Author's Note: Sorry this is sooo late. I have no excuse, I was just lazy. Yeah. Err, but it's here now! This is less like an epilogue and more like a sideshot or oneshot even... But the second half (or last third) is more like an epilogue. Yuhp. That's all I gotta say.

Oh yeah, and I'm starting a new fanfiction. It should be coming out some time soon, but I like writing to chapter 5-ish before I publish fanfiction, so that I can still update quickly... So yeah, check that out if you have the time :) It's Akuroku and Soriku centric, and it's mainly gunna be Romance/Drama/Hurt/Comfort. Yup, just a bit of self-promotion there.

Thanks for reading; R & R, Enjoy,
V. Plum.

---

Epilogue.

It was around midnight when Roxas tiptoed downstairs. If he was going to pull an 'all-nighter', then he may as well get some food, right?

He shuffled into the kitchen, and opened the fridge. He withdrew a 2L mega-bottle of Coke from it. Then he moved to the pantry for junk food.

"Roxas, is that you?" Cloud stepped into the kitchen.

"Yeah, jus' hungry."Definitely not planning to play Kingdom Spades II with Sora 'til 7am…

"Leon is coming again."

"That's nice, dear."

"Axel too."Cloud said offhandedly with a smirk. Roxas' heart sped. He slammed the pantry door hard and stormed out of the kitchen. Cloud snorted.

"Nice try Roxas, but I saw that grin."

---

Twilight Town never changed, and it never will. The atmosphere was always going to be welcoming and warm, and it was always going to be nothing but a resting point for people going to Hollow Bastion. Still, Roxas wouldn't trade it for anything in the world.

The sky was just starting to turn purple. It was the middle of spring, but the temperature was already getting unbearably hot, just like last year. It was a good thing Roxas was used to it. Not to say that he enjoyed having his clothes stick to him like a second layer of skin, and having to go to learn in classrooms that smelt like locker rooms, Roxas just loved the excuse to eat sea salt ice-cream, and lots of it.

There were days though, where Roxas couldn't stand the heat. Days like when he had to go to work. He'd gotten a job at the swimming pool, not realising how torturous it really was. Last week it was 40°C, and he'd been stuck in a canteen behind a counter of blazing hot food, watching people swim in cool refreshing water.

Roxas hated his job.

He also hated it when Sora had had one too many lollies. He really shouldn't have any at all. Forever.

"ROXAS! ROXAS-ROXAS-ROXAS! ROXAS STRIFE OF THE STRIFE-Y RESIDENCE! ROX—"

"FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, WHAT?!"

"…We're on a bridge, chaaarrrrrliiieeeee."

Roxas groaned, too hot and tired to rip Sora's head off. How could Sora possible be nineteen? He was like a five year old on helium or something!

"ROX—!"

"Yes, Sora?" Roxas asked scathingly before Sora could start chanting his name again. What was Sora doing in his room anyway? Sora was never allowed into his room, especially when he was this hyperactive. Never. Cloud must have sent him up here, the dick.

"We're on a bri—"

"No. Sora. We are not on a bridge. I am not Charlie. You are not a unicorn. Please leave my room." Roxas could barely contain his anger. Sora pouted, falling silent for the first time in the last hour. Roxas turned his head back to his desk and groaned again. This was not the mood he should be in for the day Axel came back to Twilight Town.

Ding-dong.

Roxas sucked in a deep breath and looked at Sora, whose eyes had gone impossibly wide.

Oh God, no…

3.

2.

1.

"HOH. MUH. GOT!!!!!" Sora literally blasted out of Roxas' room. Roxas sighed and followed Sora downstairs. He felt his anger melt away and anticipation fill his stomach. Seeing Axel would definitely cheer him up (that, or aggravate him even more), and Riku would take Sora away, or at the very least, be the new victim to the crazy Hurricane Sora.

Roxas turned the corner and tilted his head to look out the front door. Cloud was standing with Leon again; the faintest of blushes on his cheeks, and Sora was… singing something while jumping around Riku. Good God, his cousin couldn't sing to save his life.

