A/N: Like Too Well, this was also gonna be for Incandescence, but I liked it way too much. x3
At the time I wrote this (which was a while ago, with breaks every so often), I'd read another club based AU, and not long after, read a bunch of FMLs that involved clubs. So the image of Axel and Larxene meeting and hitting it off at a club/bar came to me and I liked it a lot. Having read a lot things about jerks, I figured I needed to write about a guy being genuinely nice to a girl. And who better than our resident badass, Axel? I apologize if this seems unrealistically fast; I wrote it as a feel good story, and, as I've said a lot in Incandescence, they've got great chemistry (when I write them, anyway) and they love stretching out a conversation.
(I'd like to point out, at the text messaging part, that there are a couple of minutes between each text, not boom, boom, instant new text. Just to clarify, since it appears to go fast.)
Larxene had woken up with the feeling that today wouldn't be a very good day.
It was now almost 9:00 PM and it hadn't gotten much better.
She'd come to this club in hopes of lifting her mood. She'd considered letting herself get smashed, but decided against it, so she settled for water. She didn't really feel like dancing (and the only music playing right now was the kind she didn't dance to anyway.) However, it seemed that every drunken pig in the room had other plans; apparently being a woman and sitting alone at the bar was a huge green-light for assholes. There seemed to only be two respectable males in her range; the bartender, Luxord, and the red-haired guy quietly minding his own business sitting a few seats from her. He would glance at her every so often, but he kept to himself.
She was absently stirring the ice in her glass, when another full glass was set down in front of her. She hadn't ordered anything else, and when she looked up at Luxord, he gave a slight shrug with a smile forming on his face.
"From my friend over there." He nodded at the red-haired guy. "He asked me what you were drinking, said you looked like you could use a random act of kindness."
She stared at the spiky-haired man for a bit; aside from a few glances, he continued to stay by himself, still minding his own business. He mostly just stared at the bottle of beer in his hands. He was a welcomed change from all the drunk fools trying to make a move on her. "Um, well," she said to Luxord. "Tell him I said thank you, then."
As Luxord went over to chat with the man, Larxene sat and examined him; he looked nice enough. He didn't appear to be drunk in any way. His hair was a little odd, but really, everyone in this town seemed to have weird hair, herself included. (And a friend of hers. And the DJ over there.) She was continuing to study him, when her view was suddenly blocked.
She turned to face forward with a growl of frustration when she realized it was another intoxicated idiot. By this point she'd learned to drown out most of what they were saying (and the bits and pieces of what she caught this man saying were not things she bothered to acknowledge.) Usually, they'd stagger their drunken selves off to find some other piece of ass. This guy however, didn't seem to want to take the hint and was trying harder; it was becoming more and more difficult for she to keep her cool. (She really didn't want to cause a scene, she just wanted some peace.)
Just when she was considering punching the guy, her red-haired "friend" spoke up.
"You know, I just don't think she's that into you. Sorry buddy, maybe you should look elsewhere."
The man just cursed him out before turning back.
Larxene watched as the redhead looked forward with an expression that clearly said 'Ok, fine, the hard way.' He then threw an arm around the larger drunken man, looking eagerly at the dance floor.
"Hey, look man, there's a girl over there checking you out!"
The man whipped his head around franticly.
"Aw, damn, she left. Man, and she had really huge boobs too, and a nice ass. Tough break dude. Hey, if you leave now, you might catch her." The man preceded to jog out of the club, the redhead following. He casually stared out the door for a good two minutes before turning back around with a nonchalant two finger salute. Luxord was shaking his head smirking, and Larxene had to bite her lip to keep from laughing outright. She thought he was going to sit back down in his seat again, but instead he just grabbed his drink before sitting next to her.
"For the record, I don't really like to use some of the language I just said, but," he winked in a way that was more witty than seductive, "I'd be happy to pull that again if any more jerks harass you."
"I have to say, that was probably the nicest thing a guy's done for me in I don't know how long." She told him.
"Really? I take you don't meet nice guys in general then, since the only guy you haven't glared at all night as been me, Luxy, and my friend Demyx over there." He gestured towards the DJ.
