HEY! Geez, it's been so long since I've put anything out, but I'm hoping that will change since my computer is being co-operative for once. Anyways, here is a oneshot I've been working on for a while. I really liked writing this one, the idea was really beautiful. I was inspired by the song "As Much As I Ever Could" by City & Colour and it is such a heart-achingly gorgeous song, if you enjoy this fic, you should definitely check out the song. You'll completely understand how this idea came to me and how I, naturally, just had to apply it to my favorite pairing: AkuNami! The main idea is basically borrowed time. And yeah, I hope you like it... I think it's one of the longer oneshots I've done. Ten or eleven pages on WordPad, but I digress...heh. ENJOY!
Disclaimer: I do not own Kingdom Hearts and/or any of the characters. They belong to Disney and Square Enix. Lucky bastards. Also, the song 'As Much As I Ever Could' & the lyrics belong to Dallas Green/City & Colour.
.::As Much As I Ever Could::.
The second he had walked into that place; that place that was seemingly strung between existence and nothingness, he knew that it would be his undoing. That fact had become even clearer to him as he concentrated nearly all his strength into that one final attack. Emphasis on final. Massive tendrils of flames had burst from within his body, devouring the endless waves of Dusks until there was nothing left at all. Except him. Although, it was debatable whether he, too, fell under the category of 'nothing'.
Lost at sea,
My heartbeat was growing weak.
He could heard Sora's muffled footsteps, along with the the other two, as they made their way over to him. Funny, he didn't remember lying down... or even hitting the ground for that matter. Then again, he had never been one to feel very much. Cracking jokes till the end... she probably would've hit him for that one considering his situation, but then, she had always been too sweet. Something about her, he'd admit, he had grown quite fond of. Though, in view of his current situation, it was something he wished he wasn't able to admit.
Axel glanced casually at Sora as the boy skidded to a halt and knelt beside him, smirking as if he was standing proudly in the now Dusk-free area rather than lying collapsed on the ground. The red-head saw something pass behind the boy's eyes and instantly accredited it to the sorry state he knew he must've been in. His body, no doubt, ravaged by his own power; the flames that he had been known, and named, for his control over. Apparently they had over-shot the mark on that one.
"You're... fading away..." The boy's voice jerked him from his thoughts.
The fire tamer's eyes followed the tiny spirals of darkness, watching them lazily drift off his body like black smoke. It reminded him of a saying he'd heard countless times... too bad the situation didn't call for it to be used. His lips moved into a sad smile, so small that no one could truly say he was smiling at all. He could imagine the look she'd give him if he ever used it in her vicinity; in the condition he was in. Though, he still would have enjoyed being able to use it, 'Where there's smoke... there's fire.' What a great line. Even if in his case it should go a little more like, 'Where there's smoke...there was a fire.' Whatever. Clearly he landed on the sadder side of that spectrum. He couldn't imagine that he had very much of his fire left, if any at all. His eyes slowly slid back to the boy.
Hoping you'd hear my plea,
And come save my life.
"Well, that's what happens when you put your whole being into an attack. You know what I mean?" He laughed weakly, the constant irony of his non-existence finding its way into the conversation, "Not that Nobodies actually HAVE beings...right? Anyway, I digress..."
Axel felt an obligation to apologize for what he had done to Kairi. Not an obligation to Sora, not even one to Kairi. More of an obligation to her. He had so often felt like he was mistreating her, even though they were oceans apart. He made sure Sora would know where to find Kairi... that way, in rescuing her, he'd be saving another damsel in distress as well. The one who's knight would never be able to whisk her away on his white horse. The knight who had died on his way there. Axel outstretched his arm, fist shaking with the power of darkness. He released it and let it flow through his long fingers, even more of his strength fleeing from his body as he opened up a portal. One he would not himself use. A self-less act, from one without a true self. Kind of fitting, when he thought about it.
He felt a surge of pressure against his ribcage and knew that a torrent of darkness must have decided to fashion a new hole in which to escape his now useless frame. Axel closed his emerald eyes, the only part of him that still reflected the fire that he had once held inside. All of a sudden he felt that build in pressure break and fade away. Axel didn't need to look upon his own broken form to know that the pressure had succeeded in ripping open his side, darkness pouring out thickly.
