For Ana.

You wanted me to write a Santa!Axel fic, and I've been dying to write Axel as a mall Santa, so here it is, man. Done and done. There's no plot. I swear to god, this is one bipolar piece of romantic, frivolous, stupid crack, but I had fun writing it, and I don't even care anymore if it doesn't make sense. It has Axel as mall Santa, goddammit!

Anyway, yeah, man, your first request is done. I hope you love it. I mean, I know it was supposed to be short, but c'mon. This is me we're talking about. I can't write anything short. So here's your plotless, crack-tastic akuroku castastro-piece, and I hope it makes you laugh or go "aww" just once. :D LOVE YOU.

OH. AND I LOVE JESS, MAN. For putting up with this fic enough to convince me to post it, after she read it over. THANKS, MAN. YOU'RE MAH CRAZY BRIE NINJA PAL.

And Courtney, I don't know if you're reading this, but never fear, I now have an idea for your request. So I'll be writing that next.

Okay. Enough. Please to enjoy.

Disclaimer: No, man.

-- - --

"So, this Christmas job." Smirking, Roxas rolls his lollipop around in his mouth. "How's it going for you?" His cousin glares at him in the midst of picking a present up off the ground, and Roxas snickers, head tilted and eyes narrowed with sadistic satisfaction.

Sometimes, he just loves the Christmas season.

Tilting his head lazily to the side, the blond listens to the lollipop clack against his teeth, humming robotic Christmas tunes under his breath in time with the loudspeakers above. His eyes remain trained on the boy swamped in green, and when his cousin hunches over his gaze flicks to the hat crushing his wild mane of brown hair. His grin grows when he catches the cotton-ball atop the hat begin to grow top-heavy and sway.

As the hat flops into his cousin's crisscrossed eyes just he's setting down the present, Roxas snorts. "You make a cute elf, Sora. That's all I have to say."

Frustrated, Sora whips around and attempts to stand straight at the same time. Vertigo gets the best of him, and before he can do anything he stumbles back in his impossibly ridiculous elf shoes, nearly toppling into the ten prop presents resting behind him. Laughing in amusement, Roxas reaches out and grabs his sleeve, tugging the boy back onto steady feet and then snatching the green hat sitting lopsided on Sora's hair.

Pulling it over blond locks, he tilts his head, rolls his lollipop against his right cheek, and then smiles charmingly, batting his eyes. "Do I look adorable?"

His cousin rubs his eyes, laughing hollowly. "Really cute, Rox. I think you should take over for me."

"Really?" Leaning forward, he grips the brim of the hat and pulls it further into his eyes. Cocking his head, he peers teasingly into Sora's face, watching the seriousness begin to break piece by piece. "Am I that cute?"

"Give me that." Grinning past his exhaustion, the brown-haired boy finally manages a laugh as he swipes the hat from Roxas's hair. Smirking, the blond straightens and brushes off any collected fuzz from his hair. "You're gonna get me fired, Roxas, jeez."

From beneath his bangs, Roxas wryly watches his cousin reach down and pick up a prop present – nothing but cardboard wrapped up and tied with a bow. Scratching his neck idly, he flicks his gaze to the few children still standing in Santa's line, who're giggling behind their hands or screaming at their mothers, and he grimaces. "You're dressed up as a friggin' elf on Christmas Eve," he drawls, dragging his eyes back to his cousin, "and getting fired is the worst of your problems? Yeah, Sora. Keep living the dream."

"Shut up. I'm serious." Laughing, Sora pushes a present into Roxas's chest, and the blond stumbles back a step. "I need the cash."

"Why?" Roxas juggles the gift in his hands, glancing around. His eyes fall on a child near the back of the line, who's openly staring at the two, and he makes a face. Flinching, the tubby little toddler quickly whirls around and hides his face in his mother's pant-suit leg. She doesn't notice, since she's talking on the cell phone, but Sora does.

Roxas hisses out a frustrated breath when Sora whacks him upside the head. "Don't be an asshole."

"Whatever. You needed money?" He rubs his head, playing a tune against his teeth with his lollipop as he watches the subject change his cousin's expression. His eyebrow arches as a blush colors Sora's elfin cheeks, and Roxas reaches out, swabbing his finger over the boy's skin. He wants to make sure that his cousin cousin's not wearing make-up.

"Ow! Jeez! Cut your nails!" Sora grumbles, pulling back, rubbing the heel of his hand against his face. "What the hell is wrong with you? Do you have ADD?"

"You were blushing."

"No, I wasn't." Quickly, Sora drops his hand. Roxas grins as little bells jingle on the sleeves.

"You still are." As Sora crosses his arms and looks away, the hat slipping slightly into his eyes, Roxas's expression lights up. "Oh, I know. You're getting something for Kairi!" Sora's ears flair into a vibrant red, which strikingly contrasts against his hat. Unable to speak, he snatches the present back from Roxas's arms, and Roxas protests with a laugh, reaching out to tap his cousin's shoulder. "Hey, don't be embarrassed. It's cute."

