Awesome spasm guys! Becca-Yumi at deviantArt drew an art for this fic. (: and it looked amazingly AWESOME! You definitely have to go and see and click full view to see everything. You'll get the amazing picture of Roxas' outfit in this fic! And it's even better than what I have in mind. The outfit is gorgeous. http :// becca-yumi . deviantart. Com / art / The-Sorrowful-Priest-160167750 That's the link. Remove the spaces and you'll be sent to the amazing art!

Enjoy.

Chapter 8

Little Bundle of Joy

Axel looked around the area he was in. He had been running and running and—endlessly running… running away from Sol Divicia, hoping to every entity above and beyond that nobody followed him. Praying that Zexion didn't follow him or even notice him walking out of Sol Divicia, praying that there wouldn't be another attack like what happened to Sol Divina… he kept chanting to himself that everything would—will be alright.

He could have sworn that somebody from Sol Divicia was going after him. Somebody that wanted to take Roxas away from him, somebody that would kill him, behead him.

He held the sleeping baby close, taking in deep, short breaths, panting breathlessly, sucking in as much fresh air as he could.

He followed the river—which God knew lead where. He didn't know where he was. He wasn't familiar with the enemy's territory to begin with. And that was definitely not a good start. He just wanted to find someplace where he could raise Roxas, get the baby away from all that was happening—get the baby away from danger and war and even from the mention of being a priest or sending souls.

He made sure to make as little motion as he could, as little noise as he could so he didn't jolt up the baby. Roxas had finally fallen asleep after hours upon hours of crying and screaming. He didn't know what was wrong. He didn't know. Roxas was just… crying. Maybe it was because he kidnapped him? Because he took him away from his one and only family, Ventus? He didn't know…

He was about ready to give up, to slump down in defeat against some tree trunk and give up. He didn't know what he was doing to begin with. And for a while, he really wanted to just go back to his normal life, to the life that he had gotten used to. The life filled with wealth and luxury and all the power he could use at will, the life of killing innocent lives, doing his King's bidding.

He was really tempted to turn away and leave Roxas in the forest—with the hope that somebody would find the baby—with the hope that the wolves wouldn't kill the baby. He had heard stories about a baby who was raised by the wolves. Maybe the same thing would happen to Roxas? He wouldn't know.

Scolding and slapping himself inwardly, he shook away all the negative thoughts coursing through his head—all the thoughts about abandoning everything he was doing and escape. Run away like a coward. He had come this far and he was determined. He promised Roxas. He would never be one of those irresponsible adults who saw him merely as a tool, who didn't care about him. No, he was different from the rest of them.

He took in a deep breath. The sun was already high above him—high, high above his head, casting shadows down under the soles of his boots. He still held the baby close no matter how tired, no matter how exhausted he was. He never let go. He provided Roxas with all the warmth and shelter he could provide.

He let out a pale smile when he saw the sleeping face of the baby, the baby with several strands of blond hair. Roxas curled up to him, palms curled up into fists, sleeping soundly, having cried himself to sleep.

He kept walking, venturing beyond. Not even once letting the cruel sun be his obstacle. He fought the sun, he fought the weather. He drank from the river and was rejuvenated. Then, he moved on, following the trail of the river, watching the sparkles of the gray blue water.

Finally… finally the river widened into a lake… no, a sea. And far and beyond, he could see the blue horizon, the sea, stretching even further than his eyes could see. And right there, right beside the lake, stood a small village made out of wood, standing peacefully above the water.

His eyes went wide and he immediately made his way to the village. Hopefully, it was a village where no one knew him or Roxas. Where was he? What was this village? He didn't want to come to the wrong place…

Roxas slowly woke up once the redhead started dashing through the green field. The baby looked around with its cerulean eyes, finding the sparkling water and the blue sky.

Then, the baby started crying.

Axel immediately halted. He held Roxas close to his chest, petting the baby's head lovingly, kissing the baby's forehead. "Roxas, we're almost there. Just a little more, alright? So please…"

Roxas kept crying.

Axel growled—always the one to have a short temper. He ignored Roxas' cries and headed straight towards the village. He looked around, still trying to calm Roxas down while doing that, patting the baby's back and rocking him gently. "We're here, Roxas." He whispered.

