Author's Note: This is a belated birthday fic for Norikuu over on deviantART :) Her birthday was December 1st and I'm extremely late, I know. I even started writing this over the summer when we were fangirling over the Joker in the Dark Knight and she made a picture of Joker!Axel!
http: //norikuu. deviantart. com/art/KH-A-Lil-Anarchy-93626652
Go to that picture for reference (remove the spaces) as to what he looks like nnnnngh god yes. I made the Axel in this story like a mixture of the Dark Knight's Joker, the cartoon Joker from the animated series, and Axel himself. So it's more like my own Joker?
Anyways, so yes, this is a Kingdom Hearts crossover with the Dark Knight because we both wanted it. Don't like the idea, don't read. No worries, it has no mentions of Batman, it's more based on the episode of the animated Batman series called "Mad Love" in which it tells the tale of how the Joker came upon his sidekick (hence the title of this). It doesn't have any spoilers for the Dark Knight even (though if you haven't seen it... um, GO SEE IT). I'm still not especially happy with a lot of things in this (especially Axel... leirjalwjdf) but it's taken long enough! I've had this in progress for months :( Granted, I think I wrote only about 4,000 words overall on everything I was working on while in college but now I should be back on track and okay to write! I was just a mess and I am really sorry for taking so long :( (lol those college months don't count mmkay? Thanks.) You and I don't talk much like we did over the summer Sara, but you're a great artist and I hope you like this! This may be the last time I write a giftfic for someone so feel special -insert heart here-
Posted in two parts because I felt like it.
Many thanks to Sowing Poppies for beta'ing and complimenting me like mad on this! If you're the only person to like this, dear, I'll be happy enough!
Disclaimer: Right. I totally own Kingdom Hearts and the rights to the Batman movies. Um, I wish.
Warning: Some violence and sexual content. Both slight, don't get too excited now xD
Roxas Quinzel was always intrigued by anything out of the ordinary. He never found satisfaction in any of the routine things in life, and everyday people he saw to be too mundane. That's why he dedicated himself to earning a degree in psychology. Secretly not for the desire to help cure those and bring them back to 'normalcy'. No, he wanted to see what made the 'abnormal' tick. Roxas was bored by average people; it was the extreme personalities he was so attracted to. Unfortunately, they were hard to come by.
That is why he ended up with a job at Arkham Asylum.
They had tried to warn him about the homicidal maniacs, the sociopaths, the wack-jobs, and all the rest. Not many wanted to work at a place home to the most notorious and psychotic criminals in the city. But to Roxas, it was a dream come true.
"You sure you want to go through with this?" Naminé asked him, being about the tenth person to do so. "Don't underestimate these patients. They may be insane, but most are more intelligent than you can imagine."
"Oh, I have no doubt." Roxas told her as he shrugged on his white lab coat. "That's why I'm so eager to begin." His blue eyes flashed with anticipation when he looked up at her from beneath his bangs, and he couldn't bite down his grin. "Eight years of schooling and you think I'm not ready for this?"
Naminé looked at him with an expression he couldn't read, which made his confidence take a small tumble, considering that he should have been able to. "Just don't take them too lightly." she warned, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear and glancing over at one of the patients who was throwing himself against his thick glass holding. "I'll start you off with a few who are…marginally unwell, compared to the rest, and we'll see how you handle them."
Roxas' smile faded as he sensed her doubt in him and the fact that he would have to earn the right to delve into the minds he so desired to understand.
They walked down the small corridor and although many patients pressed their faces up against the glass and looked upon the two blondes as if they were nice, juicy packs of meat, Roxas was unfazed. He tried his best to get a glimpse of each one, to make a quick analysis on his own, though of course it was too quick to label them permanently.
