Author's Note: OK, first KH fan-fic! Let the peasants rejoice! Dedicated to everyone of my favorite authors list – I enjoyed their writing so much, I just had to follow in their footsteps! Let the yaoi begin!
Warnings: Rated for the next chapter. ;)
Axel punched open the door of the men's room while digging out his cell phone with barely controlled fury. Taking a deep breath, he dialed, carefully punching each button so as not to crush it. After a pause, his roommate answered in an entirely-too-cheerful voice.
"Oh hey Ax! How's it goin? Did you meet your…date yet?" Axel was sure he had heard a barely-concealed snicker there.
Forcing a false casual tone, Axel replied. "Hey Dem, question for ya. Are you a religious sort of man?"
A snort. "Hell no Axel, are you kidding me? What the fuck man?"
Axel couldn't keep the snarl from his voice any longer. "Well then buddy, I suggest that you spend the next hour finding God, because when I get back there I am sending you straight to see him."
Axel cut off Demyx's reply by hanging up. Not, however, before he caught the burst of laughter from his scheming roommate. Oh, that bastard was going to get it. Think you're real clever huh Demyx? Let's see how clever you are after I smash your fucking skull in.
In order to calm himself down before returning to his table, Axel set to work attempting to shatter a few of the tiles that covered the walls of the restaurant's men's room.
Axel was sure he had made it perfectly clear that his sexuality was not up for debate. He was straight. Period. End of story. He didn't have a problem with his roommate being gay…well, OK, he'd been a little nervous at first. Until the incident that had convinced him that Demyx was completely obsessed with his current boyfriend Zexion and had no interest in molesting Axel. After that…educational experience, Axel had gotten over it. His roommate was gay, he was straight. This didn't present a problem.
Until Demyx had begun – teasingly, and all in good fun – to try to "convert" Axel, as he put it. Axel had responded by shooting the idea down. No offence, but he liked women. In his mind, it was obvious. For starters, women had boobs. For finishers, women had this magical little part of their anatomy that seemed just perfectly designed for a certain part of his own anatomy. Perfect. Men, on the other hand, had no boobs. Or at least, no good boobs. Ugh. And Axel didn't even want to think about the sad, sad prospect of trying to do anything fun and discovering no magic anatomical happy place for him to enjoy. No, Axel was straight. And Demyx's jokes were getting increasingly annoying.
However, Axel had never expected this. This…cruel exploitation of him when he was at his weakest! The lies! The betrayal! That…shithead! Oh Zexion, nothing personal, but you are about to be bereaved. Say your last farewell to your boyfriend, because I'm going to fucking kill him. The wall suffered another blow, while Axel's fist felt all the pain.
Axel had been suffering for at least a month in a relationship with a very jealous and increasingly cold girlfriend. When they finally broke up two weeks ago, it had been the official end of an enforced dry spell for Axel. However, Axel had had nothing but bad luck trying to find a hookup since then. He'd been busy, for one, and hadn't been able to go out much. The first time, the girl he tried to take home bailed on him. The second time, Demyx and Zexion had come along to "help" and Demyx's joking had prevented Axel getting anywhere. He was still pissed from that.
Then, Demyx had offered to set him up with this blind date, as a sort of apology of course. Axel wasn't at all sure he should trust his mischievous roommate, but he was completely sure that he was getting desperate. Rational thinking was fast losing out to sexual frustration. Axel didn't want to admit it, but he'd been forced to take certain problems into his own hand…and he usually didn't have to resort to that.
In short, Axel really needed to get laid.
As so, 15 minutes ago he had found himself waiting outside the entrance to the restaurant that filled the ground floor of the Fillmore Hotel, hoping against all hope that he would be taking his date over to the front desk in the lobby to get a room after dinner, thus transforming his Friday night (and, who knows, maybe most of Saturday) into a welcome paradise of…well, sex.