So peaceful… everywhere he looked, he could see the tranquility of the village made out of milky brown colored woods. He could see the small shacks and the villagers walking around, carrying fish, fruits, and vegetables alike. He could even see some of the villagers sitting near the water with fishing rods in hand, waiting for the fish to come.

Roxas' cries immediately drew attention to him and the redhead.

Everybody stopped and threw their eyes at them.

"Shh, Roxas…" Axel tried harder to calm the baby down. He didn't want to draw attention. He didn't need attention. "Roxas, please. What do you want? Could you tell me?" he felt like an idiot.

"A baby…" people whispered to themselves.

"Aww, there there," a woman with black and brown highlighted hair approached the two of them, cooing softly to Roxas' small ear. She wiggled her fingers playfully at Roxas' cheek.

Axel immediately backed away, growling at the woman, being very protective of Roxas.

The woman giggled. "Hello," she smiled sweetly.

"Who are you?" Axel asked, suspicious.

"My name's Rinoa," she said cheerfully. "She keeps crying. Is everything okay? Do you need some help?"

"Roxas is not a she," Axel commented, as if a child that was upset because his toy was about to be taken away.

"My, protective, aren't you?" She smiled once more. "Alright then, is he sick?"

"Roxas…?" Axel's eyes went wide. Was Roxas really sick? "I… I don't know. I don't think he is."

"Maybe he's hungry or he wants someone to change his diapers. Did you do that?"

"Oh right!" Axel exclaimed as if someone had just lighted up his idea bulb. Why didn't he think of that before?... that Roxas might be hungry? Or that Roxas wanted his diaper changed? All he thought of was that Roxas might be sad because he was taking him away from where he belonged, from Ventus and the others.

Speaking of Ventus… he wondered how Ventus would react when he found out that Roxas was gone. And he didn't leave a note or anything to Ven. How smart he was… he was sure a huge commotion was ensuing in Sol Divicia. And what about the nannies? The women who had taken very good care of Roxas? He had just gotten those poor people into trouble. What had he done? He should have planned everything out carefully beforehand.

"Oh right?" Rinoa giggled some more, snapping Axel out of his thoughts. "What kind of a father are you?"

"Uhm…" Axel had completely forgotten what babies needed. No, he didn't even know to begin with. He had never taken care or even came in contact with babies and he rarely ever saw them… he had possibly just killed them when he saw them without a single care… He felt the pang of guilt burning inside him.

No one had ever taught him about taking care of babies. And even if someone decided to teach him, he doubted that he would even care to begin with. "So… what should I do?"

Rinoa blinked slowly at Axel, shocked. "Well… ever considered feeding him and changing his diaper or maybe cleaning him?"

"I…" he didn't have any milk or anything and he certainly didn't know how to change diapers of even bring clothes for Roxas.

Rinoa sighed then, somehow managing to figure out that Axel didn't have a single clue.

Roxas' cries filled the air—rousing the calm village.

"Come with me. I'll help you out," she said with a smile and headed off without waiting for the redhead to follow him. "Oh, and drop that weapon of yours, please. We don't welcome violence or any kinds of weapons being carried around while you're walking in the village," she spoke gently.

Axel was dumbstruck, standing still there, still rocking Roxas gently.

He snapped out of it and nodded quickly, throwing his chakrams to the side and following Rinoa to the house located underneath the small bridge. Rinoa opened the door and walked inside, followed by the redhead.

It was a small house. The kettle was hung above the fire on an iron stick, supported by two beams. Steam was coming out from the kettle's mouth. Water or some sort of liquid was probably being boiled. He could smell the scent of fresh herbs in the air. He peeked in the room with opened door and saw a small bed at the corner of the room when he walked in.

The baby finally calmed down for a bit.

Such… simplicity.

Such a small house.

"You can put the baby on my bed in the bedroom." Rinoa pointed to the room. "Mr…"

"Axel, just call me Axel, Rinoa." the redhead provided, feeling like he could trust this woman.

"Right," she nodded. "And the baby?"

"Roxas."

