A/n: I wish I could think of some fancy way to introduce this new fic, but I've got nothing. So, give it a chance I know it isn't like 'Worth It', but I think you'll like it nonetheless. Please read, enjoy and review! Also, lots of love to my wonderful new beta Aindel S. Druida, who my friend Katana is endlessly thankful for. Seriously, you two are amazing, and thanks for everything you've done for me and this fic.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts, I would make even less sense I did.
Roxas stood in front of the tarp, hands on his hips, and inspected his handiwork. The gummi ship was covered entirely in the camouflage netting, making it impossible to see to anybody who wasn't looking for it. The camo blended in perfectly with the woods. He figured this forest was roughly as old as his world, the trees were tall and thick, the floor covered in old dead leaves. This clearing was barely large enough for the gummi ship, eased precariously down amongst the trees during landing.
Horizon Point was the furthest thing from tropical. Old forests, and giant cliffs. There weren't any beaches; the ocean met rock. No palm trees or tropical birds, just evergreens and seagulls. Of course he hated it here. He'd been all around the universe and everywhere he traveled seemed much more like home then this place had ever been. The ocean roared somewhere miles away, crashing into the cliffs. It was already dark, and Roxas knew he could run the risk of walking right off one of the ledges and down into the ocean if he got turned around even a little bit. It all looked the same, the only landmark being the tarp. If he walked even a few yards away, that too would disappear.
With a sigh he unzipped his duffel bag, fishing around for a sweater. He had forgotten how cold it got here. Roxas was practically freezing in his shorts and T-shirt, then again; Agrabah had been a lot warmer than he was use to. Two months in paradise, and now stuck again in this wasteland. He pulled the zipper up as far as it would go before shouldering his bag. Taking a minute to gather his senses, he took off towards his house.
Nothing moved at all, which was perhaps the most bizarre thing of all. He had become use to the constant activity of Agrabah - the bustling market, the street performers and even the people. They never stopped moving or partying; even late at night when Roxas was done patrolling they were up dancing and singing. Culture clash was something he'd grown used to over the last two years. He had adjusted to their lifestyle in a few short weeks; assimilating back into Horizon Point would be much, much harder.
Large hands under his armpits. Lifting him clean up into the sky. Laughter and tiny fingers. Brown hair and two sets of blue eyes. A big pile of leaves. The sky crisp and blue and a few lazy clouds.
Leaping over an uprooted tree, he landed a bit funny. Tired, he decided, more than off his game. He'd been working nonstop for too long. The job was done and now all he wanted to do was climb into that enormous king-sized bed and drift off. The upside of being home was the possibility of sleeping in. Normally, someone would dash those hopes and dreams, though they might go easy on him for the first week or so. He could only pray.
Heartless and keyblades. Everything was a mess. What was the saying? Ignorance is bliss. If he had it his way he'd move to a world with little to no Heartless, settle down and forget all of this. Sora would be upset though. Passing off his responsibilities wasn't possible. In fact, there were times when he enjoyed it. The adrenaline, the sweat, the fight. Saving people, worlds, the universe, didn't even compare. That rush was the only thing kept him interested.
He'd been doing this too long. Things were starting to become routine. Patrol, kill things, patrol, sleep, patrol some more. The same places needed constant saving, and Roxas hadn't been anywhere new in ages. No new routes to clear, the gummi flew on auto pilot now, and Cid was even working out a way to get the lasers to fire automatically. Boring.
Sure, the Nobodies had come as a bit of a surprise. They were better organized, better fighters. Still, one swing of the keyblade had them fading off into nothing. He found himself wishing more and more to get out while he could, to quit while he was ahead of the game. He'd get old and what had once been easy would suddenly be hard. He didn't want to get killed by a Heartless. He wanted to die in his sleep, or surrounded by his grandkids or something equally cheesy. His life could use some cheese.
The woods finally started to thin out, and either he was heading for a cliff or his backyard. One of the above. Hopefully the latter. He could finally see the moon. It was almost full, and it shone bright enough to light up his path. A twig snapped under his foot, and acorns crunched loudly. He finally noticed the dirt under his fingernails as he looked down at his feet. It was disgusting, though he was pretty sure he couldn't be looking much better.
His nose was already running, no doubt from the shock of the cold. His clothes didn't really fit him anymore, and he probably should use a belt or something, but he didn't feel like it. His shirt had a stain on it, from some odd thing or another he had been forced to eat at his going-away party. He didn't even want to think about his hair, or the bags he knew were under his eyes. Nocturnal living had not agreed with him. That, and the lack of soap.
There were a few choice worlds where soap wasn't an issue. He didn't think he could live out the rest of his day in a world without soap. Oh, and air conditioning. Though he supposed if he settled in the Pride Lands or Atlantica, soap and AC wouldn't really be an issue. He did suppose the novelty of a tail would run out eventually though. How do mermaids reproduce? Can he even have grandkids then? Also if he got turned into a lion chances are he or his offspring wouldn't live long enough for grandkids. So that was out.
