Warnings: This has a rating of MATURE for a reason. There is man sex. A great deal of this is, in fact, man sex. If you want to read until then, Axel makes a point of telling you when it's about to begin. If you don't like man sex, I respect that. Now respect me; you have been warned very blatantly, and now I'm finished. Leave if you would like.

He walked into his apartment, tossed his keys onto the counter, and made his way into the kitchen. Instantly his eyes were drawn to the retro-style answering machine sitting innocently on the table.

After a moment of deliberation he pressed 'play' and sat to listen.

"Hey. Roxas."

The voice was unfamiliar-- but then, most were these days.

"Good to know you made it home alright. I was a little worried you wouldn't find this, but... Anyways, I just wanted to say I'm sorry; and um... I knew this was coming, but it just... caught me off guard more than I thought it would, so... I'm not gonna be around for a while. I'm not-- I won't let you go, alright? I just want to make sure I can keep things together like this..."

His heart was thumping painfully in his chest. There was a sadness in the voice, a regret he could feel like emptiness in his core.

"I know things are gonna be tough for you, but trust yourself. You've got a good head on your shoulders and an amazing heart. Live your life, kiddo. I'll see you around."

And like that, the message was over. With shaking hands, he opened the machine and pulled out the tape. In neat, black-ink handwriting, it was signed:

Sincerely, The Cassette Tape

"I still can't believe I'm letting you talk me into this."

His companion, grinning like a madman, remarked, "Sure you can!"

Both were tall and thin, of similar ages. One had dangerous spikes of vermilion framing his face to draw attention to his gentle, brilliant green eyes; the other kept his blonde hair in a surprisingly tasteful mullet, sea-green eyes full of unending humor.

They were an oddly matched pair; but they were best friends, and the redhead had just moved into the area, and it was the other's self-appointed duty to show him a good time.

"So where are we going, Demyx?"

Grinning still, the blonde replied jokingly, "Where no man has gone before!"

"Explains why you've been there."

Demyx threw him a look of exaggerated hurt, demanding, "Axel, why are you so mean to me?!"

"You let me get away with it," He replied lightly without missing a beat, adding, "You haven't answered my question yet."

With a small hmph, Demyx retorted, "Pull the stick outta your ass and I might."

Axel rolled his eyes, and finally granted the other a small smirk. "Sorry, guess I'm kinda nervous. It's been a while since I've been forced into social environments."

"Yeah, well, Larxene won't be around this time," Demyx assured him, "So you should be alright."

He tried to ignore memories of an ex-psycho as Axel asked, "So who is gonna be around?"

"I dunno," Demyx replied innocently. "We'll find out when we get there."

After a moment, Axel reached out and smacked him in the back of the head.

"Ouch! What the hell is that?!"

"Where the hell is there?!"

'There' turned out to be a relaxed, mellowed bar, for which Axel was immensely grateful. Demyx had a history, back in their high school days, of magically getting them into clubs filled with music whose bass was the only thing you could hear and strobe lights that made it hard to tell which gender you were talking to.

But this was a grown-up place, for people who worked for a living and came, not to party, but to unwind and find peaceful companionship.

Which made no sense; Axel turned to Demyx and asked, "How did you find a place like this?"

"I work here." Demyx hopped over the bar as he continued, "This here's my baby."

Then, to the other's skeptical look, "What, the great Dancing-Flames-Axel gets to grow up but I can't? How hair-color-ist."

"Not again with the blonde conspiracy theory thing," Axel rolled his eyes before taking a seat. "So the reason we're here is because you have to work?"

He received a 'neither this nor that' shrug from Demyx as he explained, "I wanted to get you out of your apartment before you started working. I don't know what kind of hours you'll keep doing whatever it is you do for a living, and I thought you should know where I'll be and that you can find me here."

Axel smiled, reaching up to scuffle with the blonde locks, as he had for many years. "Thanks, Dem. So how 'bout a beer?"

"Can I see some ID?" Demyx countered mockingly, already knowing Axel was a couple of months older than he and the best beer to pass to him.