Was this an honorable way to approach a date? No. Axel knew that answer easily. Was he proud of his current state of mind? Ah, not really, but what can I do? Was he behaving in an ethical manner? Oh fuck it. Who knows? I just…need this.
"Uhm…are you…Axel?" A timid voice interrupted his thoughts.
Axel glanced around and found himself looking down on a pair of startling blue eyes. In an instant, he also registered fluffy-looking blond hair, soft, clear skin, a thin frame, pretty pink lips, and…no boobs. Men's dress shoes. Men's dress slacks. Men's button-down shirt, no tie, with the top button undone. Not to mention the suit jacket. This person was male. Axel understood that much. Why this male person was addressing him hadn't quite sunk in yet.
"Yeah, I'm Axel. You are?" Axel replied politely.
"Roxas. You know my friend Demyx. He…told me you'd meet me here, so here I am." The young man smiled hesitantly.
Demyx…meet…Roxas… "You're…Roxie?" Axel was getting a cold feeling in his gut.
"Heh, well, Demyx calls me that, but I prefer Roxas actually. Uhm, should we go inside?"
The realization hit Axel…not very much like a ton of bricks. More like…a giant ice spike in the stomach. Demyx's grim fate was instantly decided.
However, Axel was nothing if not smooth. Completely swallowing his shock and fury, he smiled handsomely and the shorter man and whipped out a polite and friendly-sounding reply. "Roxas, yes, nice to meet you." Axel extended his hand and shook the blond's firmly, then led him inside the restaurant. "Let's get going, they have our table ready, it's right over here. Ah, will you excuse me for one second please? I just need to run over to the men's room. Do me a big favor and tell the waiter to bring us a bottle of Beaujolais Fleurie? Is that all right with you? Excellent, I'll be right back." Axel escaped to the men's room with only one thought – call Demyx.
And so, after a satisfyingly threatening phone call and several painful but slightly calming assaults on the innocent tiled walls, Axel had regained enough composure to think rationally. And to run his hands under cold water, of course being careful not to splash his suit.
Goddamn that idiot Demyx, getting me all dressed up for a nice date and then setting me up with a guy!
As much as he wanted to just storm home that minute and beat the pulp out of his roommate, Axel was well aware that there was already a young man waiting for his return. A look into Axel's currently sex-obsessed mind would cause any sane person to have serious doubts about his character, but in reality, Axel nearly always behaved like a gentleman. He wasn't just some punk kid anymore. He was an adult. A professional, working adult. He liked women and he loved sex, but he was mature enough to handle those desires rationally…most of the time. And he had long ago learned to be polite and act like a gentleman, even if he wasn't thinking like one. It just got him further, both professionally and in personal relationships.
And so it was with grim determination and a smooth demeanor that Axel returned to his…oh fuck…his date, determined to have dinner in a civil manner, at some point politely explain the situation and his own orientation, and then end the evening on good terms…and go home and commit premeditated murder.
"Hey Roxas, sorry about that." Axel smiled again as he sat down. Roxas smiled up at him with a murmured "No problem." Fending off his slight discomfort at the situation, Axel happily picked up the wine and offered to fill Roxas' glass. He then poured himself a rather full glass.
What to do first? Well, Axel guessed, ordering food might be a good idea. The waiter took their entree orders and brought their appetizers while Axel led with a little small talk about the food, some superficial comments about the weather, anything to try to break the ice and find a way to bring up the topic of sexual orientation…and how they didn't actually have that in common. Roxas' answers were as polite as Axel's questions, and he gave no sign of discomfort or awkwardness, even on a blind date. As he looked for something that could lead to a chance to explain himself and the situation, Axel found himself examining the face across from him.
