A/N: Hi! Me again. This was going to be my Axel/Roxas contribution for Axel/Roxas day, but I realized it had too much Axel/Kairi and Roxas/Kairi to really be Axel/Roxas. But I love this story anyway. The setting is, obviously, from the movie "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." And it's another one-shot. Hope you guys like it!
It was a normal morning in the lovely city of Paris. As usual, the fishermen sat on the sides of bridges, fishing to their hearts content, and the baker men would bake loaves of delicious bread to sell, all while listening to the grandiose bells of Notre Dame.
Some thought that the bell ringer was real, a true man living among the huge bells, ringing them according to schedule. Others however…
"Sora, there's no way a bell ringer could live up there!" Riku exclaimed, shaking his head at his best friend. Sora narrowed his eyes as Riku continued. "Honestly, the man would be deaf by now, if there was such a person."
"Maybe there is," Kairi added, joining Sora's side of the argument. Sora gave her a hopeful smile. "It's highly unlikely, but there could be!"
Sora's smile dropped and he lowered his head in disappointment. "Thanks Kairi."
Roxas, Sora's younger brother, simply rolled his eyes. "Does it matter where there are mysterious bell ringers up in the tower? Mom asked us to get her loaves of bread and eggs from the market. So how about you," he poked Sora's shoulder, "get a move on. I don't want to be out here all day."
Sora only sighed before shuffling after his brother in the company of his best friends. "I could be right," he mumbled, mostly to himself. Riku, hearing him, only rolled his eyes. Realizing that he was being ignored, Sora glanced up, only to see a group of people dancing. "Hey! Guys, look!"
Shaking his head, Riku only grabbed Sora's shoulder. "They're gypsies, Sora. They've always been around the city. Now come on! You should know that gypsies steal your munny when you're not looking!"
"And the Festival of Fools is coming up!" Kairi added, assisting Riku in dragging Sora away. "I need to keep all of my munny!"
But Sora simply wrestled away from their grip and approached the youngest of the gypsies. He couldn't have been older than twenty, with flaming, spiked red hair, piercing green eyes, and diamond tattoos under his eyes. His very appearance made Kairi shiver, and Riku attempt to restrain Sora again. "Sora, are you blind?! He's easily the most dangerous one of them there!"
Sora tugged himself from Riku's grip. "You're creepy looking when mad too, but I'm still your best friend!" He grinned before running up to the gypsy, leaving a disgruntled Riku and a nervous Kairi in his wake.
With a basket filled with the food his mother had asked for, Roxas walked up to Kairi and Riku, looking around. "Do I even want to know where Sora is?" He asked with a groan. When Riku simply pointed to the group of gypsies, Roxas's eyes grew wide; he shoved the basket into Riku's hands, and went after his brother.
"You know, kid, I can't just sit around and chat," Roxas overhead the redheaded gypsy say. "This dancing gig is a job for me. Kinda need munny if you want me to keep talking."
Sora shrugged, and pulled a few munny from his pocket, about to drop it into the awaiting hands of the stranger when Roxas yanked his arm away. "Sora, are you crazy?!" he exclaimed, shaking his head. "Don't give munny to gypsies! They're steal children's souls when they sleep! Haven't you heard the stories mom has told us?!"
Raising his eyebrow, Sora gently pulled his arm from Roxas's grip. "Relax! Axel seems nice enough. Besides, we were just talking."
Axel raised his eyebrow at Sora. "So, who's Blondie here?"
Roxas scowled at the nickname. "Keep your sick ideas away from Sora, you freak!"
"Harsh words from a shrimp," Axel retorted, smirking viciously. Roxas felt his left eye twitch. "And don't worry. I'm attracted to the ladies, such as that pretty girl over there," he gave a wave over to Kairi, whose face turned an interesting shade of red, "than little boys like you two."
"Little!?" Roxas exclaimed, but Axel simply ignored him.
"Roxas!" Sora tugged on his brother's arm. "I was just asking Axel about his dancing skills. Besides, I'm the older brother; I have to watch over you, stupid."
"I'm old enough to watch myself, thank you very much." Roxas scowled, tugging his arm from his brother's grip. "I'm going home – I'll let mom kill you when you finally decide to return."
With that, he turned around, snatching the basket from Riku's arms, and stalked off into the crowd. Sora sighed, running a hand through his hair, before dropping the munny into Axel's hand. "Sorry about that… Besides, I know you need the munny more than I do."
"Roxas, huh?" Axel asked, pocketing the munny with a thankful nod. "Bit of a temper in him, huh?"
