Title: Reason Number One
Rating: T (some swearing)
Summary: Axel knows origami and how to cook. Rabbits, though, aren't his specialty.
Notes: Kind of cracktastic. Kind of written to get over this blockthing I have going on. It's AU. Beta'd (by myself). And kind of sappy. /
The open space in the living room where the television stand had been before Axel had set it on fire was Reason Number Three of why they needed a rabbit, or two, or a flock or a coven or whatever rabbits nestled together in. Reason Number Two was that they were cute and as much cuteness as there already was in the apartment, there should be more. There was a detailed list that numbered down to about seven, each with their own points underneath, and each going into a very lengthy explanation of why rabbits were important not only to the environment, but to the very existence of the earth itself.
Armed with said list, Axel very determinedly and very haughtily placed it in position of grand importance inside the apartment—inside the cardboard ice cream box that held something labeled ice cream, which, Axel was quite certain, was French for "crack cocaine." The note that went inside the box was folded, intricately, delicately, and lovingly, in the shape of a crane. One might argue that the paper being folded in the shape of a rabbit might make more sense; one might also have never tried to fold a piece of paper into the shape of a swift four footed animal that had a tendency to twitch like it was on crack cocaine. In any case, the note that went into the box was folded into the shape of a bird and that was that, and all that was left was the securing of the actual animal.
All that was left was to find a rabbit. There was, of course, a pet shop. Axel had heard about those mills though, the ones that pumped out rabbits like they were puppies or something and not defenseless, harmless, white little creatures with big ears and pink noses and twitching little whiskers that laid eggs on Easter. Puppies were stinky. Rabbits weren't, and to put money into an industry that tagged little baby bunnies as commodities and rather than treasures was immoral. If he wanted a puppy, he'd go to a pet shop. If he wanted a rabbit, he had to go the park.
Three hours, a stop at the local pet store, and one can of string beans later, there was a rabbit inside a hutch sniffing and snorting and trying to get comfortable as one can get inside a box. Axel sat there for the first five minutes, waiting for it to do something and popping another Tylenol into his mouth while waiting for the swelling on his head to go down. The rabbit turned; the rabbit looked at him with an odd maniacal look on its face; the rabbit went inside its little enclosure and sulked and by that time Axel had taken three more Tylenol and passed out in the bedroom looking for a towel.
He was shaken into consciousness by the jangle of keys at the front door. Roxas had a huge key ring; Axel could vouch that he really didn't need to compensate for anything but Roxas insisted that he liked the keychain. In any case, his bazillions of keys always clanged together whenever he opened the door, because he had a million keys because he had some important job that Axel usually remembered the title of, but not when there was some high pitched shrieking voice going, "What the fuck? AXEL!"
Wincing at the pitch of his name, Axel jumped up and went down the hallway, tripping over his feet when a small white blur bolted the other way. He landed against the wall, watching the small white streak disappear into the bedroom. He blinked after it and turned to see Roxas standing in the kitchen, having dropped his huge keychain and messenger bag on the table to glare at him.
"What the fuck was that?"
"I thought you were dying or something Rox." Axel ignored Roxas jabbing his finger repeatedly toward the bedroom and went into the kitchen toward the fridge. "Don't worry, it's just Richard Adams."
Roxas stared at him with no recognition. "Axel, there is a giant white bug running around this apartment—"
Now Axel was annoyed. "It's a rabbit. Didn't you see the cute pink nose and big adorable ears?"
"What are you talking—"
"Didn't you get the note I left you?"
"What note? I haven't been home like, at all in the past three days."
Axel had noticed that, actually—it had taken every ounce of willpower to walk to the refrigerator and not jump onto Roxas and not let him go when he'd first walked through the door. "The note in the ice cream box."
Roxas kept glancing down the hallway, as though he expected the giant white bug to come racing down the carpet anytime soon. "The note in the ice cream box."
Axel opened the freezer and pulled out the box, spotting the very intricately, delicately, and lovingly folded piece of paper still exactly where he'd stashed it. Extracting it carefully to not lose the shape, he replaced the box and set the crane on the counter in front of Roxas, saying very unnecessarily, "This note."
Roxas eyed him, said "I see snowflakes bored you," and took the note and unfolded it carefully. Every couple of seconds he still glanced down the hallway, but then looked up at Axel, as if he didn't know what to say.
"It's all very detailed and planned out there, and I've organized all the steps necessary so we can properly adjust to living with Richard Adams."
