I while ago, I got struck with an idea for a Mother's Day fanfic, and this is what I ended up with. It's kind of playing with the fact that Roxas can't remember his somebody's memories. How much did remember? Yeah, it's a weird concept, and it especially gets weird in the end, I think, but hopefully it didn't end up too boring or anything (I didn't even expect this to get so long…why can't I ever just write a short story?) I'll appreciate reviews (especially with constructive criticism. I just love constructive criticism!)
Warning: Pretty much nothing, except that this is Ax/Rox friendship (isn't it just depressing that I actually have to warn that?), and that it gets pretty weird in the end. Well, at least, in my opinion. Also, beware of the cuteness.
Disclaimer: I don't own Kingdom Hearts. Believe me, if I was Nomura in disguise, I'll be typing in Japanese characters right now XP
'What's in a Name?'
He didn't know what to make out of it when he first heard it. It had a weird sound to it, for one thing, but he'd noticed that most new words seemed to be like that. He tried the foreign word on his tongue. Nothing happened. He repeated it over and over again. Absolutely nothing. No past memories, no hidden 'feelings', no magical definition popped up in his head when he said this word. So, he tried to forget it.
But, he couldn't forget it. He kept hearing it over and over again on TV lately, especially in the commercials. He didn't watch much TV, but even he noticed the constant reprise of the word. Every time he heard it, there would be this nagging question in the back of his mind, "What is it?" He would then tell himself just to forget the word, and he would, until the end of the day when he went to bed. He would then lay for hours, wondering what this word was, and why he cared so much about it. But, this wasn't unusual; all new words seemed to keep him up at night, if he didn't ask about them.
Usually, he'd just ask Axel about a new word he'd learn, and everything would be settled then and there. But, sometimes, he just felt too embarrass, which was the case now. He could tell it was one of those 'common sense words', the type that everyone knew about, except him, and if he'd asked about it, he'd look incredibly stupid. It took him a while to muster enough courage to finally ask, but one day, he finally did.
"Axel, what's a… 'mother'?" Roxas asked tentatively, wondering if he remembered the pronunciation right.
They were sitting on Twilight Tower's ledge, eating ice cream while watching the sunset, when he dropped the question. Axel turned and gave Roxas a strange look. "A…what?"
Roxas shrunk back at Axel's scrutinizing look. Maybe he shouldn't have asked. "Um…a mother…" he mumbled.
Axel gave him a hard, steady stare and Roxas began to wonder if he had asked something wrong, or even perverted like last time. But then Axel broke out into a burst of laughter, which made Roxas's cheeks go as bright red as a cherry. It was perverted, wasn't it!
"You-you're not kidding, are you?" Axel howled with laughter, barely able to breathe.
"No, I'm not! Stop laughing! What's a mother?!" Roxas yelled over the pyro's booming laughs, embarrassment causing him to lose his temper.
"Hehe, a mother! That's real cute, Roxas," the pyro roared with laughter, ignoring the younger one's protest.
Roxas didn't know what made him do it. Maybe it was Axel's constant laughing, or perhaps it was being called 'cute' that did it, but Roxas finally did what he always threatened Axel he'll do. He finally attempted to push Axel off Twilight Tower's ledge.
Axel wobbled at the ledge. He regained his balance after a few suspenseful moments, but he had dropped his ice cream from the fright. He watched it fall several stories down to the ground before hearing a faint 'splat!'
"Aw, Rox, what was that for?" the pyro complained sourly, already missing the taste of the salty-sweet goodness. Never mind that he could've been the one to fall several stories down to his death, no, the ice cream matter had to be dealt with first.
Roxas frowned. "Well, it made you shut up, didn't it?"
"Well, Rox, I'm sorry, but it was kind of funny. Everybody should know what a-"
"Everybody but me," Roxas interrupted, "I'm not like everybody, you know. I don't have my memories like everybody else!"
Axel sighed. It was true, Roxas didn't have his somebody's memories, like other nobodies did. It was a miracle that he could mimic emotions, little less generate his own personality. Memories were a crucial thing to nobodies. With no hearts, their somebodies' memories were the only way to mimic feelings. They remember how it was to feel, and are able to act based on to and fake their emotions. It's a helpful ruse when trying to trick a somebody. Nobodies have even been known to fool themselves on occasion.
But, Roxas was a special nobody. He was born differently from all the other nobodies and he couldn't remember much from his somebody's life. He seemed to be getting along just fine in the faking emotions department, though. The only problem was that he couldn't remember a lot of experiences his somebody had, which was why he was asking what a mother was now. He never experienced a mother before.
Axel looked towards his friend with an apologetic look, one that looked genuine even to Roxas, who knew all his tricks and guises. "I'm sorry, Rox. I forget sometimes, y' know?" he apologized, remorse dampening his voice. The pyro was a master at faking his emotions, Roxas couldn't help but think.
The Key sighed. "It's okay…. I always wanted a reason to push you off the ledge anyway, so I guess it's just my lucky day," he smirked, taking another long lick from his ice cream.
"Heh, well, that's just nice. Glad I was able to help you with that," Axel thanked sarcastically, but he suspected the younger nobody was just trying to change the subject. "So, what's a mother, you ask?"
Roxas blushed. "Well…yeah, what is it?" He asked, a bit cautiously, in case Axel would laugh, again.
The pyro sighed, still not sure whether to believe if Roxas really didn't remember what a mother was. "…What brought this up, exactly?"
"I heard it on TV," Oh, of course, that cursed television set. It had taught Roxas a nice array of new vocabulary, some not so nice... "They've been saying it a lot on the commercials lately."