Naminé stopped at a yellowing phone on the wall to call the nurses to bring tranquilizers for the man beating himself against the one hard surface of his prison. Roxas stood alongside her and gazed at the room across from them. There was a man sprawled on his bed, turning a card between his fingers. The blond immediately stood a little straighter so he could get a better look. The patient had dark red hair, flipped back in wild spikes that jutted in almost every backward direction. Roxas couldn't exactly tell from a far, but it looked almost as if he was wearing makeup, his face was so pale while his eyes were like dark holes. Apparently the man felt Roxas' stare, because he sat up, green, piercing eyes making direct contact with the doctor's blue. His breath caught in his throat for a reason he couldn't comprehend, and the man's already seemingly painted on smile slowly widened into a crooked grin. Roxas had worked with the mentally ill before, he'd interned at a psychologist's office for several years while he studied, but no one had been able to - frighten him like this man. The hairs on the back of his neck stood and he felt goosebumps begin to form on his skin. The redhead didn't even seem to blink, and his smirk never faltered, as if he were - amused by Roxas?
Suddenly a hand grabbed his arm, startling him and causing him to jump and yell out. He spun away from Naminé and laughter broke out from the man in the cell, and their eye contact broke as the redhead struggled to catch his breath between maniacal giggles. It rendered both blondes speechless and uneasy for a moment before Naminé finally wrapped her small hand around his wrist, leading him down the hall to inform him of the patients he would be working with.
She closed the door at the end of the hallway with a soft click and the laughter faded away. Roxas could not seem to relax his muscles though, and he rubbed at his arm restlessly.
"Who was that?" he asked quietly.
The blonde girl was kneeling down, going through files in one of the cabinets and cocked her head so her hair fell out of her face. "The one in cell eight?" She blinked innocently at him as if she really didn't know what he was talking about, almost as if stalling.
He found this odd but nodded anyways, and she sat back on her heels and frowned. "Hmm…patient eight. He has no real name that we've been able to uncover; no one knows where he came from." Roxas' brow furrowed at this far-fetched information but he allowed her to continue. "He calls himself…'the Joker'. I'm sure you've heard of him."
Roxas snorted. "The Joker? I thought he was just a myth. Is this guy delusional? Borderline schizophrenic?"
Her eyebrow twitched and she bit her lip. "He's a sociopath who's caused the deaths of many, many people." she said coldly. "He's no myth."
Roxas' eyes widened and he felt a chill go down his spine. "Oh."
Sociopaths had no apparent conscience, showed lack of remorse, were difficult to treat and were often very - charming. Roxas watched silently as she pulled records of patient history from a cabinet and he suddenly didn't feel so sure of himself anymore. Though he was sure of one thing.
"Can I schedule a session with him?" he blurted out.
Naminé seemed shocked by this request but stood and shoved a pile of folders at him. "Not until you can prove you can handle him."
Roxas sighed and sifted through the files he was handed. He decided to work his hardest to get breakthroughs on his given patients as soon as possible, only so he could be worthy of studying the man in cell eight.
Finally the day came when Naminé turned to open the door from the office and Roxas knew where she was going to lead him. It had been several months since he first started working at Arkham now, and he had studied a handful of patients and diagnosed a few more. He'd been told it was impressive. It was time to move on. So Roxas quickly fell into step with her, folding his hands behind his back only to hide the fact that they were shaking with anticipation.
"I have taken your request into consideration." she said, flipping through papers on her clipboard. "I think you can handle him, from what I've seen of your dedication and knowledge of abnormal psychology."
Roxas beamed, though he'd already predicted this would happen. Well, more like hoped and figured there was no way it wouldn't happen.
They paused at a thick door and Naminé made sure he was listening before she went on, "Still, don't let your guard down. He's highly intelligent." She offered the patient history to him and Roxas practically snatched it out of her grip. Not that he hadn't already done research on this man. After his first day at Arkham he had gone home and searched diligently to try to find out everything he could on the Joker's character. He had found that he was never seen without makeup masking his face, claimed to never have a plan, but police found records of many plots after he was taken into custody. Roxas had gone through each one, finding how the man had to make a joke out of everything and his preferred weapon was knives though he rarely killed directly. Usually it was through some kind of bombing or through a plot carried out by his followers, though he was always sure to play some part and to be there to see it happen. He even decorated his plans by scribbling dark eyes and wide crimson smiles on aged photographs and newspaper clippings. But none of it was enough; Roxas couldn't help but want to know more about the man. He needed to meet him, talk to him, find out why he did what he did, what made him the way he was. It became an unhealthy obsession, and it was all of his motivation. So naturally, Roxas had been looking forward to this day.
