It was a silly thing to notice, he supposed. So silly. But then again, Axel did a lot of silly (or downright stupid) things, so he supposed it wasn't too far out of the ordinary.
It only started off with a piece of string and a single white bead, one of those every day plastic round ones you could get from any kids crafts aisle. He had the vague notion of being surprised it wasn't red -- or black, but the string was black, so that settled that -- but he just shrugged and put it down to Axel being Axel.

A week later, another bead showed up on that bracelet that never seemed to leave his wrist. And he frowned, confused. Why just now add another bead? They weren't hard to get a hold of, and it wasn't like it took forever to slip off a piece of string and put another bead on it. But this new bead was black, and in the end he shrugged, and went back to ignoring the redhead.

It was two weeks later now, that he noticed another bead had been added. He wasn't sure exactly when -- the bracelet had become so a part of that annoying idiot that he tended not to even notice it was there -- but it caught his eye and he couldn't help but see that this new bead was red, with the white in the middle of the set.
But it was just another bead, just another silly thing Axel did, and so he ignored it and went on with his life.

It was only two days later that he saw a fourth bead show up, and for some reason the sight of a fourth bead irritated him. He wasn't sure why, but he liked the idea of that red, then white, then black bead on the black string. Adding this annoyingly yellow one (it reminded him of somewhat watery Sunny D) seemed to almost throw it off, hanging next to the black. Somehow, it worked. But it still annoyed him. Maybe just because it was Axel. But regardless he informed him that he thought the yellow threw it off, and he should leave it at the red, white, and black.

The next day, a blue bead showed up, right beside the yellow. Scowling now he demanded that Axel take off the stupid yellow and blue beads, and held out his hand demandingly. Axel obediently took off the string bracelet and fix it, and was smiling when he got it back. Roxas kept those beads. He didn't mean to, but he stashed them in the side-pocket of his backpack to toss later (they weren't allowed to get up while the sub was talking) and just forgot about them.

And the very next day not only were the blue and yellow back, in their original positions, but this time a green one had been added. This time he simply held out his hand for the beads, and Axel obligingly handed them over. These, too, were stashed in the side pocket and forgot about.

And true to this new pattern, Axel showed up the next day wearing new beads -- blue, yellow, green, and another blue one. This went on for another week or two before he snapped. He didn't know what it was about those beads and that piece of string they hung on (which now reached to a second bracelet), but something about them bugged him to no end. Maybe it was just because he'd gotten used to Axel obeying his every whim without a thought that the idea of rebellion made him squirm.

But he snapped, and it happened at lunch when he saw those damn beads were back.

It started off normally enough, with a barely-controlled voice demanding what the hell the beads were all about. Axel merely shrugged, smiling secretively, and he didn't like that. So he asked one more time, voice getting lower, colder.

Same response.
Once again, a one-shoulder shrug, that same smile.
So he asked. Once, just once more, he'd ask politely (read: quietly).
Same. Damn. Response.
By this point he didn't think you could really blame him for what he did next, though Axel (and several of said idiot's friends) will swear he hadn't done anything to earn it.

He started yelling (more like screeching, if you were to ask Hayner, which of course he will never do), waving his arms and working himself into a fine fit when Axel finally grabbed him by the shoulders, slammed him up against a wall to shut him up and then took shutting him up a step further: He kissed him.

He froze, one fist still mid-act in beating Axel's shoulder, the other raised slightly as if it wasn't sure what it wanted to do more, bruise Axel's head or just wave around for emphasis.

Axel pulled away shortly, and then said (unnecessarily loudly, if you asked him, which of course no one did) "If you'd just waited another damn day, I would've told you!" He blinked, still frozen. Axel continued. "See, every bead on here is a time you've initiated contact -- verbally, physically, something. White was the start of it, so it gets a special bead all it's own color."

White. For new life? How original.

"The black was an insult, but you kept talking after that. Red because I flirted with you and you didn't hit me over the head."

Red for romance. Of course.

Here Axel smiled, brushing a finger over the yellow bead gently. "Yellow..." His voice softened. "You smiled at me for the first time. It was... beautiful."

He wasn't blushing. No, he wasn't, no matter how very light pink Olette insists his cheeks were.

"Blue -- your eyes. You were angry, and yelling at me, but I remember that your eyes were shining and all I could do was stare at them."

No, he wasn't blushing!

"The green one -- Well, you'd touched the bracelet, and all the beads. You'd touched all of them, and then let me have it back and put it back on. And I don't know if you've ever noticed, but you rub your neck when you're reading, and if you've done it enough that day it transfers onto your hand -- the hand that touched the bracelet -- and transferred it onto them."

... Slightly stalker-ish, so why was he still blushing? Wait, no, he isn't blushing. Is he? Oh god he hopes not, but from the heat on his face he'd say he is.

Axel is waiting there, still waiting, smiling. But he can see he's not as confident as he looks.

Finally he pushes him away, picks up his backpack, and leaves. He leaves Axel, and everyone else, standing there. And though he never looked back, Sora told him Axel just kept staring at the place where he'd been, that smile gone and this look of being completely lost and maybe a bit confused taking it's place. It made him feel guilty, but he didn't know what else to do. He dumps all that on him at once and then -- what, did he expect him to magically declare his love in front of everyone and they ride off into the sunset? Thank you, no.

He didn't come to school the next day. Apparently Axel did, though Sora says he thinks he left after lunch when he saw Roxas wasn't there.