Roxas' head darted around his expression confused. Slowly his confused face began to frown. His hands began to curl into fists at his sides. His eyes stung and his heart wrenched.

"RIKU! RIKU, YOU'RE BACK! YOU'RE BACK!" Sora sang.

"Feeling a little under the weather actually, I'm thinking of seeing a doctor…" Leon sighed.

"Where's Axel."

An instant silence fell over the group. Roxas had his head down, his fist visibly shaking, his jaw clenched. Riku instantly looked away up at the sky, avoiding eye contact. Leon rubbed the back of his neck. Sora and Cloud began backing away from Roxas slowly. This wasn't going to end well…

"Roxas…" Cloud murmured, still backing away.

"Where. Is. Axel." Roxas repeated, looking up. His vicious glare would have made Satan proud.

"Uhh, he… well, it's not like… like he's not coming, Rox… It's just that…"

"Yes, Riku?" Roxas prompted darkly. Riku fidgeted a little under Roxas' hard gaze.

"…Honestly, I don't know where the hell he is," Riku sighed before quickly adding, "But he's coming! He's definitely coming." His reassurance did nothing to calm Roxas down.

"Fuck this. Fuck him." Roxas turned on his heel, retreating back up to his room, slamming and stomping violently.

---

The train shuddered as it departed from Hollow Bastion. Axel stretched out over three seats, already yawning. Riku slouched in a seat opposite Axel, staring out the window as concrete slowly disappeared, and miles of forestry and hills replaced them. Leon already had his laptop out and was rummaging through his bag for his USB Modem.

"This is gunna suck." Riku turned his head to Axel curiously.

"What?" Riku frowned, "Don't you wanna go to Twilight Town?"

"Of course I wanna go to Twilight Town," Axel reassured with a lazy smirk, "It's where all the short blue-eyed blonds are."

"Then what are you whinging about?"

"I'm not whinging, I'm just pointing out how bad something is. I have to do something before I go to their house…" Axel sighed, "That means you have to explain to Roxas why I'll be late."

"Yuck, he's gunna be so pissed. Can't it wait?"

"Nope, absolutely cannot wait."

"Fine. What are you going to do, anyway?"

"My secret."

---

"Uhh…"

Axel's eye twitched as he sat at the dinner table at Cloud's house. Sora had waited outside of the house, and then clamped a hand over his mouth and dragged him into the dining room. And now Cloud, Leon, Riku and Sora were staring at him with the most unnerving expressions possible. It was the kind of expression given to a man on death row.

"Where were you?" Cloud asked in a harsh whisper.

"I was just—"

"There's no time to talk about these trivial matters!" Sora said as quietly as possible, which really wasn't quiet at all, "We have to prepare Axel for battle!"

"…Battle…?" Axel put down his bag at the foot of his chair.

"For when you go up to… him."

"Who?"

"Roxas, you idiot!"

"Shh!" Cloud scolded.

"Sora… Are you high…?"

"I don't think Sora ever came down from that high he was on earlier today." Riku sighed wearily. Sora punched him in the arm.

"We're getting sidetracked. What's important is Axel's life."

"Okay, aren't you guys blowing this way out of proportion? I'm only late by, like, one hour, if I just explain to him…" Axel's voice trailed off when he was given another round of that expression again. The one reserved for animals that were just about to be neutered.

"You truly have no idea."

"You should have seen the glare he shot at me…" Riku paled at the thought.

"Last time Roxas was like this," Sora said sagely with a tone of voice usually used to tell horror stories, "He hospitalised Seifer for six weeks. Four broken ribs, a concussion, two broken fingers and a black eye, and Roxas kicked him in the nuts. And just because Seifer knocked Roxas' seasalt ice cream out of his hand."

"And once," Cloud said with the same sagely horror-story tone, "Roxas was suspended for completely bashing up this guy from his high school a couple years ago because that guy was stalking Olette. Three broken ribs, a concussion, a broken nose, a broken leg and a dislocated arm. That was before Hayner joined in. I'm surprised they didn't kill the poor guy."

"There's two lessons to be learnt from this story— One; Never mess with Roxas when he's pissed beyond recognition. Two; Never mess with Roxas' ice cream or his friends."