Sliding his green eyes shut for a moment, Axel let himself drift for a moment. The air was warm and familial, the voices resting on it at ease with each other and the music.

He grinned, taking a sip of his drink. This is good.

For a while he sat and just existed there. When someone new walked in Demyx would welcome them informally and ask their poison, preparing it with understated ease. He amused a few of the usuals along the counter, others in the background talking amongst themselves. Now and then they'd call for a new song or someone's attention to their needs, but relatively it was quiet.

At some point Axel realized the seat beside him had gained a patron. A young blonde; he almost looked too young to be there. He must've come there often, because Demyx tossed him a bottle without comment. Nodding appreciatively at the calluses on the other's hands, Axel thought no more on the subject.

Or he thought he didn't. But every few minutes Axel found himself wondering what he did to warrant such blemishes on the slim, graceful hands. And it was strange, he said to himself, how soft they looked even with calluses. He shook his head from such ponderings, chiding that it was none of his business.

But he couldn't stop himself from glancing back over, and was shocked to find crystal-clear, deep blue eyes staring back challengingly.


Axel could hear that it wasn't a question at all, but he replied honestly, "Sorry, I was wondering about your hands."

"...My hands?" The younger replied warily.

He nodded, continuing, "I mean, no offense, you just don't look like you do manual labor, but you have calluses on your hands. I was wondering what you did to get them."

"Oh." Thusly consoled and returning to his beer, Axel was answered, "Recreational activities back in the day, I guess."

Laughing Axel returned amiably, "Once again, no offense, kid, but you look like you were conceived in the day."

"...I must be a happy drunk," Mused the other lightly. "Or else not very drunk. I'm not offended. I get told things like that a lot. But I'm legal, barely, and that's all that matters to the barkeep."

"Yeah, well, that's Demyx for ya," Axel agreed with a subdued smile.

With a light, reflective tone, the young blonde murmured, "Is that his name? I've been meaning to ask..."

"Oh really?" Axel leaned just slightly towards him, asking in a just-this side of teasing way, "Why's that? Crushing on him?"

Blue eyes rolled, but at the same time smiled as the other replied, "Nah. Not my type. Call it my phobia, I like knowing as much as I can about places I frequent."

"I see. Then here," Axel extended his arm and announced, "Commit this to memory; name's Axel."

A bittersweet glean entered his eyes, but he returned the gesture with, "Roxas."

"So who is your type?"

He surprised himself more than he surprised Roxas. It'd been a long time since he'd had any romantic relationships, and for the most part he'd always been against the 'hook up' ideals that people in his age group seemed to favor. But there was something in the air, the booze, the cavernous cerulean eyes that assured him this one, this night, just this once.

Roxas gave him a slight smile. "You're drunk."

"I can hold my alcohol well enough," Axel returned. "It's an innocent question."

Even as his eyes wrote bullshit across the other's forehead, Roxas replied, "The type that won't ask me to give them a call sometime."

Though he marveled at the almost bitterly amused way Roxas relayed his preference, Axel found himself observing softly, "Sounds like a lonely way to live."

"You have no idea," Was the tired admission, countered with a slightly brighter, "But what type are you?"

With an unassuming shrug, Axel replied, "I adjust."

Their eyes met for a soft moment. Both saw something foreign and unsettling: in the blue eyes rested a deep fatalistic chill; in the green, the tender warmth of nostalgia.

Roxas looked away first; after taking another, final swallow of his beer, he asked in an oddly low voice, "If I leave, are you coming?"

"That depends," Axel answered, his own voice husky and dark, "Do you want me to?"

He received only a glance before Roxas started away. Of course, Axel went after him.

Once they were outside, the pair paused, until Axel pushed the smaller against the building wall; well, more like he tipped over on top of Roxas (but gracefully).

"And you had me thinking you could hold your alcohol," Roxas chuckled, hands against the broad shoulders.

Breathing softly down Roxas's neck, Axel muttered in retort, "I can hold it just fine. It's the balancing part that's hard."