He didn't go the next day, either. And the day after that is Saturday, so he didn't see him until Monday. Axel was there, and he seemed shocked to see him. He didn't really look at him though, just walked to his seat, swung his bag onto the floor, and sat down. And if he happened to realize he was resting his hand on his neck when he was reading later in the day, he didn't most definitely didn't stop to think about how much the redhead had to like him, if he was still wearing that stupid bracelet and remembered all those pointless things. No, he never did, and if you were to ask he'd deny it. And he most certainly did not feel upset at seeing no new beads.

Their last period is junior-and-seniors mixed, seniors having the privilege of getting out five minutes early. So eventually there's only him, Axel, and Riku left but he looks back at Riku and jerks his head toward the doorway; Riku seemed to get it for he nodded, packed up, and left. The teacher had already left; by now it was pretty much assumed the three juniors would simply be leaving with the seniors. Can't really teach a class of three people, so why keep them behind?

He sits back and watches Axel slowly packing up. His movements are slow, a little clumsy, but who cares? He didn't feel a twinge of guilt at the sight, no, he didn't and never will.

He finally stands, and reaches into his pocket.

Axel pauses in reach for his bag, blinking at the red bead now resting on his desk. He stares at it, then at him, confused.

He cleared his throat once, looking at a place above Axel's eyes, and finally mutters "You got your first kiss with me, right? Isn't that worth a bead?"

Axel's eyes slowly widen, before he looks down at the bead. Picking it up with fingers that trembled faintly he slowly undid his bracelet, carefully stringing the bead and then tying the knot again. But he doesn't put the bracelet back on, only looks up at him, and he feels his traitorous face heating up again. Damn it.

He finally scowls and says, "Well I'm not going to put it on if that's what you're waiting for." And when Axel looks down to slowly slip on the bracelet, he leans down, and presses a clumsy kiss to his cheek.

By the time Axel could move again and look up he was gone.

And when tomorrow came he acted tentative, unsure if he had dreamed that last moment yesterday or if he was actually consenting to... well, something or other, that could be worked out later.

And he isn't the touchy-feely kind of guy, but he thinks maybe it's okay if he lets his hand brush, then settle for a moment, on Axel's before actually getting the stapler he'd been reaching for in the first place.

And no, he doesn't really like people touching him, but he thinks maybe this, too, is okay -- his thigh is touching Axel's as they ride the bus. And although he has to leave first, and although he hesitates, he finally gives Axel's hand a squeeze before hurrying off and heading home, feeling silly and stupid and embarrassed for no real reason.

By autumn they've been together for awhile, and more beads have been added to Axel's bracelets (two on one wrist, one on the other, and two more acting as key-chains for his backpack's zipper). But there's still just that one white one, and he knows he smiles sometimes when he's just looking at it. But Axel knows better than to mention it, and it makes him smile even more.

But now it's October and he just doesn't know what to do for Axel's birthday. He's not really planning to do anything but hang with him, just the two of them at Axel's house with some movies or video games or something. He still doesn't give gifts, and he's not much one for receiving them, either. So he doesn't think of it.
But one day, a couple days before Axel's birthday, he's searching his bag for his favorite pen (he swears it's the only one he can write a decent essay with) and his fingers touches something cold, plastic. He frowns, and brings the small objects out. He stares at them, and then smiles.

He shows up at Axel's unannounced, like he usually does, and just goes on in. Axel knows he was planning to come over anyways, so why bother knocking and waiting outside in the cold?

He takes off his jacket and hangs it up on a little hook he had installed a couple of months ago (he can't stand just draping it over the back of something, like Axel tends to do), and wanders into the kitchen, where Axel is happily gorging himself on cake. He slides into one of the tall chairs and watches, not even having to ask for a slice before Axel is up and getting him one. He eats with his left hand holding the spoon (yes, he eats cake with a spoon) and rests his right one on top of the table, for Axel to hold if he so wishes.

When he doesn't hear Axel continue to eat, he looks up, swallowing his mouthful of cake, and follows green eyes to their gaze on his right wrist.

He smiles slowly. Three bracelets rest there, on that wrist Axel can't seem to stop looking at.

Axel finally looks at him, and he knows the question he isn't hearing. So he keeps smiling, and he points to a red on, and begins. "Red, because that was the first time you kissed me...."

And he thinks at the end that maybe the smile he got from Axel, and the very long hug, might be worth a new bead or two.


A/N: So.... hello. Sorry it's been so long, but I hope this is fluff enough for you. :3 We made bead jewelry today in Economics, for a project which was surprisingly fun and very entertaining when one group knocked over their entire bowl of beads. XD So I currently have on my left wrist a black string bracelet, with 8 beads on it: 2 yellow, two blue, two red, and two green. Surprisingly cute, lol.

You can expect more stories to pop up, by the way. I'm (finally) taking Creative Writing, just as I've been trying to do for awhile, and I'm lovin' it (no, no McDonald's kthnxbai). It's wonderful. :D

IN RESPONSE TO A REVIEW: Yes, I've played both KH1 as well as KH2 (though have only defeated KH2, started playing recently KH1). I realize both Roxas and Axel are extremely out of character, but the characters always end up wanting to be written differently for whatever I'm writing -- they're never really the same. This is the first time I've written Axel and Roxas this way, and although it does strike an "off" chord on me occasionally as well I nevertheless like the way it turned out. Sometimes you simply have to look past it and see the story, if it's so incredibly important to you. But remember, characterization is ALWAYS going to be different.

And, I never write on things I don't know anything about it. I only write fanfiction about shows I've seen/books I've read/games I've played/etc.