Every Akuroku author gets to write one super cliché with extra cheese Next-Life Best-Friends AU Akuroku, right? Well, this is mine. This is quite possibly my favorite thing that I've written in the last year, and I've written quite a bit over the past twelve months. There are weird line breaks everywhere and I keep trying to fix them and it's not working. Sorry =/

Things I own: purple hair dye, a pile of empty Monster cans, Chuck Taylor high tops, "Wow I Can Get Sexual Too" for a ringtone.

Things I don't own: Axel. Roxas. Demyx. Zexion. Sora. Riku. Kairi. Naminé. Leon. Vexen. Xion (it's okay, I don't want her anyway). I especially don't own Axel, who is my dream guy in this particular story. If he belonged to me he and I would be getting inappropriate at a Say Anything concert. Since he, and everyone else, belong to Square Enix, I'm only allowed to take them out to play.

"Alive With the Glory of Love" and "Wow I Can Get Sexual Too" both belong to Say Anything. Both are great songs, although let me tell you, "Wow I Can Get Sexual Too" makes for one awkward ringtone.

Roxas liked girls. He liked the way they smelled, the way they smiled at him, the way their hair fell in their eyes like it was his god-given right to brush it gently back behind their ears. Roxas liked girls. Sora liked to tell Roxas that the only thing he liked more than girls was emopunkrock lead singers of the skinny jeaned, studded belt, tatted and pierced variety. Roxas denied this adamantly, pouting at his wall, not the blown up image of Jared Leto.

This was absolutely not why Roxas hit the floor with a dull thud, inches from the couch he'd been sitting on seconds before, when Axel casually mentioned that he and Demyx were starting a band. He was just surprised, that's all.


And Axel just shrugged, shifting his gaze from Roxas' prior spot on the couch to Roxas' current location on the floor. He scratched at the hair on the back of his neck, currently a violent sort of purple that matched his tattoos, eyeing his best friend sprawled on the floor.

"Do you even play an instrument?" Roxas spluttered. The image of Axel, leather pants, tight black t-shirt, heavy black kohl circling his eyes, fingers curled around a guitar, sprung unbidden into his mind. Roxas made a funny noise in the back of his throat.

"No, man," Axel gave him a funny look, fingers still threaded at the base of his skull, "Dem's playing guitar, and he's got some sexgod emo kid banging the drums. I'm…ah…singing."


The image of Axel disappeared as quickly as it had come, banished by the thought of Axel as the prettyboy front man, crooning into a microphone with sex eyes. Did Axel even know how to sing? They'd been best friends for almost three years now…had he ever even heard the guy singing along to the radio?

"Listen, are you going to give me a hard time about it, or are you going to come to our first gig? It's next Saturday, some party at Leon's house. Bring whatever chick you're trying to fuck right now, they totally dig the whole 'I'm with the band' thing."

Axel looked…an expression that Roxas had a hard time identifying. Sheepish? Resigned? Constipated? He didn't know.

"Whatever, jerkoff. Of course I'll be there. But if you suck – man, I'll never let you live it down. I swear."

Axel just shrugged, laughed, chucked a pillow at his head, and challenged him to a round of Melee.

Leon's parties were always a little on the wild side, but this was ridiculous. Word had gotten out that there would be a band there, and half the damn school showed up, crowding Leon's living room. Roxas pushed his way halfway through the mess, a half-full solo cup clutched in one hand, the other wrapped around the pale fingers of the hottest girl in his Brit Lit class. He tugged her through the crowded room until they absolutely couldn't get any closer to the stage, slinging an arm around her shoulder, pulling her close. Roxas smirked as he took a sip of his drink. This was going to be epic


He had been seconds away from spitting his entire mouthful of beer all over Xion's skimpy black dress. Had he turned, then swallowed, instead of swallowing before turning, Roxas would have seen the stage sooner, would have caught sight of the band members climbing around the drum set and the amps, would have seen the flash of neon color, this week the color of flames at the center of a fire, that was his best friend.

His vision of Guitar-Axel was nothing, nothing in comparison to the prettyboy front man currently adjusting the height of the microphone stand. The all-black ensemble was predictable enough, but the skintight quality of the super skinny jeans and the Say Anything shirt was entirely unimaginable, no matter how many times Roxas had seen him. But the accessories, the thick black kohl and the matching leather cords wrapped around his wrists, the red studded belt and – Axel licked his lips, and Roxas saw a flash of silver on his tongue that he swore wasn't there yesterday.

He couldn't help it. He groaned.

The sound was drowned by the roar of cheers and catcalls as Axel glanced coyly up at the crowd from his mic stand, his lips brushing softly against the tightly meshed silver. Roxas absolutely did not imagine the feel of those lips brushing against something else; he was panting from the heat, not the sight. He took another gulp of beer, nearly draining his cup in a single shot. He felt he was going to need a lot of these.