Rinoa gave a friendly smile. "Alright then, Axel and Roxas. Make yourselves at home, okay?" she walked off to what seemed like a small dressing room or kitchen of some sort.

Axel did as instructed and carried Roxas to the bedroom. He took off the clothes that was filled with his clothing and Roxas' Moo from his shoulder and set it down to the side. Afterwards, he put Roxas down very gently on the clean, white covered bed.

He sighed. "Roxas, I'm sorry. I don't know anything…" he sighed, sitting down on the bed.

Roxas was about ready to cry again and the redhead noticed it. He panicked, not knowing what to do. Then, he rushed over to where he put his clothes and opened it to find the now dirty cow plush. He hesitated, wondering if he should give Roxas the plush.

But Roxas was already crying again.

He bit his lower lip and sat down beside where the baby was lying and playfully animated the cow. "Hi, Roxas. Don't cry," he said, making the best child voice he could. He felt ridiculous. He knew he was going to fail cheering Roxas up. Even worse, he knew that he would end up causing Roxas to cry even harder.

But then, out of what he was expecting, Roxas stopped crying, blue eyes opened wide. The baby reached out his hands, trying to grab the cow.

Axel found it… odd—oddly amazing… that a small doll could stop a baby's cries when he had tried everything in his power to calm Roxas down. He started animating the cow again. "Yes, Roxas. Don't cry. I love you more if you don't cry. Not that I don't love you when you're crying."

Axel blinked, confused at what he was saying…

He was hopeless.

Roxas started giggling and began reaching out more for Moo.

Axel smiled then, releasing a relieved breath. He hesitated in handing the plush over to the baby… would it be alright? Roxas was just two days old. Would it be alright for him to be already playing with a doll?

"Alright, I'm back." Rinoa giggled when he saw the giggling Roxas. "Well, it looks like you two are having fun." She walked in, carrying a bottle of milk and a sheet of clean cloth.

Axel watched as Rinoa started getting to work and taught him how to change Roxas' diapers and wash the clothes filled with Roxas' pee and poop. She even taught him how to check if Roxas needed his diapers changed or not. He cringes in disgust, holding his nose with his thumb and index finger, unable to stand the smell. Roxas giggled at Axel's funny expression, watching Axel, being changed and cleaned.

The redhead blushed slightly when he saw Roxas' small genitalia for the first time. He wanted to laugh, but at the same time, he felt embarrassed. What was he thinking? That was inappropriate. He blinked for a second before shaking his embarrassment away. He had to get used to this. But then again, it was Roxas. He like—he loved Roxas.

"Are you okay?" Rinoa asked, raising her eyebrows.

Roxas giggled some more, happy now that he was full and cleaned, flailing his arms about.

Axel released a fit of coughs and looked away. "Yeah, I'm fine."

And Axel had to suffer through washing Roxas' diaper clothes because Rinoa forced him to. Of course, he knew that he couldn't always depend on Rinoa to do everything for him. But he still didn't like the fact that he had to sit by the river and wash the dirty clothes filled with the baby's poop. Not that it was that bad. But it was still rather nasty.

Rinoa gave him three more sheets of clean clothes for Roxas diapers and she also taught him a very nifty and fast technique of how to tie the clothes around Roxas' bum and front as a diaper. Axel made sure he got everything memorized, learning like the soldier/general he was.

Rinoa also cooked him some food and showed him hospitality. And when Roxas was asleep, he slowly scooted the baby up and walked around the small village, leaving his things behind at Rinoa's. Apparently, the raven haired girl had to wash some clothes and since Axel didn't have anything to do, she assigned him to catch some fish for dinner. They need at least three fish. She said that she would cook them. Axel wondered for whom the other fish was for, seeing as Rinoa's house was definitely a single small house.

He carried a fishing rod that he took from the village's storage room, and an empty bucket for holding the fish and another bucket filled with nasty, slimy earthworms that Rinoa gave him, and of course, Roxas. Rinoa had told him to leave Roxas in the house, that she would take care of him, but Axel didn't listen. He felt like he had to be by the baby's side 24/7. Just because… he didn't want to give Rinoa so much trouble and he just wanted to be by Roxas' side, still paranoid that Roxas would be taken away.

He proudly pronounced himself Roxas' guardian.