Sora gave a nervous laugh. "Just a bit…overprotective, you could say."
"Hm… Well," Axel shrugged. "He's right. I'm mean and dangerous. Besides, you know how I keep my spot?" With Sora raised his eyebrows, Axel calmly lit his hands on fire, smiling slightly when Sora jumped back. "I'm the only guy who can wield fire and dance. Pretty nice, huh?"
"Sora!" Riku shouted, approaching Axel. When he noted Axel's hand on fire, his eyes widened. "How'd…"
"For me to know, for you to find out," Axel grinned to Riku, before winking over to Kairi. "Come here a second."
She blinked, before shaking her head. "No, I'm good. If you can do that with your hands…"
He rolled his eyes before grabbing her arm and bringing her close to him, much against her will, and whispered in her ear. "Try and stay away from me girly, alright? I'm a dangerous man."
Giving her a wink, he blacked away slowly, before disappearing into the shadows. Kairi blinked, before glancing over to her two best friends, glancing to the ground in an attempt to hide her face. "So…"
Riku raised his eyebrow. "What did he say?"
"Nothing, to be honest," Kairi shrugged, shaking her head. Grabbing Sora's arm, she gave Riku a smile. "Come on – let's head back home. I'm getting kinda tired."
Riku only shook his head as he watched Kairi drag Sora away, before sighing and slowly walking behind the two to catch up.
"Sora would have a heart attack if he saw you."
Kairi froze as she finished closing her door, before turning around to see Roxas raising his eyebrow at her. She exhaled and frowned. "Thanks so you, I could've had one myself," she grumbled, shaking her head. "Relax, I'm …wait. Why are you out here?"
Shrugging, Roxas moved away from her door step, and allowed her to step onto the road. "I couldn't sleep," he admitted, shaking his head. "I was in the kitchen and saw you moving around. So I decided to investigate."
"I'm practically old enough to marry, Roxas," Kairi hissed, sharper than she wanted. Biting her tongue, she sighed. "Look. It's late. You go on back to bed, and I'll talk to you later."
"You can't go see him."
"See who?" Kairi fiddled with a strand of her hair. "I have no idea what you're talking about."
Roxas narrowed his eyes. "You're not stupid, and neither am I. That redheaded gypsy – he could kill you."
"He could," she mumbled, giving up her attempt to disguise what she was doing. "But… haven't you ever wanted to do something out of the norm? Just…to live?"
He ran a hand through his hair. "Kairi…"
"Look," she said. "I'm old enough to know what I'm doing, as do you. I'll talk to you later, alright?"
Without another word, she walked into the night, refusing to look behind her as she drew her shawl around her tighter. She knew Roxas was only trying to help, but there was nothing wrong with just passing by where that guy had been earlier, right? Just a glimpse…?
Kairi frowned as she passed Axel's earlier spot, seeing no movement. Perhaps Roxas and Axel were right.
Suddenly a voice from the shadows spoke, frightening her: "I said not to come."
She bit her lip before giving a sigh. "I'm just taking a stroll."
The shadow stepped into the light of a nearby torch hanging on a buildings wall; Axel shook his head, bringing his hand to his face. "I'll take it you're not afraid of danger, girl? I could kill you now – I'm a gypsy." He wiggled his fingers to give her the full effect but she only giggled softly.
"I hang out with three teenaged boys – danger isn't a part of my vocabulary."
Axel's eyes narrowed. "I wasn't joking."
Kairi shrugged. "Neither was I."
Neither spoke for a minute, before Axel smirked. "Well, color me intrigued. You're a strange girl… What's your name again?"
As she approached him, Kairi realized that with in the dark and the torch nearby, Axel's face looked even more frightening than before. Interesting as well, she noted. "Kairi. You're Axel, right?"
He gave her a mock bow. "I should be honored that the lady knows my name." She smiled slightly as he stood back up. "Look, I'm busy, so why don't you run along home so people don't think I'm trying to kidnap you?"
"I'll be okay," Kairi offered. Axel rolled his eyes, mumbling something how he wasn't worried about her as much as him, and she shrugged. "I'm not leaving."
"Stubborn, aren't you?" He gave her a toothy grin. "Well, if you're so prone to following me around, do me a favor? Be quiet and keep blondie back there quiet as well."
Kairi's eyes widened as she spun around, only to see Roxas watching the two of them wide eyes in horror. "Roxas?" She asked, biting her lip.
Roxas could only shake his head. "Sora's going to die when he hears about this!"