"You want another beer?" He shouted in Xion's ear. Her short hair tickled his nose as she shook her head, gesturing her almost full cup. He shrugged and lifted his arm from around her, pushing his way back through the crowd towards the dimly lit kitchen.

Axel was still speaking, but Roxas was not listening, fighting instead to keep his eyes firmly glued on the kitchen door. Most of the party was crammed into Leon's small living room, eagerly listening to some introduction about "Melodious Nocturne" and Axel's grainy voice.

The crowd roared with approval as Demyx played the opening chords to what Axel knew was Roxas' all time favorite song. Roxas pushed towards the keg with a keening sort of desperation, racing against something he didn't quite understand.

And then Axel began to sing. His voice was never smooth when he spoke; he best resembled a Pop Princess leaving a Backstreet Boys-meets-the-Jonas-Brothers concert, rough with the strain of hours of high pitched screaming. But singing…it was as though Axel used an entirely different set of vocal chords. Images of quality scotch on the rocks, creamy melted chocolate, milk and honey and caramel, melting and smooth and burning gently down his throat as Axel's silky voice washed over him. Kings of Leon and The Spill Canvas and Damien Rice and a dash of John Mayer and Roxas was going to drink until he forgot that his best friend sounded like a sex god with a microphone against his lips. Roxas grabbed the handle of Banker's Club and chugged straight from the bottle.

Xion had left half an hour ago with some creepy guy Leon was friends with but Roxas couldn't give a flying fuck. He hadn't seen her since he'd left at the beginning of the band's set anyway. The kitchen had been home to those too deeply entrenched in their alcoholic tendencies to be bothered with the live show in the next room, and Roxas had spent a solid portion of the hour long concert drinking his way steadily through no less than eight games of beruit.

There was a final burst of applause as Axel ended the last song with a gasp but Roxas focused on the ball in his hands, definitely not on the chanting now coming from the room he could still see out of the corner of his eye. Leon had produced a second keg out of nowhere and Axel was ending their set with a very public display of his keg stand skills, the audience cheering louder with every extra second Axel balanced on the keg's metal rim. His cheeks caved hollowly in as he sucked the tap dry, and Roxas missed his first shot, a redemption shot for the game, in five games. Axel dismounted after an astounding 104 seconds.

"Rox, seriously, you didn't even watch?"

Roxas was staring down at a pair of scuffed red Chucks, god he was such a sucker for Chucks, that were practically toe to toe with his own denim blue pair. He glanced up from under his fringe, eyes squinting in an attempt to pinpoint which of the blurry figures in front of him was the real Axel.

"Course I watched, Axel. I was right here the whole time. Since when do you have your tongue pierced?"

Axel stuck the object in question entirely too close to Roxas' nose, the silver barbell glinting even in the dim kitchen light hanging above them.

"Since three weeks ago, dumbass, what rock have you been living under? I even asked you to come with me."

Under normal circumstances, Roxas would have been embarrassed that he hadn't noticed, ashamed that he paid so little attention to his best friend, but these were not normal circumstances, and all Roxas cared about now was trying not to imagine how the combination of hot muscle and cold steel would feel against his neck. He'd never hooked up with a boy with a tongue ring before. Girl. He'd never hooked up with a girl with a tongue ring before.

"Looks hot."


Axel was looking at him with a foreign expression gleaming in his eye, but it didn't even resemble the disgust Roxas was expecting. It looked like…interest.

"Oh yeah, Roxy?"


"Ho no no no, you said it looks hot."

"Can't we just change the subject?" Roxas pulled his face far enough away from Axel's that he could bring his nearly-full cup to his lips, barely even tasting the three shots mixed in with the Coke.

Axel grabbed the drink and downed it in one long chug, throwing the empty cup on the ground next to them. He leaned forward, closing the distance between the pair of them, and Roxas suddenly, alarmingly, realized that nobody else was in the kitchen, and Axel had effectively trapped him against the wall with a hand on either side of his blond hair.

"I like this subject, Roxas. What else do you think is hot?"

Roxas closed his eyes and dropped his head back against the wall, numb to the dull throb upon impact. He wasn't going to remember this in the morning…he just hoped to god that Axel's minute and 44 second long keg stand was enough to ensure that Axel wouldn't either.

"Chuck Taylors," he watched as the pair in question shifted, the toes of one pair sandwiched gently between his own two feet. Roxas could feel the heat from Axel's thigh through both their jeans.

"Leather," his eyes flashed to the wrist by his right ear, the ends of the leather cord dangling close to Roxas' shoulder. As he watched the fingers pressed to the wall slid right, tangling in his hair.

"Studded belts." Body moving of his own accord, he reached his hand forward, hooking his fingers into the belt loops holding said belt. The hand in his hair slid down his jaw and held his head still but Roxas was already tugging Axel's hips forward, flush against his own, ready for the crash of their lips together.

