Author's Note: Yes, you thought it would never happen, but it has – I, Salem, have posted a fic that is not rated M. It is T! And it's probably only T because I simply cannot bear to select a lower rating. See? My hands are shaking!
All this because this is a (slightly early...about 4 hours early in my time zone) birthday present for the lovely and charming Meleiyu! And she likes fluff a lot. So that's what I wrote her. Happy birthday doll! ^.^
Warning: Um…not much to warn about, actually. OOCness? O.o
Disclaimed, as per usual.
Axel was tired. It was a cold night, and he was walking home alone, having gotten off work very late. The city streets were noisy and dirty, and the wind seemed to be almost enjoying the pleasure of cutting mercilessly through his coat, making his joints ache painfully from the cold.
He was headed back to his empty, cheerless apartment with only one thought – warm food. Of course, it would probably only be microwaved soup or cup noodles, not the best "food" he could ask for, but the point was in the word "warm."
As he neared his neighborhood, the sidewalks grew less and less crowded. There were very few people about on a cold evening in the residential district, as opposed to the always-busy business district. He passed one dark alley after another, the streets growing completely empty as he neared his destination.
Suddenly, Axel was surprised by a flood of light that illuminated his surroundings better than any streetlight could have. He looked around, puzzled. No one was around – no visible source for the light. It was a clear night, and he had heard no thunder. Besides, the light hadn't flashed the way lightning did.
He didn't have long to wonder, however. Almost immediately, there was a loud crash from an alleyway he had just passed. Axel started, turning suddenly to look back at where the noise had come from. He hesitated a moment, then cautiously took a few steps back, peering into the alley to see what had happened.
For a moment, he could see nothing but a chaotic heap of trash outside someone's building. Then, there was movement in the trash heap. Axel backed up a step, worried that some rabid alley dog would come leaping out and attack him. He paused, however, when he heard a voice.
"Owwwww!" The low, pained whine seemed to come from within a mangled tarp.
Axel moved forward automatically. "Hey, is someone in there? Are you OK?"
The trash rustled in response, and a tiny voice cried out plaintively, "Help? I'm stuck…ow!"
Axel hurried now, reaching the tarp and pulling on it, trying to disentangle it from around a small, squirming figure. "Hang on, hold still a second, I'll get you out."
Finally, he found the edge and managed to uncover the buried voice. Startled, he froze, catching his breath.
Under the tarp was the huddled figure of a delicate-looking boy. He was pale and hunched, with scrapes and scratches on his legs and arms…which Axel was startled to notice were bare. The boy was wearing only a simple white robe – he didn't even have shoes on. He was already beginning to shiver in the cold, too. However, Axel paused a moment longer. The face that looked up to him…was lovely. It was small and pretty, framed in a halo of soft, golden hair. Axel was struck by a pair of luminescent blue eyes that blinked up at him. However, the most noticeable thing wasn't any of these features.
The boy was…glowing.
A faint, soft white light seemed to be radiating from all over the boy's body, from his very skin. Axel was startled, unable to move, unsure of what was going on.
"Thank you." The musical voice spoke again. Axel's attention was drawn back to the face as the boy struggled up from the ground.
"Uh…sure. Are…you OK? Here, let me help you." Axel moved to assist the boy to his feet. Small hands held onto his arms as he raised the light body. However, when the boy was upright, he immediately staggered, clutching onto Axel. "Woah, hey, are you OK?"
The boy's response was spoken almost to himself, softly, with a tone that suggested faint surprise. "Ah…standing. It's…hard."
"Uhm, where do you live? Maybe I can help you get home. You shouldn't be out in these clothes, you'll freeze…"
The blue eyes were gazing up at him again. "I don't live anywhere…here."
"Huh?" Axel was thrown off by the words. "Where did you come from then?"
"I fell." The boy's simple answer was accompanied by a finger, pointing skyward. "I fell down…" He trailed off, seeming to become troubled.
Axel looked at the upset expression. "Well…you can't stay out here." He had no idea who this kid was, or if he was even sane. And the light, though it had dimmed a little more, was still as inexplicable as ever. However, the kid was shivering, and the cuts needed attention, and apparently he wouldn't even be able to walk. "Come on." Axel slipped an arm under the boy's shoulders and lifted him up. "We'll talk at my place, where you won't freeze."
Axel was making soup. He had carried the strange glowing boy home and cleaned his injuries, then wrapped him in a warm blanket and left him on the sofa. The boy had been nearly frozen long before they arrived, clutching tightly to Axel for warmth.
