Notes: Yes. New penname. Why? Because. This story was posted back in September on my LJ, and tonight I just felt like posting it here, too.
Disclaimer: I have not been off fighting for my right to own Kingdom Hearts and its plot/characters. I have been swamped by coursework.
Now, if you know Roxas at all, you wouldn't think that this was of any remote interest. After all, there were only a few people who could say they'd seen an expression on his face that could not be defined as some variation of a frown. But generally his thin gradient of frown expressions was directed at those around him. Never did he so fiercely frown at a calendar. Which he was doing now.
The date August 13 was not circled. There was no mark within the one inch box to indicate that it was a day that Roxas was looking forward to or dreading, as the frown suggested. August 13 of that year marked an anniversary. His and Axel's, to be specific. Meaning it had been one year since Roxas sat himself in front of Axel at the café their crowd frequented and said, quite blatantly and without preamble "Hey, Axel. I'm in love with you." Needless to say anyone in the near vicinity spit out their coffee and then groaned in relief as though to say Finally. Axel had been speechless for a whole of five seconds before he kicked the table between them aside and pulled Roxas to him.
Today was August 11.
In two days it would be a year from that day. A year of waking up next to Axel – usually after great sex – eating breakfast with Axel, and a year of coming home to Axel or Axel coming home to him. They'd been living together for a month before Roxas's straightforward confession, and they'd been friends for longer.
No one really doubted that it would end up the way it did, since Axel had been the only person Roxas got close to besides his brother and Riku, and Riku only so much. But it was disputed between at least Pence, Olette, Hayner, Selphie, Tidus... okay. It was hinted and joked at by their circle that Roxas only swung the way he did because he preferred having a relationship where there was no pressure on him to be romantic. Axel didn't care that Roxas forgot his birthday, didn't call him ten times a day to know where he was, didn't insist on cuddling, and above all, didn't expect public displays of affection. In fact, if you didn't catch Roxas looking at Axel or listen to the way Axel said Roxas's name, you would rarely guess at their being together. Their friends had learned to accept it and even be grateful for it, since Riku and Sora had been acting like lovestruck idiots for as long as they had all been friends. Which pretty much pegged it to five years ago.
And Riku and Sora's behavior was probably the reason Roxas was frowning at the calendar, at August 13 in particular. Riku and Sora recently celebrated their second anniversary, and by celebrated you should take it to mean they actually announced it and planned a whole evening to commemorate it. Sometime after, Riku had commented that "It won't kill you to be romantic on your anniversary, Roxas. Isn't it going to be a year soon?"
Normally, Roxas made a habit of ignoring anything Riku said, especially if it sounded like advice.
But the thought nagged at him for the coming weeks, and now here it was. He had two measly days to think of something romantic to do for Axel.
And that's why the kitchen counter was strewn with crumpled pieces of paper. Roxas had been attempting a love letter. It was, as far as he was concerned, the most clichéd and basic form of romanticism. The first one had gone something like this:
"Axel, we've been together for a year, and that year has been the best year of my entire life..." and pretty much disappointed Roxas from there on out. The next went "I wake up next to you each morning and know that I love you more than I did yesterday..." which was admittedly half true. Most nights Roxas kicked something awful and Axel was hanging upside down, dragging the sheets with him. Another two attempts quoted bits of Axel's favorite songs, and yet another got nostalgic in detail about the day they met. The problem, Roxas decided, was that he wasn't used to saying such things to Axel. He rarely even let the three words slip. After that frank confession, he'd probably only said it twice. The problem was that he felt all those things he was writing, but he couldn't bring himself to finish sentences.
Finally, when Axel was due home from work in less than ten minutes, Roxas grabbed a post-it and scribbled:
Axel, you forgot to take out the trash this morning, dumbass. And would it kill you to let me bottom tonight?
He stuck it on the fridge and tossed the snowballs of lined paper, smirking. Well, there was always tomorrow for another try.
"So what's this about?" Axel asked later, dropping a few crumpled pieces of paper onto his open Sociology textbook. Roxas hid his embarrassment with a frown and a muttered threat under his breath, then spoke up. "I thought I asked you to take out the trash." He pulled the wastebasket out from under his desk and swept the failed notes into it.
Normally Axel was the less serious of the two, but his voice leaked there's-something-you're-not-telling-me, and when Axel's voice took that tone, Roxas didn't like to look him in the eye because the tone emphasized the height difference between them. Quite honestly, it turned him on a little more than he would have liked.
This was not a situation he liked to be in.
"I was tryingtowriteyoualoveletter... asshole," he replied, pointedly fixing his gaze at a vibrant lock of red hair that hung over Axel's shoulder.
"You were... what?"
"Writing you a love letter... dammit.... trying to. Did you read any of them?" Roxas made a mistake and looked past the sharp angle of Axel's cheekbone to his bright green stare.
"Just one. Figured after the first line or two that you tossed 'em for a reason." Axel was smirking now. "Why would you be writing me a love letter?"
Roxas shrugged. He was determined at this point – Axel's discovery was like a challenge – to do something romantic, and catch Axel off guard with it.
"I mean... it's not like you haven't before, but hell... all this sugar-coated stuff isn't your usual style."