Twilight Town. That would be nice. Soap and AC were readily available. He could participate in struggle matches, he'd get his adrenaline rush then. Roxas had made a few friends on his last visit, so it would be nice. Perfectly livable. It's not like Twilight Town was some major city, but it would be nice. Better than this Podunk world. The ocean! You could actually swim in the ocean, it was warm and ice cream was available year round. Now all he had to do was fake his own death.
Not that his supposed death would stop Sora, he thought idly. He'd search all over for him. It might take him a while to give up. None of their otherworldly friends would shelter him. He could already picture the look on Leon's face if he showed up on his doorstep. Coward. He scratched the back of his head. Radiant Garden was out of the picture; he could probably lie low in Traverse Town, camp out in Cid's old shop.
Yellow light shone off in the distance, the windows and sliding glass door of his house. They must've all been up still, but no shadows moved around…probably in the living room watching TV. Another, much smaller, red light flared in and out of existence closer to him. Roxas could feel the dread pile up, weighing him down and constricting his stomach. Smoke flew high into the sky before dispersing in pretty patterns and shapes. Even Roxas could appreciate it.
Thoughts of grandkids and ice cream, sandy beaches, and AC flew out of his head. He was torn between smiling and frowning and vomiting. His fingers twitched, reflexes screaming out for him to summon his Keyblade, instinct running wild.
"Axel." Leaves crunched under heavy boots, and the waves off in the distance roared. Hands up, white teeth glistening in the bright light of the moon Axel emerged from his hiding place.
"I guess that makes it your point. Then again…" He looked over his shoulder at the windows of the house, before rolling them and snapping his eyes back to Roxas'. "You knew I was gonna be here."
"I don't have time for this." Roxas continued on his path, shoulder bumping harshly into Axel. "Go home." He didn't have the guts to look him in the face, instead concentrating on the ground. Roxas could feel his eyes widen at the amount of cigarette butts under the tree. "How long have you been watching?"
"Sixty-three days, or technically sixty-four, that's today. But today doesn't count, 'cause here you are." Even caught in the act, he didn't seem ashamed of himself at all. "I watched after him, just like you said. I made sure he was safe." He laughed, running a gloved hand through his hair. "Didn't step in for Riku though. I mean, he deserved what he got. Flung himself in the way of a fucking Shadow Stalker."
"Thank you. Now go." Collecting himself again Roxas marched on. He could feel the goose bumps erupt on the back of his neck as he turned away from Axel. No, Axel wouldn't hurt him. He couldn't hurt him. After all…
He shouldn't trust him. Axel wasn't safe. Axel was deadly. He could kill any one of them - some easier than others. The girls were so fragile…he shouldn't have trusted Axel to watch after them. But just as easily, Axel was also weak. If he had been caught, he would've died. Riku wouldn't hesitate to take him out. Sora most likely wouldn't either.
How could he let himself just fool around? Thinking about beaches and soap. He had set this terror loose on this family! He had asked him to watch them. What the hell had he been thinking? Everything could've gone to hell. What was wrong with him? Even if running away had been an option… Oh god…
"I'm getting really tired of this, this stupid game of cat and mouse. You can't run off to Agrabah every time things get a little rough, Roxas. That's not how this works." Axel called after him. "You don't get to do this. Stop. I said stop!" He was yelling now. Roxas froze. At any moment somebody could come running, peeking out of a window, if they weren't already. Axel was now fuming, still standing under the tree.
It only took a second for Roxas to reach him again, at a speed that would've seemed impossible. His hand already drawn back in a fist, in less time than it took Axel to blink, his head was slammed up against the trunk of the tree. Much to Roxas' astonishment Axel kept quiet, holding his face. Had anybody been watching all they would've seen was a streak of white light and brightly lit red slamming into brown.
Off the oak tree, the house and into the woods echoed the sick sound of bone on bark. It reverberated, and somewhere a dog howled. It could've been from the moon, or it could've been from the loud noise. Roxas twitched, feeling that noise slam right into his chest, almost as if it had been him that was slammed into a tree. Fury soon overcame any feelings of shock.
"You don't get to tell me what I can and cannot do. Yell and scream all you want, because it isn't going change anything. Stay the hell away from my house." Axel looked pathetic, and Roxas already knew there would be a disgusting bruise on his face for the next week. Not that he cared.
"Fine, I get it." Axel choked out before straightening himself up and dusting off his coat. "I get it, really I do." It looked like he could've laughed but thought better of it. He walked past Roxas and into the forest until he was swallowed up by the blackness.
No, he couldn't run away. Not with Axel around. An early retirement wouldn't be possible. No year round ice cream, or struggle matches, or beaches with sand. Everything would stay the same. Keyblades and Darkness and Nothing would continue to run his life as it had since he was fifteen. No escaping his fate.
"Nobody," Roxas called after him, spitting out the word like a curse.
"Heartless," reverberated back, bouncing off his chest and echoing in the silence of the night.
Disturbed, Roxas looked around, checking the windows for any sign of life before scooping up all the dead cigarettes. Around the house sat a lonely trash can, reflecting the light of the moon right into his eyes. He dumped them without a second thought. The sound of metal crashing into metal was masked by water crashing into land.
A/n: Please review if you like it...or if you didn't. Be ready for dhapter two in about a month and the next chapter of 'Worth It' should be out by the end of the November. Review! There's that nice, new big button and everything!