"No, not really," she replied rather bitterly. "The only nice one I've talked to in the past few months seems to be my best friend, who might as well be my brother, so he has to be nice to me."
"Hm. You know, there used to be a time when a guy was polite to a pretty girl like you. The hell happened to those days?"
She flushed a bit at his compliment. "Chivalry is dead I suppose."
"I never got that memo," he said, holding out his hand. "Name's Axel. G-" A stern look from Luxord cut him off. She figured it was a between friends thing and brushed it off, and shook his hand.
"Oh, I like that." He said, leaning back against the bar. "So, Ms Larxene, if you don't mind me asking, what's a nice looking girl like you doing here alone, looking like a little lost kitten in the rain?" He paused and seemed to catch himself. "Uh, and by that I mean your mood, not your appearance, you look really nice, and uh…."
"Calm down, I know what you meant." Luxord gave a snort of laughter behind them and Axel waved him away, glaring. Larxene thought for a moment, remembering that she was talking with some guy she didn't know, as nice as he was. Then, as she looked between him and the water he'd bought for her, she figured she really didn't give a damn. But, at the same time, she really didn't think it was a kitten in the rain kind of thing. "It's no big deal, really, just kind of a bad day…." He continued to stare at her expectantly. "You really wanna talk to me, don't you?"
"Like I said, you're pretty."
"Damn, where the hell have they been hiding guys like you?"
"In the corner of bars, watching out for the sober ladies."
She shook her head a bit before continuing. "OK, well… today's kinda my birthday and shit…."
"Oh, happy birthday then."
"Thanks. And you know, my birthdays haven't ever been awesome, considering I've never really had many friends and I don't really get along with my parents. But, hey, everyone hopes to feel special on their day, and I just… didn't on this one."
"I'm guessing that means no party or presents then huh?"
She snorted slightly, "Pfft, no. My parents live in a different state, so I can't really blame them. All I got from them though was an e-mail from my mom saying 'Happy birthday, do you have a boyfriend yet?' and some shit about how I needed to give her grandkids." She shuddered. "I didn't reply, but I bet if I did, she would have said 'You fail.'"
"What about your brother-friend?"
"He said he didn't have enough money to get me anything, but he just got a job, so he promised to make up for it soon. But, hey, I love him and all, so I don't really mind."
Axel nodded, then awkwardly drummed his fingers on the bar counter. "Wait so, uh, going back to what you said about your mom… just to make sure…. You don't have a boyfriend then?
She gave a light smirk, "No, I don't, I figured that'd be kinda obvious."
Luxord suddenly appeared in her line of vision, giving two thumbs up in the direction of the DJ, who Axel had called Demyx. Larxene looked over her shoulder to see the young man return the gesture, before noticing she'd seen him and began to look through his records. When she turned back to Axel, he was glaring at Luxord and telling him to go back to his work.
"What about you?" Larxene asked him, as Luxord shuffled away from them. "You got a girlfriend?"
"Nope," he replied, with little hesitation. "Haven't for a while."
"Aw, a nice guy like you? I'd think girls would be all over you."
"Oh, honey, they can't get enough of me." he said smoothly and she rolled her eyes. "Nah, I'm kiddin'. I mostly just get looks. I haven't really found a girl that's interested me yet. That's kinda why I'm here."
"To look for women?"
"No, my bone-headed friend over there," he motioned to Demyx, "thought I needed to get out and have fun."
"Is your life not fun?"
He shrugged. "Not really. I've kinda been feeling a bit down, you know? I mean, I've got a job and a nice apartment but they're rather boring. My job's not really what I want and I make just enough to pay bills. I don't really have time for fun, and when I do, I don't feel like having it."
"Is that why you were sitting alone?" she asked softly.
"Yup, kinda just kept thinking about how clubs aren't really my thing and how it wouldn't really make a difference anyway…. But then this pretty blonde lady walked in."
She flushed a little again, and there was a small silence before Axel spoke up.
"Hey, you mind if I ask how old you are, since it's your birthday and all?"
"It's not really polite to ask a girl that." she said, but not really meaning it.
"You don't look like your age would be embarrassing."
"Good answer. 22."
"Ha, did you go get drunk off your ass on your 21st?"
"I'm starting to really like you, Ms. Larxene."