There was silence.

"…Why aren't you taking notes?" Sora reprimanded.

"Wha—"

"You should take notes." Cloud said seriously with a nod. Axel shook his head and stood.

"You guys are crazy. I'm sure he's not that angry. I have a peace offering anyway." Axel lifted up his bag to emphasize his point. Ah crap, I hope it's still okay, by now it's probably…

"Don't be naïve! You have absolutely no idea! Take it from someone who was there when Seifer was owned! Rai ran away and Fuu was reduced to tears!" Sora stood as well, almost yelling.

Axel rolled his eyes disbelievingly and walked out of the dining room before the four at the table could give him that look again.

---

Axel's confidence seemed to seep away again as he stood outside Roxas' room, his hand on the doorknob. Sora and Cloud had been incredibly serious, and they'd known Roxas for his whole life. Axel sighed. He couldn't just stand out here forever; he'd have to face Roxas some time. He carefully knocked on the door thrice, before opening it slowly.

The room was empty. Axel looked around. The bed was made, the cluttered desk was marginally tidier than the last time he'd seen it, and the blue fish lamp that Demyx loved so dearly was glowing dimly.

Axel stepped forward a little hesitantly. He could feel a presence, but he couldn't see Roxas…

Suddenly, the door shut behind him. Axel turned quickly, and saw Roxas standing next to the door, his hand stretched out across it, having just shut it. His face was covered by his bangs, and his breathing was oddly steady and calm. Pfft, and Sora made him seem really violent and scary. He's just a little… creepy.

"Hello, Axel." Roxas said clearly.

"Hi." Axel said with a slightly awkward smile.

"Welcome back to Twilight Town."

"…Good to be back." Axel felt slightly unnerved now. It was true that he and Roxas were going out now, but they were never this civilised, if you could even call this civilised.

"Good," Roxas dropped his arm and stepped towards Axel, "…Why were you late, Axel?" He looked up through his blonde bangs.

"Uh, actually, I was just buying something…"

"So you decided that shopping was more important than seeing me?" Roxas asked sharply, his eyes flashed violently for a second.

"Uh, no, I didn't mean it like that."

"So then what did you mean, Axel?" Roxas advanced on Axel again. An image of Seifer covered head to toes in bandages in a hospital bed appeared in Axel's mind. He quickly shook the image out of his head.

"I meant that…" Axel trailed off, finding it hard to find the words he was looking for.

"You better have one hell of a good reason, Axel Firaga." Roxas' left hand curled into a fist, ready to strike any minute.

"I was buying you something, I just didn't expect it to take so long to find, so…" Axel sighed in relief when he saw Roxas' resolve fading quickly. Axel quickly retrieved his bag, and passed it to Roxas. Roxas opened it.

"You didn't have to…"

"It's probably already sort of melting, but… I guess we could just pour it into a glass or something." Axel joked. Roxas hid his face under his bangs again, definitely not the reaction Axel was hoping for. Did he not like it? He still hadn't said anything. My God, I checked every freaking ice cream parlor in Twilight Town!

"So, I was thinking of going to the Station Tower together…" Axel offered, rubbing the back of his neck. Roxas looked up at Axel, as brilliant genuine smile lighting his face. Axel blinked in surprise.

"…Okay." Axel sighed in relief as the two of them walked out of Roxas' room.

"Thank God. For a second, I thought you were going to beat me up like Seifer…" Axel chuckled.

"Don't be silly, I didn't beat Seifer up."

"You didn't?!"

"No," Roxas opened the front door with a violent proud grin, "I obliterated him."

Axel paled.

---

Clear blue-green water washed up onto the shores relentlessly, crashing in an explosion of white as a blazing sun shone down onto the sand. The beach was relatively deserted, much to Roxas' delight. This was going to be the last weekend before Axel left again, but Roxas was determined not to let that fact let him down.

Everything had put their weekend commitments aside to come to the beach. Hayner had been absolutely ecstatic when he'd heard about it. For days, all he'd ever talked about was watermelon, pretzels, and the open sea. Roxas stood on the slope down to the sand, looking out to the horizon. Behind him, Riku and Kairi were taking out towels, umbrellas and baskets.