That said, Axel pressed his lips against Roxas's, gently pulling him further into the street. Just as Axel pushed for a deeper caress, Roxas pulled back, taking a deep breath.

Finally he said firmly, "I'm not gonna play mind games."

"Okay," Replied Axel without hesitation, kissing Roxas lightly and waiting for him to continue as he knew he would.

Sure enough, "I won't beg, I won't call you Master--"

"Alright," The other chuckled, kissing him with a bit more force.

Roxas seemed slightly tense as he added, "And don't even think about hitting--"

"Kid," Axel lifted his chin to gather the younger's attention, "I get it. A good, old-fashion, no surprise, guy-on-guy fuck. Simple enough."

Unable to keep from smiling, Roxas had to collect his thoughts before murmuring against Axel's neck, "Just don't ask anything more of me than tonight, okay?"

"...Tonight it is," Axel returned directly into Roxas's ear, then again sealed their lips tenderly.

When he asked for entrance, Roxas welcomed him with an almost teasing battle of dominance. Axel ground their hips together, chuckling at the soft moan that slip from Roxas's mouth to his.

He pulled away briefly to ask breathily, "Where to?"

"My place, c'mon." Roxas pulled him at a brick walk down the street without another word.

It took them ten minutes to reach the blonde's apartment; they were outside the building a few minutes longer because Axel was still having a hard time balancing his beer. But in time they had made their way up the stairs, down the hall, and through a few doors to arrive in the bedroom.

The blonde found himself shoved against the door he'd just closed, Axel nibbling and suckling along his collarbone; he seemed intent on tasting as much of Roxas as he could without removing any clothing. But his touches were slow, warming, unhurried as though he wanted to make the fullest of the night for the both of them. Roxas's breathing quickened, fingers threading through the crimson spikes in an attempt to stay vertical for the time being.

Axel loved the trembling that raced up and down the other's spine as he moved his hands to pull off the lovingly worn tee-shirt over Roxas's head, instantly moving to run the flat of his tongue from navel to the already assaulted pulsing vein just under Roxas's jaw. He couldn't help but smirk as Roxas arched against him, pulling Axel up by his hair to tangle tongues again. When his amusement was noticed, Roxas retorted with a nip to Axel's lower lip.

Now it was Roxas's turn to assist the other in undressing, his task daunted by a stream of buttons. Growling in tried patience, he started meticulously pushing each through its respective slot with surprisingly nimble fingers. As he slid the collar off of Axel's shoulders, the redhead took the opportunity to bite the tender flesh of Roxas's neck-- hard. Vindictively, Roxas's fingers curled into the taut muscles lining Axel's back, leaving angry red welts in their retreating wake.

Grinning, Axel kissed Roxas playfully to apologize, hands drifting lower and lower until they rested just above the already throbbing mass of muscles in Roxas's jeans. As Axel's fingers pressed and toyed with the fastening, the blonde could only groan and rock his hips against Axel's, hands gripping at anything to keep him steady. Once Axel pulled down the zipper, however, and slid his hand slid into the stressed boxers within, Roxas gave up and started to move the two towards the bed.

He was caught off guard when Axel pulled him into his arms, but none the less wrapped his legs around the thin waist. His arms encircled Axel's neck; in return, the redhead held Roxas against his chest and closed the space between their faces, kissing him hotly as he made his way to the bed. The first step caused a soft gasp of pleasure from the friction, echoed back as the skin-on-skin contact slowly drove Axel insane.

Finally Axel laid Roxas gently on the mattress, resting over him, pressing against him. Axel's hand returned to harass Roxas's cock, not that the younger complained. He was working on pulling the elder's pants off, pushing one knee teasingly against Axel's own arousal. Soon they were both bare, hands running up and down and down, and it would be so easy to just jump over the edge and enjoy the flight down and deal with the end when they got there, but--

Better judgment getting the better of him, Roxas broke their heated kiss, muttering quietly, "Wait, wait, wait."

Once he was sure he had Axel's attention he asked breathlessly, "Condom?"