"I'm really surprised you're single."
Luxord suddenly appeared again, cleaning a glass. "Lass, if I may, would you happen to be in college?"
"Yeah, I am, why?"
"Just a little advice; stay there and finish up. It'll help. And you, my friend." he pointed the rag at Axel, who seemed to pout. "You need to get off your ass and get a better job than that restaurant, because you are more than qualified."
"Oh, get off my back, old man." Axel said, crossing his arms. "I told you, I need the experience. Besides, I kinda like that it smells like smoke all the time."
"So you say lad, I'm just looking out for you." He gave a nod to Larxene and walked off to the other side of the bar.
"What was your major then?" She asked curiously. "If you're so more than qualified?"
"Business." He grunted, running a hand down his face. "I couldn't really decide on what I wanted to do, so I went with something that could help get me started in life. And, by that I mean get money. You?"
"Law," she said thoughtfully, "though I don't really know why. I took some Law classes in high school and no other classes really interested me, so I stayed with that. Though, I love being able to tell when someone's trying to screw me over." She added, and he laughed. "But the closest cause I've used my skills for is to convince my customers at work that the plasma lamp they see is mine, not for sale."
"Where do you work?"
"An electronics store."
"How the hell did you get away with bringing a plasma lamp to an electronics store?"
"Cause it calms me down, and I made it clear to my boss that there was a good chance I'd lose my temper and punch something without it."
"And you weren't fired because?"
"Because I'm speedy and they needed my skills."
She had a feeling he was about to make a witty comment about her statement, but the DJ decided to make an announcement at that moment. She made a note that Axel clearly looked annoyed.
"Hey ladies and gents, it's about 15 minutes to 11:00, and for those who don't know, that's when we play our slower music. So, hey, that's when all you nice lookin' couples out there can have a moment to yourselves. And all you nice singles can either take a break or find a partner…. And yes Axel, I'm talking to you! Don't think I don't see you talking with that pretty lady over there! YEAH!"
Axel's grip on his beer tightened to the point that Larxene was worried it would break. "Please excuse me." he muttered, "I need to go kill him."
"Don't hurt him too bad, I think he's kinda funny." she said as he walked off, and Luxord appeared next to her again, laughing his ass off.
"Demyx. I've said this before and I'll say it again. What the hell is wrong with you?"
"Hey look, man," Demyx replied casually has he looked through his records, "I'm just giving you the push. You're in a funk, and you need a girlfriend. And that girl's the only woman you've been interested in in a long time. I mean, shit-"
"Demyx, you know I don't like dancing. And, is this really any of your business?"
The younger male just blinked at him. "… Yes."
"I hate you sometimes."
"All I know is, pal, you've been talking with her for over an hour. You're sober and making constant eye contact. That says a lot when you're in a place like this." He paused to start a new song. "And, I kinda think she digs ya."
"You could at least… you know, make a little effort, and try. Gosh, that's what messed you up in school all the time, you got too tongue-tied and nervous around girls you liked, so you never even went near them! That's why everyone thinks you're gay!"
"I wasn't aware people thought I was…."
"…You need a girl, man! Do you want my mom to keep thinking you've got it for your little friend?"
"Wha…? Oh, ew! Why does she-?"
Demyx ignored that and checked his watch. "So when it's 11:00, which is in about eight minutes, I expect to see you out there, kay? Don't be so nervous all the time. If you like someone, make a move."
"Demyx… Hey, why do you keep playing Poker Face? That's like the fifth time this night."
"Luxord said he'd give me free drinks if I kept playing it." he said blatantly, holding up a bottle of soda. Axel just stared dryly for a moment, so Demyx went on. "So you gonna dance with her or what?"
"I… don't know."
"What did you think was gonna happen if you kept talking with her? Hope you get her number and up and leave?"
Axel stared at him and thought it over. "I didn't really think about that. I guess yes, maybe?"
"See, man, that's boring." he pointed his bottle at him. "Don't you want to ya know, earn it a bit more? Make the first meeting more…" he physically gestured an attempt to find the right word. "I dunno, awesome?"
"… Chivalry's not dead."
"It's not? It's not." he added more confidently at the look his friend gave him.