He was wrong. There was no possible way to be ready for this, for the feel of Axel pressed against him from lips to chest to hip to thigh, one hand fisted in his blond hair, studded barbell a shock of cold in an otherwise burning kiss. Axel tasted like cigarettes and beer and Axel, a combination that should never have made Roxas' legs shake and hand slide from Axel's belt over his hips under his shirt and up his ribs.

Somehow Axel broke away from him and somehow Axel caught Roxas hand in his own and somehow they fought their way out of the party and back to Roxas' apartment despite several stops along the way for progressively steamier make out sessions and somehow Axel forced Roxas' key into the lock and dragged him inside and somehow they got their shirts off and their shoes off and somehow they found Roxas' bed and then Roxas stopped caring entirely about how they did anything.

Roxas had been hungover before, but all past experiences paled in comparison to this one. His head throbbed in time with his pulse, the sunlight hurt his eyes through his eyelids, and his entire body shook with the shiver of an addict in withdrawal. He whimpered as he pulled the sheets over his head, trying to move as little as possible. They smelled like cigarettes and beer, and the latter was enough to send Roxas hurtling out of bed and diving for the bathroom door, praying that Sora wasn't in there.

He emerged twenty minutes later, pale and shaking even harder, swearing to every deity he'd ever heard of that he'd never drink again if he could survive this hangover. He scooped up a black shirt off the floor, his from last night, Sora was never so messy as to leave his clothing in the hallway, and pulled it over his head, shuffling miserably into the kitchen. All he wanted was coffee. Coffee, and maybe some greasy scrambled eggs and toast and maybe even some extra fatty bacon from the diner on the corner…

"Good morning sunshineee"

Roxas moaned in response and threw himself into the empty chair next to Riku, Sora's boyfriend, burying his head in his arms. His shirt smelled like cigarettes too; he hated parties. He was never going to another party again.

The thunk of ceramic hitting wood roused him enough to peek one eye out from under his fringe and glance at the table in front of him. Sora, bless his heart, had set a steaming mug of black coffee barely inches from his right hand. He thanked the moon, the stars, and the Powers That Be in the Res Life office that had paired him with Sora as a roommate freshmen year; he couldn't have asked for better.

"You're a saint and I love you and you're going to get the best Christmas present ever, promise."

Sora laughed at him, blue eyes gleaming as Roxas curled the entire upper half of his body around his glorious cup of steaming gold blend. His entire body ached; even his lips felt swollen and sore. Roxas hissed as the coffee seared one particularly sore spot; apparently he had bitten his lip at some point or another. He couldn't remember much past leaving Xion in the crowd of onlookers for a refill. Riku chuckled from somewhere on Roxas' left, muffling the sound under his fist. Roxas glared at him from one bleary eye.

"Did you even go last night?"

"I played three games of pong with you, dumbass. You were on fire. Alcohol poisoning does wonders for your aim."

"And after pong?" He turned his gaze to his roommate, tone slightly pleading. "Tell me I didn't do anything embarrassing, life altering, or exceedingly stupid."

Roxas didn't like the look on Sora's face; the shit-eating grin looked oddly out of place in lieu of the brunet's normal friendly smile. Sora had never given Roxas a reason to call him a liar before, but for the first time ever he was inclined to not believe whatever was about to come out of his roommate's mouth.

"Don't be silly, Rox, would I have let you do anything stupid?"

Sora had a point here. Roxas had past experience with Sora, surprisingly strong for his rather small stature, manhandling him out of a party or club because he'd had one too many drinks and was seconds away from doing something most likely dangerous and destructive with someone most likely Axel. His roommate had his back.

"Thanks, man."

"No problem. We have a paper due tomorrow, so Riku and I are gonna go hit the library. You should call Axel if you're so concerned about last night's finer details, you two spent most of the night together after his set."

Sora pushed himself off the counter and headed back towards his bedroom. Riku rose to his feet a second later, careful not to jostle the table Roxas was leaning heavily against. He glanced down at the miserable blond, amusement clearly etched on his pointed features.

"Sweet shirt, by the way. Is it new? I've never seen you wear it before."

Roxas glanced down, pulling at the front of what he thought was his favorite 30 Seconds to Mars shirt. A rampaging dinosaur stared back up at him, the childishly scrawled words "SAY ANYTHING" floating about his cartoonish head. Roxas did not remember buying a Say Anything shirt, but he'd ordered a ton of new band merch a few weeks ago, apparently he'd just forgotten about this one. It did look familiar.

"Guess so."

Roxas had no idea why he suddenly heard Sora's loud, slightly hysterical guffaw of laughter echoing back out of his room.

greasy diner eggs/recap of adventures? I can't remember a damn thing, can you?

you lightweight. 30 minutes blondie, meet you there.

Axel's mouth was hot against his jaw and Axel's hand were hot against his ribs and Axel's tongue was fire but Roxas didn't mind the
burn burn burn as the redhead trailed a fiery path of open-mouthed kisses down the side of his neck and bit down hard.