"This will just be a quick meeting with him…He's not hostile towards us, but be wary. He's only been here for a short while and has a quite a few tricks up his sleeve. Good luck." And with that the female doctor turned on her heel and headed back down the hallway.
Roxas placed his hand on the doorknob, took a deep breath, and then stepped inside.
Patient eight was sitting on the one couch in the room, usually meant for people to lie back on and confess their secrets to the ceiling. There was little light in the room, causing an ominous atmosphere, shading the Joker's dark eyes even more. Roxas felt almost trapped with him, but he was not about to back down. The man immediately smirked and Roxas could hear his own heart pounding in his ears, but refused to show any sign of his apprehension.
"Good evening…" the man hummed, licking his lips. "…doctor."
The blond couldn't tear his eyes away from him, and ended up stumbling over his own chair as he tried to walk without watching where he was going. This of course, elicited a chain of laughs from the Joker. Roxas flushed and regained his posture, taking a seat. He could see now that the man was indeed wearing makeup, but it was faded. He had two teardrop tattoos underneath his eyes, appropriately similar to a clown's. And the red streaks spreading from his lips weren't the only thing making his face appear as if it were in a permanent grin. He had a pair of messy scars traveling up underneath the subtle makeup, a carved and perpetual smile that Roxas wondered if occurred by choice.
"You look nervous. Is it the scars?" the redhead asked, rubbing his hands together between his relaxed knees.
Roxas took a deep breath and cleared his throat, "I'm your new doctor, Roxas Quinzel." he introduced himself, lamely, for lack of anything better to say. For not knowing what to say.
"I know." The man stated simply. "So what is it that you would like to know about lil ol' me?"
Roxas opened his mouth to speak but his throat seemed to have closed up and he couldn't make a sound.
"Aw, what's the matter, Roxie?" The scars pulled his mouth into a malicious grin. "Don't know where to start? And here I thought you were some…" he paused, waving his hand in the air. "…prestigious doctor."
Roxas gulped and realized that this was turning out to be a lot more difficult than he'd expected. This man fascinated Roxas more than any person ever had in his life. He raised a trembling hand to his notes, pen in hand.
"You can start by telling me your real name." he choked out.
The redhead laughed again like everything Roxas did was some kind of joke. "How about we go with something a little more fun? Like, how I got these tattoos. Or how many people I've killed. Why my favorite weapon is knives." He ran a hand through his hair, and his eyes gleamed in the dim light of the room through the shallow blackness that encircled them. "I know you'd find that much more entertaining."
He knew this man would be difficult to treat, but Roxas definitely was not going to give up anytime soon. Unable to think of anything to respond with, Roxas took in the man's posture and body language, writing down a few notes.
"Or maybe…" patient eight went on, not really seeming to notice he was almost talking himself due to the lack of replies from his doctor. "I should be asking you some questions."
Roxas was startled by this sudden suggestion and stopped studying the man's figure. For some reason he couldn't get the idea out of his head that the plain white hospital clothes fell so well on his body and yet didn't fit him at all. He was a little thankful for the distraction as their eyes met again, but then he wasn't so sure if he should have looked up because of how they seemed to bore into him.
"What do you mean by that?" he asked guardedly.
"Well," the redhead shrugged, "I can't help but wonder why is it you are interested enough in me to stop by my room every night."
"Don't think I wouldn't notice you slowing down, slowing your pace, so you could get a nice look at me every time you walked by." The other man smirked knowingly and Roxas' mouth dropped open. "But don't get me wrong, I am flattered."
Roxas' heart could not be beating any faster. What was going wrong here? He was the one who was supposed to be in control of this session, not his patient! He wiped a hand quickly over his face to try to get a hold of himself and resolved to play along.
