Act II: Let's Do The Time Warp Again
Roxas slept through his alarm the next morning. When he finally woke up an hour after he was supposed to have been at work, he only rolled over and stared gloomily at the wall, mind still trying to come to terms with all that had transpired in the last day and a half. How could so many things go so completely, utterly wrong in under forty-eight hours?
Axel was his friend. And a guy. Who happened to look really, really good dressed up in makeup and heels. …And whom he was apparently dating.
Roxas groaned and pulled the blanket back up over his head.
Yevon, he was so fucked.
Roxas didn't think it would be exaggerating to say the next few weeks comprised their own special sort of hell. He took great pains to avoid seeing Axel at the theater, so as to deprive himself of any further chance of accidentally catching sight of the man in costume, but after that first wet dream, it seemed something buried deeply inside his mind clicked over and he couldn't find the means to change it back. True, Axel was no more attractive than he'd ever been, but now Roxas noticed it. Constantly. And though he'd always enjoyed the redhead's company, he now found any time spent with Axel tinged with the same sort of irrational guilt he'd experienced on the morning after his first dream involving the redhead. He thought it a great testament to his strength of will that he managed to keep all hints of his emotional turmoil from his friends.
Even if it was driving him insane.
Roxas sat stiffly, carefully holding his body away from Axel's and pretending to watch the movie playing out on the redhead's television; in reality he was sneaking glances at the redhead out of the corner of his eye every chance he got. He, Naminé, and Axel were all gathered on the couch, Axel in the middle, long arms resting across the back of the couch, his left arm so close to Roxas's head he imagined he could feel the heat from the redhead's skin. Roxas hadn't wanted to come, but hadn't been able to come up with an excuse that wouldn't have made it pathetically obvious that he was trying to avoid the redhead's company.
It had been almost three weeks since his last trip to the theater, and he hadn't been aware of just how often he saw Axel until he started trying to avoid the man. Being absent from the theater during rehearsals only seemed to bring the barest minimum of time not spent in the redhead's company. Axel was there first thing in the morning, dragging Roxas out for breakfast at least three days a week with the excuse that he didn't trust Roxas to eat correctly when he couldn't even remember to do his shopping. In the evenings when Roxas was done with his odd jobs and Axel was done with rehearsal, the redhead invariably had a new movie or video game he wanted Roxas to see, or a scene he was having trouble with and wanted Roxas to help him through. Roxas couldn't go a day without hearing from him in one form or another, and while it had never bothered him before, with Hayner's words still circling restlessly in his head he found it suddenly bothered him a great deal. As did the fact that he suddenly couldn't stop sneaking glances at the man.
And it really didn't help that the dreams didn't seem like they would be stopping any time soon.
Axel's hand tapped the back of his head, and Roxas brought himself back to the present with a start. "What?"
"I said I'm gonna go get a drink, do you want anything?" Axel said, sounding faintly exasperated. Roxas shook his head and Axel pushed himself up with a sigh. "What's with you lately, Blondie?" he asked as he walked around the low divider separating the living room from the kitchen. Roxas only huddled further into himself, frowning. Naminé studied his expression silently for a minute before she scooted across the cushions and laid a tentative hand on his arm.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
Roxas shrugged and managed a thin smile. "Yeah." Naminé looked like she wanted to say something else, but right then Axel walked back into the room with two glasses in his hands. He arched an eyebrow and Naminé scooted back to her original spot, giving Roxas's arm a brief squeeze before she pulled away. Axel handed her one of the glasses and sank back down between the two of them, shifting for a minute until he was comfortable.
"What'd I miss?" he asked. Naminé and Roxas glanced at each other and shrugged simultaneously. "Thanks, you guys are an enormous help," Axel huffed, reaching for the DVD remote. Roxas found himself staring at the man's hands, the way the bones and ligaments shifted and bunched underneath the skin; he knew from experience that Axel's palms were always almost uncomfortably warm, and he found himself thinking how nice it would feel to have the redhead's hand wrapped around his own to fend off the biting cold outdoors –
Roxas brought his thoughts to a screeching halt. Yevon's sake, he sounded like a prepubescent girl. He tore his eyes from Axel's hands, glaring at the television and concentrating on keeping the heat crawling up his neck from reaching his hairline. The next time he saw Hayner, he was going to punch him for ever opening his stupid mouth. Because once he'd made his stupid little observation, it had burrowed its way under Roxas's skin and into his brain, where it had proceeded to fester ever since. He'd tried to tell himself Hayner had just been lashing out – Roxas had been the one to provoke him – but the more he'd thought about it, the more he'd found the other man's assertions held up under scrutiny; he was practically dating his best friend.
