As the weeks went by, Roxas felt more and more disconnected. He would refuse direct orders from his superiors until they wouldn't even ask for anything from him any more. He instead would go to the most secluded places of the Castle and sit by himself, thinking about his existence. It was during one of these quiet excursions that he thought of an answer. A way out.
He would leave the Castle, or die trying.
So once again, like all of the other times before, he left his fellow Organization members and went off by himself. Only this time, not to some remote part of the Castle. No. This time, he headed for the exit.
He never made it.
"Where the hell do you think you're going?" an angry voice demanded.
"Away from here," Roxas replied, turning in the direction of the voice.
A lone shadow separated itself from the others engulfing the surrounding streets.
"They'll eliminate you as soon as you leave." The figure reached up and pulled back its hood, revealing spiky flame-red hair.
Roxas, seeing who it was, turned back around, heading for the exit once again.
"No one would miss me."
"That's not true! ...I would.."
Roxas stopped. What had he just said? He turned back around.
"What? No you wouldn't…"
Axel stepped forward, struggling to keep eye contact with the blonde, fighting his embarrassment at admitting his thoughts.
"Yes, Roxas, I would. You're my best friend. You're the only one… who makes me feel… like I have a heart." At the last admittance, he stopped moving, looking down at his feet with a slight blush caressing his cheeks.
Axel snapped his head up and stared at Roxas.
"What the fuck did you just say?"
The blonde looked coldly at the enraged man before him.
"I said," he repeated sternly, coldly. "You're a liar, Axel."
The pyro clenched his jaw, gritting his teeth together, balling his hands into fists.
"Why the hell am I a liar? I just spilled my guts out to you, and you don't even give a crap. If anyone's a liar here, it's you."
Roxas blinked. Him? A liar?
"Why am I a liar? You're the Nobody that's claiming he can feel. That he can care. No Nobody can feel. You know that. So why am I the liar?"
"You're the liar, you brat," Axel spat out through clenched teeth, trying to stay in control. "Because you led me on in the beginning. You led me on to believe that we Nobodies don't need hearts. We can love and feel without them."
Roxas looked at the Nobody—no, his best friend, glaring angrily at him. He was on the verge of tearing Roxas limb from limb.
'Well,' he thought. 'I said I would die trying…'
So instead of answering, Roxas summoned Oblivion to his right hand, Oathkeeper to his left.
"Oh that's just friggin' great. Thanks so much for fuckin' caring, you bastard!" And with that, Axel shot forward, chakrams materializing at his fingertips, letting only a few stray tears to slip by, betraying his pain.
Roxas wasn't surprised at the sudden attack. What surprised him was the strength and ferocity behind it.
'Damn it. When did he get so strong?'
Roxas parried his lunge and flung him back, but Axel quickly countered. He threw his left chakram at Roxas, cutting through his coat to break his skin. Roxas hissed at the pain, but quickly forgot it as Axel bore down upon him, capturing his attention and his Keyblades.
Before Roxas could once again fling him back, Axel re-summoned his lost chakram, swiping at Roxas' head. Roxas quickly ducked and sprang away, but not before receiving a nice cut to the side of his forehead.
Axel was standing a few feet away, looking at his post- best friend. 'How could he betray the Organization? How could he betray -me-?'
Axel was forced out of his thoughts by a searing pain in his left arm.
He spun around and swiped at his attacker, even more enraged. 'How the fuck did he get behind me?!'
While Axel was day-dreaming—in the middle of a battle, no less—Roxas concentrated his energy on his speed to make it look like he disappeared, and appeared behind Axel. He then proceeded to sink Oathkeeper into Axel's left arm, leaving a deep red gash behind. When Axel whipped around, he danced backwards, out of reach.
"Come back here, you brat!"
Roxas, expecting another chakram to be hurled his way, was caught off guard as the ground around him burst into flame, surrounding him with a low wall of fire. He jumped, aiming to be free of the circle. But when he was directly over the wall of flames, they blazed heaven-ward, singing his coat. He fell backwards and landed on his back, hitting his head. Axel sprang from the flames, directly over Roxas. When Roxas tried to get up and move, Axel threw both chakrams at him, pinning him to the scorching ground. He plummeted to the earth, landing harshly with one foot to Roxas' stomach. XIII's body folded in on itself, forcing him to cough up blood. He turned his head to the side, retching up the substance.
Axel stood over him, glaring down at him. Roxas turned his head to look up at him with hostile eyes. The sneer on Axel's face turned to a look of revulsion upon looking at the Nobody lying on the ground before him. He was disgusted at what his friend had become. He was also disgusted at what he himself had become. Here he was, attacking, aiming to kill, his best friend. 'But Roxas needs to be stopped,' he reasoned. 'He's betraying the Organization.'
Axel swallowed his pity, for lack of a better word, and kicked the pinned boy. Roxas' body flinched from the attack, making him cough up more blood. Said boy ripped his arms free, summoning his Keyblades. Axel summoned his chakrams, spinning them in his hands.
"Will you take back what you said and come back now, Roxy?"
Roxas' eyes tightened and he gripped his Keyblades harder. He lunged himself into the air, disappearing and reappearing behind Axel, still airborne.
"Not a chance."
He threw first Oblivion, then Oathkeeper, at the pyro's back. Axel didn't react fast enough. Both Keyblades cut and sunk shallowly into said pyro's back, leaving twin gashes. Axel sunk to one knee, eyes wide with the shock of the blows.
Roxas landed next to the pyro, standing to his right side. He grasped Oblivion with his right hand, taking it from Axel's back. He repeated his actions with Oathkeeper.
While Axel was temporarily overwhelmed by pain, Roxas stood there, at his side, staring at him. As he let a tear slide down his cheek, he kept thinking of all of the good times he's had with him.
'Why… Why am I fighting him? Why?'
Axel struggled to his feet, slightly panting. He turned and took a look at Roxas, silently crying, lost in his memories. Axel stumbled forward, dropping his chakrams along the short way. He stopped in front of Roxas and placed a hand on his shoulder, gripping him tight. Roxas looked up to see a pained look on VIII's face that didn't have anything to do with his bleeding wounds.
That look didn't belong there.
With that, he smacked the red head across the head with the hilt of Oblivion.
Axel turned his head with the blow, feeling the blood drip down out of his hairline, and continued to look down on Roxas with the same pained expression.
So Roxas dropped both of his blades, and punched him in the stomach.
Axel forced himself to stay standing, gripping Roxas' other shoulder for support. Roxas reached up to steady him. He looked up again, and finding the same expression on Axel's face, he looked away from his face, hiding his own as he let a few more tears slide down his cheeks.
"Why won't you let me go?" Roxas softly whispered.
"Because I can't…"
The blonde closed his eyes, tears streaming down from them.
"Fuck you, Axel."