As the storm grew fierce,
An angel was certainly near,
He barely heard their quiet gasps. He must've looked bad, but then, how could it possibly look anything but. At least this was one of those moments he was glad he couldn't feel very much, though he'd probably have to owe that one to the increasingly poor composition of his body. He cracked his eyelids open, casting one last look at himself with those slivers of emerald. Every breath he took seemed to steal away more and more of his solidity, replacing it with sheer translucency. He'd be gone in a matter of seconds. But as long as he had enough strength left...
I knew there was nothing to fear.
Axel closed his eyes once again. He managed to pull his thin lips into one last smirk, the long, sharp angles of his frame softening as they began to separate. He let go of the strength he had been using to keep himself together. There was simply no need for him to hold on any longer. He didn't need sight to know that his surroundings would no longer be held in his vision. The red-haired man didn't even catch the boy's last utterance of his name.
No I am not where I belong,
So shine a light and guide me home.
Axel could feel himself being pulled up into the very air, every little particle of his nothingness spreading and separating. Truthfully, just joining the atmosphere and making no real contribution. After all, what impact could a Nobody really make in the universe anyways? Yeah, not a hell of a lot. He was pretty sure the 'great cosmos' could stand to wait a few. There was still one thing he had left unfinished, someone he owed a visit. Someone he had to see at least one last time, even if, in the end, it was only to fade away from her. He had no intention of being cruel, but when it came down to it, whichever way their non-existences may have played out... one of them would have eventually faded from the other. He thought he should at least make one last appearance. Pull himself together for her, this one last time.
He knew it was possible, but in doing so he would have to use all his strength. And how little he had left. No do-overs. This would be the one and only chance he'd get. He placed all his concentration into reassembling the form he had so recently lost, building up his body around the embers of the fire he had once contained within himself. He couldn't think of a time that he had ever tried so hard at anything. And he had definitely never tried this hard for anyone. But, he had so little strength to place in his efforts. No matter how much he tried to refocus his power, he just couldn't maintain his grip. He could feel it being snatched away; slowly becoming lost in the darkness. A darkness that no longer offered any of its power to him, only a means to lose it.
So, shine a light and guide me home.
He could practically feel the darkness eating away at the thoughts and memories that had kept his senses alive while his body was lost. Like a wave crashing against the coastline, dragging a little bit of sand back with the tide every time it edged up onto the beach. But then, something changed. The darkness extended it's gnarled claws and reached for the memories and thoughts of her. No one had the right to try and take any of these away from him, they belonged to him. As a Nobody, maybe he, too, didn't truly have a right to have them, but that was not something he had any interest in debating. As far as he was concerned, they were still HIS. There was no way he'd just stand by as the darkness stole them away. He wasn't ready to let go of them.
His body, still struggling to defy itself and resist his desires to reassemble, was clearly complete enough for a sensation to boil inside the general area where his stomach would lie. A sensation he had become all too familiar with during his time with the Organization. An anger he had grown to embody and feed to the fire that had burned at his core, though this fury had always been numb to him. Not unlike all the emotions he knew he should be feeling, but just couldn't seem to. It was this awakened rage that he attempted to pull strength from. For a second he thought it was working; feeding his broken soul with this false hope... an emotion that wasn't even true. Placing belief in the idea that a tiny spark could re-ignite the smoldering embers of his strength. A sudden swell of heat seemed to bring this idea some hope, but just as he reached out to harness the strength it held and take it as his own; it disappeared.
Come save my life.
And the darkness took its chance, encircling his half-constructed form. Just like his time with the Organization, he was lost in the darkness again. Consumed by it. Except this time he couldn't find the strength; couldn't find his small sliver of light. He numbly felt something pull hard at his frame and then felt it give. He didn't need sight to know that the darkness was beginning to rip away the body he had tried so hard to rebuild. Slowly destroying the effort he had put in. All of it for her. All of it only amounting to a taunting nothingness, cruelly reflecting his lack of true existence. All for her.
At the merest thought, her face seemed to drift into his mind, images and memories flitting in and out of his head as painfully brief projections. Her beautiful eyes; and the tears that had fallen from within them, her perfect lips; the smiles he'd wait forever to see and the countless frowns he'd never had to wait for. Kisses he had stolen from those lips... a few of which he had eventually been given. One of which her gentle lips had boldly stolen from his own. Hair that slid through his fingers like liquid gold, soft strands that he had tugged at on occasion. A strength and will she had possessed that he had never understood, but always been amazed by.