"I'm just trying to do something special for her," he mutters, hiding his face as he crouches low and shoves the gift away. Roxas sighs and links his hands behind his head, leaning back on his heels while the boy stands and tugs idly at the cotton-ball end of his hat. "It's our first Christmas together."

"Are you excited?" the blond asks blandly, his eyes trailing back to the line of children. It hasn't shortened by much. He can still spot Tubby tugging frantically at his mother's pant-leg. He feels a little bad, too, because that woman seems like quite a bitch. She hasn't looked down from her phone once. "Sharing your Christmas with someone special?"

"Well…yeah." Blushing, Sora smiles and rubs the back of his neck, and Roxas flicks careful eyes back to his cousin. Breathing out through his nose, he allows his own slight grin, softened by the love in Sora's eyes. "It doesn't even matter that it's Christmas, though. I just like spending time with her."

"Wow." Sora blinks, glancing up. Rolling his lollipop around thoughtfully, Roxas then grabs the stick and pulls the candy from his mouth, pointing it at the boy. "You are such a girl!" The boy blushes and punches Roxas in the arm, and Roxas laughs. "I'm kidding, I'm kidding. It's cute." Sora crosses his arms skeptically, and the blond smirks, popping his lollipop back onto his tongue. "Really."

Sora sighs wearily and glances down at his thickly-green sleeve, pushing back the tight material as far off his arm as he can. It doesn't budge too far, and Roxas snorts as his cousin grimaces.

"Cute uniform."

"You know I'm going to kill you after today, right?" Sora remarks distractedly, tapping the face of his watch. Roxas shakes his head at the sorry piece of clockwork – it's scratched up and chipped, scarred with wear, and old with age. He's surprised it hasn't stopped working entirely. "After I find out what time it is."

Sighing, Roxas reaches down into his pocket and pulls out the gift he'd been carrying around for hours now. He'd nearly forgotten about it, but Sora's OCD habit of checking the time had successfully reminded him. Tapping his fingers against the box first, he then snatches it up with his palm and withdraws it from his pants. "Just…here. Head's up." Glancing up, Sora jumps as Roxas tosses him the box and then fumbles with the package, nearly dropping it. He manages to hold on tightly, and, looking up, he sends the blond a skeptical look. Roxas shrugs. "I've been in the mall all day. Figure I'd waste what money I had left."

"Not on Axel?" Glancing down, Sora slips his finger under the tape, gingerly prying off the wrapping paper.

Roxas arches his brow at his cousin's care before crossing his arms and shaking his head. His eyes wander to the Santa chair, and he smirks. "No. I think this experience is gift enough for the both of us. Besides. He's incredibly difficult to shop for. It's really not worth it."

"Difficult? Or embarrassing." Cocking his head, Sora tugs at the wrapping paper, and it unravels in the air, dropping to his impeccably pointed shoes. Roxas rubs the back of his head as his cousin shakes the white box. "I can only imagine the things Axel would make you buy."

Skin prickling with heat, Roxas scratches his cheekbone and glances away. "Yeah. Last Christmas was pretty interes—"

"Roxas." At the sound of his name, he flicks his eyes forward to see Sora staring at him hard, dangling a watch in midair. Sheepishly he shrugs and glances down, shoving his hands into his pockets. "It's too expensive."

"It was on sale?"

"No, it wasn't."

"Look." He sighs and scuffs his sneaker against the ground. "It's just a little thank you. You know, for all the times you've let me crash at your house when Mother Dearest locks me out."

"Rox. It's your money."

"And it's your watch."

"I have a watch."

"Well, I have money." Glancing up, he grins weakly, shrugging his shoulders. "Just take the stupid gift, Sora. It's no big deal."

Sora hesitates, cradling the watch within his palm. It catches the luminescent lights along the ceiling and sparkles, pouring a silver glow onto his green-gloved hand. Lifting it up into the air, Sora admiringly tilts it fully into the light, his eyes following the rainbow prism of light that is cast off its surface. "It's beautiful."

Roxas perks up. "You like it."

"I love it," his cousin remarks sadly, shooting him a look, "but I can't keep it."

Angrily, he tugs at a lock of hair. "Fuck, Sora, I worked really hard for that money, just so I could buy you the fucking watch! I mean, I could've stolen it. A few months ago, I would've!" Sora curls his fingers around his gift, shooting a quick, wary look over his shoulder. The line has shortened again; by now, Tubby's too out of earshot to hear any of his cursing. "So just take the fucking watch! Fuck."

Wearily, Sora sighs as he turns fully around again, sending Roxas a disapproving glance even while he fiddles with the clasp of his old watch. "You should've bought yourself something nice. I'm not happy about this, Roxas," he scolds, catching the old and beaten-up clock as it slithers into his palm. Glancing up, he tosses the trinket to the blond, who catches it with one hand. "You're being stupid."

"Whatever." He runs his finger along the jagged scars of Sora's old wristwatch, picking at its black, leather belt with his nail. He's had it so long that he's had to cut manmade notches into the material – by now, he has nearly run out of space. "You needed a new one."