Axel finally sighed in defeat. "Fine. But only because she's had a bad day, and I've taken it upon myself to make it better. But! If I hear one sappy, love-dovey song, I'll stop right there and come over and punch you."
Axel began to walk away, but suddenly turned around again. "And don't even think about playing Promiscuous!"
"Why do you always ruin my fun? Always!"
Larxene's phone had buzzed not long after Axel left her. She flipped it open to reveal a text message, with the sender reading Marluxia.
'You still at that club? I hope you're not drinking yourself to death like last year.'
She laughed to herself and said back: 'I'm completely sober, believe it or not.' It didn't take long for him to reply.
'What's keeping you then?'
'For me or you?'
'Well, it's about time. Is he cute?'
She flushed a bit at that, 'Ugh, Marly that's girly talk….Yes.'
'Ha, you should start acting more like a girl. Do I get to approve? ;)'
She noticed Axel and Demyx's conversation appeared to be ending, so she replied with, 'We'll see. No worries, I'll call you later. Hint, hint.'
'Happy birthday to YOU :P'
She rolled her eyes as she pocketed her phone, and watched as Axel plopped tiredly back into his bar stool. She smiled at him, "What was that about?"
"He's an asshole."
"Aw, c'mon, what'd he do?"
She continued to stared at him expectantly, and she could see him searching for a subject change. "So, uh, um… You mentioned you had a job, right? Do you have coworkers?"
"I just, ya know, figured they could have said happy birthday to you…. Like we were talking about before."
"Oh, right. Ha, well, I think I mentioned before that I've never really made many friends?" He nodded. "My coworkers don't like me that much."
"Why not? You're likable."
"My temper tends to get the best of me. And, I have kind of… let's just say 'weird tastes'" Why she'd even mentioned that, she had no idea.
"Elaborate." He said without missing a beat and raising an interested eyebrow.
She laughed, "Let's see how the night goes first, shall me?"
She noticed him glare over her shoulder, so she turned and caught the tail end of Luxord ending some kind of pose. She assumed he'd heard her and had given Demyx another thumbs up.
"This is why I don't come here too often." Axel muttered. "My friends are trying to get into my business."
"You don't seem to like them very much. You sure they're your friends?"
"Yeah, they are," he sighed, "they just annoy me. A lot. Luxord's fine, and Demyx is a good guy, but his enthusiasm wears out fast."
She shrugged a bit, "Well they seem nice to me, maybe I should make friends with them in case I want to come back here more often."
"Haha, knock yourself out." He remained silence for a minute, fidgeting a bit.
"Why are you suddenly so nervous?" she asked with a slight laugh in hopes of calming him down.
"Like I said, he's an asshole."
As if on cue, Demyx gave a kind of whistle, and the lighting changed. The people on the floor seemed to pair off, and some individuals moved away. Axel exhaled nervously and got up. He stood for a moment, and she assumed he was studying the music, which sounded a bit sappy. His fists clenched.
"DEMYX!" he barked, glaring death at his friend. Larxene bit back a laugh when the DJ fumbled, and appeared to say "whaaat?" before changing the song to something more tolerable.
"Ok, so um, I'm not used to this." Axel said to her awkwardly.
"Used to…? Oh!" she suddenly felt about as nervous as he was. "Um… I'd like to but I don't really… dance in public."
"Me neither, but, uh, I'd like to… with you." She stared at him, feeling rather touched. "And uh, I dunno if this is something I should be mentioning, but, see, Demyx seems to think I might be gay, and I'm not, so uh… Help me prove it?" He held out his hand.
She laughed and shook her head a bit. "Well, I can't really say no to that, can I?" she said, taking his hand.
He lead her to the dance floor, and they faced each other. He held her uneasily, and though she was nervous, she wanted to help him feel more confident; so she stepped a bit closer and slid her arms securely around his neck. He tensed, though began to relax when he caught her eye; the glance was quick, however, as their apprehension got the better of them and they avoided eye contact. Neither of them knew what they were doing (they couldn't remember the last time they'd slow danced) so they stood there a little awkwardly, before swaying slightly.
