into a sad smile and even though I couldn't see what was going on I just knew... I knew it was sad because everything about this seemed so tender and it made me feel so fragile. I'd just fallen over. I don't know why I felt so weak.
"I'd fall in love with the same person." His lips met mine and everything seemed to come alive. It was so brief and gentle, so fleeting , that it was barely there at all. A simple brush. A single second in time. Despite all that, I think it was the first time I'd felt anything so real in my entire existence. It was like all the emotions and memories came rushing back into my being. I felt like I was going to explode; my heart started pounding wildly in my chest and my breathing quickened.
"I'll see you tomorrow, Rox." The lips left mine slowly, reluctantly, and the heat began to withdraw. His fingertips lingered for a moment on my hand. I heard a deep sigh as his hand began to recoil. I don't want him to go! I don't want him to leave me here alone.
Beep. Beep. Beep.
My eyes opened slightly and all I saw was crazy red against bright white. It moved up, suggesting he was looking at the source of the beeping. I saw it turn from it to me, and me to it. Back and forth, like a yoyo. "Nurse!" A yell came from the crimson fire as it began to move away from my peripheral vision. I was too quick, however, grabbing his hand just before it was out of my reach.
"Axel..." I croaked, lifting my eyelids up further to see his expression. His face had matured since I'd last saw him but he still had that sharp, young look to him. Despite wearing extremely loose clothes, I could tell he was far to skinny for his own good. His arms were practically sticks and his face was just skin and bone. It looked like he hadn't seen a good meal for days, weeks even.
His eyes began to widen and his mouth turned into one of the most perfect smile I'd ever seen. It was a smile of pure relief and gratitude. I couldn't help but smile back, even if it was a little weak. His smile soon broke, however, when his eyes began to water and he fell down upon his knees, still clutching desperately to my hand, like I'd slip away or grind into dust.
"I thought I'd never see you like this again Rox!" His eyes were downcast to the floor and his shoulders were shaking uncontrollably. A few nurses had gathered in the corner of the room but I barely noticed them. I don't think Axel even knew they were there at all, despite calling for them in the first place. "I began to think that you'd never wake up." His eyes met mine. They were puffy and red from crying. I wonder how long it's been like this to make Axel cry so much. I was the one who was always crying, not the other way around. The LCD to the side of me speed up, the lines become more dramatic but stable and the beeping was quickened.
"It's alright" I said, my throat hurting from the sudden purpose that was bestowed upon it. I grabbed his head and pulled it to my chest, tears mixing in with flames. I buried myself deeper and deeper into his spiky mane until my whole head was encapsulated in red. I just held him closer though, letting his tears soak into my hospital gown. "It's alright now, Axel. You don't need to wait anymore."
It was November the tenth. One week exactly since I had come out of my coma. Apparently I had been asleep for a very long time; a little more then fifteen years, in fact. You would've thought that might satisfy a guy's sleeping habits for life, but it really doesn't. My brother Sora is throwing me a 'birth-day party', despite it not being my actual birthday for another five months or so. It's more of a re-awakening party and a chance to see all my old friends again.
According to the doctor's I had got involved in some kind of collision accident in a train station that had sent me into a coma. Axel keeps blaming himself despite my constant reminders that it wasn't his fault. He insists it is though, so I just tell him he can make it up to me later in bed. That always shuts him up.
I told Axel about all the things that had happened, all the people I'd met and animals I had encountered. He says that the animals were him, trying to communicate with me while I was asleep. I think that he's just jealous that I was dreaming of butterflies and cats rather then him.
"C'mon Roxas, we don't want to be late." A familiar voice yelled up at me from downstairs.
"Okay, okay. Cool your jets!" I scurried to our walk-in-wardrobe, grabbed the nearest pair of boots I could see, shoved my feet in them and laced them up messily. I rushed downstairs, slamming into the redhead as he began to make his way upstairs.
"Took you long enough!" He exclaimed, grabbing my hand and pulling me to the front door. "Got everything?" he asked, opening the door with his free hand. I nodded and pulled him outside, planting a quick kiss on his lips before I locked the door.
"Someone's in a good mood tonight." He noted, smiling cheekily as we made our way to the taxi that awaited us.
"Well, you know, got to make the most of life." I replied, resting my head on his arm as I watched the steam from our mouths rise and disappear into the night sky. "You only life once, after all. "
"Yeah, I'll be waiting."
A/N; First off, sorry it's so late! In all honesty it was mainly due to the amount of homework I've been getting but I was knd of putting it off since I had no idea how to end it happily! I had all these sad endings in my head but I couldn't quite find it in myself to do them. Well, I hope this made sense... I'm really sorry if it didn't! It might be one of those things that only I'll understand because I know whats going on. Yeah, it's a bit of a plot turn. Originally, I just wanted Roxas to see Axel in his dream world but I dunno, I didn't want to do a relationship from scratch. This is the last chapter, and overall I'm fairly pleased with it! Thanks for all the great reviews! I really don't know what I would do without them! Okay, till next time then...