Sora nods absently, carefully hooking the new watch onto his wrist. It's as slim as his old one, but it does his skin more justice, even if the smart silver design does look weird against the tattered sleeves of his elf uniform. "What time is it?" he asks distractedly, winding the tiny hands.

"5:45." Roxas plunges the trinket into his pocket and then runs both hands through his hair, arching his back as he then links his fingers at his neck. "Fifteen minutes 'til closing."

"I suppose you're sticking around," Sora murmurs as he presses the crown back into place and then lifts the watch to his ear. He laughs slightly at the sound and glances toward Roxas, who is picking nervously at his sleeve. His shame has started to sink in, and he can't meet his cousin's eyes. "It's a really nice watch, Rox. I do love it."

"Yeah?" Glancing up slowly, he watches his cousin lower his arm and tap its surface, grinning.

"It even has little keys for hands," Sora says with amusement, tilting his wrist from side to side. "That's so neat."

Roxas smiles and nods before pulling his lollipop from his mouth to tap it thoughtfully against his lips. "Yeah, but you should go get changed. Now that you can actually be on time for once, you better make a habit of it. Or try to," he remarks sarcastically.

"If I can get out of these stupid clothes," Sora replies with a laugh, snatching off his hat with a flourish. "Merry Christmas, Rox," he says cheerily, tugging the hat down onto the blond's unkempt hair. Wincing, he smiles weakly around his lollipop, which he plops quickly back into his mouth.

"Yeah, holiday cheer, whatever. Same to you."

He's surprised when his cousin catches him in a swift hug, and he nearly chokes on his candy, blinking as the brim of the Santa hat falls into his eyes. After a second's recap, he smiles and ruffles his cousin's hair, then grabbing the boy by the shoulders and shoving him back at arm's length.

"Go ask for your paycheck, stupid. I doubt your girlfriend wants to spend Christmas Eve on her own."

Nodding hastily, Sora skitters out of his arms and trips on his feet as he leaps over the thin rope marking off Santa's personal gazebo-like attraction. Laughing, Roxas leans back on his heels and watches his cousin rush past the very few passersby left, all of whom stare at the sight of a frantic elf pushing his way through the halls.

"Go get her, lover boy," he mutters to himself, scratching his ear as he crunches down on the candy between his teeth. Wincing at the sudden rush of sweetness, he drags to treat around with his tongue, grinding down until he reaches the paper stick. Stretching both arms over his head, he disinterestedly kicks one of the cardboard presents, and then he peers over his shoulder to where the remaining two elves are trying to hasten the line forward so that they can get out of here.

Pulling the stick from his mouth, Roxas drops it to the floor and kicks it beneath the clouds of cotton snow. As he walks, he knocks his hand against the candy-cane pillars, pulling at the streamers wrapped tightly around the paint, batting at the garlands hanging over. Jumping over one of the ropes with ease, he lands in the line leading to Santa Claus, linking his fingers within his hair to play with the rim of Sora's elf hat. It slips into his eyes as he drags his feet across the tiles, and pleasantly he yawns, watching Tubby and Mother Bitch from beneath his lashes. There are three other children waiting in line for Santa besides that miserable family of two. He wonders if the poor kid will get his wish in before closing.

Roxas doubts it matters – Mother Bitch probably disguises his neglect of maternal care with an overdose of food and expensive presents. Still, even he thinks it's cold to deny a kid the wish he's been waiting for all year.

Tilting his head to the side, he recognizes only one of the two elves. Yuffie, barking at a pair of twins as they fight over a single fire truck, grabs one of the boys by the scruff of the neck and drags him outside the lines, her chopping bangs flying in and out of the fire of her eyes. The other boy skitters under the swinging rope and nearly knocks over a decorative Christmas tree in his attempt to get away, which causes Yuffie to start screaming at his mother, who's far too startled by this twenty-year-old to remember her children. Roxas almost laughs as Yuffie throws down her elf hat and name tag, telling the woman in the process to "catch her little brats" before she fries them in a vat of oil. Or something else that's entirely like Yuffie to say. And Roxas does start laughing when Yuffie quits just as a security guard rushes over, throwing up her hands, storming off, and leaving the remaining elf girl, line of people, and security guard steeped in horror.

Covering his mouth to muffle his laughter, Roxas doubles over and nearly starts crying. He's definitely getting Yuffie something fantastic by New Year's.

The poor, startled elf rushes over and tries to get the line moving as the security guard consoles the mother of two, and Roxas drags his sleeve over his mouth and eyes to find that only Tubby is left at 5:57. Rubbing the back of his neck, he strolls forward, knocking his knuckles against each candy-cane pole. Some of the cotton snow has twirled itself around his laces, he notices, but he doesn't pay it too much mind as he looks out onto the practically empty mall. Santa Claus is almost home free.

"Yeah, and whaddo you want for Christmas, kid?"

Roxas tilts his head at the sigh and sarcastic tone of Mall Santa, and smugly he grins, leaning against one of the supporting walls of the gazebo thing. Folding his arms over his chest, he looks high to his right and smirks, catching a glimpse of red hair sticking out of the back of an equally red hat. Tugging at his own elf hat subconsciously, he has to bite back a ripple of laughter.