Kairi shook her head. "Sora's the one who is fascinated by gypsies. Riku will, however, have your neck that you didn't 'protect' me. And then Sora will be mad that I let his brother come… Oh, why did you come?"
"I was curious," Roxas spat back, before glancing to where Axel stood. …Or where he had stood, for when Roxas looked, all that was left of Axel was a small necklace. "Nice trick the guy has."
Blinking, Kairi turned around and gave an exasperated sigh, before picking up the necklace. "This…is weird," she admitted, turning it around. "I have no idea what it could be."
Roxas snatched the necklace from her hands. "It's a map."
She turned to face him, eyes narrowing. "A map?"
He raised his eyebrow. "Don't ask me. It was the gypsy that gave it to you…" Suddenly, he looked around and grabbed her arm. Her eyes widened but he shushed her. "Kairi – you know what they do to people who wander around in the middle of the night. They'll think we're crazy!"
Not caring to be particularly polite, he dragged her back to his house, and, giving an extra glance outside, quietly shut the door.
"You two are quiet today," Riku said to Roxas the next day as the four of the traveled around the city. Sora was up ahead with an equally quiet Kairi picking out loaves of bread while Riku and Roxas walked slower.
Roxas shrugged. "None of your business."
"It isn't," Riku agreed, glancing to look to where Sora and Kairi were standing. "But if it had anything to do with my friends, I'd be forced to know – now tell me, why are you two so quiet?"
"It is none of your business," Roxas all but hissed, glaring over to Riku. "I know you're best friends, but that entitlement doesn't go to me – I'm just shopping with you so Sora picks out the right food.
"And," Roxas added with a scowl. "If you're so curious, ask Kairi." Without another word, he stormed ahead, and, as he approached Sora and Kairi, his mood dropped. "That's not the bread mom likes," he scolded, pointing Sora in the right direction. "Idiot."
Sora only frowned, before moving over to another part of the market to exchange the food. Roxas turned to Kairi and narrowed his eyes. "Why are you wearing that necklace?"
"What are you, my mother?"
"No," Roxas nodded. "I'm your best friend's brother. Now, why?"
She bit her lip with a shrug, seeming to resist the urge to touch the necklace to reassure that it was there. "I feel like it. And it makes last night real – why can't I?"
He was about to say more to her when Riku approached them both, looking suspicious. Both Roxas and Kairi looked away from each other, and glanced on ahead to where Sora was standing. Roxas groaned, and quickly ran after his brother, seeing the brunet talking with Axel again. Riku only shook his head as he and Kairi followed slowly after.
"We're best friends, right Kairi?" He asked. She blinked, and nodded.
"Of course, silly. Why wouldn't we be?"
He raised an eyebrow. "You wouldn't be hiding anything from me, would you?"
Kairi blinked again, before fiddling with her hands. "Of course not," she said, surprised at how calm she sounded. "Why would I?
He did not reply, content on watching Roxas trying to drag Sora away from Axel. The redhead only raised his eyebrow at the two, before catching Kairi's eye and grinning. Deftly moving towards her, he grabbed her hand and gently tugged her into a simple dance. She couldn't help but grin back to him, entranced by how he moved and the rhythm of the beat that another gypsy was playing.
"Stay away from them!" Kairi froze, and turned her head to see a young mother and a girl, the mother dragging the girl away. "They're gypsies! They'll steal us blind!"
Kairi opened her mouth to protest when Axel dropped her hands. "Leave," he hissed, before nudging the dark skinned, raven haired girl next to him. "Esmeralda, the guards are onto us."
Esmeralda quietly cursed. "Grab the munny," she instructed; Axel nodded and quickly scooped up a nearby hat full of coins.
Giving the four teenagers a wink, Axel quickly ran into an alley way, disappearing into the shadows.
Riku grabbed Kairi's hand. "Come on, Kairi," he mumbled, dragging her away against her will. "If we were to be seen with gypsies…"
She tugged her hand out of his grip. "There's nothing wrong with them!"
Roxas approached her other side, holding Sora back from running after Axel as well. "But you know how Frollo despises them… And he controls the captain of the guards. You cannot be seen with them."
Riku looked from Roxas to Kairi, making a mental note to ask her again what had happened. Nevertheless, Kairi tugged her arm from Riku's grip and shook her head. "I'll …I'll be back in a bit," she called over her shoulder as she ran into the same alleyway Axel had disappeared to.
As the light and warmth of the sun suddenly vanished, she shivered, and rubbed her arms, continuing to run through the alley way. After a few minutes of seeing no one, she frowned, and slowed down to a walk, looking both left and right to make sure she hadn't missed him. "Axel…?" She called softly, taking a tentative step forward.
