Author's Note: Welcome to the final chapter! 8D Yes, this fic is DONE, I have no more incomplete stories posted, and well...I hope you guys liked it, thank you so much for reading, and enjoy the last chapter! 8D
Oh and PS: I had QUITE a few of you guessing that Riku and Sora were going to turn up and be involved here. Well, sorry to disappoint, but they are not involved. Even if Roxas knew where Riku was now - which he doesn't, but that's an even longer explanation - contacting him would be a traceable link that could give Riku and Sora away to Jupiter. So no, Riku didn't help, and I'm sorry to say that their part is quite over. There will be no additional chapters/epilogues/spinoffs dealing with them. Sorry! XD
Ahem...um, but aside from that, enjoy! :D
Cold…dark…noises…a voice. Garbled sound…speech? Nothing familiar. Doesn't even sound like words…it just somehow sounds like a voice. I try to move and…everything feels impossibly heavy. I'm not sure anything happens, but then there's a dull thud, like my arm hit something and stopped. I blink and try to look at it, and there's nothing to see…only blackness.
The garbled noise happens again – tones that sound bland, bored, but still nothing even close to words. Then a shuffling sound that fades away, and the noise is gone. I try to move again, and then fuck, fuck I stop, freeze, hold as still as possible. Every fucking inch of my body feels like it's asleep, and the sharp prickles of "waking up" are starting to tingle all through me. I hate this feeling…
But I'm still cold, and I feel myself shivering, and the tingling gets worse, and all I can do is gasp and blink blindly and try not to move too much as the prickling gets more and more and more intense, until I think I'm going to scream to make it stop…and then it's fading.
Roxas is dead.
Spaceport…view screens…news flash…stun gun.
I hear a deep, soul-deep, agonized moan… Oh. That's me. And I don't care. Please just let me die now, I can't…
"Hold still and breathe deeply. You are experiencing the side effects of cryostasis. Give yourself a few minutes to come out of it, Axel."
I'm hearing things. Someone is torturing me with some new, cruel joke. Maybe this new master – That's right, I was sold…so I should be arriving with whomever bought me – maybe he wants to make sure I'm shattered, maybe he likes his toys completely broken…
"You've been in stasis for almost a month, so your vision might be blurry for a while. You should see light and colors in a few minutes though. Here…" Fumbling. A dull clang, like something dropped. "Cursed…! …Um, here's a blanket. For the cold. It's heated."
Blissfully warm fabric touches my hands. I'm dreaming. I know it, now. I let the blanket fall through my grasp and land on my chest, and I ignore the lingering prickles and the heaviness in my limbs and force myself up into a sitting position. I still can't see, but I reach in the direction of the voice, following the hands that hold the blanket, and I grasp forearms and pull the speaker close.
I'm either dreaming or I'm dead, I'm absolutely sure now, because he's dead, so if he's here, this is the afterlife, or… I try to speak and my voice rasps and does nothing, and I have to cough loudly to clear my throat a little. "R…Roxas?"
Dream or death or whatever, it's still too good to be true.
I think I see a flicker of light – or is that shadow? – and then the voice is close, so close, warm breath against my lips. "You're safe. I'm here. We're free. It's over, Axel."
A kiss. His kiss. Soft, comforting…yet strong and deep. My whole body shudders as I groan, grasping his forearms way too tight but I can't stop, can't let go, won't. I whisper roughly against his lips, because I can't pull back, "Roxas…Roxas…you…I saw the report, you're…dead, you're dead, I can't…"
"Shh…" A firmer kiss silences me, and then he breaks away. I don't let him go far, though. I keep a death grip on his arms. "I'm not dead, Axel…and I'm sorry you saw the report. I hadn't intended that, damn it. It was half the reason for the cryogenic sleep – to spare you the pain and worry. I guess I've caused you to suffer again." There's strained grief in the words.