Yes, he just loves Christmas sometimes.

"A puppy!"

"Original," Santa mutters, before he forces out, "Great, yeah, if you're good, you'll get a puppy. Ho ho ho, Merry Christmas, be good, see you next year." Roxas snorts as Santa nearly shoves the little girl from his lap, making a contemptuous noise of disgust under his breath as he waves his white-gloved hand in sarcastic farewell. Skipping to her mother, the girl excitedly begins to chatter away, and the woman smiles affectionately as she folds their fingers together. At least one family is happy on Christmas Eve.

Mother Bitch finally snaps her phone shut as Tubby begins to climb up the steps of Santa's gazebo, and impatiently she taps her foot, looking to her watch. Glancing upward as Roxas picks cotton out of his hair, he then glances toward her wryly and flicks the fluff in her direction. It doesn't float too far, but the movement catches her attention. 'What,' he mouths in challenge, eyes narrowed, and she scowls and turns her head toward the exit doors.

Santa groans as Tubby flops his girth into his red, red lap, and Roxas smirks smugly. Elf girl, with her black hair askew and her blue eyes shocking beneath the fluorescent lighting, sighs wearily and wrings her hat between her hands, waiting for the boy to make up his mind. He's volleying between an expensive toy car, a pony, and a chocolate bar as the voice comes over the loudspeaker, announcing that the mall is now closed.

"You know what, kid? You can have whatever the hell you want. Just get the hell off my lap." Before the child even has the opportunity to move, Santa stands up, hoisting Tubby into the air with a grunt and then swinging him down onto the ground. Muttering beneath his breath, the man in red stomps down the steps and pushes past elf girl, who shoots him a glare as she runs to the wailing boy. Mother Bitch checks her nails before she eases her expensive shoes onto the stairs, and by now Santa is halfway down the hallway, throwing his hat into a fountain as he passes.

Roxas runs after him, unable to stop laughing.

-- - --

"Never fucking doing that again."

Leaning against the bathroom wall, Roxas smirks. He tilts his head against the ceramic tiles and watches the redhead wash his hands, stripped to his undershirt though still wearing his Santa pants. His face is still blotchy and red from the fake beard, and his expression is pissed.

"Seriously. What the fuck!" Leaning back, he jerks his hands and sends water droplets spraying against the mirror. "Who knew there were so many goddamn, selfish kids in this fucking town! 'Can I have a pony?'" he mimics with a furious face. "No, Fatso, but you can have some fucking vegetables!" Roxas chokes on his spit and has to turn away, snorting into his hands. "It's not funny, Roxas!" Shaking his head, eyes watering, the blond tries to agree, but he just can't catch his breath. "Fuck. Jesus, I need a smoke."

"Maybe if you go slide down a chimney—"

"I will fucking kill you!"

Gasping, Roxas slides down onto the floor, collapsing into hysterical giggles. Tears stream down his cheeks as his sides begin to ache, and he rocks back and forth, burying his face into his knees as his shoulders quake and tremble. Grumbling, Axel kicks the bottoms of the blond's sneakers as he walks past, rooting through red, velvet pockets as he searches for a carton of cigarettes. The door sweeps across the floor tiles in a rush of air and sound, and when it swings back to putter against the doorframe Roxas looks quickly up, gasping for breath again, wiping the tears from his face.

"Axel!" he calls out as he scrambles to his feet, still laughing. "Axel, come on, I'm sorry!"

Pushing against the swinging door, he stumbles into a hall of the abandoned mall, catching sight of the redhead attempting to light his cigarette as he balances next to a show-case window of a candy shop. Catching his breath and then letting out an amused sigh, Roxas rubs a cheek and then walks over to the redhead. Letting his left shoulder fall against the wall, he crosses his arms and glances up into Axel's aggravated face.

"You should be happy," Roxas remarks soothingly. "I mean, nobody thought you'd be able to survive this job."

Axel glances down wryly. "Thanks, Roxas." He plants a hand on the boy's elf hat, messing it in with his tangle of blond bangs, and the boy laughs beneath his touch. "But just gimme a minute to enjoy my cigarette."

Sighing, the blond rolls away and presses his back into the ceramics of the wall. "Because cancer's so enjoyable," he mutters, lifting his chin to watch the shadows light up the ceiling as all around them the power is cut. Luckily, he'd lifted a copy of the mall keys right after Thanksgiving, which Axel had made a copy of – there was a way out, if they wanted to leave.

But crashing places is more their style.

As Axel slides his arm against the wall, stroking one, gloved finger along the tender inside of Roxas's hand, the blond smiles and watches the stars scar the sky stretched beyond the glass ceiling. With a contented sigh he reaches up and scratches his temple, because the brim of his elf hat is itchy and digging into his skin. In the meantime, Axel catches up his entire hand, squeezing the fingers calmly as he takes a long drag of his cigarette.

"Poor Blondie. You must've been so lonely without me," his friend remarks in a low voice, glancing down through his lashes with glowing, green eyes.