Suddenly, a pair of arms shot out of the darkness, grabbing her waist and covering her mouth. She squirmed, but the mysterious person said nothing and slowly dragged her away.
"Well, well, well, what do we have here?"
Kairi was shoved to the ground, but instantly jumped to her feet, her eyes widening as she saw a circle of gypsies surrounding her. "I'm…"
"Don't interrupt me!" the main gypsy shouted at her, shaking his finger. "Following after one of us? Well, you're clever to have found our hideaway… Unfortunately, you won't live to tell the tale—"
The circle parted, and in ran Axel, out of breath and confused. He groaned, before grabbing her arm, and pulling her to his side. "She's with me, Clopin."
Clopin gave a laugh. "So? She was following you. You know what we do to trespassers…"
Axel rolled his eyes. "I don't care. She's with me."
They had a stare down for a moment, before Clopin shrugged. "She says a word, she hangs." Clopin ordered, to which Axel nodded. Turning his attention away, he only clapped his hands. "Ohh… another spy. This isn't good. How are they all finding us?"
Kairi pulled herself from Axel's grip and turned to see Roxas struggling against another guard. "I'll let you and your pretty girlfriend go, Axel," Clopin smiled at him. "But the boy will have to die."
"No!" Kairi ran up to Roxas, who had calmed down a bit thanks to see her safe. "What are you doing here?"
Roxas gritted his teeth. "I followed you. You think I'd let you just run after a gypsy unprotected? You could've died!"
"Well," Clopin interupped, patting his head. "You will!"
Kairi shook her head, and tugged on his arm. "Please, he was only protecting me… We won't tell where this place is, we promise…"
Clopin tapped his chin. "Promises aren't always kept…"
Groaning, Axel dug in his pockets. "Clopin?" When the older gypsy turned, Axel threw the munny at him. "Blondie's related to the boy who gave me this. Let him go."
With a sigh, Clopin tapped the man holding Roxas and the man dropped him, causing Roxas to fall to his knees. He jumped back to his feet only to be dragged away by Axel, with Kairi on his other side.
"Is it your," Axel began, shoving the two of them into his tent. "Plan in life to ruin me?"
"If you hadn't tried to seduce Kairi last night!" Roxas shouted, glaring at Axel. Axel only shook his head, and walked to a small cabinet.
Kairi shook her head at both of them. "Honestly, Roxas. I wasn't and have never been seduced. Relax."
"Why'd you run after him, then?" Roxas asked, shaking her shoulders. "Why'd you dance with him? Kairi, they're gypsies! They could kill us!"
"I'm right here, you know," Axel muttered, handing Kairi a piece of bread. When Roxas raised his eyebrow, Axel ignored him. "And they won't. She would've gotten away. You? Thank your brother next time you see him."
Roxas narrowed his eyes. "Maybe if you'd stay the hell away from us…"
Axel calmly raised his eyebrow. "I'm not the one following you. Though…" he pointed to Kairi's chest, and she flushed. "That necklace will show you where we are. Don't lose it – people in Paris would rather us hang then live under here like rats."
The black haired woman from before entered the tent, tsking at Axel. "It's not all that bad, you know."
"Privacy, Esmeralda, do you know it?" He asked, giving her a small smile. Kairi gave a small curtsy and Roxas scowled.
Esmeralda only smiled, and patted Roxas's head, causing him to growl more. "It's very nice to meet you, Kairi," she said to Kairi. "It's not as if Axel hasn't been talking about you every day."
"Funny," Axel chipped in. "Stop fuming blondie – you don't look pretty that way."
Roxas narrowed his eyes and moved his head away from Esmeralda. "You guys are able to steal our souls in the middle of the night. Why should we trust you?"
Esmeralda raised her eyebrow. "If we could do that, we wouldn't be dancing for coins, blondie."
"My name is Roxas!"
She gave a shrug. "Roxas then. But not to throw any of you out…"
"Which we should be doing," Axel muttered.
"Then why'd you kidnap me?" Kairi asked, shaking her head. "I mean, I was just following you and was about to give up when someone grabbed me!"
Esmeralda and Axel exchanged glances. "Five munny says it was Demyx." Esmeralda gave a chuckle. "He always says he's trying to look out for the ladies."
"Yeah, except she would've been killed with out me," Axel grumbled, patting Kairi's shoulder. "She's lucky I'm here."
Kairi smiled up to him. "What are you, my knight in shining armor?"
Axel grinned down to her. "How about your gypsy, protecting from the shadows?"