"Oh, because of Mother's Day," Axel stated absent-mindedly.
"Yeah, they usually mention that, too. What is that?"
"It's a day dedicated to mothers," Axel answered, matter-of-factly. "You know, you give them presents, breakfast in bed, the whole bit."
"Oh…" Roxas trailed off, looking a bit more confused. "…but, what is a mother?"
"Oh, well, let's see, where to start…" Axel trailed off, thinking, "…I guess you could say it's a person that loves you, no matter who you are. It's someone who'll take care of you, raise you, teach you, and even discipline you, but never leave you if you're in a tough bind. A mother shows you unconditional love, even if you've been a brat," he turned around and gave Roxas a devilish grin, "That's what a mother is, Rox. M-O-T-H-E-R. Got it memorized?"
Roxas sat there nodding throughout his whole speech, soaking up all the information. He smiled at the last bit, saying, "Yeah, yeah, Ax, I got it memorized," Before adding, "You big sap."
Axel stuck his tongue out playfully at the Key of Destiny. "Hey, at least I know what a mother is, you little brat!" he teased.
Roxas pouted, which didn't really help his case. "Well, rather be a brat than a psycho pyromaniac that has nothing better to do than hang out with brats all day!" he countered.
"Maybe I just feel sorry for you," Axel taunted, "The only other one closer to your age is Zexion, and we all know that probably wouldn't end very well."
Roxas had to agree with him there. Zexion, or Number Six, was probably one of the youngest nobodies besides Roxas, but was also ironically one of the most mature, not to mention respected. He was a bit too serious though, and Number Thirteen had always been a little intimidated towards the older one's superior intelligence, not to mention scheming ways.
"Well, in that case, thanks a lot for sparing me from that," Roxas dead-panned.
"Heh, no problem," Axel grinned, happy to gain the younger one's respect, even if it wasn't fully genuine.
Roxas snorted and went back to licking his ice cream, glad the initial awkwardness had finally passed. But, he couldn't help thinking back to the same topic. He knew what a mother was now, but that just sprouted more questions in his head. He would ask, but that would just lead to more awkward questioning, wouldn't it? Oh, but the questions wouldn't stop popping up! Why did he always have to be so curious? Couldn't he ever just drop a subject!
A soft, crackling sound interrupted his frenzy train of thought, and he looked up to see what it was. Axel, apparently bored without his ice cream, had summoned a little flame into his hand and started playing with it. Roxas watched as the fire wielder expertly maneuvered the fire through his gloved fingers, the warm flames flowing through them almost like water.
Roxas didn't know why, but watching the little fire show comforted him. Axel's fire antics always had that kind of affect on him, and Roxas knew that they had kept the pyro's nerves down as well. He always wondered why he couldn't have had a power like Axel's fire, instead of something lame like light. Fire was just so much more calming, not to mention intimidating at the same time. How could something be so self-contradictory? Plus, Axel was so good with his element, Roxas wished he could be the same.
Despite this fact, his mind was finally put at ease, and he decided that maybe it wouldn't be so bad to ask at least a few questions after all. Well, at least, just a few.
"Who has a mother, anyway?" Roxas asked absent-mindedly, still gazing with awe at the flames. They were dancing from finger to finger, now. "Are they something you buy or something?"
Axel snorted, still playing with the fire. "No! Everybody has a mother, silly!" he chuckled.
Roxas scrunched his face up in confusion. "...Do I have a mother?" he asked, hesitantly.
Axel mused at this, his flames, which had started to grow larger, calming down a bit. "Well, no, I guess you got me there. I guess I mean every somebody has a mother, but nobodies don't have a mother..." he trailed off.
Roxas mulled this over for a second. "So, my somebody had a mother?"
"Probably," the pyro replied, flames growing again.
Well, that was a bit unfair. Why could his somebody have a mother, but Roxas couldn't have one, too? He never had one before, but they sounded like a pretty good thing to have.
"...Then, did your somebody have a mother?" the Key inquired.
"Well, yeah, of course he had a mother," the pyro replied, getting a bit impatient with the younger nobody's never ending questions.
"...Well, what was she like?" Roxas asked, curiously.
Axel paused, actually taking the time to stop and think about the question being asked of him. "Well…uh…from what I remember, she was kind of tall, and sort of skinny…I think…" He furrowed his brows, trying hard to remember, the flames in his hand sizzling out so he could place a hand on his chin. "Uh…she kind of had reddish, sort of brownish hair, I think…hm…hmmm…."
Roxas leaned towards him, eager to learn more. "And…" he urged.
"Ah…well…she smelt like spices."
Roxas gave a blank stare, wondering if it was normal to compare mothers to food condiments. Axel must've noticed, because when he caught the younger one's eye, he gave his own, yet dead-panned, glare. "She liked to cook," he replied bluntly.
"Ohhh," Roxas dragged out, the little light bulb in his head finally taking light. "That sounds cool...." he added, not really knowing what else to add to that. "…Well…what did she like to cook?"
Axel leaned back against his shoulders and sighed, realizing that Roxas wasn't going to stop asking questions until he was satisfied with the answers. "Well, from what I can remember, she cooked all kinds of stuff. She really liked cooking…and she was usually pretty good at it too, I remember. Seriously, my somebody had meals fit for a king," he chuckled, "She was always trying to find new recipes, new ingredients-stuff like that. She'd even find her own twist on things, even to the simplest of dishes. It definitely made things… interesting…" He grimaced in disgust.
Roxas chuckled. "I'm guessing not every meal was exactly 'fit for a king'?" He jibed, quoting the pyro from before.