Roxas scoffs and flips him a grin. "No. Did you see those goddamn crowds? I was lucky I had a moment to fucking think."

"Mm. But you still missed me."

"You wish."

"I know it…" Roxas shivers as the fingers begin to trail past his wrist and along his forearm, dancing playfully in time with the blond's staccato heartbeat. Axel's hand wraps itself around his elbow like thin tendrils of fire, searing the blond's fair skin, sending fire breathing down his neck, and he has to lift his chin to escape the inferno. He has to stare into those mischievous, poisonous pools of green. "…Roxas."

Roxas inhales sharply as lips collide with his own, and he wraps his arms desperately around the man's neck, scrabbling for something to hold onto, for more of this drug-like ecstasy. Axel's cigarette falls to the floor tiles as he presses one palm hard against the ceramic wall, and as he rocks the blond's hips against his body and grins against Roxas's moaning throat, he crushes the burning embers beneath his boot.

"Have you been a good little boy?" Roxas hears him whisper, and he rakes his nails down Axel's sweating back, fisting the white material desperately, shaking his head from side to side. No, he hasn't. Oh, God, he hasn't. He's been with Axel all year. "Wonderful," Axel breathes, grasping the tail end of Roxas's shirt, yanking the fabric slowly away from his belly. The blond shudders, his head lolling back, and those fingertips graze and blaze against his stomach as Axel kisses his throat.

"Axel," he murmurs fondly, reaching up to yank a handful of red hair. Panting erratically, he pushes forward and crashes lips upon chapped lips, sinking nails into quivering hip bones as he fights to stay away from the wall. His sends his hands through silky hair as he kisses Axel's face all over, nipping at the man's beard-irritated chin, slowly running his tongue over parted lips.

Roxas can feel Axel calming beneath his hands, and he smiles; heartbeats race in the place where he rests his fingertips. When he glances up to meet the redhead's lidded eyes, Axel catches his face with gloved hands, and sweetly he claims Roxas's mouth in another kiss, making the blond moan softly in want, in desire. He really has missed Axel.

"Mm…" Inhaling sharply, Roxas slips his hands down Axel's arms and then pulls away, righting his hat and then rubbing the back of his neck as he crosses the floor. "That was nice."

"Well then get the fuck back here," Axel drawls with a laugh, falling back against the wall. "It can be better than nice, Blondie. You know that."

Blushing, he reaches his hands over his forehead and stretches his back. "Yeah, but we have all night, Axel."

He hums pleasantly. "That we do."

Roxas listens to the steady tap of his sneakers as he crosses the floor, focusing his eyes on the many stores boarded up and barred for the holiday. Idly he knocks his knuckles against the metal when he nears one of the store windows, and he listens to the chink of his rings as they strike against the hollow bar. Lazily he walks with the sound, feeling the plink, plink, plink echo through the empty walls of the mall. He doesn't feel lonely, though. He can feel Axel's eyes following him.

"Hey." Suddenly, he grips one of the bars and swings in place, keeping his arm taut as he glides through the air inches above the ground. Axel glances up distractedly, struggling in the silence to spark a flame on his lighter. A cigarette dangles from his lips as he arches an eyebrow. "I was thinking about this as I talked to Sora today. We really don't shoplift enough."

Axel halts midway in lighting his cigarette, glancing up over the shield of his cupped hand. Eyebrows arched incredulously, he straightens himself and smirks around his smokeless cigarette. "We don't, huh. And wasn't that because you wanted to be a respectful, upstanding citizen?"

"Well." Swinging back, Roxas grabs both bars with his hands and frowns, looking toward the starlit ceiling. "I mean, I wanna make Sora proud, you know. I haven't been the easiest guy to put up with. But we had some fun times together."

"Trust me. I remember." The blond flicks a fond smile over to Axel, who quickly lights up his cigarette and takes a sharp drag into his lungs. Breathing out smoke, he gazes out through heavily lidded eyes and smirks. "Those were some wild nights, weren't they, Roxas?"

Blushing, Roxas lets go of the bars and shoves his hands into his pockets, carrying his feet toward the fountain sitting ahead, in the center of the mall. His fingers seek loose change in his pockets, and, glancing toward Axel, he tilts his head. "Hey. Make a wish."

Axel snorts snidely. "No."

Expression falling flat, Roxas glares at the man. "Oh, c'mon, you asshole. Just for the fun of it."

"You do it." He smiles charmingly, waving his cigarette. "It'll be adorable."

"Why don't you wanna do it?"

"Because what do I want to wish for, stupid?" he laughs. "On fucking Christmas Eve. It's totally not worth it." Waving his hand, he gestures aimlessly in the air before bringing his cigarette back to his lips.

"You're missing the point," Roxas mutters, leaning down, peering into the grayish water toward the coins lining the bottom. "Anyway, you think any dreams will be crushed if I steal a quarter?"

"Oh. Terribly crushed." Exhaling smoke puffs above his face, Axel runs his tongue over his chapped lips. Roxas, loosing his hands from his pockets, sighs in amusement and rests his palms against the rim of the fountain's pool. "Which is why I say you do it."