Delicate, yes. Beautiful, in a way. Like a painting. And yet…so much more expressive than any painting. Roxas' expressions were open, honest, and complex. He seemed to be hiding nothing – not because he was unable to hide anything, but because he was comfortable enough to choose not to. Those bright blue eyes never hesitated to meet Axel's when speaking, yet Axel never felt as if the gaze was prying into him or challenging him or doing any of the unpleasant things direct eye contact with a date usually meant. (Sexual invitations excepted – that was the one form of eye contact that Axel generally liked.)
Axel was getting interested in this young man. Curious about him. Between comments and light conversation, Axel studied his date more closely. Although the blond man looked very young, Axel guessed from his mannerisms and speech that they were actually close in age. He soon caught himself wondering about his companion. He was probably gay, since he hadn't seemed at all surprised that Demyx had set him up with a guy. Demyx and Zexion were the only gay men Axel knew, and he had never asked about how they had…well, discovered that fact about themselves. Now, he couldn't help wondering about Roxas' history – how he had learned of his sexuality, what his life was like, and why he was accepting a blind date. Axel thought he was a pretty good judge of looks – usually women, of course, but still – and he didn't think a guy with Roxas' looks should have any trouble finding a partner. But hell, what did he know? Maybe every gay guy in the city was just blind as a bat. He couldn't figure out any other reason for Roxas being single.
Axel was momentarily distracted when their waiter brought the salad course. He was inwardly amused as he watched the waiter walk away. What the hell, he looks like he's walking with a stick up his ass! Axel barely managed to suppress a wicked grin. Thankfully, Roxas distracted him again.
"So, Axel, you're Demyx's roommate? How long have you lived with him?"
"Oh yeah, um, since January so, about four months. And speaking of him, he told me you were friends. How do you know Demyx?" Axel watched as a complex expression passed over Roxas' face – it was part amused smile, with…was that embarrassment?
"Ah, yeah, well, we've been friends since college I guess. Uhm, he was my roommate freshman year and we just…hit it off, I guess you'd say."
"So we've both lived with him! That's crazy. Hey, did he always have that really obnoxious alarm clock?"
Roxas let out a chuckle. "Yeah, right since day one. God I hated that thing!"
"I know!" Axel laughed as well. "It's horrible! Oh did he…uhm, I hope this isn't awkward, but did he always wear such crazy underwear?"
Roxas laughed again at the question, and Axel noticed a bright blush on his soft cheeks. "Well, actually…I'm sort of the one that got him into that."
"You? You must be kidding!"
"No…Demyx was all tighty-whiteys until I converted him."
Axel was laughing even more now. "So wait. When you say 'converted' – does that mean you…ah…you know…?"
Roxas' blush deepened. "Yeah, I guess you could say…I like fun undergarments?"
"Wow." Axel and Roxas were both barely controlling their laughter now. Roxas' face was almost cherry red. Axel calmed his laughter down by admiring how attractive the smiling and blushing were making the already-good-looking young man.
Just as the two of them were calming down, the waiter returned to bring their entrees. This time, Roxas noticed the man's walk as he left their table. Axel saw his companion's blue eyes widen and a soft hand quickly covered a growing grin. They both watched the waiter, then turned to each other. As blue eyes met green, they lost control of their laughter once again. Both of them were gasping and struggling for air, while attempting to not cause a disturbance in the quiet atmosphere of the restaurant.
The amused pair slowly calmed down again, chuckling as they each made comments about the ridiculous waiter. Without realizing it, Axel was having a terribly enjoyable meal. After the initial awkwardness, he was finding Roxas to be wonderfully easy to talk to. He had expected that Roxas, being gay, would be more like a woman…and Axel had always been forced to be very careful when talking to women. Now, he could only wonder what he had been thinking. Of course Roxas wouldn't be like a woman – he wasn't a woman, after all. He was fun. And why hadn't Axel even considered the possibility of befriending this guy in the first place? It's not like he couldn't have a gay friend – he already did, after all! And this particular…friend…had a pretty good sense of humor. And blue eyes that…as corny as it sounded…sparkled when he laughed. Did I just think that? Axel checked himself, but didn't have time to consider it before Roxas spoke again.