Hoping you'd hear my plea.
Then, like the flip of a switch, his thoughts of her began to fade further and further away. Disappearing. He felt a tightness grow in his half-formed chest as the memories continued to escape him. Memories she had helped him make; the only thing that had made their empty chests feel a little less hollow. And he was losing them. He had lost just about everything now. His heart, his body, his strength, and now; his thoughts of her. He had run out of places to find strength. If he had even an ounce of the strength she had, he wouldn't of let the darkness overpower him. But he didn't; he was weak. He gave his all and it still wasn't enough. Her eyes... gone. Her lips and all the smiles and frowns. Gone. Her hair... slipping away as easily as it had flowed through his fingers. All her kisses... stolen back from him. Everything... going... going. Gone.
So shine a light, guide me back home.
The thought of her name could no longer bring forth her image, she was almost completely lost to him. All he had was her name. What was it again... he could still taste it on his tongue; it was still there. She was still there with him, just barely. She was...
The second her name fell from his fading lips, his vision was filled with a blinding flash of white light. All the memories and still frames he had been unable to recall came flooding back to him; pulled away from the brink of oblivion. All the curves of her face brought back into clarity. He opened his emerald eyes, her image fading from view, but still remaining within him. He raised a leather-clad hand in front of his gaze, slowly flexing his re-mended fingers. The corners of his lips curved into a smile; could she have helped him. He had managed to find enough strength, but in the end he hadn't found it in his self. Held on to the strength of someone else when he had all but let go of his own. He'd make a point not to waste any of it.
His hand fell to his side and he cast a quick glance at his surroundings. Still standing Betwixt and Between. He'd have to change that... he couldn't say he had grown too fond of the place. His long arm extended, summoning up a dark portal with a familiar and almost comforting whirring noise. He was relieved to find that, unlike earlier, it didn't demand any serious effort to do it. With no hesitation; his long strides carried him deep into its depths. He had only one destination in mind, no return ticket necessary.
No I am not where I belong.
Standing impatiently in the portal's depths, he casually swatted at the tendrils of darkness that every so often tugged at his frame. They were just as impatient, wanting him in their grasp; where he was supposed to be. Their lack of patience hardly concerned him, the darkness could have him WHEN, and only when, he had taken care of this bit of business. This time he had borrowed would eventually run out sooner or later. Though, he wouldn't be devastated if time was just a smidge on the tardy side.
Axel felt another tug at his body, but this one was not from some pesky tentacle of darkness, more of an internal signal that he had arrived where he had wanted to go. He stepped out from the portal, hearing it collapse on itself; its purpose served. His emerald gaze slowly absorbed his surroundings, standing in the middle of a deserted white hallway. Just one of the hallways that made up this labryinth of a place. It seemed like he had taken a piece of his own advice when it came to this place; he'd memorized the whole lot of it.
She was here, he knew it. Things would be too far set in motion for them, or what was left of them, to be too concerned with her, he'd have time. Sora seemed to have a real talent for giving the bad guys more grief than they could handle. Who ever said kids today don't have ambition? Clearly no one Sora knew.
Axel's coat rustled quietly as he set off in a direction he felt would lead him the right way. Just a... 'feeling'. On guard no matter how preoccupied he thought they might be; he made his way slowly, skulking in the shadows provided. Passing hallway after hallway, each with an identical lack of colour to them, he was beginning to wonder about his so called 'feeling'. Who was he to entrust in any kind of feeling, emotional or not. His legs pulled him down one of the remaining halls and, all the while, he wondered if he had been right about her even being here.
Shine a light.
He froze. Willing his long legs to retrace his steps, he stopped before one of the doors that littered the hallway walls. He was getting another feeling. For someone who couldn't truly feel, he was sure getting a lot of them. He hesitantly reached out his gloved fingers, but then he stopped. His gaze narrowed; green eyes catching sight of a tiny wisp of darkness that floated up from his arm. His gaze sharpened into a glare, ignited by an emerald flash deep in his eyes.
"No. Not yet... I still need more time!" He hissed.