"Rox!" Hayner grinned and slapped him on the back, clad in only a pair of camo-patterned boardies, "Ahh, It's been too long since I've been to the beach."

"Yeah…"

"Let's go, man! It's time for watermelon, pretzels and the open sea!" Hayner laughed and ran down the slope. Roxas smiled as he watched everyone make their way down to the beach. Pence had picked up a large clump of black, slimy seaweed and was now chasing Olette and Hayner with an evil cackle.

"DUDE! DON'T COME NEAR ME WITH THAT FUCKING GROSS STUFF!" Hayner yelped.

"Yeah, throw it away, Pence!!" Olette shrieked. An evil gleam flashed through Pence's eyes.

"'Throw it', you say?" Olette paled.

"N-no, I take it ba— EEEEEEEKK!! YOU JERK!"

Roxas laughed and flicked his eyes over to Sora and Riku. Riku was repetitively dunking Sora's head under the deep blue waves, a huge smirk on his face as Sora flailed his arms helplessly. Roxas snorted when he saw Riku suddenly fall back into the water with a splash— Sora had probably pulled his legs out from underneath him.

"You guys, stop being assholes to each other and help us!" Kairi hollered out to Sora and Riku. Namine stood beside her, holding a beach umbrella, towels and an esky. Kairi was holding a large basket and another big umbrella. The two girls gasped as Leon and Cloud pulled the beach equipment out of their arms from behind them.

"God dammit, I told Sora to help these two," Cloud scolded, "If his dad was here, he'd probably be the one dunking Sora's head under the water. As punishment."

"Pfft. Let's just find a good spot to dump all this stuff." Leon snorted.

"Thanks Cloud, thanks… 'Squall'." Kairi said cheekily. Namine giggled.

"Hey, don't—"

"Don't call him that, you little brat!" Cloud cut in loudly with a glare. Kairi backed away slightly, and Namine began to smile knowingly. Roxas had never seen his uncle blush so darkly.

"L-let's just find a good—"

"BOO!"

Roxas yelped, and jumped. He spun around quickly; taking in a deep breath, ready to reprimand the obvious culprit with all he had.

"Axel! Don't do that!" Roxas narrowed his eyes. Axel just grinned, one hand discreetly hidden behind his back.

"What are you doing? You look like an old man standing up here alone."

"You have no right to say I'm old, you're older than me!" Roxas huffed almost childishly.

"You didn't answer my question." Axel prompted nonchalantly. Roxas turned back to the sea with another huff.

"For your information, I was trying to be deep and meaningful."

"Oh, so you were acting like an old man." Roxas decided to let Axel's remark slide. He looked down at all his friends with soft eyes.

"Don't you wish that this moment would stay like this forever…?" Roxas smiled at the thought. Everyone was getting along together so well, and the moment seemed so everlasting and perfect. Axel blinked down at Roxas, before slumping onto him from behind, an arm slung around Roxas' neck.

"H-hey! You're heavy!" Roxas blushed a little. Axel ignored him.

"It will stay like this forever." Roxas blinked in surprise, truly touched by Axel's words.

"Stupid. Don't promise the impossible."

"Right, sorry. They won't stay like this forever. We will." Axel corrected. Roxas tried to fight down the massive grin that was threatening to split his face in half. Roxas turned his head to look at Axel, blushing when he realised how close Axel's face was. His head was sitting on his shoulder. Axel smirked and leaned in, pressing his lips onto Roxas'. The moment was perfect, until…

"That's— EEERGHH!" Roxas shrieked (like the man that he was). Something extremely cold was now sliding down his back. Axel grinned and danced away, a Cheshire cat grin on his face.

"What IS that?!" Roxas wiped his back with the back of his hand and looked at it. It was white and sort of runny…

"Slip, slop, slap, Roxie!" Axel teased, waving a white and yellow bottle at him, "While you were being 'deep and meaningful', you were getting burnt to a crisp!"

Roxas clenched his fists.

"AXEL. FIRAGA!!"

---

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