Which was a fairly fucked up realization to come to, but which, he'd found, didn't bother him nearly as much as it probably should have.
His eyes drifted back toward Axel, discreetly studying the redhead's profile. He'd spent the last ten years of his twenty-two-year-old life considering himself straight, if remarkably immune to the majority of the charms of the fairer sex, and the fact that Axel was…well, a guy was a pretty big blow to that perception. Hell, it pretty much annihilated it. It seemed like there should be more drama inherent in the discovery that he could be attracted to another man.
Roxas blew his breath out in an aggravated sigh and drew his legs up underneath him, hugging his arms disconsolately across his chest. Sure, the whole Axel being a guy thing had come as something of a rude surprise, but he thought that if the problem had been mere attraction on a physical level, he could've handled the situation a lot better than he was currently doing. Because the part that made the whole thing almost unbearable wasn't the wet dreams, or the fact that he couldn't really bring himself to look straight at the redhead anymore, or even the fact that his once assured opinion of his sexual orientation had been overturned with such little internal fuss – the worst part was that underneath the uncertainty and the school-girl fantasies and the massive amounts of guilt, the absolute hell of it all was…he really did like the guy.
Axel laughed at something on the screen, and Roxas sank down a little further in his seat, closing his eyes and cursing under his breath.
When the movie was finally over, Roxas all but bolted from Axel's apartment, only waiting long enough for Naminé to grab her jacket and wish the redhead good night. He heaved a deep sigh as they reached the street, his shoulders unknotting for the first time all evening.
Naminé walked beside him silently for a while, though he noticed her occasionally glancing over at him, appearing to be on the verge of saying something before she'd give a little shrug and turn her eyes forward again. The fourth time it happened he turned his head and caught her in the act. "What?"
Naminé held his gaze for a moment before turning her eyes forward. "Nothing." She tilted her head, peering at him from the corner of her eye before she spoke again. "Sora's invited everybody to a Halloween party tomorrow night. Did you hear about that?" Roxas nodded. "Are you going to go?"
"Well, think about it, okay?" she said as they paused in front of her building. "You need to get out of your apartment, Roxas. You haven't been to the theater for almost three weeks, now." Her lips quirked into a small smile. "Demyx won't stop asking when you're coming back."
Roxas chuckled in spite of himself. "I'll think about it, Naminé."
"It'll be fun," she said, voice faintly pleading.
"I don't have anything to wear."
Naminé smiled as she stretched up to give him a peck on the cheek. "I'll get Marluxia to help me find something for you."
When Roxas returned from work the next afternoon, both Naminé and Marluxia were waiting for him in front of his building. Naminé was the first to spot him, slipping one arm out from underneath the garment bag she held clutched to her chest to give him a cheery wave. Marluxia glanced over in his direction and gave him a curt nod, keeping his hands tucked neatly in his suit's pockets.
"Hi guys," Roxas said cautiously as he approached, eyes traveling between the both of them. "What's going on?"
"We brought your costume," Naminé said, smiling serenely as she held the garment bag out to him.
"My…" Brow wrinkling in confusion, Roxas slid his arms around the slippery plastic. "What?"
"For Sora's party," Naminé prompted, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear.
Roxas sighed. "Naminé…"
"Come on, Roxas. Dress rehearsal's tomorrow and everybody needs to blow off a little steam. It'll be fun, all right? I promise," Naminé pressed, reaching out and laying a hand against his arm.
It was on the tip of his tongue to ask if Axel was going to be there, but Roxas swallowed the question and settled for shifting the garment bag in his arms. "Okay," he muttered. He glanced at Marluxia. "Thanks for the costume, I guess." Marluxia nodded and held out a plain white box he'd held tucked under his arm. "What's that?"
"Your ears," Marluxia said, tilting the box significantly as a small smirk graced his lips.
"My what?" Roxas turned and regarded Naminé with a hard stare, but she only smiled.
"Roxas, do you remember the year we did Cats?"