"Can…I help it if I want to find out more about the infamous Joker?" Roxas asked with faux confidence.
The man was obviously pleased by this statement. "So you have heard of me then," he mumbled, running his tongue over his mouth again.
"Of course." Roxas responded, somehow able to keep his voice from shaking.
The Joker swayed indifferently in his seat for a moment before pointing at him abruptly and saying, "I like you, Roxie. I think I just might share a few secrets with you. Just between you and me."
Roxas couldn't help but brighten, and he opened the Joker's file to get an idea of where to start.
"Do we really think you need all those notes and analyses of me?" the patient asked in his teasing tone of voice. "Why don't we start fresh, and new! Get to know each other from…" he playfully scraped his fingers on the wood frame of his couch, "…scratch." Then he stood up.
Roxas froze in his armchair, eyes darting up and seeing that the man was taller than he expected, he'd only seen him lying or sitting down before. He couldn't move, and could only watch as the man drew nearer and nearer, figure looming in the darkness. Roxas sat helplessly, eyes following when the Joker kneeled down before him, snatching the files on himself out of the young man's grip. Roxas instinctively reached out after them and then withdrew his hand quickly, feeling fear well up inside him.
"Let's see here…" The redhead flicked through the folder like a flip book, amused expression still apparent on his face and scoffed at the pages. He reached the end within seconds; then tossed the file over his shoulder, causing the weightless papers to fly out in every direction and flutter slowly to the floor. "Nope, nothing good!"
Roxas couldn't hide his anxiety any longer and he tightened his fingers on the arms of the chair, trying to rack his brain to figure out what to do. Naminé had said he wasn't hostile. He didn't need to be bound in a straitjacket. But this was unexpected, this closeness, all these antics.
Though Roxas would be lying if he said it didn't give him a terribly wonderful thrill to look back on.
"Let's get to know each other then," the Joker said mischievously. "Something that you might find interesting to know about me is that I love to make people squirm, writhe, tremble by any means possible." Roxas felt goosebumps returning like the first time he saw the Joker, as the man continued, "Now it's my turn to learn something about you. So," he paused and Roxas stared at his ripped skin, stretching, stretching into a sadistic grin. "What makes you squirm, Roxie?"
With no further warning other than that question, suddenly the man's hand was running up his leg. He straightened, leaning over Roxas and peering down upon him. The blond sucked in a breath and pressed himself back against the chair as if he could melt through it and escape. With his other hand, the man forcefully grabbed his wrist, fingernails digging into his flesh hard enough to make him cry out.
"What'll it be? Pain or pleasure?" the Joker laughed like they were on some kind of game show, tightening his hold on the blond. Roxas turned his face away, squinting at the man with one eye. He was still as far back into the cushions of his chair as he could get, unconsciously trying hopelessly to get out of reach. But the redhead removed his hand from Roxas' wrist and in a flash he had caught the doctor's face, cupping his chin and forcing him to look him in the face.
"You really are beautiful," he breathed and Roxas tensed, blue eyes widening. The redhead slowly stroked his thumb along Roxas' cheek. "Such a perfect face…been a while since I've touched such flawlessness…seeing as all I know is this." He turned his head from side to side, showing off the scars trailing from the corners of his mouth. His hand pressed a little harder on Roxas' thigh and traveled inward, making the doctor illicit an embarrassing sound, much to the taller man's delight. "….It seems we have a winner…"
"W-what're you doing?" Roxas asked numbly, his brain far gone, all eight years of schooling lost, forgotten.
His face was only inches away, and Roxas could feel his breath brushing against his skin. "Ya know, I never really thought I could get a reaction so easily without a weapon," he mused, and began stroking Roxas' inner thigh. "But I do like this… and you are being such a good sport. I hardly feel the need for such formalities but… you're special, Roxas. Think I'll give you a name." He leaned in close, closer than any patient should ever be allowed, while he finally pressed his hand forward firmly. Roxas gasped and squirmed as the redhead's lips brushed against his ear, whispering, "…Axel."