"You got a rabbit."
"Richard Adams doesn't like being referred to as a rabbit, Roxas."
"Oh, then do you want me to call it a bug again?"
"Do you think you could have discuss this with me, I don't know, before you went and fucking bought a fucking rabbit?"
Axel winced and pressed his back up against the refrigerator; a couple magnets fell off and banged against the floor and a glance down told him that he'd cracked the one that looked like a parrot and now it was broken, great, and now he'd have to go out and buy more because he was always tacking stuff to the fridge and lately they'd been breaking but maybe it was a good thing, because he didn't think Richard Adams liked birds, especially bight birds with big sharp yellow beaks made especially for tearing into poor little rabbits like him. He toed it behind his other foot and then looked very seriously at Roxas.
"Well, you weren't home and I did leave you a note."
"In the ice cream box!"
"What, were you seriously going to see it if I put it on the counter?"
"…. Well then." Axel shifted his weight from one foot to the other, tried to decide on the best course of action to take since he had no back up plan because seriously, who needed a backup plan? He crossed his arms, shifted his hips away from the fridge, and then tilted his head very engagingly in Roxas's direction. "So Roxas, how do you feel about getting a rabbit?"
Roxas glared at him, glared down toward the bedroom, and then in one quick movement grabbed the broom leaning against the wall and started down the hall.
"What are you doing?"
Roxas mumbled something incoherent.
"Roxas I swear to god if you hurt Richard Adams things aren't going to be pretty, didn't you see my face and the big—"
Roxas had turned the corner into the bedroom and Axel yelped when he heard him squeal. Oh dear, this was going very, very wrong. He should have gotten a hamster. Hamsters ran in little balls. They had little cute whiskers and button noses too. But they lacked in the ears department. Could he have gotten a guinea pig? They were huge and squeaked and they only lived in Australia and he couldn't catch guinea pigs in Australia because, quite frankly, they weren't in Australia presently. He might have to move there, though, because Roxas was cussing a million words a minute just inside the bedroom because something was very, very wrong.
When he pulled around the corner into the bedroom, Roxas was sidestepping a little black ball of rather unsatisfactory materials that came from the inside of a living thing and waving the broom around wildly. Richard Adams was nowhere in sight.
"What the hell are you doing?"
"Trying to catch your goddamn rabbit before it goes anywhere else in our room!" Roxas waved the broom; dust mites scattered but the rabbit was nowhere in sight.
"Yes, waving a broom is such an awesome way to catch him. You win."
Roxas whipped around to glare at him. "I'm going to smash your head in."
"You can't hit the broadside of a barn."
And for some reason the rabbit was forgotten, because the next second Roxas had launched himself at Axel, waving the broom around wildly in dizzying circles. By the time Roxas seemed to remember about the rabbit, they were in the living room and panting, clothes strewn everywhere, and Axel nursing another bump on his head while Roxas stroked his hair.
"You're such a dumbass," he said, very plaintively.
"Yes sir," Axel responded back, nuzzling back into Roxas's side. He was sore.
"No, seriously. Why the rabbit? Do you miss me that much? It's only for a couple more weeks, Ax. I swear. We're almost done with this project and then I'm done."
Axel mumbled something, closed his eyes, and passed out.
When he woke up, Roxas was gone. His head hurt. The apartment was quiet and there was fresh, virgin sunlight streaming in through the blinds. It was morning, but he couldn't remember why he was on the couch and not in the bedroom. A few more seconds of recollection brought him to the conclusion that he'd obviously been punched in the head too much yesterday. Getting to his feet, he spotted the cage on the other side of the room. It was quite empty.
He went into the kitchen, looking for a note, but there was nothing. There was, however, a very highly defined, small ball of fecal matter on the floor right in front of the refrigerator. The opened door revealed no sliced up rabbit and he checked in the pot that held the spaghetti from two days ago—it was still gooey pasta with bits of cheese and not melted lapine spine. That was fine, and probably dandy, but it didn't get him any closer to the rabbit. Did rabbits like dark, damp spaces? Thinking logically, if he were a rabbit, he'd dig a hole. Novel first guess, but thinking logically, where would one dig a hole in the apartment? The bathtub? Bingo.