"Eh, when she went completely wild, it could be a bit hit or miss," Axel lamented, "Once, she tried mixing paopu fruit with hot dogs…that was a miss. Then there was the first time she made rice…"
Roxas tilted his head in a puzzling way. "Rice?"
Axel smirked at the teen's expression. "Yeah, I know, kind of hard to mess up, right? …Wrong. Seriously, we could throw the stuff at the wall, and it would stick there like paper to glue! Made a fun weapon at birthday parties, though…" Axel chuckled at the memories. "But, hey, she was usually good at what she did, despite the experimenting and the occasional fire. My somebody couldn't wait for meals when he was a kid. It was one of the best parts of his day. Heck, even her sack lunches were pretty good."
Roxas thought about this. The meals served in the small cafeteria in the Organization's castle…well, left much to be desired. They sucked, to put it plainly. He wondered what it would be like to actually look forward to his meals everyday.
"My somebody really liked her cooking," Axel continued, snapping Roxas out of his thoughts, "I remember that he even wanted to be able to cook like his mom. He would even help her out in the kitch-"
"You liked to cook!" Roxas interrupted all of a sudden, stunned.
"My somebody liked tocook," Axel made quick to confirm, almost having to laugh at the complete look of shock on Roxas's face, "Plus, he was like, what? Six? He wanted to be like his mom, alright?"
Despite Axel's explanation, Roxas couldn't help but get a picture in his head of Axel, in an apron, cooking. Ugh, the horror! He tried suppressing the traumatizing images in his mind.
"What? Don't make that face!" Axel retorted, noticing the complete revulsion on the teen's face, "He was six!"
"Did you wear an apron?"
"No! He didn't wear a-wait, well…" Axel trailed off, furrowing his brows in an attempt to remember old, most likely highly embarrassing, childhood memories, "I actually don't fully recall…maybe…"
"Oh, come on! Guys can wear aprons!" Axel insisted, defensively, "And, anyway, do I have to remind you again that he was only six? Plus, all he had was his mom, so he didn't exactly have anyone to tell him how girly it was…"
"What's a mom?" Roxas asked, the new word begging to change the subject.
Axel stared at him with a blank look on his face, mouth still open in mid-retort. He looked kind of silly, Roxas couldn't help but notice.
"Huh?" the pyro asked, taken aback.
"Well…you mentioned something about a mom just now …I was wondering, what is that?" the Key asked, innocently.
Axel blinked a few times, but finally snapped out of it by shaking his head wearily. He chuckled, a smirk appearing on his face. "You really are something else, you know that?" he finally replied. Roxas couldn't help but blush in embarrassment. "It's just a shorter word for mother. You know, like a nick name."
"Oh," Roxas said, lamely, "So, you just call them moms instead of mothers then?"
"Well, there're other nick-names for mothers too," Axel corrected, starting to count the names off his fingers, "There's mom, mamá, ma, momma, madré, mamí, mommy…"
"Mommy?" Roxas interrupted, tasting the funny word on his tongue. Some of these nick-names were really silly.
"Uh, well, yeah, but I wouldn't go around saying that one," Axel advised, "Or most of the other ones, for that matter. It'll make you look a little silly. Trust me, the last thing we need for you is to make you look like a mama's boy."
The Key nodded slowly, not fully getting the implications of his advice, but deciding it was probably a good idea to follow Axel's instructions, anyways.
"So, your mother's name-uh, nick-name, was mom?" Roxas asked, hoping he got something right, for once.
Axel laughed at the Key's insinuation. "Well, that's what I called her, but it wasn't really her name. Her name was Mira."
Now Roxas was really confused. "Wait, so, she's not a mother?"
Axel laughed even louder this time. Roxas wanted to sock him. "Yeah, she was! She's a mother, but mom's have names too, silly!"
Roxas stared blankly at the pyro, before turning back to the ice cream and realizing it was melting in his hand. "So…mothers have their own names? And yours was Mira?" Roxas reasoned, licking the gooeyness off the bottom of the popsicle stick.
"That's right. You sure catch on quick Roxas," Axel dead-panned, in good humor. The younger nobody shoved him playfully before he went on.
"Yeah, her name was Mira. Pretty name, I remember. Actually, I think I remember when my somebody first learned her name…"
"Really?" Roxas asked, intrigued. He agreed, Mira was a very pretty name, even if he didn't know that many girl names in the first place. Heck, he didn't even know many girls, besides Larxene. And if all girls were like her, he didn't think he wanted to know any more.
"Yeah. I think he must've been in Kindergarten or something. He was pretty young, I know that," Axel continued, staring at the reds and yellows of twilight's sunrise in a thoughtful matter, "He was in the yard one day-messing around or something like that, I don't exactly remember-when he heard this old guy, their neighbor I think, talking to his mom about adult things and stuff. You know, things a little kid wouldn't really give two cents about. Anyway, he kept hearing him mention her name, 'Mira', several times. So when his mom went inside, he asked who this Mira was, anyways. After a good, long chuckle (seriously, that guy could laugh), he said that that was his mom's name. Of course, he's like 'Get out of town!' which, of course, sends the guy laughing again. Man, that guy was loud! I remember having to resist the temptation of kicking his shins. He figured it was a good way to stop a guy from laughing, but he was too afraid of getting into trouble. Damn, that old guy was annoying though!"
Roxas had been listening silently and patiently throughout the whole trip back to memory lane, but the end was too much for him, and soon he was going into his own giggle fit. Axel had to threaten to kick his shins before he could finally attain enough breath and gasp, "What happened?"