The lips reached his neck and Roxas' eyes snapped open impossibly wide. Finally his brain had come back to reclaim its rightful control over his body, which was currently all under the mercy of his patient. He lashed out, palm connecting fiercely with the man's shoulder. The redhead was caught off guard and fell back onto the floor with a grunt, hands catching himself on the stained cement.
Roxas pushed himself off his chair frantically and ran out of the room with speed to rival a sprinter, not a psychiatrist. He wrenched the door open wildly, not looking back, but he could hear the Joker laughing, laughing as he ran blindly down the hallway.
Now, this was a new development. Roxas was always composed, never flustered. Always knew what he was doing, never forgot what he had learned in school. And now – just this one man – had caused him to lose his control over everything. The situation had been frightening and it wouldn't stop haunting his mind. The scene looped through his memories again and again, the redhead's smirk practically burned into them. Roxas hated that he allowed such a thing to happen. He ran out, completely unprofessional behavior and he was fortunate that he didn't get fired. No one had ever affected Roxas in such a way. No one had ever been able to intimidate him like that man had.
He was completely determined to see patient eight again and to have things turn out differently.
"Are you really sure you can handle him Dr. Quinzel?" Naminé asked him skeptically, blinking at him from beneath her bangs. "I did warn you, and…"
Said blond pursed his lips together, feeling a little fury spike up in him at her doubtful words. "Of course. I let it get out of hand, unfortunately, but I can assure you it won't happen again." He swallowed and studied her, the flickering florescent ceiling light in the office illuminating her face insufficiently. Unreadable. He hated when people were unreadable. "I was caught off guard and that is all. …Please. I would like to continue working with patient eight. Very much." There was a strain in Roxas' voice, frustrated and somewhat cold, resistant to the fact that he was nearly begging for a second chance.
Rubbing the back of her neck with one of her small hands, Naminé shifted feet and pulled out the Joker's files again. Roxas' features lit up and it was a good thing she didn't look at him again, because he appeared almost as maniacal as the man he was so currently obsessed with.
"I'll have the nurses put him in a straitjacket." Naminé told him as she handed them over. "Until you feel comfortable that he won't attack again."
Roxas' face fell down into a scowl. Yes… 'attack'. That is what he would allow them to believe. "That really isn't necessary."
"Well, I think it is for the next couple times that you work with him. Your dedication is… admirable and it is the only reason why I am even allowing you to again. You don't have any negative feelings towards him now, do you?"
Resisting the urge to roll his eyes because his feelings were quite the opposite, Roxas responded, "Of course not. With all due respect, despite my last encounter with him, my opinion on him is completely professional."
Naminé still looked unsure, but gave a short nod and lifted the phone from her desk to give the nurses the order to restrain him and bring him to the room where patient-doctor sessions took place.
Roxas stared at his feet and shoved his hands in his pockets to hide his eager reaction.
Down the corridor to the appointment room, Roxas had his eyes set. He didn't flinch when any of the inmates threw themselves toward him against the glass, didn't glance back and forth between those mumbling incoherent yet interesting phrases, and didn't let his pace slow for anything. To an outsider, just walking down the hallway was enough to give chills and the patients so effortlessly caused unease. Most weren't even trying to. The thrilling part was that such unique and twisted individuals didn't even have to attempt to inflict fear into others. That's just who they were, without effort. It was natural; they had no need to plot ways to intimidate. Some did so without meaning to at all. And that's why Roxas loved this place. But they weren't his focus today. Only one – or 'eight', rather – was.
At last he opened the door with shaking fingers, causing a crack of light to flood into the always dim room, only a single circular lamp hanging from its ceiling. Bright lights made some inmates nervous, made them uncooperative. The setting was perfect whether there was a reason or not, to Roxas.