"As much as I hate to break up the festival of goo," Roxas interjected, his eyes narrowed into slits. "Kairi, Sora and Riku were looking for you when I left. If we're not back soon, they'll rile the entire city."
She frowned, and twiddled her thumbs. "Maybe not the whole city…"
"No, blondie's right," Axel said, ignoring Roxas's indignant squawks. "Better get you home… besides. We're performing at the Festival of Fools tomorrow. Stop by and see me, alright?"
Grinning, Kairi looked up to him. "Alright, as long as you don't try and burn me."
"Ah, I wouldn't burn you…" he drawled off, giving Roxas a pointed glare. Shaking his head, he grabbed Roxas's arm and dragged him up. "Don't come down here again – next time, Clopin won't be as kind."
Esmeralda gave a nod. "Make sure to see me as well. It will be a festival to remember!" She gave Kairi and Roxas a wave as Axel dragged them out of her tent.
"Remember, you were never down here," Axel instructed, as he walked to the city's lines. "This is as far as I can go without getting caught."
"Good," Roxas shot back. "Stay there."
"Thanks," Kairi smiled, ignoring Roxas. "You really helped me back there."
Axel shrugged. "Anything for a pretty young lady." He reached down, took her hand, and gave it a kiss. "See you tomorrow."
Kairi took her hand back, blushing, and turned to Roxas. He only glared harder at her. "Better wipe that grin off your face before Sora and Riku see it – they'll explode from jealousy."
She nodded, and turned to say goodbye to Axel, only to see that he'd disappeared. With a frown, she turned back to the city, and ran alongside Roxas.
"Where have the two of you been?!" Sora exclaimed, snatching Kairi up into a hug when he saw them approach. "We were about to tell your mom, Kairi!"
Kairi only patted Sora's back. "I'm sorry I ran off like that…"
"Wait, no one cares about me?" Roxas asked, shaking his head. "Thanks guys."
Riku shrugged. "Hey, we know you can take care of yourself. But where were you two?"
Kairi pulled herself from Sora's embrace and exchanged glances with Roxas. He only raised his eyebrow and shrugged, so she frowned. "Um…about."
"About?" Riku echoed, shaking his head. "Kairi… that Axel guy didn't hurt you, did he?"
She thought back to the kiss and she blushed slightly, lowering her head. Sora's eyes widened and he turned to Roxas, who only sighed. "Nothing happened. She ran off. I followed her. The end. Besides, shouldn't we be getting ready for the Festival of Fools?"
Raising an eyebrow, Sora shook his head. "But Roxas…you hate the Festival."
"Yeah," Roxas nodded. "But I thought Kairi would want to go." He gave her a pointed stared, before turning and heading off to his house. Sora and Riku gave her a strange look, and she shook her head.
"It's nothing guys. I promise. Besides," she smiled, and poked Sora's cheek. "He's right. We should be getting ready for the festival."
Sora only sighed, but smiled back, giving her another hug. "We were really worried, Kairi."
She hugged him tightly back, and ignored the suspicious stare she was getting from Riku.
The next day, Roxas, Sora, Riku, and Kairi walked slowly through the crowds, Kairi and Sora in awe at everything they saw.
"Did you see the guy on stilts?" Sora asked, grinning over to her. She only beamed back.
"Yeah! Come on, there's another show!" And together they raced off into the crowd.
Riku brought his palm to his face. "I swear, some days they act like children."
"They're your best friends," Roxas mumbled, glancing around. "Hey look. Esmeralda's dancing." He smiled slightly and approached the platform where she was. As she danced, she caught his eye, and gave him a wink, causing him to flush and lower his head.
"How do you know her name?" Riku asked, causing Roxas to raise his head again.
Roxas bit the inside of his cheek. "Does it matter?" He muttered, moving away to see where Sora and Kairi went.
Riku stopped him, and grabbed his arm. "Yes, it does. If you and Kairi somehow snuck off to the Gypsies' Cave…"
"It wasn't a cave," Roxas retorted, before stopping short. "Uh…nothing. It was nothing."
Riku's eyes flashed. "You brought Kairi to such a dangerous place?! What were you thinking?!"
"What was I thinking, Riku?" Roxas spat back, glaring. "I followed her so she wouldn't get hurt! In fact, she was perfectly fine because fire man saved her."
Riku exhaled loudly and shook his head at Roxas. "I don't believe you."
"Then don't believe me," Roxas shrugged. "I'm going to go find Sora. Stay here and pout all you want."