As Axel had cleaned the cuts, he had gotten a little more information.
"So, what's your name?" Axel gently asked, trying to calm the boy with conversation as he swabbed a cut.
"How old are you, Roxas?"
"About 15 of our years."
Our years? "That's nice." He nodded. "And where did you live until now?"
Axel sighed internally. "Where is home?"
"Up! High up and far!" The blond boy bounced slightly as he gestured toward the ceiling. Axel tried to calm him down so that he wouldn't bump any of his cuts.
"OK, OK, very nice. Are you hungry, Roxas? Want some soup?"
The blond head tipped curiously. "Soup…" Then the face lit up with a smile. "Yes! Soup! I want to try soup!" Axel shook his head, hoping that he had imagined that the light emitting from the boy had gotten brighter…or was there at all.
As he fixed the soup, he watched the boy out of the corner of his eye. The blond was looking around curiously, seeming quite content. He poured a bowl of soup for each of them and took the food over to the couch, giving it to Roxas. The blue eyes looked happily up at him.
Axel smiled slightly. "Sure."
Then, Roxas paused, puzzled. "Axel, how do I eat soup?"
"How? You use the spoon…" Then something else struck Axel. "Wait…how did you know my name? I didn't tell you."
"I remembered it. I can remember lots of names. But I forgot about the spoon." Roxas laughed, slightly bashfully.
Apart from the fact that the boy's response was just about the cutest thing Axel had ever seen, he was completely confused by the cryptic answer. Which, after all, was not the first cryptic answer he had gotten. And the boy was still glowing. Axel couldn't ignore it – it was even a little brighter now.
"OK, um, Roxas?" The boy looked up from his soup. "You appear to be glowing. Can you tell me why you're glowing?"
Roxas held an arm out, looking at it. "That? The light?" He looked to Axel, who nodded. "I'm making light. We always make light. That's what stars do."
Axel shook his head, still trying to get his point across. "I know stars make light, but why are you glowing?"
Roxas looked at him again. "I'm a star."
OK…apparently the boy is crazy. Doesn't seem dangerous though… Axel wasn't given time to finish his thoughts.
"I remember Axel. I watch people a lot. When Axel was little, you said I was your favorite star. That's why I always watched you."
At first, Axel wasn't sure what the boy was talking about. Then, something about what Roxas had said reminded him of a story his mother had told him about a time when he was little, when she had been showing him the stars. She told him that he had pointed to the sky and said, "I like that star, Mommy. That one is my favorite."
"Oh, why is that honey?" His mother had asked.
"It's the prettiest, nicest star in the whole sky."
Axel shook his head. "Wait…what? What did you say I said?"
Roxas smiled. "You said you liked me, that I was your favorite. You said I was the prettiest and nicest. You looked at me a long time, and I watched you ever since. When I fell, I turned so that I would fall toward you. So I could meet you."
Axel's mind was blank with surprise and confusion. He just stared at the glowing boy, as Roxas finally grasped the spoon correctly, giggling to himself, "That's right, I remember now, it's this way." The boy finally managed to try his soup. Axel was suddenly taken aback as the light level coming from Roxas jumped up a bit.
"Wow! This is what soup is like! So warm!" He beamed up at Axel, causing the man to catch his breath.
"Oh…good. Ah, excuse me a second, I'll be back." Axel fled to his adjacent bedroom.
Once away from Roxas, Axel tried to collect his thoughts. He also realized that he should probably get changed out of his work clothes, so he set about kicking off his shoes and digging out sweats as he contemplated the strange situation.
How did he know that? And – more importantly – he's still glowing. I have a glowing boy in my apartment who says he's a star.
Axel paused, having pulled his shirt off, to shake his long, red, spiked hair back into place. He then began changing his pants for sweat pants.
I have a glowing boy here, who has nowhere to go if what he says is true…and he's a star. I didn't know stars were so cute. Axel shook his head again, trying to banish the silly thought, and the unexpected tingle that danced through his mind and down his spine. Scowling at himself, he threw his clothes in the hamper and began rooting around for a clean T-shirt, hoping he still had one in one of his drawers. Forget that thought you lonely, creepy old pedo, and try to figure out what to do! This is impossible…but then, the whole glowing thing should be impossible, but it's still happening. I can see it, there's no mistake, and it's not going away. I need to figure out what to do…especially if he really is…a star.