"Well, he stopped laughing. My mom came out again with lemonade, and all was forgotten. Well, except when the old guy just had to mention what a precious boy her son was. Again, he had to resist the temptation of kicking his shins, not to mention puke."
Roxas had to stifle another chuckle before the pyro continued.
"Anyway, the next day, I remember him feeling like a real hot shot, all because he knew his mom's real name. Guess he didn't know it was supposed to be common sense to know your mother's name. Well, he saw his teacher and, probably because he wanted to prove how smart he was, went up and told her, 'Guess what I know that you don't know!' with his chest puffed out and everything, thinking he was all that. He wasn't. His teacher took one skeptical look at him and said, 'And what is that?' He said, and I remember exactly, 'My mommy's name isn't mommy, it's Mira! Bet you didn't know that!'"
"What did she say?" Roxas asked, having to stifle another chuckle from the silliness of that sentence.
"Nothing. She just looked at him like a moron," the pyro replied, smirking at his own somebody's misfortune, "She told him to go sit down and do his work."
"Really?" Roxas asked, surprised by the apparent coldness of a Kindergarten teacher.
"Yeah, but not all reactions were like that. His own mother took it a lot better, actually."
"What did she say?"
"Well, she was a bit shocked, partly because she had just picked him up after school, and the first thing out of his mouth was, 'How was work today, Mira!' He really felt like a real hot shot then. But when he saw his mom's reaction, he wasn't too sure anymore."
Axel couldn't help but grin distantly at the memory, prompting the younger nobody to ask, "What did she do?"
"Well, at first she had this look of pure shock on her face," Axel described, the edges of his mouth tilting higher, "Then, she started laughing at him! He didn't feel too hot anymore, I can tell you that!"
Roxas smirked at this. "Heh, that's what you need now. Somebody to laugh at you so you won't feel so hot anymore!"
"That's what I have you for, Rox…Nice pun, by the way," Axel complimented, grinning sardonically, "Anyway, she just told him never to call her that again, and it was strictly mom from then on out. He sure didn't need somebody to laugh at him like that again."
Roxas mulled over Axel's story, licking at the remainder of his ice cream. So, Axel didn't know his mot-mom had a name…So, it's not so bad I didn't know either-oh, wait, he was probably five years old when he thought that. Roxas proceeded to hang his head in shame.
"Hey, what's with the face?" Axel asked, catching the younger one's mopey expression, "What's on your mind now?"
"Oh, nothing," Roxas shook his head, trying to look for an excuse for his sour face. He asked the first thing that came to mind. "Just thinking…your teacher was really mean, wasn't she?"
Axel blinked before he finally seemed to understand what the teen was getting at. "Oh, you mean how she looked at him like a moron and all that?" Roxas nodded, before he continued, "Well, don't worry. He was used to it. You see, my somebody was always kind of a trouble maker, and he wasn't exactly popular with the teachers, even at that age. I admit, he was a bit of a brat too."
Roxas didn't find that surprising at all.
"So, I guess he was as much as a brat as me, huh?" Roxas jibed, jokingly.
"No, not really," the pyro smiled, a hint of mischievousness gracing his lips, "He was much worse. Hate to break it to ya' Rox, but you're actually a pretty good kid. If it wasn't for that Organization coat you're sporting, I would've thought you had a heart."
Roxas's mouth fell open in offended astonishment. He brought his hands up almost automatically, placing the ice cream (or the stick, since that was all that was left) safely in his mouth before making the move to push Axel off Twilight Tower's ledge again.
Never accuse a nobody of having a heart; they will prove you wrong.
Fortunately for Axel, he grabbed Roxas's wrists right on time. "Woah, woah, woah! No need to dig me an early grave," he exclaimed quickly, a hint of a devious smile still evident on his lips, "All I'm saying is, compared to how my somebody was when he was your age, you're not that bad! He was terrible! Believe me, you don't want to be like him, anyways."
Roxas snorted, but finally pulled his arms away, urging Axel to let him go. The pyro did so, before adding, "I wouldn't want you to be like me, anyway. The last thing I need is to deal with another pain in the you-know-what. We have enough of those in this Organization as it is," Axel rolled his eyes, and Roxas had to wonder exactly which member he was referring to, "You're so much easier to deal with than I would've been."
The younger one snorted again, glaring at the sunset menacingly. When would that thing just set already? He placed the popsicle stick back in his mouth instinctively, chewing out of nervous habit. He was thinking again.
"…So, all your teachers hated you because you were a trouble maker?" he finally asked, thoughtfully.
"Trouble maker? Kid, they called him the demon child," Axel bragged, grinning madly as he thought of his somebody's past mischief.
"What did you used to do?" Roxas asked, now more curious.
"Oh, all kinds of stuff. Played pranks, talked back, things like that. He didn't really take school seriously; he either found it boring or pointless…I mean, I still don't know when I'm ever going to use a thing like algebra. So, he would try to liven things up a bit…like releasing captive rats into the wilds of the classroom (it really got wild after that), or sticking gum on the biology teacher's chair while he wasn't looking. Once, I remember, he even set a classroom on fire…"
Axel seemed to really get a kick out of that one, but Roxas almost choked on his popsicle stick.
"Are you (Cough!) seriously telling (Cough!) me you were a psycho pyromaniac back then (Cough! Cough!)?" Roxas gagged.
The pyro shrugged. "Well, okay, maybe that one was an accident…" he admitted, a bit sour at his friend's skepticism towards his pyro tendencies, but still resisting the temptation of patting him hard on the back, "But, it still got him in trouble for a week. Man, I still remember the look on his mother's face when she found out…"
"Were you the same way with your mother?" Roxas interrupted, his throat clear now as a new question formed in his mind, "I mean, did you get in trouble with her a lot?"