Roxas turned and stalked off, scowling. He hadn't tried to get Kairi in trouble - that should've been noticeable when he ran after her to such a dangerous place. Sometimes she was worth more trouble than a little, but he'd still run after her.
…Because she was his brother's friend. If she got hurt, Sora would never be happy again.
At least, that's what Roxas gently reminded himself as he approached both Sora and Kairi watching another booth. "Here you two are," he mumbled, shaking his head. "We've been looking for you."
Kairi turned around, looking confused. "We? Where's Riku?"
Roxas turned, realizing he did leave Riku. Whoops. "Uh, looking at something else," he shrugged, before glancing at the attraction and groaning. "Not him…"
Axel only grinned at the recognition, and reached out for Roxas's arm. "Now, ladies and gentlemen," he said, ignoring the gasps that came from the crowd. "I shall set his arm alight, and he will feel no pain!"
"Wait a minute, you're not going to…!" Roxas trailed off, as Axel, still holding his arm, did set it on fire. On closer inspection (which one would normally do, if their arm was on fire), he realized only Axel's arm was lit, and it started on the back of him palm, making the fire look like it was burning Roxas, but was essentially only burning Axel. Or not, considering how he only grinned at the applause from the crowd.
Letting Roxas go, Axel gave a bow, and the crowd clapped, dropping coins into a hat. Some of the crowd, however, only backed away from Roxas, giving Axel a look that clearly said that they thought he was evil. He winked, and those people walked away even faster.
Axel turned to Kairi, who smiled at him. "Glad that you and blondie came to see me."
She was about to reply when Riku suddenly skidded next to the three of them. "Guys? That Esmeralda gypsy just pissed off Frollo, and he's guards are going crazy. He should watch out." He nodded his head in Axel's direction. Axel gave a nod of thanks, before turning and quickly running into the crowd. Kairi's eyes widened and she quickly took after him, much to the dismay of the three others.
Sora and Riku tried to follow directly after her, but got lost within the crowd that was cheering on Esmeralda's escape. Roxas, however, left the festival entirely and ran to where Axel had dropped Kairi and he off. He knew she knew what she was doing, but at the same time, he hoped that he was wrong. Axel was a dangerous person, Roxas reasoned to himself, and that's why he had to save her, brother's best friend or not.
When he got there, he saw Kairi sprinting to the entrance of the Court of Miracles, where the gypsies lived, and he intercepted her, grabbing her arm and stopping her short. "Let me go!" she exclaimed, attempting to wiggle out of Roxas's grasp.
"He's dangerous, Kairi!" he shouted, refusing to let go. "Frollo's after the gypsies; Axel is one, and he'll kill you for his own safety!"
Kairi shook her head violently. "Axel wouldn't. I know that."
"Kairi," Roxas sighed. "You don't know him! He could sell you out, for all you know!"
"He wouldn't!" she repeated, struggling. "I want to go after him."
Roxas bit his lip, before turning Kairi around and kissing her on the lips, in some sick relief to himself, and perhaps as a way to calm her down.
Seeing how hard she slapped him after it, it was certainly only the former.
"Don't try me, Roxas!" Kairi exclaimed, shaking her head. "I … love him."
Roxas groaned, rubbing the slap mark with a glare. "Kairi, you've known him for all of three days! I've known you my whole life! Can't you trust me a little?!"
She shook her head, and slowly began to walk away from him. "I'm sorry, Roxas."
With that, she turned and continued running towards the entrance of the Court of Miracles.
Roxas only watched her run, before dejectedly heading back to the city, wondering what he would tell Sora and Riku.
"I still can't believe she slapped you," Sora sighed, shaking his head and handing Roxas a wet cloth.
"I still can't believe you kissed her," Riku narrowed his eyes. "Perhaps we should kill you instead?"
"Whatever," Roxas groaned, lowering his head onto the table. They were sitting in Sora and Roxas's family kitchen, and Sora and Roxas's parents were trying to convince Kairi's father she would return safely. "I don't care anymore."
"We know where they are," Sora said, glancing to Roxas. "Well, you do. We can save her…"
Riku shook his head. "She doesn't want to be saved, Sora. That's the point."
Sora frowned, and drummed his fingers against the table top. "But…we have to save her. If not, people will think that she was …"
Sora and Roxas' parents burst in, along with Kairi's father. The three boys jumped to their feet but the parents hardly noticed them for Kairi's father was too busy shouting. "She has been kidnapped by gypsies!" he exclaimed, slamming his fist on the table. "My only daughter has been taken by those vermin!"
