Before you all flame me for not updating my other stories: OH MY GOD I HAVE A LIFE TOO, YA KNOW!

I've barely had time to even finish the stories I need to give people for finish--it's Christmas Eve, and I'm still not done. The only reason this is done is because I stayed up until one in the morning, and it's for a secret santa--I would hate to disappoint someone like that. Please, I understand the, "Oh, but think of your readers, that's so not fair, you don't update for months, and when you do it sucks" crap, but give me a break. Those of you out there who understand--thanks. Those who don't--BACK THE HELL OFF.

Whoo. Sorry about that! Just needed to get it off my chest before it started. Anyway, this is my submission for the AkuRoku secret santa over at dA. D: It's so long...5 pages in a word document! I didn't mean for it to go so long, I'm sorry! (I don't know quite whom I am apologizing to, but there's bound to be someone out there.)

But what's done is done, and so is this fic. I hope you like it, AkuRoku fans! And also, I hope this will hold all my readers over until I can regularly update chapters again! D:

{P.S., kudos to those who know the FF reference! ^_-}

Merry Christmas!

Disclaimer: Neither Kingdom Hearts nor Final Fantasy belong to me. Unfortunately.


"Dem, I'm running out of time, man," said Axel, dramatically dropping to his knees and throwing his torso over the countertop.

Demyx Shikeru, who had been rocking out with oversized headphones covering his ears, quickly threw them off his ears and said, "What?"

"I said, I'm running out of time," he repeated a little more loudly to be heard over the tinny sound of the latest Heartless Nobody chart-topper that streamed from the headphones.

It was a Tuesday afternoon—the Tuesday just before Christmas, to be exact—and Axel Atsui was despairing over the checkout counter of Green Requiem, Twilight Town's most popular music store-slash-cafe. He should have been working, like his best friend Demyx, but Axel was always one for acting as the situation called for, and this situation called for mind-numbing, all-eclipsing, life-shattering despair.

Demyx's eyes widened slightly. "Running out of time? Like, you're—"

The cheery jingle of bells filled the store as a customer wandered into the store. Demyx flashed her a hurried smile and waited until she took a seat at one of the tables before turning back to Axel.

"You're dying? Axel, why didn't you tell me sooner?" Demyx's voice was a horrified whisper as tears threatened to fill his aqua blue eyes.

Axel lifted his head up to glance at Demyx with confusion spread across his face. "What?"

"You said...you're running out of time," Demyx said, his voice trailing off to a whimper.

"No, no!" Axel let his head thunk against the counter, his red spikes flopping over. "I'm running out of time to find Rox a present, you dumbass, I'm not dying! And turn that off," he said, reaching out blindly to snatch at the cord to Demyx's headphones.

The blond's mouth dropped open in a perfect O. "Ohhhhh," said Demyx, "I thought—running out of—well, that's a relief!" He unplugged his headphones with one hand and patted Axel's head with the other. "I can totally help you with that!" He beamed proudly at his friend.

With a sigh, Axel picked himself up off the floor and vaulted over the counter. "I really don't know what to get him," said Axel as he pinned on his nametag. "I've been dropping hints like mad, and I even asked him outright, but he's not giving me answers."

"Umm...didn't he have his eye on that new keychain from Key of Destiny, that one that looks like this," Demyx said thoughtfully, holding up his index fingers in an X shape.

Axel shook his head. "Oathkeeper Oblivion? Nah, Sora's already got his keychain fetish covered," he said. Between them, the twins had the largest collection of keychains in the town, next to the store itself. Sora and Roxas Mikan were just about half of Key of Destiny's total profit.

Demyx made a face. "Darn," he said with a pout. "How about a new skateboard?"

Axel sat on the counter facing Demyx and shrugged. "Nope. Hayner's getting him a new deck," he said.

"How 'bout a new video game? That new one for—"

"Pence."

"Um. A new journal to wri—"

"His mother."

"Okay...a new lighter?"

"Seifer."

"Jesus Christ, they're not even friends!" Demyx threw his hands up into the air with an exclamation.

Axel tangled his hand in his hair and sighed. "I know, man," he said glumly. "I totally dropped the ball on this one."