Axel paused to think, before responding, "…Yeah, pretty much. I mean, he respected her more than he did his teachers. Mainly because, well, you know…her being his mother and all. Carried him in the womb for a full nine months and all that jazz…"
That comment was met with a big, blank eyed stare from Roxas, which made the pyro decide to quickly change the subject.
"Uh, well yeah, he did kind of get under her skin, too. I mean, he loved her and all, but I guess when two people are forced to live under the same roof together, there's going to be complications…," Axel trailed off, trying to word his thoughts carefully.
"Like the Organization?"
"Huh?" Axel asked, caught off guard by the younger one's insinuation.
"Well, isn't it kind of like the Organization?" the Key replied, a bit hesitantly, starting to doubt his own suggestion, "I mean, we all live in this one big castle, but even though we're supposed to be emotionless and on the same team, we still don't really get along. Like the way you and Saix hate each other, and how I think Xigbar is really annoying. And how Larxene promises to impale pretty much everyone she meets. We can't help it, 'cause we're all living under the same roof, right?"
The older one nodded slowly, mulling over the simile. "Yeah, I guess it was kind of like that. Only, my somebody and his mom lived in a tiny house with just the two of them, and no one actually tried to kill each other. Not to mention they actually had the capacity to feel real emotions."
Roxas nodded in absolute agreement.
"I mean, my somebody loved his mother, Rox. He really did," Axel continued, "It's just that he knew how to really get on her nerves. He didn't usually mean to, but sometimes, if he was in a bad mood or something, he'd take it out on the closest person to him…who, sometimes, just happened to be his mother."
Roxas nodded again, still chewing on his popsicle stick in a thoughtful way. He looked at Axel and asked, "What would she do to you when you got in trouble? Did she threaten to turn you into a dusk?"
Axel barked a laugh. His own somebody's mother casting him into a dusk? This was beginning to sound like a bad fanfiction! "No, Roxas! That's only an Organization thing, remember?" he explained, still snickering, "My somebody's mother didn't have the power to do that."
"Oh, yeah, sorry," the teen apologized, his face warming to a bright red, "I guess I kind of forgot."
"Heh, don't worry, kid. It gave me a good laugh," Axel reached out to ruffle the teen's hair, only to be met with a rough shove to his groin. "Hey, chill out!" he coughed.
Roxas scoffed, mumbling something along the lines of "You're the last person who should be telling anyone to chill out!"
Axel ignored him, deciding he didn't want to be shoved off the five-story Tower again. "Well, you want me to answer your question, or not?" he asked, a bit short this time.
Roxas snorted. "Yeah, if she didn't threaten you into a dusk, how else did she threaten you?" he challenged, doubting that there was anything worse than being turned into a dusk.
Axel grinned, happy to be the center of attention again. He mulled it over, before replying, "Well, she was pretty tough, Rox. I mean, she didn't take nothing from anybody, and that included my somebody. And, trust me, my somebody was a real handful. He nearly made her want to pull her own hair out sometimes."
Roxas was getting tired, and not to mention annoyed, of Axel's stalling. "Well, what was one thing that you did that made her really angry?" Roxas urged, with an irritated glare, "Come on! Give me an example."
"Alright, hold on! Let me think…" Axel urged, trying to calm the younger nobody. He leaned forward, chin in his hand, foraging through his inner mind in case he could dig up any cases in his memory.
"Hold on, I'm thinking!" Axel shushed, and Roxas promptly shut up, scared the pyro would change his mind. Or light his hood on fire. Again.
Axel took another minute, staring out into the sunset and contemplating on what memory to tell. Finally, he snapped his fingers. "Oh!"
"What?" Roxas perked up quickly, in surprise, "What happened?"
"I remember this one time, when I was around your age, when he got her really angry," Axel answered, proud that he was able to remember, "He stole something, some stupid thing from a convenient store or something like that, and she just lost it!"
"Wait, why did you steal it if it was stupid, then?" Roxas interrupted, confused.
"Oh, stupid kid stuff," he dismissed, "You know, he was trying to be tough and all in front of his friends, really stick it to 'the man', that stupid high school stuff...of course, stealing a box of oreos would really raise your badass levels through the roof." He had to resist giving himself a face palm, before continuing, "But, of course, because he didn't take precaution, he got caught. May that be a lesson for you, Roxas: don't ever steal unless you're sure you can get away with it."
Roxas nodded, taking another mental note for the future.
"Anyway, when his mom found out, she was furious. And I mean really furious. She was screaming and yelling when he got home, which really was annoying because he was tired enough from talking to the police, and he just wanted to head straight to bed. But, it was just the last straw for his mom…"
"What do you mean it was the last straw?" Roxas interrupted, again.
"Well, because she had enough of him," Axel snorted, as if it were the most obvious thing in the world, "I mean, my somebody was a lot different from you, Rox. He was a real rotten kid. Sure, she was going through problems with work too, but he sure didn't help the situation. Especially that year…he just entered high school, and he was out doing all kinds of stupid pranks. That wasn't the first time he ran in with the law, you know. Not to mention he was failing most of his classes. She just had enough of it, Roxas. He really took a toll on her."
Roxas had to ignore the pyro's initial comment referring to Roxas's 'goodness' again, but he nodded anyway, urging the conversation forward.