He cringed as he realized his lack of self-control. His voice reverberated back to him, ringing in his ears, much louder than he had intended. He could've punched himself as his ears picked up another sound, a sound coming from inside the door he was standing dumbly in front of. So his 'feelings' did hold some merit behind them... he just hoped it wasn't Xemnas on the other side of that jiggling doorknob. He'd probably disown those damn 'feelings' of his, merit or no merit.
He stepped back with a mixture of worry and fear, though if anyone asked he'd say it was purely a safety precaution. He winced in preparation as the door slowly swung inwards, but blinked as he took in the person standing curiously in the doorway. Someone very un-Xemnas-like.
Her voice, or maybe the fact that he was actually standing in front of her, brought him back to his senses. And he dropped the wince for good measure. He gently pushed her back into the room, quickly following suit and closing the door behind him. He heard her say his name again, but he ignored her questioning tone as he grasped the doorknob and melted the metal; locking the door. He knew that this effort really wouldn't amount to much, what with Nobodies being able to magically portal wherever they wanted, but it was the thought that counted, right?
"Axel!" He really should've paid some attention to her.
He felt her tug at the back of his coat and he turned around to face her, feeling his lips curve upwards as he took in her soft features trying extremely hard to mirror her frustration. Something she had never been very good at, but this was hardly the time to tell her to stick to her drawings. He threw her a smirk... which didn't go over well.
"Hey?" He tried, smirk fading as he saw the worry hidden behind the guise of crossed arms and frowning lips.
"Axel... please don't act like this is some joke. You have to know better than anyone what they'll do if they find you here," She whispered quietly, clearly trying not to entertain the thought.
He ran his fingers through his fiery mane of hair, she had every right to be sending him on this guilt trip. But there wasn't enough guilt in the world, even if it was something he was capable of feeling, that could send him away from here. From her.
"I know, I know... I'm sorry. But, it's not like they'd ever know I was here anyways," Axel said, leaning against the melted door, "They're too wrapped up in Sora and their plans. Xemnas' eyes would probably have to pop out of their sockets before he'd even think to blink. Trust me, it'll take a lot to distract them." He finished with a smile, that of which was intended to reassure.
He couldn't say who this reassurance was meant to soothe. He'd have to say it was for her, but he thought he could benefit from some of this reassurance he apparently had enough of to share.
As his green eyes watched her own blue ones soften, he couldn't keep his smile from fading from his mouth. With his smile's only intention served, he just couldn't find anything else to will his lips to maintain their curve. His emerald eyes watched as her admirable little attempt at anger melted away from her gentle face, but there was still a worry deep in her eyes that even his own burning flames couldn't consume. And it was this worry that made it too hard for him to find another smile.
Despite how comfortable her presence had always made him feel in the past, the tiny steps she took towards him sent him on edge. He felt his muscles tense as she continued to close the distance between them, his arms crossed even more tightly over his chest. She stopped just before him, looking up at his face with those troubled, sapphire eyes. Eyes he couldn't quite meet with his own. He caught the frown that tugged at her mouth, he seemed to have a knack for forcing them upon her lips. Too bad his talents didn't seem to extend to smiles. It's something he wished he could excel at.
He averted his eyes, not wanting to have to catch the sight of her frowning face. He could feel a sigh swell in his chest, but it died away as he felt her hand cup the side of his face that he was trying to hide. The cool touch of her skin seemed to steal away the weight he had been holding. Another thing she was better at than angry expressions. She gently guided his face with her hand, making it impossible for him to look anywhere but in her eyes.
She smiled softly, "You know, there's a lot of worry in your eyes for someone who seems so sure."
"I thought I had you fooled..." He said with a chuckle.
"I'm not that easy to fool anymore, Axel," She let her hand fall away from his face, "So, why don't you try being honest with me."
He sighed, heaviness seeping back into his chest at the loss of her touch.
"I guess I'll give it a shot. Throw me a question... let's see how I do." He muttered bitterly, moving away from his leaning position against the door.
He watched her small frame as she turned her back, moving away from him and allowing the distance to slip back between them. He felt a little desperation pass through him as he saw another stray wisp of darkness spiral from his fingers. His eyes flew back to her, relief spreading through him as he saw her back was still turned to him. Maybe fading the second time around was slow going... he could only hope. He cast a glance upwards, feeling no remorse as the little dark wisp faded into the air without a trace. He lowered his gaze just as she turned to face him, blue eyes clear and pleading.
