Special Dedication: Static Lull, otherwise known as Spaffy. She's a darling, that she is. And this is her favorite pairing.

Author's Note: I had a lot of fun writing this. I was reading The Scarlet Letter at the time, and it was originally going to be called "Hester Prynne", but I was afraid the rest of you wouldn't get it. Oh, yes, a lichi is a fruit that grows in the Philippines (god, I hope I spelled that right.) I don't particularly like them, but I got tired of using 'fire' 'cherry' and 'strawberry' to describe Axel and Kairi's hair color.


Axel's feet jerked to the front, one foot placed in front of the other as his arms swung in tandem. The red-like-cherries spikes swayed gently, and the gasoline can swung and tapped against his bony hips. The liquid dripped out with a tantalizing beat and graced the leaves and grass and whatever the heck else with clear droplets. Thin lips curved into a smile, and he could see his best friend, his only friend, stammering stupidly in the background.

"Axel, don't do this, Axel, I'm serious, Axel, pleaseā€¦"

Roxas's honey-sweet voice melted into oblivion, and the redhead ignored him, sprinkling the gasoline until its pace slowed to an agonizing slowness. Muttering under his breath, he rested the empty canister on the ground and fished his pants pocket for a lighter. It was a nice, bright lighter, oh so smooth and cool to the touch. It was decorated with small initials on the bottom, and had been Axel's pride and joy since the tender age of ten.

"Axel, god, I'm begging you, for the love of whatever you believe in, don't do this!"

It was a pity that intelligent, talented, pretty little Roxas Shaw couldn't be quiet. Axel pressed a gloved finger to his friend's lips and smiled.

"Shhh, Roxas. Calm down. Be a good little boy and just sit tight for a bit."

The lighter birthed a flame, and Roxas screamed.

The lighter kissed Mother Nature's children, and Roxas tackled him.

The lighter molested Axel's jacket, and crawled up his sleeves and rudely (so rude, the fire was. Always touching, touching, touching things that were not its possessions. But who was Axel to question it? The flames mocked him from their perch, dared him to defy them, and all he could do was whimper.) pressed hard-like-gravel affections on Roxas's face, neck, and bare arms.

Axel ran, and Roxas stayed behind with the fire, rude little rapist that it was, is, and forever shall be.



Axel's lawyer squeaked and cawed and moaned and groaned about temporary insanity, poor upbringings, and the need to save the children.

Roxas's lawyer sang the song of the blame game, and mewled about the damages done to Roxas Shaw's person and the danger that Axel presented to society.

The witnesses shrieked their disapproval, Mr. and Mrs. Shaw warbled about their fears and hopes and thirsts for revenge, and Axel's parents sat quietly, rubbing their tired faces and bleating weakly for clemency.

Axel noticed this all without much amusement, and decided that no one would mind terribly if he took a nap.


The ceiling was white, the walls were white, and the nurses' shoes were white as well. They tapped and clicked and clacked against the floor, and they made Axel giggle under his breath. But there was one nurse (young, and without the crabby, wrinkled-like-prunes faces that seemed to belong to the species known as Nurses). They were not the professional kind that all of the others seemed to purchase at Nurses R Us, but seemed to be canary-yellow Chuck Taylors covered in white-out. The yellow made a bid for freedom, and Axel pitied them.

The lighter begged to be picked up, and the flames sauntered out and seduced the nurse's Canary-yellow-Styrofoam-white sneakers, caressing them none too gently. Axel tried to rebuke the flames, but they cursed at him viciously and demanded to have their way. Feeling like an indulgent father, he allowed them to dance.

The nurse's blueberry eyes widened when she saw the mess of her sneakers, but just seemed to shrug and get over it. She absently patted Axel's head when she made her rounds, asked "How are you doing today, Mr. Jacobs?" without really waiting for the answer, eyes instead glaring at the not-there windows as if they'd said something rude to her.

She eventually acquired painted pictures to adorn the window-less spaces, and Axel though he liked her.

She listened to him with a hand on her cocked hip, with her head tilted to the side, and with the lichi-red hair splashing against her cheek, and Axel thought he adored her.

She brought him stacks of music and paper and washable markers to dot the walls (borrowed from the crazy girl next door, the angelic blonde with the Crayola obsession, without a great deal of noise) and paper and whatever else, and Axel thought he loved her.

Her boyfriend was a sunshiny-fantastic-love-to-hate-him boy named Sora with eyes like his mother's good china plates and a face that the nurse dotted with kisses. He visited sometimes, and on those days, Axel flicked the lighter against the wall and terrified the other nurses.

The lighter wanted her, wanted her badly, and Axel became a Firm, Unyielding Father and punished the lighter, instead keeping it locked in the drawer.


"Dance, Axel, dance!"

It was sixth grade dances all over again, with sweaty palms and cracking voices and an obvious sort of hilarity that no one wanted to admit, 'cause it made as much fun of you as the next person.

Axel wanted to laugh, and badly at that. A dance! A dance for the crazies!