The villagers waved and greeted him, smiling ever so warmly. Axel was confused. He tilted his head to the side, wondering what he had done to gain such respect and hospitality. There must be a reason why the villagers were so friendly… right? The confused redhead returned the smile and friendliness with a firm nod of recognition.

The villagers merely raised their eyebrows at him, not at all offended, walking away to do what they were supposed to do, catch fish for dinner.

Axel tried to find a spot where he could sit down and fish.

The fishing place was already full with the villages eager to catch some fish and Axel didn't see any spot left. He did wonder why they didn't just use some nets to catch the fish—that would make life easier. In fact, he asked Rinoa, but Rinoa said that it was strictly forbidden and he didn't ask any further. Maybe it was because of what heard about the spirit of the River during his travel.

Maybe the villagers didn't want to upset the spirit of the river by being too greedy. Maybe… Axel wouldn't know.

He walked to the small alleyway leading to the other side of the village and arrived at a less crowded pier. He settled down at the empty spot, smiling. The sky was already turning orange ever so slowly.

He tied a cloth around his neck and wrapped Roxas in the clothes so that he didn't need to use his hand to hold Roxas. Then, he cringed, putting his hand into the bucket of earthworms and pulled one out, using it as bait. He casted the fishing rod. All he needed to do was to wait—wait for the fish to come. He used his other hand to hold Roxas protectively again.

After a long hour of wait, not a single fish came. He grew tired. It had been a long day. He kept waiting and waiting.

… and waiting…

And waiting…

Waiting.

No fish.

Zero.

Gilt.

Nada.

He released a dangerous growl, growing very very impatient.

He glared at the lake, as if threatening the fish to come and take a bite. He just wanted to go home and have a nice little nap and successfully get his job done!

"Another one!" the person beside him cheered happily, catching another fish and putting it inside her bucket.

Axel growled some more and stood up, about to leave, feeling that the world was unfair. This time, he woke Roxas up.

The baby was started and he opened his eyes almost instantly. He was about to cry, but Axel immediately sat down and held Roxas close. "Aww, there there, Roxas. It's okay. Sorry I scared you. Go back to sleep ok?" he cooed softly to the baby's ear.

Roxas calmed down, not crying, not going back to sleep. He looked around then, catching in the sight of everything around him with curiosity.

Axel smiled so softly. Merely watching the baby's neutral expression calmed him down. He released a soft breath and closed his eyes, calming himself down, listening to Roxas' soft breaths and the birds calling out in the sky. It was almost dark.

He had no time to lose his temper.

He had to catch some fish for himself and Roxas and of course, also for Rinoa who had been so hospitable to him and the baby. Of course, little did he know that Roxas couldn't eat anything besides milk yet.

Then, he casted out his rod again, waiting patiently for the fish to come while watching Roxas.

The baby reached about, looking into Axel's eyes.

Axel gave Roxas a big grin and Roxas giggled happily at Axel's goofy grin.

Axel chuckled softly then, wondering why the baby would giggle at just his grin. It was… rather amazing.

"Oh!" he yelped when he felt a soft tug from his fishing rod. He blinked and stood up, holding his rod firmly in both hands, making sure that Roxas was safe, wrapped around the cloth. He felt the tug getting stronger and stronger and he quickly and swiftly pulled his fishing rod up and saw the fish coming up with it, hooked by its mouth. He grinned victoriously and grabbed the fish and put it in the empty bucket. "Yay, Roxas! A fish for dinner!" he cheered excitedly. It didn't take him a while to feel silly that he was acting giddy just over a single fish.

Baby Roxas giggled some more, flailing his arms, making little baby noises. Then the baby returned to his normal expression again, lazily looking out to the blue sea and the sky that was turning orange and gray.

Axel smiled. "Alright, Roxas. Let's do this together. Two more and we can finally eat," he grinned, filled with energy now.

It was amazing how a baby's laugh could easily cheer him up.

--

It turned out that the other fish was for a man named Leon who was the village's guard. Rinoa called him Squall but he didn't allow anybody else to call him by that name. The man had a scar on his face which looked rather intimidating. In addition, he was a rather cold person.