"Wow, maybe I'm just laughing too much, but it feels so hot in here. Is it just me?" The blond shrugged out of his suit jacket as he spoke, draping it over the back of his chair. As Axel agreed and fanned himself in the process, Roxas unbuttoned his sleeves and rolled them halfway up his arms. Finally, he unbuttoned the second button of his shirt, fanning slightly at the exposed skin of his neck.
Axel didn't even realize he was staring at the warm, slightly flushed neckline until Roxas leaned forward on his elbows and ducked his head to meet Axel's gaze as he asked a question.
"So, Axel, I was wondering…what is it you do for a living?"
"What I do? Oh, nothing special, just a regular corporate drone, you know?" Axel redirected his good-natured reply to Roxas' face.
"Ah. I was just wondering because you don't really have the look of a businessman. I mean, your hair is so long…and the tattoos? On your face?"
"Oh yeah, these? Heh…proof that bad kids sometimes grow up and get normal jobs I guess. It made it a little hard in the company at first, but people are used to it now. They don't let me work with clients much though. And the hair is just natural. Not my fault!" Axel cheerfully explained, grinning as his companion chuckled at his explanation.
"Very nice. Very…unique." Roxas replied with a smile. Axel thought he detected a complement…not just in the words. In the admiration in the gentle, beautiful smile. And he was reminded that he was on a date…and Roxas didn't know that Axel wasn't gay.
Axel was suddenly worried. He had planned to explain the situation by the end of dinner, but now he couldn't help wondering what Roxas would think. Would he be hurt? Upset? Would he question why Axel hadn't told him the moment they met that there was some mistake? Would he think Axel had been playing with him, carrying on with this date? Would he be…sad? He was apparently single, and must have a reason for accepting a blind date set-up…what if he was cherishing hopes for something? Would he feel betrayed? Axel's worries were growing as he thought of the many ways that this situation could end with him hurting Roxas. And the young man was too fun, too good-natured, too…Axel hesitated to think it…cute to deserve something like that. Weird…what's with me? Must be the wine…yeah. Though I don't remember Beaujolais Fleurie being this strong…what year is this bottle?
Roxas suddenly leaned forward again, interrupting Axel's troubled thoughts. "So, something else I was wondering…" Roxas paused thoughtfully. Axel's mind very nearly went blank. For there, under the white, thin fabric of the dress shirt, he was sure he saw pink. It was only noticeable when Roxas' chest was pressed against the fabric of his shirt, but Axel could see the very faint pink outline of a pretty little nipple. He couldn't look away. He didn't know why either, all he could think was Pink…pink nipple, that's his nipple, Roxas' nipple, pink…Roxas' pink nipple…God bless white shirts. Wait…what? Axel snapped out of it as Roxas began speaking again, vaguely telling himself that he was in worse need of a good lay than he thought.
"Please don't take this the wrong way," Roxas resumed, "but…you're not really gay, are you?"
Axel froze, unsure how to respond. He'd known he was going to be explaining this, but he hadn't had time to think of a way to bring it up yet…well, that didn't matter now, since Roxas had done it. But he wasn't sure yet what to say…except to be honest.
"Uhm…no, Roxas. I'm not. Demyx has been trying to 'convert' me, as he calls it, and I guess he's been teasing me a lot, and, well…this is his latest prank, I think. Uhm…I'm really sorry you had to get involved. It's such a waste of time for you…"
Roxas interrupted. "No, no Axel. It's not – I've been having a lot of fun. It's just that…well, I could sort of tell. I'm just surprised that Demyx would go so far…just for a prank. It's…well, not really like him. He's a really caring guy."
"Yeah…I really hope you're not disappointed or anything. I dunno why he had to go and involve you, I mean, I don't know your situation, but what if…?" Axel was at a loss to express his worries, and Roxas cut in again.