"If you're so unsure of the danger, why are you even here?" Her hands were clasped nervously, "I mean, they'll destroy you... they'll take everything away from you," Her voice was barely a whisper now, "You know that."
Axel managed a sad smile, "There's nothing more they can take from me..."
He watched her as she tried to understand what he had meant, her oceanic blue eyes growing darker and darker. She'd never say it herself; never come to the truth on her own. He didn't think she would let herself. She'd have to ask him to spell it out for her, just so she couldn't find a way to deny it.
She gazed at him through broken eyes, "What do you mean?" Her voice trembled slightly.
He couldn't think of a way to say it to her. There were no words that could form a sentence that wouldn't hurt her in some way. He didn't want to hurt her. Never. So, he decided to show her instead. His vivid green eyes focused on her own beautiful blue ones, finding it wasn't hard to meet her gaze for the first time that day. With a nod of his head, he motioned for her to move her eyes to his hand; which he had slightly outstretched
As her gaze settled on his gloved hand, two spirals of pure darkness pushed their way through his palm and rose into the air. Her blue eyes widened as she finally took it in and he coiled his long fingers into a fist; hand falling back to his side. A heavy sigh escaped his lips, the weight of it all thrown upon his shoulders. He sent her a carefree smirk that he couldn't truly identify with, but he did it for her. He didn't want her to feel the same burden he did.
"I was actually more worried about what they'd take from you... but, I still had to see you." He answered, wishing she would say something to fill the silence that seemed to have overcome her.
She bit her lip. She couldn't help but be overwhelmed by the knowledge of what she would be feeling; rather than any actual emotions running through her body. But thoughts, she had plenty of those. All raging and clashing in the cavity of her skull. She physically gave her head a small shake, willing her thoughts to somehow sort themselves out and quit bashing the insides of her head. A few stray pieces of her hair fell over her eyes. Through the strands of blonde, she watched as the fire tamer moved to a little bed tucked in the corner of the room. She could practically see the weight that must've been on his shoulders; causing him to half-sit, half-collapse on the bed as he sat on the edge.
Her slender fingers brushed the strands of hair from her eyes and she took a few tentative steps towards him. He lifted his head and watched her with his ever-piercing eyes, a small smile forming on his lips as she stopped the minute he looked at her.
He patted the spot beside him on the bed, smirking, "You know, I'm still the same old me...I don't bite any more, or less, than before." She had to smile at that. And he did too.
She closed the remaining space between them and sat beside him, her hand resting on top of his own gloved one.
"I'm sorry... I know you're the same person." She squeezed his hand gently, "It's just a lot to take in."
"I didn't mean to dump all this on you, Naminé," He ran his free hand through his hair, "But, I had to at least try to see you once more. I knew it was my last chance to."
She looked up at him, a smile mixed with happiness and sorrow upon her lips, "I'm glad you took it."
She affectionately brushed a piece of his spiky hair away, one that had been poking her in the side of the head. She couldn't keep from smiling as he simply moved his head back to an angle where it was poking her once again, catching his big grin. The one he didn't even try to hide. It reminded her of a similar time. Axel being his usual annoying self. Her, trying to deny that she found it cute. You could never debate his annoying tendencies, he'd just ignore you and insist you loved it. Not always on the mark, but he'd been having a lucky streak when it came to her.
"On second thought," She started with a smirk of her own, "Why exactly am I glad you took that chance? So you could annoy me for an extra couple of days?"
"Whatever... you love it, don't even try to deny it." He laughed as she rolled her eyes.
Her smile faded a little, "How long do you have anyways?"
"Trying to get rid of me already?" He teased, but he noticed the serious look in her eyes, though she still tried to smile for him, "By next morning... I'll probably be gone."
It said it all. If there was even a sliver of anything remotely resembling a heart in her small ribcage; he would have just obliterated it. He moved his hand so his fingers were intertwined with her own, but the gesture was ruined as his tightening grip released another tendril of darkness from within. He watched with an aching, empty chest as her glassy eyes followed the wisp's journey towards the ceiling. He could tell how hard she was trying not to cry. He'd only seen her cry probably about three times, two of which had been because of him. The other, because of Larxene, but that woman could make men cry. Damn. Naminé had been through a lot because of them.