At this point, Axel finally spotted an old T-shirt that was clean, and pulled it out. At the same moment, he heard a soft voice calling him through the door. "Axel? Where did you go?" Axel turned to the door and pulled it open to find Roxas standing there unsteadily.
"Right here, Roxas. You need something?"
The blond boy's eyes lowered from Axel's face to his exposed chest as he blushed. "Ah…uhm…soup? Can…can I have more?"
"Yeah sure." Axel paused, noticing the reddened cheeks, then realizing what Roxas was blushing at. He quickly pulled his shirt over his head as he left the room, flipping his hair out from under the collar while returning to the kitchen to heat more soup.
Roxas followed, taking a few staggering steps after him before Axel noticed and turned back. The blond's face was intent with concentration as he carefully placed one foot in front of another, a hand on the wall for balance. He didn't see Axel until the man bent to scoop him up again.
"Ahh!" Roxas gasped in surprise when he found himself lifted bodily into the air.
"Sorry…come on, I'll help you." Axel mumbled with a hint of uncertainty, which only grew more awkward when the blond smiled and adjusted himself in Axel's arms in a way that distinctly felt like snuggling.
"Thank you," Roxas beamed up at him adoringly, as Axel carried the feather-light boy back to the couch.
After depositing his guest comfortably and escaping partially out of sight into the kitchen to make more soup, Axel returned to his desperate attempts to make sense of the situation…with a little less composure this time.
Where was I? Glowing boy…claims to be a star…right. And he's got nowhere to go, and…if I send him away in this city…I don't even want to think about what will happen to an adorable, defenseless kid like him.
The microwave interrupted his thoughts with a beep. At the same moment, Axel reached the conclusion that his guest would be staying the night…at least. Which presented him with a whole new problem.
I am not a pedophile, I am not a pedophile… Axel chanted to himself while carrying a fresh bowl of soup out to his guest.
Roxas looked up and, seeing Axel and the soup, literally radiated light. Axel firmly reminded himself that the boy was 15, and handed Roxas the soup.
"Thank you," the blond beamed once again.
"Sure." Axel coughed awkwardly as he settled himself next to Roxas on the couch, watching the boy carefully begin on the soup out of the corner of his eye.
"So, Roxas…you're a star? As in, a star in the sky?"
Wide blue eyes blinked at him, smiling as the blond nodded.
"I see. So, how did you end up here?"
The slightest crinkle appeared between Roxas' brows. "I told you…I fell."
"Right, but I mean, why did you fall?"
The boy slowly put down the spoon, his light seeming to dim slightly. "Stars sometimes fall. Sometimes because they're old and unsteady and weak…sometimes it's an accident. I'm…clumsy." Bright eyes fixed on Axel, seeming to beg for understanding. "It's hard to stay in place and watch humans too! It's distracting! I saw you…and I fell."
"Oh…uh, sorry…" Axel wasn't sure why, but he felt a little guilty…and more than that, he wanted Roxas to smile again, to cheer up.
The blue eyes glowed softly at his apology, and Roxas placed the bowl down on the coffee table, then lifted his small hands to Axel's face. Gently cupping both cheeks, he replied, "It's OK. I got to see you." His voice was soft and sweet, his hands were soft on Axel's face, even the light the boy gave off had become a soft glow. Axel felt his stomach tighten and his breath catch. Somewhere in the back of his mind, a voice was lecturing him about the proper way to react to young boys…but he wasn't really listening very carefully.
"OK." Axel swallowed hard to get his voice back to normal. "I guess…until you can get back home you can stay here…"
Roxas' reaction was complicated. His light flickered brighter for a moment before dimming again, his expression both happy and troubled. He withdrew slowly, smiling unsteadily at Axel.
"What's wrong?" The redhead asked in concern.
Those deep blue eyes flicked over to him briefly before glancing away again. "Thank you, Axel. I want to stay…but I think you will be troubled…"
Calling upon some bravado, Axel dismissively waved the idea away. "Oh you're no trouble at all, Roxas. You don't need to worry about that." Trying to be reassuring, he continued. "You can just think of this place as your home away from home…" What? Hey, come on! There's a limit to being reassuring and welcoming! You don't want him to stay that badly, do you? How lonely are you?
"…Forever?" Roxas cut in, surprising Axel.
Green eyes blinked in incomprehension at Roxas. "Forever what?"