There was Namine over by the corner, mumbling furiously as she scrawled god knows what onto fresh stacks of sinless paper, Xigbar and Luxord playing Slap Jack for pennies, and the only one who seemed to be dancing was Demyx, an irritating boy with an even more irksome voice who was too touchy-feely-do-you-wanna-hug-sugar-pie-honey-bunch for Axel's taste. And he couldn't dance for anything, really; his arms jerked to the music and his hips swayed, and there was that idiotic smile, but his eyes kept darting to the exit and the not-there-windows and to the scornful boy by his side.

"C'mon, Axey, you wanna dance?"

Nurse Kairi, in her tight-fitting jeans and DKNY shades, was smiling up at him, grabbing his hands and twisting him around to dance. Her hips pulled to the side, her arms swung up and down to their own beat, and her head bobbed until it became a red blur.

She danced like a crazy person, and Axel wanted to laugh.


Roxas came to visit, with his angel hair and devil glare and flame-raped body. He crossed his arms and stood far away.

"Nice scar." Axel drawled, doodling on his jean-covered knee. "How'd you get it, buddy?"

The blonde sneered and jeered and growled, until Axel rolled his eyes and said something dismissive and rude and threw the lighter at him. It was not escaping, but Roxas still jumped away and got that scared-rabbit look, and Axel giggled.

He giggled as Roxas screamed and pleaded and cried.

He giggled as Roxas tried to touch his arm and ended up the floor, his face swollen on the non-scarred side.

He giggled up until Nurse Kairi, with her sad blueberry eyes and thin fingers, wandered over to stick a sedation needle and brush the sweaty-sticky spikes from his forehead.


"I want to go home."

Broken cries and choke-sobs and snot running down his chin, and Kairi felt helpless. Her birdlike fingers danced on Axel's temples, smoothing over the veins.

"I'll be good, I promise."

Green like lime kool-aid eyes glanced upwards, glittering like gem stones, and met her own. They pleaded, entreated, and Kairi was helpless.

"I won't be bad, trust me Kairi, I won't be, I promise."

Kairi swallowed the sugar-sweet pleadings and begged for Axel's case.

And so, Axel Jacobs left the asylum and the lighter in the drawer, and the crazy people behind. He never fitted in there, they wouldn't miss him. He didn't belong amongst the crazies anyways. They were nut jobs, all of them.

Axel was not a nut job. Axel was a man who had been sweet-talked by the pretty little lighter and its prettier flames. Axel was just another victim, wasn't he? Seduced (and cleverly, no one seemed to notice) by the lighter and it's smooth, cool shape.


Flowers clutched in sweaty hands, an assortment of flowers that had some secret meaning that was unknown to Axel. Like it even mattered, when he knew that Nurse Kairi with the Blueberry Eyes would love them all the same and bestow upon him that gracious smile.

But Nurse Kairi seemed to be busy, with her tongue down that Sora of the Dinner Plate Eyes's throat, and her hands moving mechanically on his hips. Kiss swollen lips parted, and she flushed.

"Oh, Axel, are those for me? Thank you!"

Babbling insanely, and she placed them into a vase, and Sora said hello, and Axel snapped and ran.

The lighter was still sleeping in the drawer to which it had been banished, and Axel picked it up with loving hands. It scolded him at first, nagging like a crotchety old woman, but it was beautiful and Nurse Kairi was ugly and Sora was the prize that the lighter as after.

Sora Neilson melted under the flame's touch that night, and his eyes were treated to the sharp kisses of the lighter.


Nurse Kairi wheedled and pleaded and cried ever so prettily, but Axel could not hear her properly. It was as if the pillow had muffled all chances of her being heard, as if the jump-ropes binding her wrists handicapped her ability to speak. Those formerly pale wrists were turning red and Nurse Kairi was shrieking, and Axel was repeating the same thing, over and over, and over.

"Shut up, shut up, shut up, this is your fault anyway, I never liked you, I never loved you, I hate you, the lighter hates you, and you don't deserve to be kissed and loved and liked, but the lighter will do so anyway, it's so gracious and kind, and you will never recover from a kiss like this, I'm doing you a favor, so just shut up shut up shut up-"

The lighter's child danced forth, and kissed Nurse Kairi square on the lips, hugged her tightly, and encouraged her to dance. It was angry when she tried to dodge it, and claimed her back with ever-spreading affections. Axel scolded her for mistreating his "poor, poor, sweet like Roxas never was" lighter, and Nurse Kairi screamed.

The lighter became ferociously angry, and shut noisy Kairi up, and all was quiet and good. You see what I do for you? The lighter purred See how much I care for you? I love you like she never could, Axel. I accept you like Roxas never could.

Nurse Kairi was bleeding recklessly on the floor, and making a mess. The lighter laughed scornfully, and so did Axel.

See how she burns? Purred the lighter. See how messy she is? I love you, I did this for you. Give me your love, Axel. Let me give you a kiss.

And the lighter, ever loving, spread its amour towards its beloved, and gave Axel a very forgiving, very gentle kiss on the side of his face. It was urgent and needy, yearning to be a part of Axel, to be closer than ever.

And Axel, indulgent lover that he was, is, and ever shall be, allowed it.