"Oh, don't worry about me. I'm fine, really. And I'm sure Demyx was thinking of being helpful."
Axel snorted. "Kinda a risky way to be helpful." He paused. "Are you sure? I mean, about being fine?"
Roxas hesitated, thinking. "Axel…maybe I should tell you the rest of the story about…Demyx and me."
Axel was slightly confused by the response, but fully attentive. "Which is what?"
"Well," Roxas began, "when I said we were roommates…that was true. But we were more than that. We didn't just hit it off. We sort of…dated for a while. The first semester really. And then Demyx met Zexion. And our relationship was already kinda…not what either of us wanted. So when he and Zexion hooked up, everyone pretty much got what they wanted. And we were able to stay friends. I know you might think Demyx is playing a prank on you but…" Roxas paused again, brushing a hand gently through his shining hair. "Well, I don't think he would do anything to hurt anyone. Not really. And…I'm sure he guessed that we'd have a good time, or he wouldn't have asked me to be your date. Because he'd never want to hurt me."
Axel was stunned by the first part of Roxas' explanation. He couldn't quite put the two of them together in his mind. The last part, however, concerned him and made him curious. "So…but isn't that kind of a risk, setting you up with a straight guy? I mean, aren't you single? Wouldn't this be the kind of thing that could easily…uhm…be unpleasant for you? Like, disappointing?"
Roxas smiled softly at the concern in Axel's voice, and Axel felt his eyes glue themselves to every feature of the face in front of him – long blond lashes, the shapely bridge of his nose, the curve of his jaw line, the peak in the center of his top lip, the blue eyes, oh those eyes. Then, as Roxas spoke…the curve of his neck down to that fine collarbone, soft skin and…oh no not again…traces of pink under that damned white shirt.
"Axel…I've been through so many 'unpleasant' relationships that getting dumped because of sexual orientation after one date is hardly a problem for me. I can deal with that much. What's more important is that I've been having a wonderful time with someone who won't mistreat me…Demyx knows that."
Roxas glanced up shyly to meet the intense green gaze fixed upon him. Axel didn't even realize that he had leaned in slightly as the blond spoke in that soft, sad tone. "Why?" He asked in a hushed voice. "What unpleasant relationships?" He reached out and placed his hand gently on the table, halfway between the two of them.
Roxas sighed and placed his hand down in front of Axel's, not quite touching. "You really don't need to worry about it. It's just…I've known I was gay for a really long time, and things have been hard. Keeping it a secret was hard. Being rejected when I came out was hard. And I guess I've just always had bad luck with men. Even Demyx…I mean, he wasn't bad to me, but we were much happier as just friends. And since then…I guess you could say I've just attracted all the worst kinds of guys."
The quiet sadness in Roxas' voice went straight through Axel like fire. He felt overwhelmed with a jumble of feelings…sympathy for Roxas' bad luck, anger at those bastards who would treat such a nice guy badly enough to make him look so lonely like this, concern for his companion, admiration for Roxas' strength in dealing with these disappointments – and without quite realizing it, his hand slid forward slightly, and his fingertips touched those of the young man opposite him.
Axel's whole being suddenly seemed concentrated in the tips of his fingers. It felt like lightning was shooting from those fingers and spreading throughout his whole body. Of course, this wasn't the first time he had touched Roxas – he had shaken his hand when they met, and that was more contact than this – but it felt like the first time…and oh, what a first time! Had he ever even noticed a first touch before? And now…he couldn't even help it – it felt like this first touch had shifted something important within him, as well as between himself and Roxas. He had no other reply for the blond's sad words than this light touch, and as he tried to force his heartbeat back to normal he suddenly realized that the soft fingers touching his were responding. Roxas gently turned his hand over and slid it under Axel's so that their palms were lightly pressed together. Axel lifted his eyes to see Roxas looking at their hands, that sweet, shy expression back on his face. Suddenly, Axel could barely control his desire to touch that face – to brush his hands over forehead and cheeks, to cup that delicate chin, to trace the curve of those lips…and he caught his breath when the crystalline blue eyes looked up to meet his again.