Roxas sat in the corner and sipped his sparkling cider, desperately wishing he'd had the foresight to bring something to spike the beverage with. The other partygoers milled around the room, some of them dancing in time to the music, others chatting amiably with one another. Roxas sighed and scratched at his scalp next to the place Naminé and Marluxia had pinned the soft yellow band attached to the blond, fuzzy cat ears currently poking up from his wind-swept hair. Roxas had flatly refused to wear the body suit, but had relented on the ears and the makeup. And while he had to admit that Marluxia had done an outstanding job, yet again, he constantly had to remind himself that he couldn't scratch his nose, no matter how much it itched.
Add to that the fact that Axel had already been present when they arrived, and Roxas had been more than ready to call it a night as soon as he'd walked in the door.
He glanced up as someone sat down next to him in a flurry of voluminous red skirts. Kairi smiled at him as she adjusted her crown against her silky hair. "Hey there, Roxas." Roxas grunted a greeting and tilted his head back for another sip of cider. "You have been sitting in this corner since you got here," Kairi continued, leaning back in her seat and resting her hands in her lap. She shrugged when Roxas arched an eyebrow at her. "As hostess, it is my job to notice these things," she intoned, smiling widely. "So what's got your fur in a twist? You're the only person here who hasn't tried to sneak off and figure out how many furnished bedrooms we have." Her eyes glinted as Roxas choked a little on his drink. "There are three, if you were wondering."
Still spluttering, Roxas set his drink on the nearby end table, catching himself before he could rub his sleeve against his mouth. "You have a tissue?" he managed between coughs.
Kairi glanced to her right and snatched a tissue from the box hidden behind a framed photo of her, Sora, and Riku standing on a beach somewhere, arms linked as they smiled at the camera. "Here you go."
"Thanks," Roxas muttered, dabbing at his chin and the front of his shirt.
Kairi's expression softened a little as she sighed, reaching up and wrapping a strand of red hair around her finger. "Really, are you all right, Roxas?"
Roxas caught sight of Axel standing across the room, dressed in an elegant black suit and cape, hair pulled back from his face in a severe ponytail and plastic fangs dimpling his lower lip. Roxas scowled and turned his gaze to the carpet at his feet. "Yeah." He gestured at the picture. "Where's that from?"
Kairi gave him a look that made it clear she saw right through his ruse, but she picked up the frame and held it in her hands. "We got this taken last Spring Break at Destiny Islands. Sora's thinking about moving out there after graduation."
Kairi sighed and set the picture back in its spot before standing and turning on him. "Come on," she commanded, grabbing his hands in hers and tugging him to his feet. "We'll get you another sparkling cider."
"I'm fine," Roxas tried to demur.
"And I am the Queen of Hearts," Kairi said, grinning. "And I command you to accompany me to the refreshments." Roxas rolled his eyes but couldn't help smiling as she pulled him behind her toward the heavily laden refreshment table set up against the far wall.
Before either of them could react, Demyx had appeared at their side and clapped both hands against Roxas's shoulders, spinning the shorter blond to face him. "You look great!" Demyx said, eyes wide with appreciation as he looked Roxas up and down.
"Thanks, Demyx. You too," Roxas replied, unable to stifle a smile at the older man's rhinestone-studded white pantsuit and black pompadour wig. Demyx beamed and released him, stepping back and striking a pose.
"You think so? Thanks!" Kairi slipped away and then reappeared with two glasses of sparkling cider, winking at Roxas as she pressed his glass into his hand before melting back into the crowd. "So how've you been?" Demyx asked. "We haven't seen you around the theater lately."
"Yeah." Roxas started to scratch his temple, then brought his hand back down to his side, frowning. "How're things going? You guys ready for Halloween night?"
Demyx shrugged and took a sip of his cider. "As ready as we'll ever be. You're gonna come, aren't you?"
"Of course." Roxas sighed, shaking his head. He glanced around the crowded room. "Where's Zexion?"
Demyx went up on tiptoe, turning in a full circle before he thumped back onto his heels, waving his free hand vaguely in the air. "Um…around. Look for a ridiculously big top hat – he came as the Mad Hatter." Roxas smirked but chose to remain silent, tipping back a long drink from his glass.
Naminé materialized at his side, smiling as she threaded her arm through his and gave him a brief squeeze. "Hey, guys."
Demyx reached over and flicked a finger against her thin wire halo, grinning. "Hey, yourself. Cute costume, Nami."
"Thank you, Demyx. Where's Zexion?"
Demyx shrugged and took a short sip from his drink. "Around."
"He's probably hiding in a corner somewhere, reading," Roxas said.
Demyx sighed and nodded. "Probably."