And as expected, patient eight sat peacefully on the faded couch, arms slung and tied back into his white straitjacket, but a grin of greeting still spread across his face upon the sight of the young doctor. Roxas' adrenaline spiked, but he didn't return the smile. It seemed that the man's face was devoid of all traces of makeup now, which didn't make his scars any less obvious. And Roxas did not like the sight of his patient restrained…
"So nice to see you again, doc. I missed you terribly," the man said in his smooth and confident voice, still grinning like mad. "I even thought that I might not ever see you again." He pouted mockingly. "…Except for when you stop by my cell habitually of course…"
"Yes, well…" Roxas replied, steadily walking over to his chair. "I'm surprised you thought that… I'm not one to give up on a patient."
"But you are one to restrain them just because of one little eensy-weensy incident, are you?" the Joker teased.
Roxas sat down in his chair and opened the files. "No. That wasn't my doing."
"Ohhh. Oh, Roxie, did you tell them all about it? Were they upset with me?" Again the man's voice was mocking, dripping with faux concern, his eyes never breaking contact with the blond's face.
"I… didn't." The young doctor cleared his throat, clearing his mind to focus on remaining professional. He had a job to do, no time for charades and games. He had to make up for last time, otherwise he would lose eight. "They assumed you tried to attack me and so there was no need for me to explain since that was the case."
"Attack you? I wasn't trying to attack you!" The redhead laughed a little disbelievingly. "Such a harsh word. I told you. I was just playing a game. Don't you like games, Roxie?"
"Or were you just too afraid to tell them the truth?"
"I wasn't afraid." Roxas replied this time, immediately. No, Roxas was never afraid. "There was just no need for them to know…the truth."
"But you were afraid, Roxas," the other said seriously this time, tone low, surprising the blond with the use of his full name. "I could see it. And it was beautiful. That look in your eyes. I can see some of it even now." The confident smirk that returned to the Joker's sliced cheeks felt like it was slicing right through Roxas' composure, with the ease of a knife through butter.
"I…I was not afraid of you. I am not easily frightened. And something like that does not affect me," he lied shamelessly to his patient.
"Then why are you so afraid to say it? Why didn't you tell what really happened? Isn't that what you're supposed to do? Be a good little doctor and report every little detail that happens in this room? Instead of jumping around the phrase and lying to your superiors?" Again, the patient was interrogating the doctor, while it should have been the other way around.
Roxas let out a frustrated growl and stammered, "I-I am not… 'jumping around the phrase'! I-"
"Oh, but you are. You can't just come out and say it, can you?" Roxas couldn't help but think this was another game that his patient wanted to play, and he realized that his whole body was already tense as if in preparation. "So uncomfortable just simply stating what happened."
"…What do you mean?"
The grin never faltered. It almost looked like it hurt, always being there. The man seemed in almost constant amusement. "You can't just come straight out and say what I did to you. Come on, Roxie. I wanna hear you say it."
The blond doctor blinked and flushed, feeling almost sick at himself for reacting in such a way. He was losing this game. "Wha… what?!"
The Joker rolled his eyes and spoke without hesitation. "What did I do to you? My memory is a bit slippery today."
The younger man swallowed thickly. He could feel his face was red and he hoped it couldn't be seen in the shadowy room. "This is not an appropriate conversation. And do not call me 'Roxie'. It's either 'Dr. Quinzel' or 'Roxas' to you."
"And I noticed you have yet to call me by the name I requested. You call me by it, I'll call you what you want." The man cocked his head to the side and paused. "Now, you didn't tell them that did you? Because that would just be so unfair, telling them my name while refraining to tell them that I was one step away from getting in your pants, mm?"
Another deep gulp. "…Axel, right?"
A pleased nod.
"…No. I didn't," Roxas replied honestly.
"Good, good. I want that to be between just you and me. You and I. Our little secret. I don't want you to call me by what all the rest do. Yes?" Axel blinked at him expectantly.
Roxas was lost for words yet again. "That… Enough of this." He straightened his files and his notebook, trying to keep his expression straight. "It's time for me to continue from last time, I-"
"Oh yes, from last time!" Axel laughed. "I never got to finish questioning you either!" He clicked his tongue disapprovingly. "Shall we take turns?"