Shaking his head, Roxas laughs slightly. "You really hate children."

"I really fucking hate children," he seethes, flicking his cigarette from his fingers.

Roxas opens his mouth to protest, but Axel is already strolling forward, crushing it into embers beneath his boot. He looks so out of place, with his red hair unkempt and zapped with static, with his baggy red pants making his slim waist appear smaller than normal. The tattoos gleam under his eyes, burned into his skin, and he looks haunting and seductive against the wash of background shadows. Sighing, Roxas smiles wearily and sits down on the edge of the pool, limply resting his forearms against his lap.

"Make my skin crawl." Axel's shoulders jerk, and he brushes something unseen from his stomach. "You know how many slobbering little nightmares were drooling on me today?" he growls, and Roxas leans back with lidded eyes as the redhead sways dangerously close. A wicked smirk suddenly flickers onto Axel's face. "Going, 'Santa Claus, I want this! Santa Claus, I want that!' With their little, grimy hands…crawling up my leg." Roxas gasps as Axel grasps his knee, dragging his hand painfully slowly up the thigh. The blond bites his bottom lip, hard; he has to suppress his moan when the redhead hovers by his ear and plants his other hand over the one Roxas rests against the fountain's edge. "Drives me insane." Roxas arches as he feels Axel's tongue lave against the shell of his ear, and eagerly he digs his nails into the man's neck. He can still feel the heat of the redhead's hand burning into his thigh.

"Hah. Hah. G-God." Panting heavily, he drags his nails into Axel's hair and fists flaming locks of hair, trying to arch into the man's body even as he remains pinned down. He can barely think anymore, and he sure as hell can't fight off Axel's advances. But it's not as though he wants to. It feels too good.

He's nearly melting as Axel lowers his lips and presses them against the boy's flushed throat, sucking on the collarbone. It's all Roxas can do to hold on, and his hand shakes in the redhead's mane of hair as he feels the man slide both hands along his thighs, under his thighs, towards his ass. His whole world spins as his boyfriend kisses him, and he's fine as he's about to be picked up, until he realizes that Axel's teasing him. Until he realizes that they're in the middle of a public mall, and Axel's practically having sex with him in front of cameras.

"Asshole," he hisses, punching Axel hard in the head as he pulls back and wipes a sleeve over his mouth. Shuddering with shaky breaths, he leans forward and balls his hands up on his pants, closing one eye to glower at the wincing man. Rubbing his knuckles against his skull, Axel straightens himself and cocks his head with a grin. "Knock it off."

"What, Roxas?" he murmurs playfully. "What am I doing but loving you?"

Flipping the redhead off, Roxas shakes his head and tries to stand, but his eyes spin the moment he reaches his feet and his breath goes out in one sudden breath. Falling back against the fountain, he groans and rubs his eyes, though goosebumps pepper his skin when Axel winds thin fingers around his wrist. "I can do it myself," he mutters stubbornly, snatching back his arm, pressing thumb and forefinger into deeply furrowed eyelids. "Just gimme a minute."

"I hate waiting," Axel drawls, a lopsided smile curling the corners of his lips. "So…let's not."

Surprised, he lifts his chin and blinks several times as Axel snatches his wrist, and before he can protest the redhead jerks him out of his seat. With a surprised shout Roxas stumbles over the tiles, nearly losing his balance, but always he has Axel's carefully positioned arm to fall against.

"Where the fuck are we going?" he complains, grabbing at Axel's sleeve, shaking himself of his lingering vertigo as he tries to match his strides with the older man's.

Reaching over, Axel runs his thumb along Roxas's bottom lip, and then he looks straight ahead. "Some place. You'll see."

"It better be near a food court," he mutters. "'cause I'm friggin' starving."

Axel snorts, shrugging his arm from Roxas's grip to place his hand atop the blond's shaggy locks and floppy elf hat. As the redhead tenderly scratches his scalp, Roxas sighs and rubs the back of his neck, attempting to bite back a yawn. If he's right, it's only close to seven. He shouldn't be this tired.

"We'll raid it later, stupid," he murmurs fondly, slipping his fingers to tickle Roxas's neck. "And there're always vending machines lying around."

"Ugh. Well, this better not fucking take too long. When you get an idea in your head, Axel—"

"You're ruining the fucking moment, Roxas, so shut up." Grinning, Axel flicks the back of Roxas's skull, and the boy snarls softly, shaking his aggravated head.

"Whatever," he mutters, though as the man at his side begins to play with his silken strands he relaxes his irritation, tilting his cheek against Axel's roaming fingers. Chuckling warmly, the redhead sweeps his thumb along Roxas's jaw, before he drops his hand entirely to his side and wraps around the blond's lonely fingertips. "And just so you know, you ruined my fucking wish."

Axel laughs. "I'll make it up to you," he coos, and that's all there is to it.

Roxas sighs and shoots him a wavering grin, resigning himself to this asinine parade, strolling the halls lit by the stars flying by overhead. He can never argue with Axel when his mind's made up. It's impossible.