Love of mine,
His eyes softened as he watched her blink a couple of times, long lashes rising and falling as she kept the tears at bay. He was always blown away by her strength. He just wished she didn't have to be strong so often, day after day it seemed.
She somehow pulled together a smile, "So, what do you want to do?"
A memory instantly came to him. One of his favorites. Though he liked the majority of the ones involving her. Lame. Mushy. Who really gives a shit. Got it memorized? During her captivity at Castle Oblivion, the two of them had come up with a little plan. Twice a week, he'd sneak into her room just so he could fall asleep beside her. It had been a big risk. Not unlike how it was now. But it was one part of the plan that made this memory so fitting. They had agreed that he couldn't be there by early morning; members had been known to do veryearly bed checks. Mostly Vexen... blame his paranoia. They had a bed. They had each other. Why not fall asleep one last time. Together. The last chance they would have. And he wouldn't have to wake up and leave her this time. He wouldn't wake up at all. There wouldn't be enough of him left, for him to have to leave.
Won't you lay by my side.
And rest your weary eyes.
Axel glanced at her with a grin, "Remember when I used to sneak into your room?"
He smirked as he saw her blush lightly. She remembered.
"I see you already have your heart set." She said quietly, not really caring that she knew all too well that he couldn't set his heart on anything.
"Yup," He let go of her hand as he began to reposition himself, "So, skootch a few and let's reminisce."
She looked over her shoulder, twisting her small waist so she could get a better look at him. She smiled as she saw his long legs threatening to fall off the end of the bed. Hands behind his head, he tilted his face towards her and cast her a casual glance from his emerald eyes; silently asking her why, exactly, was she not lying beside him.
Before we're out of time.
"You don't have to give me that look. I'm coming... " She laughed softly.
Naminé gently swung her legs onto the bed and lay down on her side, facing him. She didn't move any closer though... she felt like being a little annoying. He looked at her questioningly, raising his eyebrows. A grin tugged at her mouth and she had to give in; clearly he didn't appreciate little games when they were turned on him.
"What are you doing? We're not in church here," Axel was nice enough to point out, "Come closer."
She stretched her body in faux-fatigue, pretending to stifle a yawn, "You know, I'm actually really tired... I think I'll just stay here."
She reached for a nearby pillow and let her head fall into the soft fabric, her hair pouring over the pillow like a pool of gold. A pool of gold Axel couldn't resist dipping his fingers in. He let her hair fall, slip, and twist through his fingers, almost forgetting about the little stunt she was pulling as he got lost in her soft hair. Almost. He coiled a piece of blonde hair around one of his gloved fingers, then gave it a nice tug. He chuckled as he saw her glare at him through the hair veiling her delicate face.
"That could have been avoided." He said in an annoying sing-song voice.
She glanced at his closed eyes, completely absorbed in humming the rest of his oh-so-clever tune. She grasped the pillow in her small fist, raising back her arm in preparation to cream him smack dab in the middle of his smug, but undeniably handsome, face.
"I wouldn't do that." Again, in sing-song.
His voice startled her, clearly he had lucked out in the intuition department. She slumped back onto the bed, cradling her head with her hand; elbow stabbing the mattress. She tried to look innocent as he cracked open one of his viridian eyes to look at her.
"You're not the only one who can't be easily fooled, Nami."
She gave him a sly smile, "Is that so? Cos' you know... if you had let me hit you like I had planned, I think I would be a lot closer to you than I am now."
She saw his face reflect how hard he was trying to wrap his head around what she'd said. And then it hit him. His expression was priceless and she couldn't hold back the laughter that had been bubbling in her throat. But, although she may have beaten Axel in his own personal area of irritation expertise, there was one area she couldn't hope to beat him in: physical strength. Still laughing hard, she was caught off guard by the familiar and strong pair of arms that pulled her close. She giggled once more into his chest, still suffering from the aftermath of his dumbfounded expression.
Give me one last kiss,
He looked into her face, inches from his own, "Plan or not, I still managed to get you this close to me."
"Maybe, but I got you good... admit it." She whispered softly, almost daring him.