This can't be happening. I could swear I just heard Roxas telling me he's not dead. And it sounds so like him, his voice, his cadences, his scent… Is this…real? Can I…believe this? "I don't…understand…"
Fumbling hands reach for the blanket and try to pull it around me, but I still have his arms. "Let go a little, Axel. Don't worry, I'll still be here. I just want you to get warmed up. I'll explain." I let go of one arm and feel for the blanket, blindly tugging until it's wrapped around my shoulders. Shadows are flitting before my open eyes now, and the movement lets me feel around a bit. I seem to be sitting in some narrow bed with low walls… Oh right. Cryo-tube. It's not comfortable, but the warm blanket helps, and I still can't see enough to get up.
There a shuffling, a change in the shadows, and then Roxas is closer, his arms are around me, and though my mind is still swimming in a fog of disbelief, I relax into his arms. If I'm dead, this is lovely. He starts talking, and I could listen to him for eternity. I thought I'd never hear his voice again.
"As I said, you've been in cryostasis for almost a month. It was a very long journey, and I wanted to make sure you wouldn't hear the news in the meantime. I also wanted you to cooperate, and I couldn't send a message to tell you where you were going. The entire thing had to be completely silent, or the risk of failure compounded exponentially." He squeezes me tighter. I feel breathless, like I might be believing this…like I might actually be free. With him. Oh gods. "I knew you wouldn't go quietly to a new master. I tried to get you off Amoi before the news would reach the planet. I guess I failed on that one."
"It…doesn't matter now." If this is real…nothing else matters. "Um, wh-where are we?" A month in stasis? I've been out for a month?
"We're on Planet 574285C in the Hinterlands of the Zeta sector."
My brain blanks out for a minute. Woah. I blink rapidly…and I think I see a few blue dots. "We're…where?"
"We're about as far as physically possible from Amoi…and Jupiter. The locals have a name for this place, but I can't even begin to reproduce the sounds. None of the languages here were built for vocal chords like ours. On the last transport I used that had someone I could verbally talk to, the crew called this planet 'Pisswaste Blobdump' – if I recall."
A feel myself choke on a short laugh. "I don't…think they meant that as the name of the planet, Roxas…"
"Ah." He pauses. "Well, regardless of that – here we are. The world is small, low-level technology, and humanoids are only about twenty percent of the population. I believe we are the only humans among them. Our food supplies will have to be imported on the regular transports, because nothing local is safe for us to eat, and apparently when we go outside, we'll have to wear these vest-like things that mark us as citizens – not food." I stare at the shifting shapes and lights, jaw a little slack. Wow. Roxas' voice drops, after a pause. "I'm…sorry it couldn't be better than this. Life is going to be…difficult, here. I wanted to make it more pleasant for you, and maybe someday we can move back into somewhat more civilized space…"
All at once, it hits me. This is real. He's alive, here, and holding me. We're actually free. I guess it's the fact that we're living in a shithole that makes it real to me. If this was a dream, or the afterlife, things would be beautiful and easy. Palaces and delicacies and such shit. Roxas, nude, on a giant, soft bed. Things like that. But here – the cold, the dark, my vision slowly making shapes out of colored lights, the ridiculously backwater planet – This is actually real. He's alive.
I turn in his arms and hold him. And I'm shaking and crushing him against my body at an awkward angle, and I feel hot rivulets run down my cheeks when I blink, but gods I'm happy. "I love you, Roxas. I love you so much."
There's an answering sob in his voice as his arms wrap around me, too. "I love you too, Axel. It's been…so long…"
For a long time, that's all. We won't make a habit of crying like this – but it's relief and just…too much emotion I guess. I let the tears fall, just for a while, and his scent fills me as I bury my face in his shoulder.
When we're finally getting ourselves back under control, I pull back and realize that I can see fuzzy shapes now – dark and dim, but the light is getting though more. I can see something a little bit light-colored where his hair should be, and I reach for it and I was right, it's his hair. So I run my fingers through it. I can't really see his face, yet, but I'll take whatever I can get, a bit at a time.