The pair sat in silence for a few moments, Axel brooding and Demyx thinking furiously of how to help his friend, until Axel finally said, "Don't worry about it, Dem. I'm sure I'll think of something."

Demyx held a worried expression. "You sure?"

Axel smirked. "Hey, this is me we're talking about. Axel Atsui, total badass and clutch extraordinaire, commit it to memory. I'll pull through, and it'll be damn awesome, you'll see," he said confidently with a grin.

Demyx rolled his eyes.

~~//~~

Later that evening, while he was walking home—more precisely, to Roxas' home—Axel let his mind wander back to his predicament. As much as he loved him, Roxas was one of the hardest people Axel ever had to shop for. Even though he knew the little blond would appreciate anything he received, Axel wanted to give him something that would really make him light up.

He shoved his hands in the pockets of his ripped, dark wash jeans and took a deep breath of the crisp air. What to do, what to buy...He was only half aware as he passed the people and storefronts along the sidewalk, glancing into each one with growing disinterest.

A plant store? No way.

A music store? The last time Roxas had played his electric guitar, the neighbors had called the cops, insisting that he had been torturing puppies.

A store for women's lingerie? Axel paused for a moment, considering the possibilities. Then reality kicked in, and he turned away, grinning. Not in a million years...but it'd be nice.

He was about to walk right past the next shop when something caught his eye. He was almost drawn magnetically to the window, squatting down and pressing his face against the glass. He cocked his head to the right, and through the foggy glass, Axel could see the little creature mimic his movement. It jumped up and pressed its tiny paws against the glass, bringing its inquisitive face closer to Axel's. Axel nearly cooed in delight. This was it! This was the inspiration he'd been looking for! It was a Christmas miracle!

Quickly standing up and rushing inside the pet store, Axel hastily and excitedly explained how he wanted that kitten, yes, the dark brown tabby with the green eyes and no, he didn't care if that kitten was know for having a but of an attitude and being a rebel, because he was positive that it was perfect for who he wanted to give it to. Once he'd finished convincing the store owner of his decision, Axel dug out his debit card and bought the little kitty, as well as a cage, a bag of food, and a few toys to go along with it.

He grinned to himself. This was going to be the most perfect Christmas ever.

~~//~~

"So, where have you been?" Roxas posed the question to Axel as the redhead arrived at his house an hour later than he had planned.

Axel shrugged, trying very hard to conceal his excitement. "I lost track of time talking to Dem," he replied easily. "Then I had to stop home to drop some stuff off." He stepped back off the doorstep as Roxas closed his front door.

"Oh," said Roxas. He shoved his hands into his pockets against the cold. "Let's go, then."

They walked together in relative silence to the clock tower, occasionally jostling each other with their shoulders in playful banter. It had been their hangout spot ever since they'd know each other, a quiet place away from the fray of real life. As they grew closer, Axel ran up to the small ice cream shop just outside the clock plaza and ordered two seasalt ice cream popsicles for them.

"One for you," he said, presenting one to Roxas, "and one for me."

Roxas' face lit up in joy. "Yum," he said with a grin, shoving the pop in his mouth.

Axel laughed, and then grabbed Roxas' hand as they made their way to the top of the tower. It was a little tricky these days, with some of the stairs icing over. But they'd been doing this most of their lives, and made it to the top without incident.

They sat side by side at the top of the tower, looking down at the town, enjoying each others' company and the ice cream. "So," Roxas said, breaking the silence, "you ever solve your little dilemma?"

"Actually," Axel said, fully intent on gloating, but then he thought better of it.

"Actually, I haven't. I'm really at a loss, Rox. You gotta tell me at least one thing you want for Christmas," pleaded Axel.

"You," said Roxas coyly, raising an eyebrow at the redhead.

Axel shook his head. "That's not fai—hmmm."

Roxas leaned over and planted a kiss on his lips, effectively shutting down what ever protests Axel might have come up with. "Don't worry about it," Roxas said as he drew back. "I already told you I don't care what you get me for Christmas, as long as I have you."

Axel stared into his boyfriend's sky blue eyes for a moment longer, before turning to look out from the tower. "That's really cheesy and lame, Rox. Just hope you know," he said.