"You having a merry Christmas Eve?" he mutters conversationally against his will, flicking his gaze toward Axel but skating it away from his eyes. The redhead grins, tilting his head in the direction that Roxas is looking, and as the blond catches him making a face he can't help but laugh and shake his head. "Shut up."

"I'm having fun with you, Blondie. You're a real cutie."

"You're stupid," he remarks, though he squeezes Axel's hand reassuringly, humming an absent holiday tune that stumbles its way through his head. Reaching up, he tugs at the elf hat, seating it more comfortably over his eyes.

"Tifa's making you drag Sora to dinner tomorrow."

Roxas smiles and glances toward Axel, who's searching through the darkness with casual eyes, not letting any hope or emotion betray his face. Swinging their hands through the air cheerily, Roxas shrugs. "So we should probably go."

"Probably." Axel smirks. "Before she scoops out your guts with a ladle. Reno couldn't give less of a shit if he doesn't show, though," he remarks with a smirk. "He's getting sick of losing all his money to Sora in those stupid card games."

"I think he'd like that," Roxas says softly, tracing the thin material of Axel's gloves with his thumb.

"Well, here we are again," Axel says triumphantly, and Roxas laughs as he gestures toward the gazebo, looking empty and pathetic without its decorations. The employees had stripped the whole attraction clean and had booked it out of there as fast as they could, it seemed. "C'mon."

"You're so stupid," Roxas laughs, but he lets Axel lead him up the stairs nonetheless. Smothering a yawn with his free hand, he lets his eyes trail along the white pillars and low-hanging ceiling, making a face at its grimy appearance. Without the Christmas decorations, it just looks like a painted, piece-of-crap lawn decoration. It's really lacking all magic at this point.

Axel lets his hand go, but he doesn't really mind. Linking his hands behind his head, he leans back on his heels and stares through the small window in the ceiling towards the night sky. There's no moon, no snow, no shooting stars. It doesn't feel like Christmas anymore. Not without Santa Claus.

At that thought, he grins and looks to Axel, who's settling himself into his temporary throne, sliding his arms against the armrest and lounging comfortably against the seat. "You look like an idiot," he points out with a smile, appraising the redhead's frazzled hair, clingy and rumpled t-shirt, and flapping pants that have fallen slightly to expose the waist of Axel's boxers. He looks ridiculous, but Roxas loves the man's sloppy appearance, the arched eyebrow, the come-and-get-me, Cheshire cat grin. Walking forward, hands linked at his neck, Roxas shakes his head. "Bring me anything for Christmas, Santa?"

Leaning down, he challenges Axel's gaze with blazing blue eyes, a smile dancing on his lips and his hands swinging down to curl around the redhead's.

Axel tilts his chin and smirks wider. "Maybe I did. So hop on my lap, cutie, and whisper in my ear what you think I brought for you."

Laughing, Roxas presses his lips against Axel's chin, and he chokes on his mirth as his boyfriend drags him close onto his lap. Kicking his legs over the armrest, the blond sighs and glances down, running his fingertips along Axel's bare arm, teasing the end of his short sleeve.

"Merry Christmas, Axel," Roxas remarks pleasantly, nodding his head. He looks around the whole of the gazebo and then out into the small bit of abandoned mall that he can see from his vantage point.

"What was your wish?" Axel murmurs into his ear, and Roxas closes his eyes.

"Hmm?"

Nipping gently at the flesh, his boyfriend laughs softly and whispers, "What do you want, babe? From me?"

"Mm…" Leaning his head on Axel's shoulder, he lets his hand fold against Axel's hand cradling his stomach, and gingerly he picks at the white glove, trying to pull it free. The material is stubborn, but not impossible, and finally it gives to Roxas's ministrations. Dropping it to Axel's boots, the blond then intertwines their fingers together, and he smiles at the soft, delicate feel of Axel's hand. "A really nice skateboard."

Axel snorts. "Try something cheaper."

"Lots of cash."

"Cheaper, stupid, not tackier."

"You'll be my own personal servant?"

"Do you mean sex slave?" he purrs into Roxas's ear, and Roxas smiles.

"No."

"Then fuck that," Axel laughs. "I'm not doing your laundry. And Jesus, Rox," he adds sarcastically, "you're not supposed to actually ask for stuff. It's supposed to go, 'Oh, Axel, you're all I need. There couldn't possibly be anything more that I could ever want. I love you.' You know?"

"No." Smiling, Roxas nuzzles his nose into the soft spot by Axel's ear. "Though I do kind of love you. Sometimes."

"Pain in the ass," Axel murmurs affectionately, sweeping bangs out of the blond's eyes. "What's this 'kind of' shit?"

"Well, sometimes you can be a real asshole," Roxas remarks casually. "And then I hate you."

"But not today," Axel states blandly.

"No," he replies, smiling. "Not today."

"Well, what'd you get me?" Sourly, Axel prods Roxas's forehead, making the boy blink open eyes he'd just closed. Shooting the redhead an impatient glare, he rights himself more comfortably in his boyfriend's lap, and then he leans back on his elbows.