Axel had some exchanged with the man, but not a lot, seeing as Leon was so quiet.

Axel was full after the dinner and Roxas was also given milk that night and later that night, Axel changed Roxas' diapers. Axel was given a place to stay over at Leon's where the place was bigger.

When Leon was already sleeping, Axel sneaked out of the house silently, carrying Roxas and his weapons and clothes. He didn't want to remain in one place for long and he knew that he would only bring the village trouble if Zexion found out where he was.

In the middle of the night, he travelled away again, this time walking slowly because no one was pursuing him. Finding another place. The moonlight shone down on his face, making his pale skin tone paler. He smiled softly when he looked down, finding the baby with him, sleeping soundly. Roxas had cried earlier, but Axel had managed to calm him to sleep.

--

Axel did everything he could in order to survive and feed Roxas, even if it meant starving himself. He even sneaked up to a farm and milked a cow for Roxas, which was rather dangerous, since the cow wouldn't stop mooing in protest! He managed to run away before he was caught by the farmer.

There was even one time when Axel was really desperate that he had to give Roxas juice from fruits instead of milk. Baby Roxas, stomach still weak, was unable to withstand it and pooped really badly that day, continuously crying, possibly because of tummy ache. Axel had no choice but to take Roxas to the doctor and ran away soon after because he was unable to pay the doctor.

"Alright, Roxas," Axel smiled, walking over to the baby whom Axel set down on a stack of hays. In his hand was a white cloth which Rinoa gave him. "Time for a diaper change."

Roxas let out a toothless laugh, hands and legs reaching out, as if understanding what Axel said, ready for a diaper change.

Axel took off the cloth that kept Roxas warm and then Roxas' diapers. Afterward, he set the dirty cloth aside to wash tomorrow by the river. He was met by Roxas' small genitalia and he chuckled softly. "Don't worry, Roxas. When you grow older, I'm sure you'll become a strong man—boy with big…" He blinked then. What was he saying?!! He blushed profusely, extremely ashamed. He sounded like a pedophile just now. Suddenly, he feared that Roxas might not be safe with him. He looked away, completely embarrassed. He was Roxas' guardian, for God's sake! How could he have such a way of thought!

"Shame on you, Axel! You old pervy man." Oh yes, he could definitely imagine what the nineteen year old Roxas would say. And of course, the knowing and teasing smile that the boy would always put on his face.

When he looked back at the baby, he raised his eyebrows at Roxas rolling around and attempted to sit up all by himself. Roxas had never done that before. He always needed help in sitting up. The baby always needed someone to support him from behind since he still couldn't sit straight.

The redhead was about ready to run over and help the baby. But to his surprise, Roxas was able to sit up for a whole minute without falling back down. And the one minute prolonged into two and three. And it was then that Axel realized Roxas was able to sit straight. He chuckled and clapped his hand, suddenly feeling very light and joyful inside. "Good baby!!!" he exclaimed, petting Roxas' head lovingly.

--

And at approximately 8-9 months, Axel's belief in miracle was strengthened. He had never believed in miracles before and he didn't think that he would believe in it anytime soon. He was already so used to Roxas' baby talk that he rather understood what Roxas was talking about most of the time. Baby Roxas would crawl up to him at night when he was reading a book and speak to him using baby language and Axel was able to know whether Roxas wanted milk or wanted his diapers changed or that Roxas just wanted something to suck on, like a finger or his neck or that Roxas just wanted attention.

Axel particularly like Roxas sucking his neck.

Roxas was using baby talk again as usual and Axel held him close, still as protective as ever. This time, Axel didn't understand what Roxas was talking about. Axel leaned against the wall of the shack and set his book down, watching the baby intently. He poked Roxas' cheek playfully and Roxas responded by grabbing Axel's index finger and giggled.

Axel chuckled, wriggling his fingers around the baby's little hand.

Then, something surprised him—so much so that he knew he had skipped a heartbeat.

"Mama," Roxas suddenly said.

Axel blinked a couple of times. "W-What?! What was that, Roxas?" he asked, shocked. Did Roxas just said mama? Axel grinned so broadly. "Say that again, Roxas."

But Roxas wouldn't repeat what he just said.