"Anyway, she just lost it," Axel continued, "She just started screaming and everything, telling him about all the stress he was putting her through. She even started calling him stuff, you know, hurtful names. Of course, he deserved it. I mean, he was being a brat. But back then…well, what can I say? It hurt him, I admit. I guess because they were all sort of true. So, of course, not to be outdone, he started yelling names back. It wasn't the first time my somebody and his mom yelled at each other."
"What happened?" Roxas asked, eagerly.
Axel grimaced. "Yeah…you know those words you heard on the television set? The ones I told you never to repeat?"
"Yeah…" Roxas answered slowly, wondering where the pyro was getting at.
"Well, my somebody, being a complete idiot, decided to use one of those words against her…"
Roxas gasped in shock, blue eyes wide. "What happened?!" he asked, wondering what punishment could've befallen his best friend's somebody. He still remembered what happened when he had used one of those words against Larxene…
"She slapped him. Hard."
Roxas grimaced sympathetically. That was the same thing Larxene had done. "Did you slap her back?" he asked.
Axel gave the teen a strange look. "No, he didn't slap his mom! She's his mom!" Axel answered, as if it was obvious.
"Oh, you can't slap your mom?" Roxas asked, innocently.
"No!" the pyro urged.
"…Well, then, I'm confused."
"What now?!" Axel threw his arms up in exasperation.
Roxas hesitated, before answering, "Well…If Larxene or somebody else slaps me, I just slap them back. Even if it was you, I'd knock you out," he ignored Axel's snort of disbelief, "So, if it was your mother, why can't you do the same?"
"Well, Rox, your mother is obviously very different from Larxene," Axel rolled his eyes, "First off, Larxene didn't carry you nine months in th-" He paused, quickly changing the subject before Roxas got any bright ideas, "I mean, uh, Larxene didn't take care of you for eighteen years. It's not easy slapping someone that loves you, especially if she's your mother. Plus, if Larxene became a mother, she'll probably eat her young before they saw the light of day…"
Roxas chuckled, deciding to accept the answer. "So, what did you do then?" he asked challengingly.
Axel sighed. "Well, he got mad. That's about it. I mean, there was nothing else to do. Slapping back was out, and he couldn't curse even more unless he wanted to get into deeper trouble, so he just left, angry. He didn't come back home until after midnight."
"Was she there?" Roxas couldn't help but ask.
"Well, he didn't expect her there, since he knew his way around town and everything. But yeah, she was at the door waiting for him all night. But he ignored her, and went straight to his room and slept. She just told him to stay there, then. She was still pretty angry, despite the obvious worry I put her through."
"Wow," the Key replied, a bit surprised, "She must've been really strict."
"Oh, no, Roxas, don't think of her like that," Axel disagreed, "I mean, of course his mom had to be strict sometimes. All mothers have to. Especially my mom. If she didn't, my somebody would've walked all over her. I mean, he was a really rebellious kid, especially when he became a teen. His mom had to show some backbone. And, no offense to my somebody, but he was a really slappable kid. I mean, it was kind of hard not to slap him. I probably would've slapped him if I had known him. He deserved a good slap in the face. I mean, it might of not have been the best method to go by, according to some people, but hey, nobody's perfect. It's not like these type of things come with a reliable book, am I right?"
Roxas nodded. He didn't really know the answer to that question, but Axel was probably right anyway.
"Don't make any mistakes about it, Roxas. My somebody's mother was a good mother."
"What other ways was she a good mother?" the younger one asked, wanting to understand more about something he didn't have.
"Oh, in many ways…" Axel trailed off, trying to think of an example. "Well, she was actually very comforting, when she wasn't disciplining him," the pyro grinned at his friend, "She was always there, Roxas. Even if there was money trouble, or school trouble, she never left him. I guess she was always strong that way."
"She was strong?" Roxas asked, images of a muscle-bound woman popping into his head. What the heck wasAxel's mom on?
"Oh, yeah," Axel answered, unaware of Roxas's faulty thought process, "She was real strong in spirit. Even after my dad left, she took care of me. And she was young then, too. That takes a lot of hard work, not to mention guts, for a young woman to take care of a child with no help."
Roxas would've asked another question, but he was too busy trying to dispatch the previous images from his head.
"Believe it or not, Rox, my mom was actually proud of my somebody too," Axel continued, still taking a stroll down memory lane, "I mean, even if he was a screw-up, she always said he was bright. Which I can't say I disagree with," he grinned, fiendishly.
Roxas just rolled his eyes. "Was that all she was proud of? Your brightness?" he said, arms folded in challenge.
"Well, she always said she liked his wittiness," Axel shrugged, still showing off his trademark grin, "In fact, he won an award for it. The award for the wittiest in class-2nd Grade."
"Wow, even I'm proud for you," Roxas dead-panned.
"She actually was proud of that," Axel shrugged again, taking it in stride, "Why rain on her parade? She did like my sense of humor, though. Which, wasn't a surprise, since I-he-well, we both got it from her."
Roxas feigned terror. "Oh, no! You're not saying she was a psycho too, are you?" he gasped.
Axel gave a smirk. "Hah hah, very funny, kid. No, she wasn't a 'psycho' like me," he crossed his arms in false protest. "She was pretty into the dry humor herself though. And he did find her funny. They could make each other laugh, so it never bothered them that it was only the two of them in the house. They'd just make a sarcastic remark about it and laugh."
"So, you guys didn't care if you were alone?" Roxas asked, curious.
"Oh no, Rox. Like I said, his mom was strong, and she could handle a house all by herself," Axel corrected, "Even with a child like my somebody in her hands."
"So, you guys did get along then," Roxas smiled, glad to know.
"Oh, yeah," Axel agreed, "Like I said, she was always there when he was in trouble-which happened a lot, since he was in a lot of fistfights as a kid. Had to keep his reputation, you know."