"Now, now…" Sora's mother shook her head. "I'm sure she just went missing from the chaos at the festival…"
He glared at her. "She has never disappeared before!"
Roxas rolled his eyes, thinking back, but Kairi's father noticed, and approached him. "What? You know something? Speak! Speak!" Seeing the slap mark on his cheek, Kairi's father simply shook his head. "You wouldn't know the ways of women anyway." He turned away, and continued talking with Sora's father. "We must send out a search party! Right now!"
Sora's father only shook his head. "Frollo is searching for the gypsies. If he finds them, they find her. Easier for us."
Kairi's father nodded, and the parents moved outside to discuss some more.
Roxas twitched. "We have to save her." Sora turned to respond, but he continued, "Frollo is mad with power – we all know that. If she was caught with them and he simply killed off the gypsies…"
Riku's expression grew grim as he got what Roxas was saying. "She could be killed accidentally."
Gulping, Sora nodded. "Alright. When do we leave?"
"The sooner the better." Roxas said, heading for the door.
Riku grabbed Roxas's arm, stopping him. "Tonight. If we head out now, we'll be showing Frollo where she is. Make it tonight."
They were almost unable to go that night. Rumors of Captain Phoebus's betrayal and Frollo's mad siege to find Esmeralda (and the other gypsies) made leaving the house almost impossible. But after midnight, when the soldiers weren't on their street and their parents were all asleep, Sora and Riku ran after Roxas as he led them to the Court of Miracles.
"The gypsies are going to kill us," Riku mumbled under his breath. Sora shook his head, and Roxas ignored them both, moving aside a tombstone and slipping under.
Once everyone was down, they continued to creep through the crypts; Roxas was glad that he actually paid attention when Axel took them out – he now knew where the bobby traps were.
"Are we close?" Sora whispered, but Roxas just put a finger to his lips, and continued sneaking through the crypts.
"Well, well, well… oh. It's just blondie." Roxas gritted his teeth and glanced up, seeing Clopin standing on a small bridge that connected the ceiling to the ground, shaking his head. "Well, your fair maiden is in there. And didn't you say you wouldn't mention to anyone where our hideaway was…?" He trailed off, glaring menacingly at Sora and Riku. Riku stood up straight and clenched his fists; Roxas grabbed Riku's arm.
"I know," Roxas said, forcibly unclenching Riku's hand. "We're saving the fair maiden, and then leaving. Don't worry."
Clopin narrowed his eyes, but the three boys ran into the Court with Roxas leading the way to Axel's tent. They didn't even get there when they saw Kairi in a circle, smiling and talking to a group of children. Roxas held back as Sora ran ahead to Kairi, with Riku trailing close behind.
"You guys!" She grinned, standing up and giving them tight hugs. "How'd you get here…?" She froze when she saw Roxas, before giving a sigh. "I'm sorry I hit you."
He absentmindedly rubbed his cheek. "I deserved it."
Axel appeared, giving Kairi a faint smile before turning to Roxas. "Any reason why I shouldn't set you on fire now?"
Roxas looked away and Riku stepped up to talk. "You're being hunted for kidnapping Kairi."
"We were afraid that Kairi would get hurt if Frollo found this place," Sora chimed in. "In the city, he's arresting everyone in his way to get to this place."
Axel nodded, and with a sigh, turned to Kairi. "You have to leave."
She closed her eyes, but nodded slowly. "And you?"
He gave a dry chuckle. "I'm a freak, if you forgot. Normal people can't summon fire with their hands." Kairi sighed, but walked over and gave him a tight squeeze, to which he lightly hugged her back.
Roxas, who wasn't watching the entire event unfolding in front of his eyes, noticed a group of people being dragged onto a platform. "Hey… isn't that the bell ringer?"
The group looked up, seeing both Quasimodo and Phoebus on the platform, about to be hanged; Axel cursed under his breath. "I need to tell Esmeralda," he said, moving away from Kairi and running to another tent.
Kairi twiddled her thumbs, before walking over to Roxas. She turned his face towards him, and gave him a hug. "Thanks for bringing them here to warn me, Roxas."
He said nothing, and only nodded as a response.
Axel approached again, in which he grabbed both Kairi and Roxas's arms. "You two," he nodded to Riku and Sora. "Follow me. You need another way to get out."
Axel dragged Roxas and Kairi after him, closely followed by Riku and Sora. "What's going on?" Sora asked, running to match Axel's pace.
"Esmeralda's goat may be weird," Axel explained, "but it knows things. It started freaking out when I told Esmeralda that Phoebus and Quasimodo were here – I'm thinking Frollo might've followed them."