Axel spotted his shoes sitting on the other side of the counter and he put them on, stepping carefully onto the carpet and then down the hallway, toward where, logically, the rabbit would be. He stopped by the bedroom and looked under the bed, but there was nothing, except for those awesome little balls that…. Roxas would be cleaning up later. This was all Roxas's fault and rightfully, he should do the cleaning. Turning on the bathroom light, he stepped into the bathroom and pulled open the curtain, looking onto the white porcelain.
Richard Adams were there indeed, snuffling about and looking up at him rather forlornly, and with a rather angry gaze, but that wasn't the most important thing.
"Richard Adams," he said, in the sternest voice he could muster, "having babies in my bathtub is against the rules. You have been a very, very bad bunny." There were seven little furless rabbits huddled against Richard Adam's side, and Axel then noticed that most of the bottom part of the curtain was missing. The rabbit was laying on top of it, looking up at Axel with wild, clouded eyes. Swearing, Axel ran to the cage in the living room and returned to the bathroom with the blue water crock and the food dispenser. He set it a little bit away from the bunched up rabbits and then sat on the toilet, trying to decide what to do.
"Okay Richard," he said, looking the animal dead in the eye. "We need to talk. You brought babies into my house. This is kind of a bad idea. I don't think Roxas likes you very much and I can't say much in your defense, you did get a little bit crazy yesterday, no lie. And now you have babies, little tiny naked ugly babies, and I don't know what to do with them or with you. You're still cute, don't get me wrong, so you're still fulfilling Reason Number One, and Reason Number Three, but the babies are just taking up space, which isn't fulfilling any of my Reasons. How would you feel about adoption? It can be an open adoption, if that makes it any easier."
There was no response from the rabbit and Axel got up and went to the kitchen, agitated. Popping a few more Tylenol, he paced a little. This whole thing was not going according to plan. This entire ordeal was becoming messy and long drawn and pretty much not what he'd had in mind when he'd gone foraging through the woods yesterday looking for a bunny. Maybe he could sneak the rabbits out—he'd had to sneak them in yesterday, because they weren't supposed to have pets and Demyx had seen him and been absolutely gleeful in the assertion that he could have leverage on Axel whenever Axel decided to light his furniture on fire. Maybe he could gag Demyx with a baby rabbit. Demyx would like that—Demyx liked… cute things. The baby might not make it out of this alive but he'd choose the ugliest one anyway. In fact, any of them would do right now. They were all freaking ugly.
He checked on the resting group one last time before going into the bedroom and lying on the bed, trying to think of a way out of this. He didn't know where Roxas was, but when he got back he would be mad. He hadn't had a chance to talk him into the idea of just Richard Adams and he wasn't sure he could talk him into the idea of Richard Adams&Co. Maybe he could hide them. In the closet. His closet. Or in the bottom drawer of his bureau. They didn't need to breathe, right?
His head was hurting and he must have closed his eyes, because when he opened them again, it was to the shriek of "What the fuck? AXEL!"
This was a little bit too familiar, but he jumped up anyway and barged out into the hallway, almost running into Roxas who was backpedaling out of the bathroom. He had a plastic bag in his hands and in one swift movement he had swung it at Axel. Axel sidestepped, but it still caught his arm. "What?"
"Why are there rats in our bathtub?!"
"Look, I know they're kind of ugly but you shouldn't discriminate, they're baby—"
"HIS NAME IS RICHARD ADAMS! HOW DID HE HAVE BABIES?"
Axel winced and held his hands up in defense. "Well, you see, I guess it isn't a 'he', Roxas, kind of self-explanatory—"
Roxas flapped his hands and glared. "Did you not think to check before you bought it?"
"I didn't buy her, duh. I don't support those bunny mills, who do you think I am?"
"If you didn't buy it, then where did you get it from?"
"Yes, the goddamn park. He came right to me, he was just lying there kind of dead like he was trying to make a nest or—"
"DO YOU THINK SHE WAS TRYING TO HAVE BABIES?"
Axel winced again. "Look, Rox, I'm sorry. I just thought that—"
"Fucking fuck, I can't believe you." Roxas turned around, looked like he wanted to go into the bedroom and slam the door, but Axel was in the way, then turned and half made a motion to stomp down the hall but then realized all that down that way to slam was the front door and possibly the kitchen cabinets that would break in three seconds, and then just heaved a great sigh of utter frustration and turned around and stormed into the bathroom, slamming the door shut. Axel stared at the white paint for a second and then made to grab the handle but hesitated, trying to decide what to say. So. The situation stood as: Roxas was locked in the bathroom. With ugly baby rabbits and a gender confused Richard Adams. Demyx might or might not be willing to accept one of aforementioned ugly baby rabbits as a bribe. And he was out here, without Roxas and without Richard Adams.