"Has anyone seen Hayner or Olette? They were supposed to come tonight," Naminé said, releasing Roxas's arm. Roxas shrugged as Demyx shook his head.
"They could be running late," Demyx pointed out.
Before anyone else could get a word in edgewise, a familiar saxophone riff started playing over the stereo system. There was a high pitched "Eddie!" and Demyx was suddenly stumbling under the weight of Yuffie – who was grinning manically and, Yevon help him, dressed as a ninja – and barely managing to keep his glass of cider from crashing to the floor.
"Yuffie, what…" Demyx trailed off, laughing as he wrapped his free arm around the petite woman's waist to steady the both of them.
"I put in a request," Yuffie said brightly.
"Whatever happened to Saturday night when you're at the job and you felt all right? It don't seem the same since cosmic light came into my life, I thought I was divi-ine…"
Demyx thrust his glass at Roxas, grinning, before disentangling Yuffie's arms from around his neck and lifting her by the waist, swinging her in a wide circle as the song continued.
"I used to go for a ride with a chick who'd go, and listen to the music on the radio. A saxophone was blowing on a rock and roll show; we climbed in the backseat, really had a good ti-ime…"
Roxas set both glasses back on the refreshment table and tugged Naminé over to stand next to him, grinning as he watched Demyx and Yuffie spin wildly in time to the music. "Hot patootie, bless my soul, sex, drugs, and marshmallows!" Demyx belted out before dissolving into laughter.
Naminé threaded her fingers through his, smiling when he glanced at her. "I'm glad you came, Roxas."
"Yeah," Roxas admitted, grinning ruefully. "Me, too."
As "Hot Patootie" wound to a close, Demyx and Yuffie drew apart, panting and grinning as they turned to face the rest of the room and take a deep bow. Demyx gallantly offered Yuffie his arm as "Monster Mash" started up and, laughing, they spun farther out into the room.
Roxas glanced at Naminé with a grin. "Wanna dance?" Not waiting for her to answer, he looped his arms loosely around her waist and spun her away from the table.
"Roxas, no –" Naminé tried to protest, laughing. Roxas ignored her, smiling and swaying in time to the music.
Naminé sighed and placed her hands on his shoulders. "Are you coming to the dress rehearsal tomorrow?"
Roxas shrugged. "I dunno."
"You should come, Roxas."
"Mind if I cut in?"
Roxas's stomach sank as he glanced up to find Axel standing next to them – he'd actually managed to forget about him for the last few minutes. His hands slid away from Naminé's waist and he stepped back, turning to go and grab another glass of cider, but a hand manacled his right wrist and turned him back. Roxas stumbled a little and almost fell into Axel, who placed one hand at Roxas's waist and steered him toward the center of the floor. "Nice ears," he said flatly.
Roxas was suddenly ridiculously grateful that he'd let Marluxia and Naminé talk him into the thick face paint – his ears were burning. "What the hell are you doing?" he hissed, tugging against the redhead's grip. Axel slid his hand from Roxas's wrist up to seize his hand, wrapping his fingers tightly around Roxas's.
"Making sure you can't run away from me," he said, pulling the blond into a spin.
Roxas clutched instinctively at Axel's arm to help him keep his balance. "What?"
"What the hell is your problem lately?" Axel demanded, grimacing when his fangs started to slip. He removed his hand from Roxas's waist to pull them out; Roxas took the opportunity to try and pull away from him, but Axel only grunted in annoyance and tugged him back. "You've been avoiding me all night."
Roxas scowled and held himself stiffly, trying to keep as much open space between himself and the redhead as he possibly could, glowering at the collar of Axel's dress shirt. "You're imagining things."
"Really?" Axel dipped him abruptly, frowning down at him when Roxas's eyes flashed up in surprise. "You haven't looked straight at me in weeks."
Roxas's throat constricted as he stared up at the redhead. The color was high in Axel's cheeks and his eyes were burning; he'd had his hair trimmed for the show and the shorter spikes were working their way free of the ponytail, falling around his face and neck, and he was just too close –
Roxas closed his eyes, planted his free hand against Axel's chest, and shoved him off of him with all his strength – which, considering his current position, wasn't much, but if he didn't shove him he was going to kiss him, and if he kissed him…well, there was just no way in hell he was going to kiss him. Axel stumbled back a step, pulling Roxas back upright, and Roxas took advantage of the redhead's surprise to twist out of his hold, turning and shoving his way through the crowd toward the door. Axel didn't try to stop him, and Roxas snatched his coat from the closet and left, slamming the door behind him.