Two hands simultaneously curled their fingers together, as green and blue eyes silently spoke to one another. Axel's expression was entranced…Roxas' was hopeful…then confused…then slightly afraid.
"I…I'm sorry," Roxas smiled slightly while gingerly trying to withdraw his hand. Axel's fingers refused to let go. "I…saying such depressing stuff…and this…" Another weak tug of his hand, a feeble attempt to back out of the awkward situation. "I mean…sorry for…hoping. When you said you're not gay and all and now…I don't know. I'm sorry. You can…let go. You don't have to hold my hand." The blue eyes ducked down again as Roxas' face flushed heavily on his last words.
"Oh…yeah." Axel blinked and realized that he still held the other's fingers. He had been distracted – his whole body was suddenly whining insistently for him to touch more, touch more, touch Roxas more. When he forced himself to draw his hand back and break the contact, it screamed in protest that's not touching Roxas more that's the opposite of touching don't do that!
The first awkward silence since the meal began settled over the table. Roxas fiddled with his food. Axel tried not to keep staring at him, but he couldn't spare much concentration for that because his mind was busy with a violent civil war.
The voice of Yesterday's Axel was shocked and appalled. What are you doing? What the fuck was that supposed to be, exactly? Well? And don't give me some shit about the wine! At the same time, Sexually Frustrated Axel was trying his hardest to drown everything else out with Touch touch touch touch touch touch touch now!In between these voices, Axel sat at a restaurant table and picked up the check the waiter brought. He thought that he probably agreed with both of the voices at once...but he wasn't really listening to either. He was confused. He was trying to think, to balance the voices and the touch and the whole dinner and the vision of Roxas in front of him – this wonderfully attractive person with the perfect sense of humor and the friendly honesty that had caught his attention right from the start. He was trying to think, but every time he saw that face his mind stopped working. And then suddenly the receipt was placed before him, and there was no more time to think.
There was time to collect his credit card and pick up his coat. There was time for Roxas to unroll his sleeves and put his suit jacket back on. There was time for a mostly silent walk to the door – a few comments about the good food. There was time, somehow, for Axel to gaze longingly at the front desk, without being sure why.
And then suddenly they were standing outside the front door again, almost exactly where they had met, and Roxas was awkwardly thanking him for the dinner and saying what a wonderful time he had had. And Axel probably replied with a similar sentiment and something about "again sometime". But he couldn't focus his thoughts. He was desperately trying to think of what he should do, what action would be right to fix this, because something about this was wrong…damn it, he wasn't ready to say goodnight!
And Roxas turned to go.
And Axel's hand shot out, almost on its own, and grabbed Roxas by the arm and held him there.
Roxas turned back and looked questioningly into Axel's uncertain green eyes. Fuck…now he didn't know what to say. He almost choked out one word – "Roxas…"
Disbelieving hope suddenly flared up in the blue eyes. Roxas turned slowly, and took one step back toward Axel, bringing him very close to the taller redhead and sending Axel's heart rate to surely unhealthy levels. He placed his hands lightly on Axel's upper arms, then lifted his eyes to Axel's bewildered face. "If you tell me to stay…" Roxas all but whispered, stretching his face slowly up towards Axel's, "…I will."
Axel stopped wondering. Two pairs of eyes slid closed in unison, as Axel and Roxas reached for each other's lips. The sensation – the soft, silky, burning sensation – of the kiss drove every other thought from Axel's mind. His arms went around Roxas' back immediately, pulling him closer as Roxas looped his arms around Axel's neck and both of them pressed fully into the kiss that was making them both weak and breathless. For Axel, there was suddenly nothing in the world other than those incredibly warm, soft lips moving deliciously against his.
To be continued...