Evenually though, by the time that song had ended and another one began, they realized this wasn't so bad, and both had relaxed. Larxene wasn't sure when or how, but she found herself comfortable enough to rest her cheek against his chest. She really was amazed at how easily she'd been able to hold a conversation with him, how at ease she felt with a total stranger. Well, maybe he wasn't such a stranger any more; they had, after all, talked a lot about themselves. Her parents, their friends, jobs, schools, a few hints at their personal lives. He already felt like he could be a really good friend, and it was so easy to talk to him that they might as well have been. He was genuinely nice and polite… and his eyes were gorgeous.
A random guy had turned her day from horrible to great in the span of an hour or two. Was that odd? She wasn't sure. But, she knew she liked it. And judging by the way his body was calm, but his heart was pounding, she let herself assume that he was maybe feeling the same way.
So engrossed by the comfortable haze they found themselves in, they lost count of how many songs had passed. They were brought back to their senses by Demyx announcing that it was about 11:30, and that the regular songs would be returning at midnight. Had it really been half an hour? Larxene decided that was enough, and tugged him back over to their seats. There was a silence between them, but it wasn't that awkward; more like they were both thinking about something, and the other could tell. Her phone vibrated, and upon flipping it open, she found another text from Marluxia.
'Hey, I hope you're heading home soon. I don't want you out this late.
(PS, if you're not, then I hope that means I indeed get to approve.)'
She sighed and looked over at Axel. "I… I should go…." There was a quick flash of disappointment in his eyes. "It's late, and I kinda walked here…."
"That wasn't very smart, huh?" he teased. She smiled at him and fiddled with her phone.
"Is this the part where I give you my number and say, 'see ya around?'" she asked, almost timidly.
"I can have your number?" he asked excitedly, but in a way that wasn't too eager. "Awesome. But, how 'bout I walk you home first? You can decide if I'm worthy of it then."
"Really? You'd do that?"
"Well hey," he replied, standing, "what if you meet up with that guy from earlier, and he's realized there was no other girl?"
"No, that wouldn't be fun. Though, now I'm wondering if you could take him. You're kinda skinny, and, well, he wasn't." she smirked.
"If we meet him, I'd be able to prove it to you." he laughed, leading her outside. "Wait here first, though. I need to talk with Demyx, since he was my ride and all." She nodded, and looked at him a bit curiously. "And… he probably saw us leave, and is most likely thinking I won't come back. I need to go make sure he's not thinking that."
As if on cue, Demyx had popped up behind them, saying, "Hey, you guys are lookin' lively."
"Demyx!" Axel grabbed his friend by the back of his shirt. "Get back to your post!"
"Who's to say you will come back here?" Larxene suddenly spoke, raising an eyebrow.
Axel quickly slapped a hand over Demyx's mouth before he could say anything. "You?"
"You'll be back."
"See, I knew you weren't easy. You've got too much spunk." he winked, then went back inside, forcible dragging Demyx along.
She giggled to herself and bit her lip. She was never one to let her girly side show (indeed, it did exist) but on the inside, her heart of pounding in a way that it hadn't in a long time. She really did have a good feeling about this, and there was a good chance she was going to give in and gossip about this night with Marly later.
It didn't take long for Axel to return, and when he did, he was rolling his eyes. "Although," he said, picking up on where their conversation left off, "some people would disagree."
"Let me guess… Luxord?"
"No, some random dude. Don't worry, I punched him."
Yes. Girly gossiping was a guarantee.
(This is why I shouldn't take breaks in the middle of writing; I totally forgot how I wanted to end this.) I don't know what song they danced too (the first one, anyway) but I did have Chris Brown's Forever on repeat for a good portion of this; then a generally Romantic play list once I finally wrote the dance scene. The closest "slow but not too slow, romantic but not too romantic" song I could think of was Nickelback's Gotta Be Somebody. And you know Paralyzer played at some point x3
Again, sorry if this seems rushed and unrealistic, but hey, Axel's just that awesome; and he thought she was too, and wanted to show her. Not counting the crappy ones I wrote when I was younger, or the muli-oneshoted Incandescence, this might be my longest fic ever. Yay! x3 I love these, really. (Also, I'm not sure if I write Luxord correctly; do British people say "lass?" 0_o Had to put in that Demyx line. Had to.)