"Did you win any of them?" Roxas asked excitedly, this new bit of info distracting his mind from his previous questions.
"Uh, yeah, yeah…some…" Axel trailed off, searching to change the subject yet again, "He fought less when he entered high school, though. It was a little more juvenile then, unless it was for something real important…like a chick or something."
Roxas wondered why anybody would get into a fist fight over a baby chicken, but he always heard from Axel that high school kids could be a bit immature, so he just wrote it off as normal.
"Anyway, yeah, my-his mom did love him. I guess that's what helped her be so patient with him. She was usually very patient with him, you know. She had to be, or she'd be screaming 24/7! But, yeah, even though he drove her crazy, she did love him. Even when he got older and didn't always agree with her, she was always there."
"How does love feel like?" Roxas asked, a new question popping up in his head. He heard about the feeling of love before (how could he not? It always seemed to be a big subject in the shows and movies), but he never really understood it.
Axel paused, for once looking as confused as Roxas was.
"That's…a really hard question to answer, Roxas. Do you mean the type of love somebody has for his mother?"
"Is there different types of love?" Roxas asked, confused.
"Yeah, sorta…," Axel answered timidly, for once in his life, "Well…I guess, if you're referring to how somebody would feel toward their mother……I can't exactly explain. It kind of always has been there, that feeling. I remember that he did feel bad, though, when he hurt her feelings, and that he did want to make her happy. He was protective of her-but, I don't know if that was because she was his mom, or that she always had older men making ogling eyes at her. I can't really find any other way to explain…when you love somebody, you just love them, and you don't want to hurt them. That's what I remember, at least."
"So, you loved your mom, too?" Roxas asked, still curious.
"Yeah, yeah, my somebody did love his mom," Axel said, the conversation becoming more personal than he was used to, "I mean, she was his mom. Of course he loved her. But…he didn't really treat her the way she deserved to be treated all the time. I guess you already know that from the little story I told you before. He kind of did take advantage of her…and most kids do take advantage of their moms, if you think about it. But, still, if I could do it over again, I would like to treat her better, somehow…"
"Maybe when you get your heart back," Roxas suggested, hopefully, "you can see her again, and repay her then."
That was the one goal every nobody had-to get their heart back. But, was that goal even truly achievable?
"Yeah Rox, maybe someday if I get my heart back, I'll do that," Axel grinned, not wanting to break his friend's hope. "But, who knows? Maybe I'll meet her before then," he continued, acting a bit hopeful himself, "Maybe on a mission to some random world, even. That would be kind of nice, I gotta admit. Don't know if she'll recognize me though, since I do look a bit different from my somebody…more wilder…"
"What would you do?" Roxas interrupted, "If you meet her again, I mean?"
Axel paused, mulling this over a bit. "I…don't know. I guess I'll cook her something…" he grinned, looking straight at Roxas. "What about we head home, huh? I'm still beat from today's Wonderland mission…"
Roxas blinked, surprised at the sudden change of pace. "Can't we stay a little longer?" he found himself asking as Axel stood up and brushed himself off, "Wonderland wasn't that bad-"
"Roxas, I came close to choking that Cheshire Cat with my own bare hands. Let's go home."
"Well, next time just set him on fire!" Roxas urged, "That should stop him from talking in riddles!"
"Alright, leave," Roxas stated, turning his back on Axel, never liking being told what to do. "I'm staying here."
"Alright, suit yourself." Axel shrugged. He caste a portal, its swirling darkness taking up it's place in it's own invisible wall, "But, just to let you know, I'm not coming back for you…"
"I know my way home," the teen dead-panned.
"Just letting you know, if you get lost, you could always leave a trail of bread crumbs to find your way back," the pyro smirked, "Goodbye, Roxas."
He waved farewell, and left, the portal disappearing behind him.
Roxas sat there, still chewing on his popsicle stick in thought.
When was Mother's Day, anyway? Was it…this Sunday it said on the commercials, didn't it? What day was it today?
Roxas looked at the Twilight Tower's clock, glad that Axel had taken the time before to explain to him how to tell time.
Four hours left?!!!
Roxas hastily made his own portal and hurried back to the castle, his plans quickly taking form in his mind.
Axel was awakened by a nudge in his ribcage.
"Axel," he heard someone whisper, "Axel, wake up!"
"Nmdfjfsidfef," Axel muttered, barely comprehensible.
He then felt another nudge in his rib, followed by another whisper.
"Axel!" he heard, again, only more tersely this time, "Axel, wake up! This is important!"
Why wouldn't that voice just shut up? He gave his tormenter a rough kick with his foot before going back to sleep.
He then felt a blunt object land on his head with a 'whack!',followed with a yell. "Wake up, Axel!" he heard, this time much louder and followed with a mind-numbing head ache.
Axel finally opened his eyes, only to be met with more darkness. "Turn on the lights," he murmured.
He got his wish, and now his eyes were squinting in the harsh brightness, his head-ache becoming even worse.
When his eyes rearranged themselves to the light, he saw that he was in his room, just like he was when he had fell asleep. Only, this time, Roxas was standing right next to his bed, with a heavy book in his hands.
"You wouldn't wake up, so I had to use this," Roxas explained when he saw Axel glaring at him in sleepy annoyance.
"Yeah, thanks. Didn't figure that out," Axel dead-panned groggily, "What time is it?"
"Twelve o'clock," Roxas answered, casually, "It's Mother's Day."
Axel gave a long, blank, unmoving stare to Roxas, until it started to make the teen feel uncomfortable.