"Why are you… So… afraid to admit you're afraid?" Axel questioned in a sing-song voice, pausing between words as if trying to think of a way to get them exactly right. Or as if he was speaking to a simpleton. Roxas preferred to think that it was his first suspicion. He most certainly was not ignorant.
But still, Roxas was taken aback, could only blink and had to rack his brain for a response. "No. I am the one asking the questions here," he finally stated firmly.
"Well…" the redhead said, smile drooping. "You're no fun…"
Roxas glanced from his papers to his patient, hoping that the man was far enough away so he couldn't tell that he was shaking. "We'll…start simple. What did you do when you got up this morning?"
Axel looked disappointed. "What is this, a physical? I got up and admired that beautiful smile of mine in the mirror, of course." And it didn't take long for that smile to grace his features again, menacing and seeming to have plots hidden behind it.
The doctor frowned and looked down at his papers. All the starting questions to 'get to know the patient' and to get a good idea of the way they think. But he could already tell what the Joker – Axel – was like. Roxas wanted to know what he wanted to know, not the other doctors. He crossed his leg professionally, still keeping a composed face and asked, "Alright. When was the first time you killed someone and how did you do it?"
The redhead quirked an eyebrow. "Is that question on your little guidelines sheet, Mr. Eight-Years-of-Schooling?"
"…Just answer the question."
Axel's eyes glinted mischievously. "I burned down a liquor store near my home when I was 15… My dad liked to drink, you see. He liked it a little too much. And daddy wouldn't be so kind to dear ol' me when he was binging on the booze."
Roxas nodded and wrote a few notes down, biting his lip and finding it difficult to make eye contact. But when he did hazard a glance at the redhead's eyes, he noticed that they were trained directly at his own bottom lip caught between his teeth. Or so it seemed, he was most likely jumping to conclusions, Axel was too far away to tell for sure.
"How many people died?" Roxas questioned quietly.
The man arched his chest forward, stretching to the best of his ability without the use of his arms before answering. Roxas stared at the several thick fabric restraints that elongated under the strain and he couldn't help but think of how easy it would be to just go over and flip those clasps undone. The man then relaxed, the corners of his lips twitching upwards suspiciously. "The romance of the two living above couldn't compete against the coupling of fire and liquor, I suppose…" he said, trailing off with a dark laugh.
Tapping his pen against the arm of the chair for a few moments, Roxas attempted to think of something to say to that. "And did you regret it?"
Axel shrugged and shifted his feet. "Thought you could figure that one out for yourself, doc. Would I be here now if I did? Watching buildings burn, the paint peeling, the smoke rising limitlessly up into the air… It's just one of the things that I find far too much fun to pass up." He pursed his lips together before licking them quickly and his usual expression returned. "Besides, it was worth it to see daddy tear the house apart looking for more, practically crying over the loss of his favorite place on earth. Wasn't too long before he got sick of the cheap shit in the supermarkets and we moved, though." Axel paused, seeming reminiscent. "Had to burn that one down too…"
Roxas found himself grin at that without really knowing why. It wasn't exactly a laughing matter.
"You should smile more," Axel said suddenly, seriously, taking the doctor off-guard yet again.
"Hmm? Why?" Roxas blinked at him, expression fading much to Axel's dismay. He leaned forward as Roxas' smile disappeared, almost as if he could go down with it, follow it, catch it.
"You don't seem the type to smile much." The redhead said, fixing him with an unsettling stare that seemed to bore right through him. "You have such a pretty face. Such a waste to spend it on scowling… Such a waste to spend your life on fixing those who aren't broken."
"I…" The blond ducked his head, hoping his flush would leave as quickly as it had come.
"I'm not going to change, you know." Axel continued, voice low with no trace of teasing in its tone. "You may be able to figure out what I think but you can't change it. I'm wrong to society, but society is wrong to me. I'm not going to change. I'm not."
Taking a deep breath, Roxas' gaze flickered up and for the first time he was able to hold blue against green without flinching. "I don't want to change you."
Axel broke out into another ear splitting smirk that crinkled up his scars on the sides and the corners of his eyes. "Good."