Roxas sat bolt upright, chest heaving as he stared unseeingly at Jared Leto. It took him a few deep, rather ineffective breaths to realize that his alarm was going off and he was, in fact, due in class in approximately fifteen minutes. For the second day in a row his morning started with him hurtling for the bathroom door, praying Sora had already left.

He allowed himself one single minute, just sixty seconds, to consider the state he woke up in. Roxas always had weird dreams when he was hungover, but this one had surpassed all previous weirdness. Axel biting his neck? What was he, a vampire-obsessed teenage girl? He rubbed his neck absently, brushing his teeth as he waited for the shower to warm up.

The movement caught his eye in the mirror, something small and dark and out of place right near his hand. He tilted his chin and exposed his collarbone, leaning closer to the mirror. Sure enough, nestled in the crook between his shoulder and his neck, was a small, dark bruise. If Roxas didn't know better, he would have called it a hickey.

"Dude, do you ever wake up on time?"

Roxas, hair dripping, laces untied, panting from the five block run from his apartment to campus, collapsed into the seat next to Axel without dignifying him with a response. The red hair was entirely too blinding to look at anyway

"Don't tell me you're still hungover? Seriously Rox, how much did you have to drink?"

"Fucked if I know. Sora says I played eight games of pong though. He also says I was carrying around a handle of Banker's like it was my own personal Corona."

"Silly Roxas, such a lightweight."

"I am not."

The reflected light from the overhead projector glinted off Axel's tongue, catching Roxas' eye in an entirely un-erotic way.

"You get any more hardware you're going to be able to open your own Home Depot."

Axel raised a (pierced) eyebrow and Roxas shrugged, wagging his tongue at the other boy. The eyebrow rose higher.

"You liked it just fine on Saturday."

Axel's voice was low, muttered, and sent chills up Roxas' arms and down his spine. Something nagged at the back of his mind, but he was not nearly awake enough to try and decipher what it was, or what Axel meant by that comment in the first place.

"You had that on Saturday? When the hell did you get it?"

Axel's face was going to get stuck like that if he didn't relax that arched eyebrow soon, but at least now Roxas was sure it was arched in amusement, not some indefinable emotion Roxas didn't understand. Axel was openly smirking at him, and the overwhelming urge to wipe that smirk right off his face would have floored Roxas had he not already been sitting. He would not acknowledge the first method of removing said smirk that had come to mind.

"You really are that much of a lightweight, aren't you? Geez Roxas, no more booze for you. We already had this conversation, kid."

"I thought you didn't remember anything either."

For the first time since he sat down Axel turned, not just his face but the entire upper half of his body, to face Roxas full on, and Roxas was surprised to see that even though his face was totally casual, something resembling anger glinted in the poison green eyes.

"You are the only person here with the luxury of not remembering Saturday night, Roxas."

He turned forward again with a finality that ended the conversation quite firmly. Axel was suddenly the diligent student, actively taking notes and even raising his hand once or twice. Roxas, on the other hand, never even touched his pen to the paper. He spent the rest of the class period staring openly at the shock of red hair on his right, wondering why the hell his stomach felt weighted down with guilt.

Roxas didn't facebook stalk. He didn't. He just liked to look at pictures from parties, especially the ones he didn't remember. Try to piece together the nights, you know? Besides, he'd been dying to figure out who Xion left with, and why she was giving him the cold shoulder in Brit Lit these days. He sifted through Kairi's photo album, grateful that Sora's best friend was such a camera whore.

There she was, Xion, wrapped so tightly around a guy that she hadn't even noticed that her dress had ridden up high enough to show off a spectacular view of her assets. Roxas clicked next, hoping the next picture would show a face, and sure enough there was Xion sucking face with someone who could only be Vexen, one of Leon's creepy ChemE friends. No wonder he'd been getting cold shouldered, he'd be pissed if he hooked up with Vexen too.

Not that he'd ever hook up with a guy, because he liked girls. Roxas felt as though he needed to remind himself of this fact entirely too often lately, particularly when it came to his subconscious, which had been peppering him with raunchy, racy sex dreams about Axel for the last week. He was not attracted to his best friend, no matter how many days in a row he woke up chest heaving and harder than stone.

The thought died somewhere in his synapses between the collar of his shirt and the waist of his pants, lost forever in translation as he stared at the picture now glowing on his screen. Kairi, for all her camwhoring, was an excellent photographer, and this was an excellent picture. She must have been right up against the stage, maybe even crouching down in front of it, because Axel towered over her, his already tall figure overwhelmingly large in the frame.

The skin tight black denim jeans hung low on the redhead's narrow hips, cuffs curling over his favorite pair of battered red Chucks, waist held aloft by the studded red leather belt that had cost Roxas an entire two-week paycheck to buy as a birthday present, torso wrapped in a rib-hugging black t-shirt, the roaring rampaging dinosaur cut in half by the mic stand Axel was holding against him. His head was thrown back and his eyes were closed and his lips pressed wet and hot against the microphone and fuck if it wasn't the hottest thing Roxas had ever seen.