"….It's twelve o'clock?" Axel finally asked, grudgingly.
"Yes," Roxas answered, almost afraid that the pyro would snap, "It's Mother's Day."
"It's Mother's Day?" Axel asked again, still groggy, but his dead stare wouldn't leave Roxas's eyes for a moment.
"Yes," Roxas answered simply, attempting to give the pyro the bold eye contact right back. It wasn't working.
"You woke me up at midnight before a hard day tomorrow on an Atlantica mission, of all places, to tell me that it's Mother's Day."
"I brought presents," Roxas spoke up, timidly.
This made Axel's face change from groggy annoyance to groggy surprise.
"You brought me presents?" he asked, in disbelief.
"For Mother's Day," Roxas explained, pointing to a plate of cookies on the nightstand right next to Axel's bed. Huh, how did he miss that? "Do you want some…I mean, I understand if you don't…"
"You made these yourself," Axel asked, still not getting over his shock that Roxas knew how to cook.
"Well, Zexion taught me," Roxas shrugged, modestly.
"Zexion?" Axel asked, in even more disbelief.
"Well, he owed me from the time we went on an Atlantica mission," the teen explained, "I sang and danced with the mermaids, and he was free to study as much sea life as he pleased. Needless to say, he owed me big."
Axel raised an eyebrow. "Okay, before I go on and ask what on earth is going on, let me ask one other question first. Why twelve o'clock?"
"Well, it's the time when the holiday starts, isn't it?"
"Yeah, so?" Axel retorted, still cranky from the lack of sleep, "Doesn't mean we have to wake up right when the day starts…"
"But we stayed up 'till midnight to wait for New Year's Day, remember?" Roxas reminded, hurriedly.
Axel sighed in annoyance. "That was the requirement of the holiday! You don't do that for every holiday that comes up! You didn't see me wake everyone up and yell 'Kiss me, I'm Irish!' on St. Patrick's Day, did you?!"
Roxas paused, realizing he was wrong. "No…you did that after everybody woke up…"
"Exactly!" Axel exasperated, fully awake by now. He grabbed a cookie and took a big bite out of it. "Next question-What's with the cookies? They're good by the way, but why?"
Roxas paused, not sure how to explain, "Well, it's Mother's Day, and I just wanted to celebrate…"
"But there's no mothers in the Organization XIII…well, unless Larxene is keeping a secret or something…"
"Well, I was kind of thinking of you when I made the cookies," Roxas confessed, scratching the back of his neck in a nervous fashion.
A short pause.
"What?" Axel asked, face in utter shock, mouth full of cookies crumbs.
"Well, it's just that, you're kind of like a mother to me too," Roxas started, his mind going into a frenzy, "'Cause you help me out, too, when I'm in trouble, and you're always there when I need help, but you're not perfect, either, and you trip me out sometimes, but it's okay, 'cause you help me a lot, and you're strong, and…"
Throughout Roxas's whole messed up, frenzied explanation, Axel was massaging his temples, wondering where he had gone wrong. Then it hit him.
"Roxas!" he ordered, trying to catch the teens attention.
Roxas shut himself up, waiting for what his friend had to say.
"Roxas, I know why you're confused," Axel began, a tired look still placed on his face.
"What? Why am I confused?" Roxas asked, looking, for lack of a better word, confused.
Axel had to resist face palming again. "Oh, why couldn't it have been Father's Day?" he mumbled.
"Huh?" Roxas asked, very confused now, "What do you mean?"
"Roxas, I explained to you what a mother was, but I left one really crucial detail out…" Axel began, pausing for dramatic effect, as usual.
"Yes…" Roxas began, waiting.
"A mother is a female person. To be a mother, you have to be a woman."
A pause, and you could just see the realization dawn on Roxas's face as if he'd been told that Santa was kidnapped by Oogie Boogie again and they had to get him back.
"Oooooh!" he groaned, before grabbing the cookies and trying to rush out of the room. That is, until Axel got up from his bed and grabbed his shoulders.
"Hey, hey, Rox," the pyro placated, "Where you going?"
"I gotta get to Larxene before it's too la-"
"Oh, no, you're not doing that!" the pyro interrupted, grabbing the plate of cookies and sitting Roxas hard on the chair next to his bed. "She'll eat you alive if you go wake her up right now!"
"Then, who do I give the cookies to?" Roxas retorted, looking distressed, "I don't know any other girls…"
"We'll share them, alright," Axel grinned, taking another large bite of a cookie, "They're pretty good. The jalapenos are a nice touch…"
"…Well, yeah, I thought you'd like that," Roxas had to agree.
"Besides, despite the fact that I should probably feel creeped out and insulted by all this-and, don't worry, I am-I'm also actually quite touched," the pyro admitted, amiably, "Or, at least as touched as a nobody can get…"
"…Really?" Roxas asked, a bit surprised by the pyro's words of affection.
"Yeah. If I had a heart, I would say I love ya', too, Rox, like a friend," Axel smiled, ruffling Roxas's hair again, only to be met with a hard shove. "Hey, quit that!"
"Quit touching my hair!" The Key retorted.
"Alright, do you want cookies, or not?"
"Yeah, pass me one…oh, and Axel?"
"What's a father?"
Well, I said it was going to be a weird ending, didn't I? But, to be honest, I actually found it pretty funny, hence why I wrote it (I have a very weird sense of humor). Anyway, like I said before, I love reviews, especially with some good constructive criticism (this doesn't include mindless flaming) and hope I managed to make somebody smile this Mother's Day. God bless you, and hope you guys have a Happy Mother's Day!