"...Lube?" Axel countered.

It wasn't for another minute or two that they set to find the listed item; Roxas to his end table drawer, Axel to his pants on the floor.

When he returned to face Roxas, Axel found himself directly in front of his companion's trembling erection. Smacking his lips, he dragged his tongue from the base of the underside all the way to the tip, tracing circles in the sensitive flesh. Above him, Roxas nearly managed to stifle a groan, rolling his hips for encouragement. But Axel only grinned wickedly, lipped tenderly, almost but not quite enveloping the younger's need, holding his body still.

Moments of the torture put Roxas in a hazed state of desire, one hand twisted the sheets at his side, the other trying to direct Axel's ministrations via a handful of hair. Futilely, it seemed, since Axel would cleverly distract him by dragging one hand along the pale, shaking ribs before Roxas could get his way. But finally Axel extended a hand, motioning for the bottle of lotion the blonde had nearly thrown from the bed in his frustrations. Roxas glared at him for a moment before passing it over.

Gently, Axel pressed a well-lubricated finger into the blonde, monitoring his features for pain. The way he released a short breath, head tipping back and torso arching beautifully, assured Axel he was free to continue. As he pushed another appendage in, his lips parted to take in every pulsing inch of Roxas, loving the unrestrained moan it caused. He settled into a rhythm between the thrusts of his fingers and the rise and fall of his head, drinking in the sounds and taste Roxas gave him.

After he was sure that Roxas was satisfactorily prepared, Axel kissed his way up to the other's lips, chuckling at how hungrily Roxas pushed into his mouth.

"Need something to do with your hands?" He asked in light of them working on putting holes in the bedding.

In response, he received a breathy hmph and, "Just give me the damned thing."

Not needing a further push, Axel slip the small packet into the tense hands, which then pushed him back a bit to give Roxas better access. Roxas amused himself by nipping the muscles of Axel's chest as he ground his palm down Axel's length before grasping it in an almost surprisingly firm grip. For a few agonizing moments, he simply changed the pressure exerted by each finger while sliding his fist slowly up and sharply down, taking his revenge from Axel strangled growls of animalistic hunger.

Only then did he extract the condom from its wrappings and slide it gracefully from tip to base; he felt the soft exhale of relief and chuckled. Axel was obviously a very sensitive creature.

"You damned tease," Axel muttered as he pressed Roxas back against the mattress, hovering above him.

With a shrug, Roxas challenged, "Who's teasing? Not like I'm just gonna stop."

Axel conceded with a slight nod before leaning down for another kiss as he prepared to enter the small blonde.

Roxas writhed under him, asking wordlessly for Axel to just move, dammit. So slowly, gently, Axel pushed his cock into the unbearably tight heat; he heard Roxas's teeth click together, he paused to give him time to adjust, kissing the underside of his jaw and drawing his fingers lightly against Roxas's ribs.

Gradually Roxas's breathing evened out, and prompted Axel to murmur, "Alright?"

"Alright," agreed the other, nodding, kissing whatever part of Axel he could reach at the moment.

It was all he needed to hear, and Axel pushed a bit further to find the bundle of muscles that sent a tremor of ecstasy down Roxas's spine, curling him against Axel's welcoming form. Wrapping an arm under him, Axel pulled away to thrust again, loving the feel of Roxas's skin on his own, the blunt nails searching for a hold somewhere on his back, the throaty groans that pushed for him to go faster, harder,all without a true word.

Everything about Roxas seemed so very-very-right and it was driving Axel insane.

He could feel his end creeping, building inside of him, reminding him that Roxas needed just a little more attention. Heeding this unfamiliar instinct, he wrapped a hand around the heavy arousal, bringing new depth to Roxas's throes of pure and unadulterated want. They had found a deep, quick pattern, each thrust, stroke, kiss and moan in perfect harmony.

When Axel finally felt himself tipping over the edge, he could only keep himself from crying out by again biting on the younger's shoulder, not able to feel the return vice-grip in his hair as Roxas joined him in oblivion, bucking their hips together hard enough to leave bruises.