"What do you mean, what'd I get you? You didn't get anything for me."

"You're getting dinner at my place tomorrow," he remarks with a smirk. "I'm giving you the gift of a full stomach."

"Tifa's cooking the entire meal, dipshit."

"C'mon, Rox," Axel whines, prodding him in the stomach. Roxas flinches, extremely ticklish there. "What is it?"

Sighing, the blond runs a hand through his hair, knocking the elf hat from his head and softly onto his stomach. Glancing down at it while scratching his scalp, he shrugs and picks it up, swinging it in front of his eyes. "You can have this." Beaming, he holds it up to Axel.

Axel looks less than pleased. "An elf hat. You fucking demoting me? I'm Santa fucking Claus, Blondie. Not some gay-ass, little, holly-jolly elf."

"Shut up and try it on," Roxas growls, reaching up, yanking it down on Axel's wild mane. As the man glowers at him, green eyes narrowed and cold, Roxas laughs and yanks down on the brim, forcing Axel's face to lower and meet the blond's lips full on. Wrapping his arms around his boyfriend's neck, the blond sits up and tilts his chest against the redhead's, angling himself to get complete pleasure from the kiss. "There," he murmurs against Axel's chin before pulling away. The cotton-ball flops against Axel's forehead, and Roxas snickers into his hand. "Adorable."

"You like the holidays way too fucking much," the redhead mutters, though a smirk is on his face as he reaches up and tosses the hat as far away from the two as he possibly can. The angle of his body and aerodynamically-disinclined material make the hat fly only a few pathetic feet before it flops onto the edge of the top stair.

"Mm."

Comfortable silence settles between them, and Axel toys with the end of Roxas's shirt as Roxas plays with a strand of Axel's hair. The night is quiet, the mall is silent, and all around them the shadows whirl and whisper, dragging midnight slowly closer. They'll have their fun then, while everyone's sleeping, dreaming of sugar plums, waiting for reindeer. He has really grown to love Christmas.

"Fuck," he says out loud, startling Axel slightly, making the man stir as Roxas tilts his head back with a groan. "I'm fucking starving."

Axel snorts, his body trembling with pent-up mirth, and then he throws back his head in the silence. The barks of his laughter startle the calm into the shades, and Roxas grins as Axel cradles him close, covering his eyes with his free hand. "Jesus, kid," the redhead laughs. "You really know how to kill a fucking mood."

Chuckling, Roxas climbs down from the chair as Axel begins to stretch his legs, and with linked fingers he smiles, bouncing excitedly on his heels. The redhead looming above him shakes his mane with a disbelieving expression, though the smirk on his lips wills most of the seriousness away.

"You shouldn't be this fucking excited about food. You're like a kid on Christmas morning. But, you know, the kind of kid who doesn't have dickwads for parents."

Roxas grins under Axel's affectionate hand and tugs eagerly on his sleeve, stumbling backwards, cocking his head. "Let's break into stuff. C'mon, c'mon, c'mon."

"Shut up, I'm coming," Axel laughs, leaning down, catching Roxas by the waist to press their lips together. "So much for your clean record though, babe," he murmurs as Roxas closes his eyes and tucks himself into Axel's embrace.

"If you can't have fun on Christmas, when're you having fun at all?" he asks teasingly, tapping Axel's chin, and with a final, swift peck on the lips he spins around, snatching up Axel's hand at the last minute. "So let's fucking go."

"Sora's gonna be pissed, so, just so we're clear, this is not my fucking fault."

"Like hell it's not. I'm blaming everything on you." Roxas jumps the steps as Axel swings his hand at the boy's sleeve, and with laughter the blond twirls around on sturdy floor, walking backwards, wrinkling his nose as he smiles. "C'mon, slowpoke. Let's go find our Christmas presents."

Reaching down into his pockets, Axel smirks and pulls out their forged keys, each one labeled for every night the redhead stayed after and helped lock up the shops. Catching one of the rings that Axel tosses to him, he laughs and holds the chiming chain high, watching each key catch light shining from somewhere in the darkness.

"I'm especially excited for the mattress store," Axel purrs, sliding his hand down Roxas's back and curving his hand on the boy's hip.

Tilting his head, Roxas smirks and knocks his fingertips casually against the thin t-shirt clinging to his boyfriend's chest. "Merry Christmas, Axel," he remarks while the man reaches up to link their fingers together. The keys jingle in the darkness, like bells on Santa's sleigh, and the blond's grin turns wicked as he shakes them again and again.

While everyone sits at home, waiting on a fairytale, he's ready to wreak some havoc with his own Santa Claus of sorts – but not the honest kind; this one's more the thieving, top-of-the-naughty-list Santa Claus, and that's okay. That just so happens to be Roxas's favorite kind.

"Oh, it's gonna be a fucking great Christmas," Axel assures, and Roxas laughs as he drags him towards the stopped escalators, which would lead them to the food court first.

Roxas sometimes, kind of, really, always just loves Christmas.

-- - --

Done. Please review.