"So…what happened?" I force my rough voice to ask. "The report said…an explosion, and…"
"Yes." He sighs. "I found out about the tensions on Laocon upon my arrival. There had been attacks before, and I thought I could use the situation to my advantage. I spent every night infiltrating communications, locating encrypted messages and decoding them – until I found the rebel faction's comm frequencies." He snorts a little. "If Laocon had Blondies, they wouldn't have problems with rebels. It wasn't too hard to listen in…at least for me." I nod. That's right…he can do things I don't even know about. Blondies aren't normal, after all. "So I found out about the coming attack, and I put myself into the line of fire, so to speak. I was in the building that day…but I slipped out secretly just before the blast. I left evidence of a Blondie's remains, too – DNA traces. There wouldn't be bodies to find in the wreckage."
"Then…I disappeared. I'd been in contact with some…underworld traders. Hijacked their communications as well – they were quite surprised to hear from me on their own secret frequency. They got me off-world that same day – and then tried to kill me to protect their secrets. I had to, ah…show them what they were dealing with." Somehow…I think that went badly for them. I smile. "Then it was one transport after another to get here. I've been traveling for almost as long as you have. I got here a few days ago and secured this house for us, got things settled with local government…and then you were delivered today."
There's happiness in his voice at the end, and it matches mine. I blink some more, looking around, and I think I can see a little more. Distance is still pretty fuzzy, but I can see the capsule I'm sitting in, and I can tell that the room is small, and it looks foreign and plain and functional. I squint, and really – it's not bad. Not for me, anyway. I lived in worse, in Ceres. Roxas, though…this might represent unimaginable squalor to him. I can't believe he wants to live in this…just to be with me.
Leaning down and feeling my way, I wrap my arms around his waist and lay my head in his lap. I feel so peaceful, suddenly. A feeling of unreality still hovers around me, but it's true – he's here, and I'm here, and Jupiter won't find him, and no one owns me now. No one will fuck me against my will ever again.
My voice is soft as I relax in his lap. "You sure you're okay with this place? It's not going to be what you're used to…"
His voice sounds a little bemused. "I think that's a point in its favor, Axel."
I snort once. "I mean the living conditions. Not having nice food, comforts, people to do things for you. It's going to be hard."
A light touch brushes up my back. "That is hardly a consideration at this point. I knew what I would have to give up, before we even planned that first escape with Riku and Sora. Riku and I both knew it. We decided that other things were more important. And I chose this planet, knowing what life would be like. I won't mind, as long as I'm with you."
At that…I can't say anything. I just sigh, nuzzling a little closer to him, and we don't speak for a while. It's been so long since we had time together to just…be together, silent and happy.
After a long time, I take a deep breath and pull back. Rubbing my eyes, I push myself up. "Well, here I am. Delivered and de-frosted…good as – ungh! Um, good as new." I almost tripped, getting out of the capsule. My legs feel like they aren't sure how to hold me up, but at least my vision is much better. Things further than ten feet or so are blurred, but I can see almost perfectly up close. There's just a little bit of a hazy halo around light sources. My legs and back are stiff and sore, but I can at least stand and start stretching – still holding the blanket around my shoulders, because I'm still a little chilly.
"I hope the house is sufficient for you…I know the planet leaves a lot to be desired, but…"
I snort. "Roxas." Turning, I see him sitting on a chair close to the empty capsule. "If you think I'm going to complain about being able to live free with the man I love, you're crazy." As I speak, I step around the container between us and lift his hands from his lap. "I'm just…" …Huh?
Instead of the soft skin of his hands, I'm holding fabric. Not gloves. Strange, uneven fabric that closes his fingers up so I can't find them. "What's this?" I look closer, squinting to be sure – his hands are each wrapped in a mass of bandages. "Roxas…what happened to your hands?"