Roxas tore his eyes away from Axel's pixilated face and glanced back down at his chest. The black t-shirt fit the redhead snuggly, but even though the older boy was so skinny, he was so much taller than Roxas that his small t-shirts hung slightly baggy on Roxas' petite frame. Roxas' eyes flew around his room, looking for the shirt he'd cast aside over a week ago, complaining that the cologne of cigarettes and beer was too much for his hungover brain.

He knew that shirt had looked familiar, and he knew he hadn't bought yet another Say Anything shirt, but he had absolutely no idea how Axel's shirt had wound up on the floor in his apartment less than twelve hours after Axel had last worn it. Axel hadn't even been here since the night of the show; it was midterms and they'd spent most of the week oscillating between the campus library and their favorite diner, noses buried in various books as they raced desperately to cram enough information into their minds.

Roxas found the shirt sticking out from under his bed and yanked it out, shaking it off once, twice, before stretching it out at arm's-length in front of him. It still reeked of the party scene, but there was also the underlying scent of what was undeniably pure Axel. How had Roxas not noticed immediately that this was his best friend's shirt?

He shifted the shirt from hand to hand, dropping his arms in his lap. He should probably give it back to Axel, hell, he was on his way to his and Demyx' apartment in twenty minutes for a celebratory "thank god midterms are over" beruit tournament. No time like the present, right?

Roxas glanced back at the computer screen, the picture of Axel still glowing in his dimly lit room, and back to the shirt. He folded it up neatly, neater than he knew he was capable of, and unceremoniously stuffed it into the top drawer of his dresser. Axel wouldn't miss it.

There were only a couple dozen people at Axel and Demyx' place, a conglomerate of their various different usuals all drawn together for the sake of celebrating, beruit, and booze. Brackets had been drawn and tables had been crammed into every available space, sixteen teams battling it out for the number one spot. Roxas, of course, was playing with Axel.

They were unstoppable. On fire. Down to the final four and barely missed a shot, let alone lost a game. They were also shitfaced drunk.


Axel cheered as he sunk the last cup, whooping at the looks on Kairi's and Naminé's faces. He grabbed Roxas' hands and danced around their end of the table, ignoring the catcalls and guffaws at his belligerent behavior.

Kairi and Naminé scoffed and brushed them off, but even they were unable to hide the smiles on their faces from Axel's antics. They begrudgingly relinquished the table to Sora and Riku, begging them to "beat the pants off of Dumb and Dumber over there."

"Yo, man, we need more beer. Dem's got it in the kitchen, right?"

Axel waved him off as he danced around Kairi, dragging her around with him until she gave in and laughed. Axel was trashed. Roxas tried valiantly, and failed, not to acknowledge how cute he was right now. He turned his back on the redhead and headed off towards the kitchen, shaking his head at the squeals echoing behind him.

He stopped cold the second he hit the doorway into the kitchen, jaw inches away from scraping the floor. Zexion was up on the counter, pressed flush against the cabinets behind him, held in place by Demyx standing between his spread legs. The blond had one hand fisted in Zexion's slate-colored hair, yanking the shorter boy's head back as his lips assaulted Zexion's neck. The gray-haired boy moaned appreciatively. Roxas mouth went dry, his pants suddenly uncomfortably tight.

"What's the matter, Rox? The sight of two boys going at it got you all hot and bothered?"

Axel's mouth was so close to Roxas' ear that his lips brushed the cartilage, hot breath fanning over the blond's skin. Roxas' eyes closed of their own accord, a shiver running the length of his entire body. Axel was practically on top of him, not actually touching the shorter boy but still close enough that Roxas could feel the heat radiating off his skin. He bit his lip before any sort of sound could escape his mouth.

"I—no, I just—"

Axel snickered in his ear, the soft woosh of air ruffling the blond spikes.

"You blush when you lie, kid. It's alarmingly cute. But don't worry, I got this one."

Mercifully, regrettably, Axel pulled back, straightened up, gently shoved the shorter boy out of the way as he stumbled into the kitchen.

"Listen, you exhibitionist whores, as pleased as I am that you two are finally going to do it, and as much as some of us are enjoying the show right now, you got a party full of people ten feet away that are about to come in here for more beer. Careful you don't scar them for life, yeah?"

Demyx brushed his front man off with an impatient wave and Axel chuckled, ignoring the pair and maneuvering around them to reach the fridge. He hauled the entire case off the bottom shelf before reaching back in for the extras floating around, passing them off to Roxas one by one. He grinned and winked at his best friend and disappeared as abruptly as he came, diving back into the other room. Roxas watched him go with an openly hungry stare.