He paused on the sidewalk, watching his breath steam in the air before he turned and trudged toward the nearest tram stop. He sank down on the bench, shoulders hunched, glaring at the pavement.
That…could have gone better.
He heard a small step behind him and twisted to glance over his shoulder. Naminé was approaching the bench cautiously, a small groove marring her forehead. "Roxas?" Her wings didn't fit underneath her coat, so she was wearing it backwards with the sleeves pushed up to her biceps. She clutched her purse in one hand. Roxas sighed and slid over to give her enough room to sit. She did, staring at the house across the street. "What happened?" she asked. Roxas shrugged, grumbling under his breath when he tried to run one hand through his hair and encountered the cat ears still pinned to his head. "Roxas…"
"I think I like him, Naminé," Roxas blurted miserably. "Axel. Like…like him, like him."
Naminé sighed and nodded. "So that's it." She shrugged when Roxas glanced at her. "You've been acting really strangely the last couple weeks," she said, tucking a wind-teased strand of hair back behind her ear.
Roxas scowled and hunched in on himself a little more. "You could act a little more surprised," he grumbled.
Naminé glanced at him with a small smile. "Sorry." She tilted her head to the side, considering. "You guys have been really close for a long time. I sort of thought…" She gave him an apologetic shrug as he frowned at her. "I thought you guys just wanted to keep it a sort of don't ask, don't tell thing."
Roxas glared gloomily at the ground. "So now what?"
"Tell him." Roxas scoffed, but Naminé slipped her fingers under his chin and tilted his head so he was looking at her. "You need to tell him, Roxas. He deserves to know why you've been acting so coldly toward him lately."
"I wasn't –"
"You were," she said, gently overriding him. A smile ghosted across her lips. "Tell him, Roxas."
Roxas cut his eyes to the side. "Fine," he muttered. "But not tonight."
"No," Naminé agreed, pulling her hand back. "Not tonight. But soon, Roxas, promise me."
Roxas groaned. "That's not fair."
Naminé kissed his temple. "Thank you," she said, taking his hand in hers and giving it a brief squeeze. Roxas returned the slight pressure, and they sat there like that for a moment; then Naminé's cell phone began to ring. Disentangling her hand from Roxas's, she extracted her phone from her purse and flipped it open. "Hello?" She frowned. "Is she all right? Yes, I'll let them know. Yes. All right, make sure you guys get home safely. Mm-hmm. Bye."
"What?" Roxas asked as she flipped the phone closed and dropped it back in her bag.
Naminé glanced at him, expression troubled. "That was Hayner. Olette missed a step on the stairs and twisted her ankle as they were leaving to come to the party. Apparently she twisted it pretty badly."
"Yeah," Naminé sighed, standing. "I have to go let everybody know." She paused before she turned away, staring down at him. "Come to the dress rehearsal tomorrow, Roxas. Please." Roxas sighed and nodded, and she bent to give him a one-armed hug before turning and hurrying back toward the party.
As Roxas watched her go, it suddenly occurred to him that she was Olette's understudy. She would be Janet if Olette couldn't go on. His mind flashed to the scene Olette and Luxord had been rehearsing all those weeks ago. Then he groaned and dropped his head into his hands, not caring if he ruined the makeup. Hayner was right. Luxord was something of a cocky British bastard.
Roxas showed up late to the dress rehearsal, sneaking into the auditorium under the cover of darkness and choosing a seat in the very back row. They were right in the middle of "Dammit Janet," Sora and Naminé sashaying across the stage and staring dreamily into one another's eyes. Roxas sighed, propped his feet on the seat back in front of him, and settled down to wait.
An hour and fifty minutes later, he slipped out of his seat and through the side door as Larxene sang the final refrains of the reprise of "Science Fiction/Double Feature," stationing himself beside the short flight of stairs that led to the stage and trying to ignore the fluttering sensation in his stomach. Dimly, he could hear Xemnas speaking to the cast as the house lights came up again. He tilted his head back, resting it against the wall and biting the inside of his lower lip. "Come on…"
Naminé was the first one off the stage, still dressed in her costume from the floor show – when she saw Roxas her eyes lit up and she hurried over to give him a hug, somehow managing not to trip and fall flat on her face in the six-inch heels she was currently wearing. "Thanks for coming, Roxas."
"Yeah," Roxas muttered, clearing his throat as he stepped back from her embrace.