He wondered how long Roxas would continue to hole up in the bathroom. At least until he was not mad enough to bash Axel's brains in with the broom while Axel sat there and tried to yap some sorry apology in his face. He would get hungry soon. Right? Well, maybe Axel could speed that process up just a little. Going to the kitchen, he took out the spaghetti that he'd already safely declared was free of any rabbit-like product and warmed it up, then he warmed up the garlic bread and put it very carefully and very elegantly on the table. Then he went downstairs to use the bathroom because he didn't want to disturb Roxas when Roxas wasn't in his happy place and passed Demyx on the way up, who was quick to say something to the affect of, "Can I play with your illegal rabbit, it was so cute!", and then returned to the apartment that was in the same silence and state he'd left it in.
Squaring his shoulders and ready to endure the worst, he went to the closed bathroom door and knocked softly. There was no reply. "Roxas? Can I come in? I made you food."
There wasn't an answer and Axel grabbed the handle, turning, expecting it to be locked shut, but to his surprise it turned and he pushed it open, carefully entering, as though expecting one of those babies to come hurling straight at him. Ew. Roxas wouldn't do that, would he?
There sat Roxas, looking at him with narrowed blue eyes, one hand to his lips as he made the universal quiet noise. In his other hand he cradled one of the little rabbits and Axel watched as he lowered his other fingers and stroked the little naked ugly thing for a moment, before depositing it carefully back into the bathtub to rejoin its family. He stood up and motioned for Axel to exit.
Axel swallowed and complied, hurriedly heading into the kitchen so if Roxas decided to jump him, then he could at least streak to the couch for probably an easier jumping. Roxas entered a second later, registered the food on the kitchen table and Axel standing by warily, and then put the plastic bag he'd smacked Axel with earlier on the counter.
"So I named that one Beans," he said, and Axel narrowed his eyes in confusion. "Because he kept… making weird noises and bouncing up and down. Like a jumping bean." He pulled out a book from the bag and opened it to the beginning, looking at the contents before flipping a few pages. "And I was going to name the others but I don't know if we'll be keeping them and then thought maybe you'd want to name a few too."
Axel went cautiously over to where Roxas was, looking down at the book. He saw pictures of rabbits as Roxas flipped the pages, until finally landing on one that Axel could see was entitled "GIVING BIRTH."
"We should probably move her back to her cage, or at least give her some hay or something," Roxas was saying, still reading off the page. "She's probably pretty uncomfortable right now."
"Good…idea," Axel said, squeaking a little when Roxas grabbed his arm suddenly and yanked him down to kiss him. Axel responded enthusiastically—he saw so little of Roxas now that he welcomed any and every kiss and did his best to make each one count.
"You're stupid, Axel."
"Thanks," Axel replied into his open mouth, pulling back a little to look down at him questioningly.
"You could have just asked me if you wanted a rabbit."
"I wanted it to be a surprise."
"Yea, I know. But…" he trailed off and fished from his pocket the folded note that Axel had put in the ice cream box. "Reason Number Five," he said, and then recited, "In case there is an apocalyptic meltdown, or a zombie outbreak, or any catastrophe that would include all nourishment becoming scarcely available and hard to find, Richard Adams will be sufficient food should we run out of string beans and not want to eat each other."
He looked up at Axel, who was biting his lip and smiling through a wince.
"Reason Number Seven," Roxas continued on, "Should Demyx try to evict us from this apartment because of the pretty noises we make during sex, we can bribe him with a very squishy, furry, cute little woodland creature."
"Or one of the babies," Axel interjected, looking down the hallway. "Not Beans," he added, reassuringly.
"Reason Number One," Roxas said, and then looked up at Axel, off the paper, reciting from memory, "Rabbits are cute (see Reason Number Two). Cute things make people smile. Roxas doesn't smile enough."
Axel smiled through the wince again, and then made a noise in his throat, thinking that all this had been too silly, and then Roxas grabbed his head and kissed him again, pulling him closer. Axel went willingly and pressed close to Roxas, thinking that maybe foraging through the woods and landing on his head trying to chase something that hadn't been as pregnant as Richard Adams wasn't all in vain, after all.
"You make me smile enough, Axel," Roxas said, very softly into Axel's neck. "But thanks anyway."