Roxas laughed. "Like you've never been that cheesy? Remember Valentine's Day? 'You know, Rox,'" he said, putting on a comically fake voice, "'I don't know what I'd do without you in my life. Every day with you is like a day in heaven. You're my life, my heart, my ever—'"

"Okay, I get it," Axel said crossly, pouting indignantly.

"Aw, is wittle Axel all upset?" Roxas took Axel's jaw in his gloved hands and squished his face together. "Poor wittle Axel."

Axel retaliated by diving forward and kissing Roxas fiercely, surprising the little blond. Roxas wrapped his arms around Axel's neck to maintain his balance and kissed him back for all he was worth. Roxas never really minded when Axel jumped him. It was warmer this way, sharing body heat and all that.

When Axel finally pulled away from his lips to bite at his neck, Roxas looked down to see a shock of blue in Axel's vibrantly red hair. "Oops," he said sheepishly.

Axel pulled back to see the apologetic expression on Roxas' face and immediately stuck his empty hand to the back of his head. "Damn," he sighed when his fingers came back covered in seasalt ice cream, "we really need to stop doing this up here."

"Or at least wait until we've finished our ice cream," agreed Roxas, hastily shoving his pop back into his mouth. They sat and watched the stars twinkling into the darkening sky until Roxas said, "You know, you never told me what you wanted for Christmas, Ax."

Axel's eyes danced mischievously. "I dunno, Rox," he said slowly, "I think two can play at that game."

Roxas gaped at his boyfriend. "Ax-ellllll," he groaned.

"Oh, come on, it's not like you haven't finished all of your Christmas shopping already," said Axel, raising an eyebrow.

"But—but still," stuttered Roxas, knowing that what Axel had said was exactly true.

"Aw, Rox," said Axel, throwing an arm around his shoulders, "you know all I want for Christmas is you."

"Really," said Roxas in disbelief.

Axel thought about it. "Actually, two things. You, and your hot ass," he said with a smirk.

Roxas rolled his eyes and sighed.

~~//~~

Three days later—Christmas evening

"I never thought I'd say this, but I think I'm all Christmas-ed out," muttered Axel as they trudged through the freshly fallen snow. It was just after ten on Christmas night, and most of the guests had gone home from the Christmas party Roxas' and Axel's parents hosted every year. The pair were venturing back to Axel's house—party central—after taking a much needed break hours earlier.

"I hope you're not so Christmas-ed out that you don't want to exchange gifts," commented Roxas. Exchanging gifts with Axel was something he looked forward to every year.

"Of course not! I would never be that out of it," exclaimed Axel. "Trust me, you're gonna love this one."

"I'm sure I will, Axel," muttered Roxas as they reached the front door. "You never cease to amaze me."

They hastened into the jolly warmth of the Atsui household, stomping the snow from their feet and hanging their coats near the door. "Wait here," said Axel. "I have to go get your gift from my room."

Roxas nodded and took a seat in front of the lit fireplace, away from dining room where his parents and Axel's were drinking and sharing stories. He wondered what Axel could be up to, what he could have possibly gotten him for Christmas, since he never specified anything. That was what he loved most about Axel, how absolutely random yet completely on target he could be.

He didn't have to wait long before Axel came back down the stairs, struggling with a massive box. Roxas moved to help him, but Axel shooed him away. "Don't worry," he grunted, "I got it."

He set the box down a little ways from the fire and sat beside it. "Okay," he said once he was settled, "you give me yours first."

Roxas pouted, disappointed that he'd have to wait, but reached behind himself and presented Axel with his gift.

The redhead made short work of the festive wrapping paper on the small white box. Glancing up to meet Roxas' hopeful eyes one more time, he opened the box and gasped.

"Rox..." he said softly, carefully lifting out a pair of leather gloves—the very same, fire-resistant, ultra chic, rather expensive pair of leather gloves he had been looking at all year.

"I hope you don't mind," Roxas said, "but I had them personalized."

Axel turned the gloves over to find an "XIII" near the bottom of the palm on one glove, and a "VIII" on the bottom of the other. Their lucky numbers.

"Rox," he repeated.