"Awww, Roxas." Axel laughed softly and rubbed his cheek against Roxas' smooth one fondly. He felt an intense emotion swimming inside him. He didn't know why. He just felt so. It was… unexplainable. Even though Roxas called him mama instead of dada, his emotions were stronger than ever. The night was cold, but he felt warm inside. "Okay now, Roxas. It's dada, okay? Remember? Dada!" he exclaimed giddily, mouthing the word slowly, teaching Roxas.

But the baby was looking elsewhere, not at all paying attention.

"C'mon, Roxas. It's Dada!" Axel persuaded eagerly.

But once again, the baby wasn't listening, ignoring the redhead.

Axel laughed softly and gave up.

Guess he was no longer Roxas' guardian, he was his mother now. Axel couldn't help but feel amused.

He kissed the tip of the baby's nose lovingly and he leaned back against the wall, sitting on a stack of hays. He really should buy a bed soon. He could feel his bone beginning to protest against his daily sleeping on rock hard wood. He had gathered all the hays he could find for Roxas and he slept on the wood with his head resting on the biggest piece of rock he could find as a pillow. He sure hoped Roxas wasn't feeling pain or anything due to sleeping on the hays.

Why didn't he just sleep with Roxas on the hays? Simple. He didn't want bad things to happen. What could happen? He surely didn't want baby Roxas to be found unconscious or anything when he woke up the next morning because he had slept on the baby, suffocating the poor little thing. He didn't want to risk anything when Roxas was concerned.

Maybe he should find a place to settle down, somewhere where no one could find them. He had done a good job in avoiding any pursuit for the last nine months. And he would continue doing so in order to have Roxas by his side. Sure, he was selfish. But that was all he wanted. He didn't mind if people hated him for it. He didn't mind if people wanted to murder him for it. He didn't care at all. All he wanted was to be with Roxas. He loved the baby. He loved Roxas. Even though the baby was a lot of trouble since he had to give him his full attention, it was nothing.

He didn't mind losing sleep for Roxas, losing health, or even losing his life. If he was somehow killed along the way, he just wanted Roxas to be safe. That was all he wanted…because Roxas deserved everything good—no, Roxas deserved the best of everything.

Roxas, baby or not, had forever changed his life.

He slowly fell asleep. He tried to stop himself from nodding off, but he couldn't help it. He was so tired. He hugged Roxas close as he slowly crawled over to the hay and laid Roxas on the hay, not at all thinking about the horrible things that would happened if he slept beside the baby because he was terribly exhausted. Roxas was set down on his back beside Axel. Then, the redhead lied down on the hay. Closing his eyes, he wandered off to the land of sleep.

The baby was still awake beside him, playing with his own fingers. Then, he moved his face to the side, watching the redhead's sleeping face. The baby rolled to the side and crawled over close to his over protective father and sat down on his diapers. Then he giggled. "Dada!" he called, placing his little index finger on his lips.

But the one who was called was already asleep.

The baby lied back down on his back and fell asleep all by himself that night.

And the two slumbered peacefully, embracing the morning that was about to come.

"Dada."

--

That night, Axel dreamt of the sunset and the green and orange colored grass field. He was standing there, feeling the wind, watching the nineteen year old blond's back. There was a smile on his face.

"Do you know, Axel. All it takes is simplicity…"

"Things are only complicated because you see it as so."

The golden haired boy's voice rang through the air, back still facing Axel.

It was then that Axel woke up, greeted by the warm sunlight and the happy face of baby Roxas, sitting on his diapers, right in front of him, holding his arms out.

Axel smiled and sat up, pulling the baby into his embrace.

"Good morning, little baby," he whispered softly, as lovingly as a parent would.

--

Again, don't forget to go to the link up there in the note. If you have trouble going to the link, please take the time to go to my page and click at the art. Control F to find "the sorrowful priest" and you'll find it. This is all that I'm asking out of you. (: thanks a lot, Becca. It's amazing. And thanks a lot to all of you too. I was honestly surprised at the amount of reviews I got for the last chapter. And of course, thanks a lot to Jelly. Thanks for the motivation, everyone!

Alright, before this A/N gets too long, I shall end this here.

Until next time.

Love.