He turned for one last glance at Demyx and Zexion, assuming the two were still entirely oblivious to the presence of anyone else in the whole apartment, let alone room. True to his suspicions Demyx hadn't even moved, his body pressed into the smaller boy's as he licked and bit his way up to an ear. Zexion, on the other hand, was staring at Roxas with pale, impassive eyes, a small smirk gracing his lips as he glanced once in the direction of where Axel had disappeared. Roxas firmly, pointedly, turned on his heel and fled the kitchen.

Axel opened the door, shirtless and dripping, rubbing a color-stained towel furiously across his head. Roxas stared at the taller boy's bare chest, greeting dying a sudden death on his lips. Axel smirked at him, bottle green eyes gleaming.

"Hey kid. Sorry, the dye job took longer than I thought it would. Just hand tight for a sec, yeah? I'm almost done."

Axel grinned and gestured towards the couch, turning on his heel and padding back towards the back of the apartment. Roxas found himself unable to tear his eyes away from the older boy's skin, muscles shifting and smoothing as he swayed his hips in time to the music echoing from the bathroom. Roxas' fingers twitched with the need to touch, the need to confirm that Axel's skin was as soft as it looked. He shoved his hands in his pockets and hustled to the couch like it was the safe base in tag.

"Don't be scared to go in the kitchen, either. Dem and Zex won't be back for another hour."

Axel's voice was light and teasing, but Roxas was achingly glad that his best friend couldn't see his face, or more importantly, that he couldn't see Roxas' face. The blond had dreamed about that particular encounter no less than three times in the last four days, and he just knew his face was burning with shame and something else he didn't want to acknowledge.

"Fuck off."

Axel laughed, the sound echoing off the bathroom walls and spilling back into the living room. He was still laughing when he opened the door a minute later, shaking still-damp, kelly green hair out of his face.

"Whattaya think? I was trying to go with the whole green eyes green hair thing, but I don't think I matched it up quite right."

"Because there's no hair dye in the world that could measure up to your eye color," Roxas blurted out. He immediately bit down on his lip, desperate to prevent anything else from coming out unbidden. Axel raised an eyebrow at him.

"I mean, I like it. I liked the red better, I guess, but the green looks cool."

"Thanks Roxy," Axel cooed, ruffling the blond's hair as he strode passed the couch. "Get something started, yeah? And you want anything to drink?"

Roxas shook his head and grabbed a controller, cueing up a random game. He dropped himself back into the corner of the beat up old couch, settling his weight into the well-worn cushions. His heart was racing, breathing shallow. What the hell was wrong with him?

They were sober. Sober and squished into the couch with Demyx and Zexion, who'd joined them the second they got home. They were playing video games at Axel's after class, just like they had hundreds of times before. Roxas had no possible excuses for why he was suddenly, inexplicably, hyperaware of his best friend.

Axel shouted a particularly loud obscenity at Zexion, who merely smirked as Demyx began trash talking Axel back. Roxas kept his mouth shut, too concentrated on the game and maintaining an even, steady rhythm for his heartbeat. Axel was pressed against the entire length of his side, thigh burning through both their jeans, hips smushed together, the bare skin of his arms leaving a tingling prickle on every inch of Roxas' exposed skin. He swore to bow down to ever deity he'd ever heard of if Axel would just put a damn shirt on, but thus far he'd had no luck in that department. The green haired freak squished against his left side seemed perfectly content to torment Roxas with taught, pale skin and the occasional flashing glimpse of the VIII inked into his hip.

Axel led out a piercing whoop right in Roxas' ear, throwing his arms into the air. He had, it would seem, finally beaten Zexion, who was shaking his head disgustedly at the taller boy's delighted cheers. Axel dropped his arms back to his sides, throwing one around Roxas' shoulder for a celebratory half-hug. He dragged the blond forward, ruffling his hair and laughing in his ear as he pressed himself against the smaller boy. Roxas was pretty sure he'd stopped breathing altogether.

"Uh – I need…kitchen – drink…"

Roxas freed himself from Axel's grip, ignoring the look of surprise on his friend's face, and stumbled towards the kitchen, ignoring the questioning lilt of Demyx' voice as the three boys watched him hurry away. Roxas threw himself onto a stool by the counter, dropping his head onto the counter with an audible thump.

He was swooning over his best friend like some kind of pansy little fan girl. This was Axel, Axel, his best friend, the first person he'd met at HBU, even before he met Sora. Axel, the boy who'd kicked his ass at every video game every invented and played dutiful wingman every time Roxas needed him, even when it meant hitting on Larxene of all people, the Axel who'd punched a guy in the face for trying to pickpocket Roxas outside their favorite diner, started a band with Demyx and sang with soul, held his hand when the blond had finally manned up enough to get his eyebrow pierced, promised not to tell a soul that he'd cried as the needle pierced his skin. Axel who had the most stunning eyes Roxas had ever seen on a human being, living or dead, who dyed his hair to match his favorite color of the week, owned a pair of Chucks for every color of the rainbow, came to Roxas' apartment at 4am after Naminé dumped the blond and got shit-faced drunk with him, even though he had a midterm exam at 10am. Well fuck.