The blond turned his eyes to the floor and sighed softly. "You think I can go back tomorrow. I can't go back. I don't know how."
Axel didn't know what to say. The idea of the boy staying with him forever wasn't sinking in very quickly. In the pause Roxas continued, his expression becoming heartbreakingly lonely.
"Stars only fall…have you ever seen a star go up into the sky?" The blond head shook slowly. "I can't go back anymore."
"What…what does that mean, then? What happened to the other stars that fell?"
"They wander. They…fade."
"Fade?" Axel still didn't understand. Roxas turned to him and gently took his hand.
"You…humans die so quickly. We seem eternal to you. Stars that fall can't live close to people for long, or the people will see that they never change. They have to wander…and a star that wanders alone for too long will fade. Lonely stars…their light goes out."
Axel was utterly struck by the sorrowful beauty of the boy next to him. Something about Roxas was just so wholly magnetic…his logical objections to his own feelings were already dimming.
"You…don't seem eternal to me. You seem young…like you said, 15."
"Fifteen of our years, not yours."
Axel paused before asking, "What's the difference?"
"Our years are not Earth years. The very oldest of the old among humans can barely survive one of them. I have 15 – I am a baby in the sky, yet I have seen one thousand five hundred of your years." Roxas pulled his legs up into himself, curling his arms around them and quietly finishing. "Yet in all that time, no human has ever smiled at me as you did." He turned to Axel with a new glow on his face. "Even if I must wander and fade now, I think I am happy. I wanted to speak to Axel…I wanted to meet my favorite human."
The sight of a happy, smiling star is a thing so beautiful and celestial that no human can ever be quite prepared for it. Axel certainly was not. His mind's only contribution was, So much for pedophilia. His heart…was in awe.
It was a long moment before Axel could reply. During that time, he half suspected he would suffocate from how difficult his breathing had become. However, the stars had chosen to be kind – when he spoke, he somehow had found the right words.
Taking the lightly glowing hand of the young star, Axel softly answered, "No star has ever smiled at me the way you do either. I think…" He paused, looking meaningfully into the bright blue eyes. "…I may not live long enough to keep you from fading someday…but Roxas, if you'll stay with me, I'll try to keep you shining brightly for as long as I'm alive."
The light radiating from the thin boy trembled, then burst forth in glittering beams as Roxas shone with the purest joy he had ever known – a joy so rare, he was one of only a few stars to ever feel it and shine so perfectly. Axel had to close his eyes against the piercing, strong light, yet he did so with a smile. In the warm light, he could feel Roxas' happiness, their joy in each other's company…something very akin to love that was already coming alive between them.
As his eyes slipped shut and his hand tightly squeezed Roxas', he felt the pressure returned as the young star leaned forward, reaching out to him and wrapping shining arms around his neck.
Roxas' voice was a choked whisper in his ear, "Thank you, Axel, thank you, thank you…"
The redhead chuckled and drew his arms around the thin form, pulling Roxas tightly against him. "I've caught a falling star…I must be the luckiest man in the world."
And Roxas laughed, a beautiful, musical sound, for the laughter of stars is the melody of Heaven. And they held each other for the first time, and if it was all rather sudden, neither of them noticed. Because Roxas was Axel's star, and the man was beginning to realize that he always had been, and Axel was the only human Roxas had ever watched with his heart in his eyes. And they were both ready to spend one long, beautiful celestial year together, even in the face of a tragic parting at the end.
And, though neither knew it yet – Roxas because he was a baby of the sky and Axel because he was human – their fate was not so black. The stars had seen the brilliant light on Earth, and had smiled with secret, ageless, knowing smiles upon the embracing couple. And when the stars smile upon you, your future can only be bright and glorious, and so theirs would be.
For the stars knew, though Roxas and Axel didn't, that the greatest power in the universe was formed in the very bond these two had just begun. After a short celestial year of forging this bond ever stronger, the power of love would be more than enough to secure them together for eternity.
But for now, all that could wait. The first embrace was relaxing, and two faces wearing blissful smiles were slowly drawing closer, closer together. Slowly, warm lips were pressing together…slowly touching off a spark like lightening in their very first kiss.
Note to readers! Hey guys! If you read this because you're into Axel and Roxas and that's pretty much it, well...thanks! I hope you liked it! :D But if you also wonder if this Kurosora1984 lady has anything else to entertain you, and if you are even a little interested in other guys getting their sexy romance on, check out my current original story on FP! Links in my profile! Thank you, dears! :D