That caught Roxas off guard, so caught up was he in a vision of falling onto a rose petal covered bed with his boyfriend.
"When did I ever write you a love letter?"
"Before today?" Axel inquired lightly, leaning in.
"Before today's attempt, yes," Roxas affirmed, shutting his textbook.
"Plenty of times."
Roxas raised an eyebrow. "I don't remember."
Axel dove in, kissing him as heatedly and as briefly as the flame on a candle in the middle of a dark room, and then opened the bottom drawer of the desk and pulled out a largish envelope, handing it over. Inside were roughly twenty one post-it notes, most of them reminding Axel to take out the trash, mail the electric bill, or some other menial task. About half of them had an added line, usually something like or "I'll be back late, wait up for me" or even in the closing: "Love, Roxas".
Roxas wrestled with pride as he put them back, amazed that Axel would keep them. He didn't even remember writing the last one, which was probably from two months ago. And Axel kept them. He felt like such a girl when he realized that it was a real romantic gesture. Axel took it back and withdrew today's note from his pocket and added it to the collection before storing it under a folder with their insurance information.
"So..." Axel began conversationally, leaning in again, "You want me to top?"
Roxas made a sound in the back of his throat that could have indicated annoyance and grabbed Axel by the front of his shirt. "I know you like me to dominate, but could you think about what I want for once?"
The words should have stung, but it was a harmless jibe. Axel smirked.
"And what do you want?"
Roxas groaned, roughly bringing their lips together.
"You, of course," he said once they could both breathe.
The next day passed without incident, except Axel remembered to take out the trash before he left that morning. Roxas didn't pay attention in class or at work, as he was too busy plotting what he would try next in his quest to sweep Axel off his feet. As far as he was concerned, Axel was one-up on the tally.
The next idea that struck him as he put the key in the lock and let himself into the dark apartment was this: a romantic candlelight dinner. Candlelight was romantic, and if he could pull off cooking Axel's favorite pasta and dig up a bottle of Firaga... Well, now. Hand him a pair of tights and call him Romeo.
Roxas was, arguably, good at everything. He could soar over a half pipe, putting a 360 spin on the air before gliding up the other end. He could write phenomenal essays on just about every subject he'd read up on, and, as Axel liked to brag, he was good in bed. The best.
But if you're this far into the story, I'm pretty sure you've realized that the one thing he couldn't do is be romantic. And that entailed the ability to cook a modest but perfect candlelight dinner. Because you see, pasta was not supposed to look like that. Like it was stewed brains. Putting random dashes of whatever spice they had on the rack was also not a good idea. And the fact that Axel was pretty much a pyro left Roxas to bemoan the future of their life together because every candle in the house was burned down to the stub of the wick. And who knows what would happen if he bought new ones.
Axel was due home any minute, and Roxas couldn't even muster the energy to scrap everything and jump in the shower, hoping to distract his other with the sight of him wet and naked.
"Any reason why the stove is covered in an explosion of pasta?"
Roxas had been frowning, once again, at August 13. August 13, as far as he was concerned, could go fuck itself.
"No reason," he muttered darkly, fingers itching for a permanent marker to scribble the existence out of tomorrow. August 13.
This time he was too engrossed in hatred for that one inch box on the calendar to remember how bad it was to look Axel straight in the eye when he used that tone, so Roxas did.
"I was trying to cook dinner," he said immediately. Dumbass.
Axel reached out and gripped Roxas's shoulders.
"You never cook."
"Yeah, I think you can tell why now."
"So why today?"
Emotional Roxas was not. But when he'd spent the better part of an hour the previous day attempting a love letter and the better part of five hours or more trying to get the pasta to cook and hoping that if he lit one candle Axel wouldn't burn the apartment complex down – again! – well...
He pulled away and began to scoop and scrape the stringy pasta from the stovetop, thankful that it was a flat burner.
"Because, you idiot...." he slammed the pot into the sink and chucked a burnt half loaf of garlic bread over his shoulder, "Maybe I wanted to do something... romantic" he twitched violently at the word but ploughed one, "For your for once. Since tomorrow is our goddamn anniversary and all."
Roxas inwardly fumed.
Roxas felt like hitting him.
Just as he was about to, though, he was pulled into a strong embrace and another one of Axel's brief but passionate kisses.
"You're acting like such a girl, Roxas," he muttered when they broke apart. "I thought you didn't care about that sort of thing."
Roxas frowned but did not extricate himself. "Not really... but... maybe it is important. And that's why I tried to..."
"You do stuff for me all of the time without even knowing it. Write me notes, Pull me back into bed when you kick me in the middle of the night. Let me buy as many fireworks as I want on Twilight Eve. Beg." He smirked. "Of course, I'm sure if you think of it, the most romantic thing you can do for me is tell me..." he trailed off, loosening his hold and starting to pick up the mess, examining the bottle of Firaga with interest.
Roxas frowned at the tomato sauce splattered tile and felt the warmth start to ebb away from him. When they finished cleaning the kitchen he tore down the calendar, just until the day after tomorrow, anyway, and sat at the kitchen table, where Axel managed to salvage some of the food.
Roxass' frown disappeared, a slight smile in its place. "I'm in love with you."