Axel was shakily staring down at Roxas when his senses returned to him; taking several deep breaths, he managed to disentangle himself and lay down next to his bedmate. Roxas seemed to be in no better shape, breathing so shallow and silent Axel had to physically check to be sure. All he had to do was brush his hand along the bruised shoulder for Roxas to draw a large gasp of air, reassuring the elder that he was indeed alive.

"I thought I'd killed you for a second," He muttered with an airy, soft laugh.

Roxas gave him a small smile. "Not this time, Axel." They were silent for some time before Roxas asked, "Staying the night?"

"Are you alright with that?" Axel asked in return.

Tiredly, the blonde rolled over to seal their lips together once more, adding, "You were drinking. It'd be irresponsible to kick you out."

It drew a warm, deep chuckle. "Then thanks for looking out for me."

"No worries," Roxas yawned, resting against the pillow next to Axel's shoulder.

He watched the blue eyes drift closed several times before they remained that way; Axel waited a while longer before letting himself fall asleep beside him. In his head, he had one thought:

And I promised him I wouldn't ask for anything more. Goddamn idiot.

He wasn't sure how long he'd slept when he awoke. All Axel knew was that the bed beside him was empty, and the alarm read just after two in the morning.

Groggily, he pulled himself from the bed, looking around for Roxas. Instead he found a small note on the pillow; he had to maneuver the lamp before he could read it:

Feel free to take a shower; door on the left.

Looking up he knew which was the right door (that is, the left one) because it was open. Not one to be ungrateful, Axel made his way to the bathroom to clear away the strong scent of sex that clung deliciously to his skin. Whilst en route he was amazed at the immaculate organization the room held; everything had a place, and it seemed like every place had a thing. He hadn't noticed how small the apartment was, but then, he amended, it fit for a young bachelor.

The shower was set at, presumably, Roxas's preferred temperature. Axel grinned once he stepped into the searing heat. He was liking the kid's tastes more and more. It all felt very surreal and oh-so familiar, like he'd lived and loved the same person a long time ago. Like riding a motorcycle; the speed and the balance felt so damn right.

Axel distracted himself from these thoughts by inspecting the blonde's toiletries. A clean towel and wash-cloth waited for him. Bar soap, shampoo, conditioner; as he used each in turn, he found the scents comforting. It was strange to stand in someone's shower and appreciate their soap, but there he was. He vaguely remembered the same smells on Roxas when he had first kissed him the night before, and knew he would forever associate the two together.

He showered for a good twenty minutes before pushing the unadjusted knob that stopped the water flow. He took a minute to mostly dry his hair before drying his body meticulously; cold air be damned, he wasn't getting water on the floor. Finally he wrapped the towel around his waist to search for his clothes.

Once redressed in his shirt and boxers, he ventured from the room. Instantly he found Roxas sitting at the small dining room table, eyes fixed to a laptop screen. He was surprised to see glasses perched on the younger's nose but the dark room explained everything.

"You should turn on a lamp, you know."

Roxas smirked, but his gaze was unwavering as he answered, "I should do a lot of things."

"Like sleep?" Axel offered, moving to inspect the screen, "Are these.... archives?"

"Medical journals," Roxas corrected, reaching for a small mug; the scent proved it to be coffee.

The scent? The redhead was appalled at how alert his senses were around Roxas.

Before Roxas could set his emptied cup back on the table, Axel grabbed it, headed towards the kitchen and called softly, "How do you take your coffee?"

"...In a cup with a little milk."

Axel chuckled. Of course in a cup. Though there was probably an interesting story to accompany that particular instruction, so he let it be. Silently, he poured hot coffee into the mug, adding milk a second later before returning it to the waiting blonde, who murmured thanks without looking away from the screen.

Oddly, Axel settled on the floor next to Roxas's chair, asking softly, "So you leave bed at two in the morning to read medical journals?"

A shrugging Roxas replied, "What can I say, I focus better after sex."