"I heard Phoebus had betrayal Frollo!" Riku exclaimed, as they all followed Axel through winding passage ways.
Axel shook his head, before using his shoulder to force open a door. Moonlight shone in, and Axel turned back to them, looking eerie in the light. "He might've followed anyway. Now, continue straight and you'll reach the city. Get home, stay home." He gave Kairi a pointed look. "Be safe."
"What about you?" Kairi asked, looking as though she already knew the answer.
Axel only gave her a grim smile, and kissed her forehead. "I'll be alright." He glanced over to Roxas. "Blondie? Watch over her for me, alright?"
Ignoring Sora's protests of how they were best friends, Roxas nodded. Axel gave a grin, and shoved the four of them outside. "Now go! Before they catch you!"
Riku moved to hold Kairi back from running back in, but she stayed calmly still, as Axel grinned at them again and shut the door tightly. "We need to leave," Riku gently reminded her.
"I know," she said quietly, and the four of them ran off into the night.
"Kairi!" Upon arriving home an hour or so later, Kairi was smothered by her parents in tight hugs. "We were so worried that those nasty gypsies would have killed you!"
She only shook her head. "I'm fine, Mother."
Her father shook his head. "Did you all hear?" He asked, addressing Riku, Sora, and Roxas. "They've all been captured!"
"The gypsies?!" Sora exclaimed, eyes wide when her father nodded. "But why? They did nothing wrong!"
Kairi's father narrowed his eyes. "Kidnapping my daughter is one crime, and being a witch is another!"
Riku stepped forward, shaking his head. "No…they got Esmeralda too?"
Her father gave them all strange looks. "I don't want to know why you know the witch's name, but I won't pry. I'll leave that to your mother. Nevertheless, the two of them are to be burned in the square tomorrow, and we shall go to watch."
"But Father, Frollo has gone mad with power!" Kairi tried to protest.
Her father narrowed his eyes. "To your room! You have caused us nothing but shame for the past few days, and I will not tolerate this! Now go!"
She bit her lip, and ran farther into the house. Roxas looked after her, but Sora only shook his head, and, along with Riku, pulled him out of Kairi's house.
The next morning, the four of them were in the center square, amongst the crowd waiting to watch Esmeralda and Axel burn. To their surprise, most of the crowd was shouting against Frollo, saying that he had gone crazy, but he had long since stopped listening. The four of them were standing in the only available spot there was to see – next to a cart holding gypsies.
Kairi shook her head, looking onto the platform desperately. "Where is Axel? I see Esmeralda but…"
One of the gypsies inside of the cart eyes widened. "Wait… Axel? You knew him?"
Riku raised his eyebrow. "Knew?"
Kairi shook her head. "I…I thought he was to be burned alive today…"
The gypsy shook his head. "Name's Demyx, by the way," Demyx said with a grim smile. "I'm kinda like Axel, but I manipulate water. And if you knew Axel, you'd know that he couldn't be burned at a stake – nothing would happen to him!"
Kairi's eyes widened, but Roxas goaded him on. "What happened to him then?" He asked. "Where is he?"
Demyx's eyes lowered. "They drowned him, just as dawn broke. He was a man of many talents, but he feared water and couldn't swim. Add that factor to leaded weights on his feet, and he sunk within seconds."
Giving a gasp, Kairi raised her hand to cover her mouth, and Sora gave her a tight hug. Roxas rubbed his neck, feeling bad about the insults he'd given to Axel and Riku shook his head. "Wow…" Riku muttered in disbelief. "That's…that wasn't right."
"I'm sorry, Kairi…" Sora said, patting her back.
Demyx raised his eyes again. "Wait, you're that Kairi?" She blinked back tears, but nodded. "I didn't talk to Axel ever so I didn't know… But before he was pushed into the river, he smiled and said goodbye to some girl named Kairi – you, I'll presume."
She gave a small smile. "I'd hopefully presume, yeah."
"Get away from the cages!" A guard exclaimed, pushing Riku back. He pointed his sword at the four of them, before turning and glaring at Demyx. "Don't talk to them you vermin!" Demyx gritted his teeth and shook the bars, but could do little else.
Sora finally let Kairi go, and Roxas stood next to her. "I am sorry, even if I didn't like him much," he muttered, lowering her head. "And I'm sorry about the other thing…too."
Kairi only rested her head against his shoulder, to which he gave a sad smile at, and wrapped his arm around her.
From high above in Notre Dame, the bells rang loudly as though signaling the end of this nightmare.