And Axel had never been one to turn down a dare.
"Yeah, you did."
There was so little space between their lips, why not close the last few inches? Neither of them could think of a reason. Both their eyes darkened as they were eclipsed by their lashes. They leaned closer; capturing the last inch. His lips met hers, gently and slowly. If there was one moment in their non-existences when they were closest to feeling anything; it was now. But, it was in this pure moment that she was unable to find her strength; hidden from her in one of the hardest times she'd ever had to endure. He was her weakness and she didn't possess enough strength to defy him. Here he was, holding his last breath just so he could hold her a little while longer. She truly began to realize he wouldn't just not be there when she woke up... he'd never be there again. There would never be a harder thing to do than simply saying 'goodnight'.
For soon, such distance,
Will stretch between our lips,
A tear escaped from beneath her sealed lashes, slowly cascading down her cheek. She could feel every single second of its fall, carving its mark upon her flawless skin. The tear seemed to linger halfway down her cheek, burning as it momentarily settled on her skin. As their lips parted and they softly broke away, she felt the tear fall perfectly into the corner of her lip. It was after this tiny lapse of time that he leaned in again, tenderly kissing the corner of her lips; unaware of the tear.
This single tear was filled with all the sorrow, all the pain, all the happiness, and all the love that they could only hope to feel. And his eyes opened slowly as he leaned away, their lips parting once again. In that single kiss, imbued by that single tear; they could've sworn they had tasted all these emotions. All of which they shared and were cursed to be forever numb to. Of all the kisses they'd had; stolen, given, and shared, this would be the one they'd remember.
His grip around her body loosened, allowing her to give in to the heaviness that pulled at her weary head; falling onto a pillow. He reached behind him for a pillow of his own, placing it close to her own. Her eyes followed him as he plopped his crazy red mane into his own pillow; smiling as he beckoned her closer with one of his long fingers. No words and no games this time. She shimmied nearer, nuzzling her face deeper into the soft pillow. Axel frowned as he caught sight of the sparkling trail that her tear had painted down her cheek. His frown caused her to glance into his eyes questioningly, but he answered her unspoken question as his hand cradled her tear-stained cheek. Her lashes stole away her sapphire eyes as he ran his thumb gently over the silvery stain.
He sighed softly, "I'm sorry."
He had never liked being the reason for her tears. Her sparing even one tear for him was one too many; he didn't even deserve to have had her for the time he had. One last time to see her and one last time to make her cry. He closed his own eyes, they'd never felt so weary. She sensed his hand began to draw away from her face, but she gently took his hand and brought it back. She gazed into his re-opened eyes, giving him a sad smile which he, in turn, mirrored with his own lips. She laid her slender fingers over his own, tenderly pressing his hand to her cheek. Even this tiniest of pressures released a few dark tendrils from his hand; emerald and sapphire eyes following them upwards. His eyes quickly moved back to her own, but he smiled as he saw that her blue eyes were clear.
She returned his smile, "It's okay. They aren't so bad when you get used to them... " Then her smile slipped into a cute grin, "Kind of like you."
"You've been spending way too much time around me... WAY too much time." He smirked as he moved his hand and messed up her perfect blonde hair.
Soft strands flying every which way, she still managed to look nothing less than flawless. She was really something. He hated to think that the time he'd spend with her just kept closing in. At least the last thing he'd have to remember, if he still could, were these last moments he'd had with her. He could find comfort in the fact that she'd be the last thing he would see before he closed his eyes for the last time. She was the only person who could give him this comfort.
He was brought back from his thoughts as he felt her curl up close to his body; head nuzzling safely in the crook of his shoulder. Exactly the way she had always done back at Oblivion. Her small hands rested against his chest, one which was absently playing with his coat's drawstring. Another thing she'd been known to do in the past. His little creature of habit. He thought he's follow her example, he quite liked the habits he could remember.
She felt his gloved fingers travel across the skin of her arm, tracing patterns with his fingertips. He'd done this so many times before. It was almost like her skin had laid out a stencil for him; he always seemed to pick up on the lines where he had left off, their own little secret continuum of skin.
But his fingers faltered as she spoke, "Axel... are you scared?"
He didn't even have to think about it, "No." His fingers resumed their rhythmic strokes.