"What did you think?" she asked, clasping her hands in front of her and regarding him with a hopeful smile.
"You guys were great," Roxas said, managing a grin despite his nerves. "You're gonna blow 'em away tomorrow night."
Naminé's eyes shone as she wrapped him in another hug, laughing. "Thank you, Roxas." Roxas wrapped his arms around her, grinning as he patted her on the back. Her expression was a little more sober when she pulled back. "Have you seen Axel yet?"
Roxas shook his head, stiffening when he caught sight of the man in question over Naminé's shoulder. Axel was still in costume – corset, high heels, garters and all – and was running a hand distractedly through his hair, which he'd dyed a temporary black for the performance. Axel scowled when he noticed Roxas staring at him and attempted to brush past the both of them. "Excuse me," he muttered.
Naminé reached out and grabbed his wrist, drawing him to a halt. "Axel, wait." Axel glanced down at her, expression irritated, but Naminé only grabbed Roxas's arm with her other hand and tugged him a little bit closer. "Roxas needs to talk to you."
"Naminé," Roxas hissed.
"You promised," she whispered, turning and shoving them both lightly toward the alcove underneath the stairs leading to the second floor.
Axel and Roxas glanced at each other before Axel shrugged and started stalking toward the alcove. "Whatever," he muttered. Roxas sent a pleading glance over his shoulder at Naminé, but she only gave him another gentle shove.
"Talk to him," she insisted quietly. Seeing no other alternative, Roxas turned and dragged his feet toward the alcove, where Axel was waiting with barely concealed impatience.
"What?" he asked as Roxas walked up to him. Roxas squirmed a little internally, glancing over his shoulder to make sure they were for the most part invisible to the other cast members.
"I'm sorry," he mumbled, hunching his shoulders and stuffing his hands in his pockets. "For…how I've been acting and everything. I just –"
"Just what?" Axel demanded, crossing his arms across his chest.
Roxas sighed and glanced longingly over his shoulder again. Yevon, he felt like such a fucking girl. He turned back to face the redhead and found, to his horror, that Axel was staring straight at him, eyes gleaming in the low light and painted lips pulled down in a frown and… Roxas swallowed, hard. The man had no right to look that good in makeup.
Axel sighed and started to sweep past him. "Fine."
"I like you," he said in a rush, squeezing his eyes shut and making a grab for the redhead's arm. "Shit, I like you, Axel, I think I'm halfway to being in love with you and it's making me fucking nuts because I don't want to, but I don't know…what to do about it – how to make it…go away," he finished lamely. He opened his eyes and glared up at the redhead when he didn't respond. "Well say something, dammit," he growled.
Axel was regarding him with an expression he'd never seen on the other man's face before. "I – what?"
"You heard me," Roxas muttered, releasing his grip on Axel's arm to cross his own arms over his chest, hunching his shoulders defensively.
Axel gave an uncertain laugh. "Come on, Rox, be serious."
"I am," Roxas growled, glowering up at the redhead. "I fucking like you, you asshole."
Roxas groaned in frustration and reached up to grab Axel's face between his hands, jerking the taller man down into a clumsy kiss, the thick goop on Axel's lips smearing across his own. He pushed him back just as abruptly. "Forget it," he muttered, trying to shove past the man.
It was Axel's turn to grab Roxas's arm, spinning the blond back around and slamming the both of them against the wall. "But…seriously?" he asked, searching Roxas's face intently.
"I'm not saying it again, moron," Roxas growled, struggling against Axel's hold. He froze, eyes wide, when Axel closed the space between them and pressed his lips to the blond's.
Well…that was unexpected.
Axel pulled back, a wide smile on his face. "Yevon, why didn't you just say something?" he asked, laughing a little at Roxas's expression.
"You – I… What?"
Axel's expression sobered as he stared at Roxas, lifting his eyebrows at him as he waited for the blond to work things through on his own. Roxas ducked his head and raised a hand to his lips, brushing lightly over the lipstick smeared across them before he lifted his head to look back up at the other man with slowly dawning comprehension.
"…You're an asshole," he muttered, grinning a little as he punched Axel lightly in the chest.
"Better than a passive-aggressive little emo bitch," Axel snorted, smirking.
"Why didn't you say something?" Roxas demanded, shoving his shoulder.