Roxas paused his internal rant, his ears perking up at the sound of his name being said in that calm, even tone. Axel didn't know how to be calm, and Roxas could hear Demyx shouting in the background.

He glanced up, catching sight of Zexion standing in the doorway of the kitchen, the same spot where Roxas had stood utterly transfixed just days earlier, his face calmly detached as he peered at the shorter boy from under his fringe. Roxas scratched at the back of his head, waiting for Zexion to speak. He was curious about the slate-haired boy's sudden appearance; out of everyone in the apartment, Zexion was least likely to care about Roxas' well-being.

"Axel and Demyx are utterly perplexed about your abrupt disappearance. I told them that you probably had a headache from all their inane screaming and that you just came in here to get a glass of water and an asprin."

Roxas raised an eyebrow, unable to keep the surprise off his face.

"I do not like lying to Demyx, Roxas. And Axel is my friend. They bought it hook, line, and sinker, but I am not as…easily placated as they are. That and I know that look on your face."

Roxas slumped forward, propping his head in his hands as he rested his elbows against the counter. Zexion remained silent for several long, contemplative moments.

"It's okay, you know."

"What is?"

"Being in love with Axel."

"I don't know what you're talking about, Zexion."

The words tasted like bitter denial on his tongue.

Roxas turned sharply on his heel, using surprise and the redhead's stunted reflexes to help him shove the taller boy flush against the brick wall, pinning him in place with both hands and his hips. Axel blinked a stunned expression out of his eyes, but was ready by the time Roxas curled his fingers into the red hair and tugged his head down for a desperate, needy kiss, pressing his body flat against Axel's as though he would die if every part of them wasn't touching.

Axel breathed a moan into Roxas' ear as the blond moved his lips down the taller boy's jaw and neck; sucking, licking, biting. He drove himself up on his tiptoes, straining for the redhead's swollen lips, a keening little noise ripping from his throat as he failed to reach his target. The taller boy smirked at him and slid his hands around his waist, grabbing the back of the blond's thighs, lifting and spinning him with surprising strength.

And now Roxas was against the grimy brick wall, legs wrapped around Axel's torso, fingers fisted in the red hair, gasping as the older boy ground their hips together, pressing them further into the wall.

"We're…so close to…mmm God, Axel…my…"

"…apartment…we should…ungh…Roxas—"

"I called her on the phone and she touched herself, she touched herself, she touched herself…"

Roxas groaned and rolled over, hand fisting under the pillows in a blind search for his cell phone. He fumbled to lift the cover off the phone, not bothering to open his eyes and check the screen as he pressed the receiver to his ear.


"Rox, you're awake! Are you drunk too?"

Roxas groaned, pressing his free hand over his eyes. Axel's alcohol-rough voice raked over him with a gentle scrape; Roxas pointedly ignored the way it went straight to his groin.

"Mmnot awake, Ax. Why are you calling me at –" Roxas pulled his phone away from his face and glanced at the screen, "4am?"

"Misshed you. Wanted to say hi, hear your voice."

And suddenly Roxas was wide awake. That was absolutely, positively the cutest thing Roxas had ever heard. He barely repressed the urge to slam his head repeatedly against the wall next to his bed.

"Why are you drunk at 4am on a Tuesday, Axel?"

"Nooo, you're supposed to say 'I miss you too, best friend.'"

Roxas snorted in spite of himself.

"Who says you're my best friend?"


"I miss you too, best friend."

"Good." Axel's voice was barely a whisper in Roxas' ear, the word more of an exhale that sounded like something resembling English. "Mmgoing to bed. You should too, it's too late to be up."

"Thanks, Axel."

"Goodnight, Roxy. Loveyou."

The line went dead before Roxas was able to force a response through his suddenly frozen lips, his cell phone suddenly silent in his hands. He stared at it, unblinking, until his eyes began to water and the screen went black.

Roxas didn't get any more sleep that night.


Roxas leaned moodily against Sora's doorway, motionless save for the occasional open and close of his mouth. He'd been standing there for almost five minutes, tried to speak at least six separate times, but seemed to be unable to push a sound between his lips. Sora had finally noticed his hovering presence, glancing up from his computer in surprise.

"What's wrong?"

Roxas took a deep breath, willing his tongue to work this time. He stalled, crossing the room quietly and settling himself on the edge of Sora's bed, pulling a pillow into his lap. The brunet watched him patiently, turning his computer chair to fully face Roxas.

"How did you – I mean, with Riku – how did you…know…"

"That I was gay?"

Sora's face remained carefully neutral, his expression calm and his eyes soft. He appeared to way his words heavily before speaking.

"Why don't you tell me why you're asking first, Roxas? That way you won't try to compare, you know?"