"I know, I know, it's probably not what you were expecting, but you really wanted them, and plus, it's our senior year. We're both going off to college next year, and who knows if we'll ever talk again, and I don't want you to ever forget me—selfish, I know, but I just wanted to do something for you that you'll appreciate, and—"

Axel leaned over and hastily kissed Roxas to shut him up. "Rox," he said, "it's perfect. And I'll never forget you. I love you, right?"

Roxas blushed and ducked his head. "Yeah. Love you, too," he said shyly.

"Besides," added Axel, "guess who I'm going to think of when I decide to blow up the chem lab at college?"

Roxas laughed, partly out of humour, and partly out of nervousness that Axel was actually planning to do such a thing. "Now it's my turn," he said, reaching out for the box beside Axel.

"Ah, ah, ah," Axel said, swatting his hand away. "Close your eyes."

Roxas pouted. "Aw, Axe, come on," he pleaded.

Axel shook his head. "You have to," he insisted, "otherwise it won't work."

The little blond heaved an exasperated sigh and closed his eyes, but not without a muttered, "This better be good, then."

Oh, trust me, thought Axel, it is. Once he was certain Roxas had closed his eyes and wasn't peeking, he carefully lifted the lid off the box. He took out the cat ear headband and jammed it on his head, arranging his spikes around it so it sat comfortably. Then Axel took out the kitten himself, who had been peacefully napping, curled into the corner of the box. He positioned the kitten in his lap so that his furry little face was peeking out of the crook of his arm, and said, "Okay, you can look now."

Roxas opened his eyes. "Wha—what?"

Axel lifted up the kitty. "Merry Christmas!" he shouted. The kitten meowed in agreement.

Roxas was speechless. "Ax...Axel, that's a cat," he breathed. He couldn't believe it--he'd always wanted a kitten, but he'd never told anyone, except Axel, when they were kids. It was almost surreal. "Axel..."

"I know," said Axel, "and he's yours. His name's RedXIII." Axel grinned. He had thought about naming it after himself, but figured that Roxas had more than he could handle with one Axel.

Roxas gave a little laugh and tore his eyes away from the kitten to glance at Axel. "RedXIII, huh?"

"Yeah," said Axel, "Big Red, for short." It was the codename Roxas had given him when they were children pretending to be spies. Axel had affectionately called Roxas "Goldilocks," much to the blond's resentment.

"Always the narcissist," laughed Roxas, reaching out to pet RedXIII. "Can I?"

Axel held the kitten out to him. "Of course," he said, "he's yours."

RedXIII curled into Roxas' arms and cheekily batted a paw at his face, peering at him with electric green eyes. "He's so cute," Roxas cooed. "Who's the cute little kitty? You are!" RedXIII was very pleased with the attention.

Axel pointedly cleared his throat. "What about this kitty?" He raised a suggestive eyebrow and purred like—well, like RedXIII.

Both Roxas and RedXIII turned towards the sound of his voice. "Oh, you idiot," Roxas mumbled, crawling over to him. Carefully arranging RedXIII so he wouldn't get squished, Roxas flung his free arm around Axel's neck and covered his lips in a loving caress. He felt Axel's lanky arms wind around his waist, holding him in place as they deepened the kiss. After noticing that he was no longer the center of attention, RedXIII jumped from Roxas' arm with a disgruntled snarl.

Roxas and Axel pulled apart just in time to see the haughty kitten give them an unamused glare, before he trotted off to explore the house.

"He might leave you if he doesn't get enough attention," said Axel, placing his lips on Roxas' cheek, "but I'll always be here for you. Merry Christmas, Roxas."

Roxas turned and snuggled into Axel's warmth, burying his nose in Axel's neck to inhale deeply the much loved scent of fire and soap, a scent he'd come to love more than any other. "I love you, Axel," he breathed, pressing a light kiss to his boyfriend's skin. There was nothing more he could ask for in that moment of being with the one person he loved most.

Axel leaned back against the sofa, allowing Roxas a more comfortable position against his body. "Love ya, too, Roxie," said Axel, tilting Roxas' lips towards his for another heartfelt kiss. "Nothin' more I could ask for, baby."

As his little blond drifted off to sleep, Axel couldn't help but wonder if there really was a Santa Clause, because he'd certainly gotten his Christmas wish.