Axel shrugged, glancing away. "You never seemed…well, you never showed any interest, and I didn't want to –" He paused, glancing back down at the blond with a speculative gleam in his eye. "What finally made you…?" Roxas flushed and glanced away, and Axel's eyes widened before a leer spread across his face. "Why Roxas, how very kinky of you," he snickered.
Roxas groaned and punched him. "Shut up, you fucking beanpole," he muttered.
"Yeah, yeah, come up here and say tha – mmph."
Axel's amused grunt disappeared into Roxas's open mouth as the blond dragged him down for another kiss, reaching up and twining his fingers through the other man's dyed hair. Axel made a small, contented sound and wrapped his arms around Roxas, pulling him closer and adjusting the angle at which their mouths met.
"Hey, has anybody seen Ax –"
They sprang apart as Demyx quite literally stumbled into them, almost tripping over Axel's foot. The blond teacher's arms wind milled comically for a moment before he managed to regain his balance; when he glanced up his jaw dropped open as he took in their flushed appearances and the makeup smeared across both of their faces. He blinked, throat hitching for a second before his face broke into luminous smile and he clapped his hands together briskly. "Well," he sighed, "it is about damn time." With that, he turned and walked back toward the stage, grinning broadly.
Axel and Roxas glanced at each before they burst out laughing, leaning back to rest against the wall. "So, you're coming to the show tomorrow, right?" Axel asked.
Roxas sighed, nerves still humming with adrenaline as he leaned his head against the wall and regarded the redhead with a grin. "Yeah."
Axel leaned in to drop one last light kiss on Roxas's lips, eyes half-lidded as he smiled at the blond. "Hey, Rox? Do me a favor – don't come dressed like a virgin."
Roxas sighed and huddled a little further into his jacket, hunching his shoulders so he could bury his nose in the collar. Axel had told him not to dress like a Rocky Horror virgin, but it was just too damn cold. Besides, in weather like this, he was sure he wouldn't be the only one. He rounded the corner adjacent to the theater, eyes flicking automatically to the sidewalk in front of the ticket office.
A veritable sea of black corsets and stockings met his eyes, the members of the prospective audience milling around in constant motion in an effort to stave off frostbite. Roxas quailed a little inside as he approached, wondering if maybe he shouldn't have made some sort of effort to locate an old suit – he could've claimed to be a Transylvanian, at the very least.
Roxas's eyes widened as he caught sight of Olette, dressed in a violet dress and wide-brimmed hat, supporting herself on crutches and waving. Hayner was standing next to her, wearing a suit and bow tie and glasses that rivaled the pair Sora wore in the show. "What are you guys doing here?" Roxas asked as he moved to join them.
Olette smiled, reaching up to adjust her hat before lowering her hand to the crutches once again. "Are you kidding? A little sprained ankle wouldn't make me miss this."
"How are you doing?" Roxas asked, giving her a brief hug.
Olette shrugged. "All right."
"Haven't seen you around lately," Hayner observed, extending a fist. Roxas tapped his knuckles against the other blond's, shrugging.
"Yeah. Sorry about that."
Hayner grunted and rubbed a hand against the back of his head, cutting his glance to the side. "That stuff I said before –"
"It's fine," Roxas cut in, grinning and lightly punching Hayner's shoulder when the other man looked at him again.
Hayner's expression relaxed into a smile. "Okay. Great." His brows settled low over his eyes as he looked Roxas up and down. "Why the hell are you dressed like a virgin?"
Roxas sighed as the lights dimmed, sinking back in his seat and crossing his hands over his stomach. Xemnas had already introduced the play, making the usual plea for support and thanking the patrons whose support had helped to fund tonight's show. The conversation and laughter died away expectantly as Larxene walked out onto the stage in a bra and slip, no sign of the red fright wig she'd be wearing later in the show anywhere to be seen. She lifted a large halogen flashlight and flipped it on, turning it on the audience as the introduction to "Science Fiction/Double Feature" began to play over the speakers.
"Get that fucking light out of my eyes!" someone from the back called.
"Michael Rennie was ill the day the Earth stood still, but he told us where we stand…"
"On our feet!" the audience cried. Roxas only shook his head and sank down a little farther in his seat, grinning.
By the time they got around to "Dammit Janet," Roxas was glad he'd seen the damn movie so many times – he could hardly hear what was going on onstage over the audience participation.
"Hey Janet?" Sora said, looking appropriately bashful.
"I've got something to say."
"Then say it, asshole!"
"I really love the…"
"Look at her tits and get inspired!"
"Skillful way…you beat the other girls…"
"With whips and chains!"