"Heh. Then here's some advice, kiddo," Axel chuckled softly, "Find yourself a roommate."

Unable to stop himself, he brushed his fingers along the bare flesh of Roxas's thigh, toying with the hem of the blonde's boxers.

Roxas stiffened a little before looking down and asking, almost teasingly, "Are you trying to seduce me?"

"Well, I did alright last time," Axel agreed with a feral grin, adding, "But ultimately, I do what I do because I feel like it."

The other rolled his eyes and didn't answer.

Axel stared up at him a moment before asking tentatively, "So why do you live by yourself?"

"...I have a hard time committing to relationships," Roxas answered softly, staring at his hands for a moment.

The light, bitter tone was nearly impossible to catch, but Axel heard just enough to feel it and wonder, "Any particular reason?"

"Because to have a successful relationship of any kind," Roxas explained as though he'd done it a thousand times, "You have to work at it. And I don't."

Tilting his head to one side, Axel side-stepped the obvious why that he wanted to asked and instead muttered sheepishly, "I'm bothering you..."

Roxas let out a soft breath and replied, "A little, yes."

"Forgive me."

It was a strange way to apologize, and Roxas had to look down at him to make sure he wasn't being mocked. Finding true remorse in the green eyes, he couldn't help but smile, softly.

He let his hand drift to interlace their fingers, just for a moment.

"I forgive you."

Axel grinned, kissing the palm given him before releasing it; they fell into comfortable silence, save for the occasional typing and clicking from the laptop. Now and again, Axel would take a deep breath and hold it for a moment, for reasons unknown to the blonde. Secretly, Axel hated the idea that, once daylight hit, he would leave and very likely not talk to Roxas again.

That was his type, after all.

Of course, Axel was not so naïve to think that Roxas would change for him.

They parted ways in front of the building around six-thirty; Axel needed to return to his own apartment and attend to things there, and Roxas muttered something about research.

Research on what, Axel didn't ask; though he wanted to, very badly. But it was none of his business.

But he did ask, "Supposing I see you at the bar again sometime?"

"Supposing you did," Roxas agreed, offering nothing more.

Axel scrutinized the tone for a moment before kissing him for perhaps the last time. Then he offered jokingly, "I won't be calling you."

"Good," The blonde approved, with an odd sound of pleasant defeat. "I won't be calling you either."

With that he turned and walked away, head up, shoulders back, looking more like they'd agreed to meet in five minutes. Axel stood for a little longer before following suit, turning the opposite direction to head back to where it all started.

He was surprised to catch Demyx wandering out as he walked past.

"Did you just close?"

Grinning, Demyx replied, "Nah, we close around four. I wanted to wait for you, so I did inventory and gave the place a twice over. And had a lot of coffee."

He stepped up to him and continued conversationally, "So what's this, a hickey? Or did you burn yourself on a straightener?"

"Which one is more believable?" Axel asked, scratching the nape of his neck sheepishly.

"You gonna see him again?"

As he let out a slow breath the redhead replied, "Only if we both end up here at the bar again."

"...But you want to." Demyx posed it so it was meant to be a question, even though he knew the answer.

When Axel didn't answer, he nodded. "Well, he comes in every now and again. I'm sure you'll end up sharing a drink before long."

They spent the chilly walk home in relative silence. Demyx had seen Axel go through a lot of rocky starts, ends, and middles of relationships, and knew what Axel needed most was the quiet.

Children, this is why they're best friends. They both know too much about the other.

The idea for this story has humble beginnings: my best friend's dream. It comes loosely from a tee-shirt that was supposed to be one of those hilariously witty things. It read "Dear WHEEEEEE, blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah blah NASA blah blah blah. Sincerely, The Cassette Tape." We're not sure what it said anymore, but it was just the last line that stuck with me and then this happened, and well... it doesn't make sense now, but it will. Trust me, this isn't all there is.

Anyway, if you liked this, send a review. If you want more, send a review. If you think it's absolute crap, send a review. Give me something to know it's being read!