He draws them back. "They'll…heal. They are nearly healed already…"
Something catches my attention. The way he speaks without quite looking at me. The way his eyes don't find mine. And now that I can see him for the first time, I finally notice a little detail I hadn't caught before. I lean closer and narrow my eyes, just to be certain – and I was right. On his temples, close to his eyes, there are two fresh-looking scars. Like vertical cuts were made there – intentional.
And he isn't holding himself right. And he isn't looking at me.
Blinking hard to make sure all the haze is clear, I lower myself to my knees in front of him, take his chin in my hand, and turn him toward me. He resists a little, at first, but then he lets me do it – a flicker of sorrow wrinkling his brow.
His eyes are empty.
Blue, blue like I remember – but unfocused. "Roxas…" I breathe in horror, "what happened to you?"
Sighing heavily, he answers, voice quiet and reluctant. "It was in order to keep from leaving a trail. Jupiter records our full DNA code, as well as hand prints and retinal patterns. And…any world with a D-grade technology level or higher takes a record of anyone arriving and departing. I didn't have to worry about DNA – spaceports don't take blood samples, after all – but my fingerprints, my hand print, or a retinal scan at any spaceport would have gone on file. Jupiter could have found it. And if I left a trail…"
"We wouldn't be free." My stomach feels leaden. I think I know what he's going to tell me…
"Yes. It's fine out here…the last three stops before this planet were G-grade technology or below. But getting here was the problem. So…I had to erase the evidence. The ship's medic on the transport that took me off Amoi…well, he acted as the group medic, anyway. He burned my hands for me, and…removed my retinas." Oh gods… "The skin is growing back, and my fingerprints will return. But…I can't re-grow my retinas." He blinks, and tears shimmer in his blinded eyes. "I hope you will not mind…I may be a burden on you for a while, until I learn to deal with this…"
With one sudden movement, I pull him in tight for a crushing hug. "Don't say that, Roxas, don't. I'll take care of you, I don't mind at all…"
"No!" I cut him off before he can start that thought. "Shut up, don't say that. I love you, I'll always love you, don't even start with shit like that…" Damn it, I feel tears in my eyes, again. But… I can't believe he did that…it must have been so painful. He's given up so much…for me. For us. I pull back just far enough to kiss him – fiercely, deeply. A promise that I love him, that a little blindness won't change that. Ever.
When I let him go for a breath of air, there are tears on his cheeks. "Thank you, Axel." Then he smiles sadly at me. "I have only one regret – that I will never be able to see your face again."
"You won't need to see it, Roxas." I brush his hair back, gently – avoiding the scars, which look like they might still be a little tender. "You'll have all the rest of me, forever."
The pain fades from his smile. "That's all I wanted." Then his bandaged hands slide carefully up to find my face – which must be difficult, since I'm sure he can't feel much with them – and when he has his hands placed on my cheeks, he leans forward carefully. I let him do it – carefully, hesitantly find my lips…and kiss me. Just a soft little kiss…then he presses his forehead to mine. "I have my memories, after all. I'll always remember how beautiful you are. Your many wonderful expressions…your smile, most of all. I can almost see it now…"
When he says that, I grin. Can't help it. "So, see it." I kiss him, still grinning, and I can feel his lips spread in a happy smile, too.
"You're right," he laughs breathily as we part, "I can see it. You are so, so beautiful, Axel."
"So are you," I whisper. "Beautiful and perfect…and I love you."
It takes a while for us – before we're done kissing and holding each other and all that. When we do finally stop, he starts to "show" me around the little house, and eventually I get my first look outside, at the planet we now call home. He doesn't know the house well, yet, so I keep a tight hold on his arm and become his eyes…but mostly, I just want to keep touching him. I don't want to let go. I'm a sap, I know, but fuck it – things are finally looking up, so I'm going to damn well suck up every moment of this. And I'm going to go on drinking everything in, for as long as I'm alive, because I'm in love with Roxas – the big Blondie who once owned me, crazy – and all of a sudden I have everything I want. I have him.
And as long as I live, I'll love him…and we'll be fine. We'll be just fine.
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