"To the bride's bouquet."
"Eat your flowers, Janet!"
Naminé blushed and buried her face in the fake flowers right on cue. Once the song was finished, she and Sora exited the stage and the criminologist's office swung into view, Lexaeus seated behind an impressively massive desk that Roxas knew for a fact weighed no more than ten pounds. "I would like…" he began.
"A neck!" the audience screamed, apparently completely undeterred by the fact that the man actually had one.
"If I may…"
"You may not."
"To take you…"
"On a strange journey."
"How strange? So strange they made a play out of it…"
By the time the Time Warp sequence rolled around, Roxas thought there was a good chance he would end the night temporarily deaf. The cast flowed off the stage and into the aisles for the number, pulling the few reluctant audience members to their feet and demonstrating the steps for them in time to Lexaeus's dry instructions.
Naminé elbowed Sora as the song ended. "Say something," she stage whispered.
"Hey!" Sora called, smiling. "Any of you guys know how to Madison?"
Roxas straightened in his seat, recognizing the lead-in to Axel's appearance. The audience began to clap in time to the music that underscored the action onstage.
"Brad, please, let's get out of here," Naminé said, smiling nervously as they backed away from the rest of the people assembled on the stage.
"Brad, tell Janet how to get off!"
"For God's sake, keep a grip on yourself, Janet."
"B-but it seems so unhealthy here," Naminé insisted. The audience began to chant and stomp their feet in time with their clapping as Axel began to ascend to the stage, back turned.
"It's just a party, Janet," Sora insisted.
"Well, I want to go!"
Roxas couldn't really hear anything after that until Axel turned to face the audience, face made up with outrageous makeup and body hidden by a voluminous black cloak. Naminé shrieked and fainted into Sora's arms, and Axel smirked before breaking into song.
"How do you do, I see you've met my faithful –"
"Hand-job man." Roxas wasn't sure, but he thought he saw Vexen's lip curl at that line.
"He's just a little brought down because, when you knocked, he thought you were the Candy Man." Axel brushed past them, still holding the cloak wrapped tightly around him. "Don't get strung out by the way I look, don't judge a book by its cover." He turned to face the audience. "I'm not much of a man –"
"That's for damn sure."
"– by the light of day, but night I'm one hell of a lover." He flung the cloak away, revealing the corset and stockings underneath it. Several audience members leapt to their feet, bowing frantically at the waist.
"We're not worthy! We're not worthy!"
Roxas just closed his eyes and waited for it to be over.
Two hours later, Roxas's ears were still ringing, and he was pretty sure the mental image of Sora dancing across the stage in six-inch heels, stockings, and a corset would require years of therapy to overcome. The last refrains of "Science Fiction/Double Feature" were finally winding to a close, and the house lights brightened a little as the music for "Time Warp" began to play. The curtain rose as the cast stepped out to take their bows, beaming. Roxas rose to his feet as Sora and Naminé stepped out, but the audience erupted when Axel appeared. Grinning widely, the redhead took a deep bow, then motioned the rest of the cast to join him; joining hands, they all took a bow as one before stepping back, letting the curtain fall back into place.
Roxas slipped out of his seat as the audience continued to cheer, ignoring the velvet rope Xigbar and Cid had used to mark off the side door and stepping into the narrow hallway. The cast and crew were crowded together, chattering and laughing as they tried to congratulate everybody at once. Naminé caught sight of him and broke away from the crowd, smiling widely as she walked toward him.
"You were great," Roxas told her, drawing her into a tight hug and kissing her cheek.
"It was so loud," Naminé laughed, sounding slightly out of breath.
"Just a little," Roxas said with a wry grin.
"Are you coming to the cast party?" Naminé asked as she drew back.
Roxas's eyes connected with Axel's – the redhead was still swamped by the rest of the cast and crew – and he smiled. "Maybe later."
Naminé shook her head and gave his hair an affectionate tug as Axel managed to break free of the people mobbing him on all sides. "Hey, Blondie," he said, striding up and slipping an arm around Roxas's shoulders. "What'd ya think?"
Roxas only pulled him down for a kiss, peripherally aware of Naminé bidding them good night as he hooked a finger through Axel's garter belt. Axel drew back, eyebrow arched, and Roxas grinned. "I think we should invest in a few of these ourselves."
"Why, you little perv," Axel chuckled, smirking. Roxas only rolled his eyes and pulled the redhead down for another kiss.