He felt her tense in his arms; trying to move her head closer to his neck.
"I am... " She said, voice as quiet as a mouse. Again, his fingers abandoned her skin.
He pushed his cheek into the top of her head, mumbling through her silky hair, "Why?"
She didn't answer him immediately, stretching the seconds into minutes, afraid to voice her own fear. He was debating whether or not to ask her again, but the idea died away as her soft voice pierced the silence she had induced.
"I... I'm afraid to say goodnight." She sighed.
His brows furrowed, not fully understanding what she meant, "I don't understa-"
She gently pushed herself back from his chest; his grip on her softening to allow her to. He met her beautiful blue gaze as she looked into his eyes; searching for something in their depths. She brought one of her hands to his face, fingertips gently grazing one of the triangle shaped scars below his gorgeous green eyes. It was one of the more intimate habits she had, but considering he had only let her touch them on one separate occasion, she was unsure if she could truly call it a habit. She wished they'd had enough time to make it one.
Bring me your love, tonight.
She moved her hand so that it cradled his cheek, smiling sadly, "Because this time, saying it won't just mean goodnight... it'll also mean goodbye."
He watched her bite her lip, shadows of sorrow and fear passing behind her pretty blue eyes. He'd never admit it to her, but identical thoughts had been pulsing through his head ever since he'd borrowed this extra time. But fear or not, he wouldn't of given this chance up for anything. Without her by his side; he doubted he could truly close his eyes and completely fade. Even if it meant leaving her.
"But, knowing that this is your last chance to say it, don't you want to take it?" He asked, voice soft, "I'd be glad if you did."
"That doesn't make it any less scary."
"You know, I happen to know, for a fact, that taking chances isn't all that scary. The only scary part is when you think about what will happen if choose to take one." He smirked, poking her in the middle of her forehead with his index finger, "I thought a memory witch would be a little more up to speed on how powerful the mind can be. Your fear is only in your head."
She batted his finger away, "I guess you're right..."
"Doubtlessly, so, try and turn down the brain functions before you blow a gasket or something."
His arms, still loosely encircling her, gave her body a gentle tug. She didn't resist as he pulled her close to his chest, snuggling her head, once again, into his neck. He always managed to be enlightened by some extra grains of wisdom when she had wrongs to be pointed out. And he always pointed them out so she would see them too. It was part of his annoying charm. But she really didn't mind it. He took pride in his ability to annoy, so she let him have his moments. She was beginning to hate thinking about him and all the ways he was tied to her memories... it all just reminded her of the emptiness he would add to her hollow chest. The emptiness that would take his place beside her, on this bed, when she woke up. The one he'd never be able to fill again.
She closed her eyes, pressing her face into the warm skin of his neck, "Whether I say it or not, it doesn't change the fact that you'll never be beside me again..."
Her voice was quiet; anyone else would've mistaken it for a mere intake of breath, but, then, he wasn't just anyone.
"Naminé, maybe I won't be beside you, but I'll always be with you... lame as it sounds." His quiet chuckle rustled her hair, "I know you don't have a heart to hold me in, but you can still keep me in your thoughts, right? Just... don't forget about me."
He felt her lips brush lightly against his neck as she spoke, "I don't think I ever could."
He kissed the top of her head, but then he decided to break the sentiment a bit, "Good, cos' I bet it'd be extremely hard to forget something this good."
He smirked as he felt her lips smile against his neck, maybe he had been wrong about his talents of making her frown. Maybe he just hadn't appreciated the good times they'd had until it was too late to have any more. At least their last night was a good one. He was considering the notion of falling asleep, unsure if she had enough strength to say one final goodnight; take her last chance to say goodbye. His eyelids began to close, their heaviness growing a little too great, but her voice momentarily relieved him of the weight.
Her voice was soft, but clear, "Goodnight."
His eyes began to close again, and his arms drew her a bit closer, "Goodnight."
Now the day's losing light.
Well, that's that. I hope you all enjoyed this fic and thought I did the idea justice. Tell me what you think! What did I do well, what could I stand to improve on, you name it! Feedback is immensely appreciated and I hope you read and review! I love to hear what my readers think! Flames will simply be used for Axel's amusement. He likes dem' flames. That's all for now! I'm glad I finally had enough of a story to put up!
- Michelle :)