"I walked in on Demyx and Zexion at the beruit tournament last weekend." Roxas said quietly. He kept his eyes trained firmly on the pillow in his lap, careful not to look at his roommate's face. "It was hands down the hottest, most erotic thing I've ever seen."

"You see me and Riku all the time," Sora reminded him gently. Roxas shook his head.

"Not like this. You and Riku are all chaste and on your best behavior when I'm around…Demyx was…well…not. Neither was Axel."

"Axel was there too?"

"He came in a few seconds after I did. Maybe he was just really drunk, I don't know, but he...if he'd been a girl I would have called it flirting, maybe even seduction."

"Why would that apply to a girl but not to Axel?"

Roxas snorted, glancing up at Sora for the first time. The brunet's face was impassive.

"Why would Axel be trying to seduce me, Sora?"

Sora didn't respond, merely pursing his lips and raising an eyebrow at the blond. Roxas sighed and continued.

"It's Axel, really, that's making me…lately he's just…I've been noticing things…"

"Like what?"

"Tongue piercings are God's gift to mankind. Axel was made for tight black t-shirts, which are weirdly too big on me even though he's a stick. I get jealous when he pays more attention to other people than to me. There is no one in the history of the world with more beautiful eyes than Axel's. I wish I had a recording of Melodious Nocturne so I could fall asleep to the sound of him singing every night."

"That's…do you really need to ask, Rox? I mean, I know you're looking for confirmation, but I can't tell you how you feel."

"I know. I'm in love with Axel."

Roxas released the breath he hadn't realized he was holding; saying the words out loud left his mouth tingling. He turned his gaze back to his roommate, eyes slightly too wide. Sora was beaming at him, smile stretched so wide his cheeks were straining with the effort.


"It's about damn time."

Roxas threw the pillow at him.

come on, rox, you promised

i remember no such thing.

you promiseddd. pleeeaaaseee roxas? who else is going to go with me?

well thank you, that just makes me feel so special.

diner, 10 minutes, or i tell kairi about your piercing experience.


loveyoutoo see you in 10

"I can't believe you blackmailed me into going to see a children's animated movie on opening night."

Roxas flipped the hood of his black zip-up up and over his head, hiding his face from the increasingly brutal wind. Axel grinned at him, grabbing the string dangling from one side of the hood and tugging.

"You loved it, Roxas. Loved it. You even cried a little bit at the end."

"Did not."

They turned down the alleyway that emptied right next to Roxas' and Sora's apartment, a favorite shortcut of theirs. The alley was dark, narrow, and littered with boxes, but the streetlights were bright enough for them to pick their way through.

"You so did, I saw you."

"Oh good, so now you're hallucinating, that's healthy."


Axel nudged Roxas with his shoulder, causing the blond to stumble into the grimy brick wall. The shorter boy smirked and shoved back, causing the redhead, for his hair was inexplicably red again, to go flying over the nearest overturned box. He grabbed Roxas' still outstretched arm, but only succeeded in pulling them both backwards, crashing into the opposite wall.

And there they were, Axel with his back pressed to the bricks, Roxas half on top of him with a hand pressed flat on either side of his torso. The redhead's breathing came in short, uneven pants, somehow matching perfectly the racing thunder of Roxas' heartbeat. They stared at each other, unmoving, faces inches apart. Roxas could feel Axel's ribs heaving with each breath.

"Roxas," Axel whispered, burning green eyes wide. Roxas fought desperately to keep his eyes from fluttering closed, the sound of his name being said in that voice sending chills down his spine.

"I – I should – it's – fuck."

And Roxas, calling upon every ounce of his courage and strength and finding it all falling miserably short, pushed himself off the wall and ran.

"Hey, Rox? Axel just called the house line. I didn't even know he knew the – Roxas?"

Sora stopped dead at the sight of Roxas, curled in a ball on the couch with his knees to his chest. He was staring at Sora with slightly wild, desperate eyes, shivering with something Sora didn't understand.

"What did you tell him?

"He said you weren't answering your phone. I figured that meant you didn't want to talk to him, so I told him you'd gone to sleep. He said he just wanted to make sure you got home okay, and told me to ask you to call him tomorrow? Roxas…what's wrong?"

Roxas tightened the arms wrapped around his legs, willing himself to stop shaking.

"We…something – we were in this alleyway and I pushed him too hard…into the wall…we…he probably thinks I'm crazy…"

"Did you kiss him?"

"No," Roxas moaned, burying his head in his knees. "No, I didn't. But I wanted to. God, Sora, I wanted to, and he'd have to be blind not to have noticed it, and now he's going to hate me."

Sora stared down at his roommate, and Roxas could practically hear the wheels in the brunet's head churning as he tried to make sense of the situation. He glanced up in time to see the other boy chewing thoughtfully on his bottom lip, a sure sign that he was about to speak.

"I need to tell you something."

Roxas froze, leveling his gaze more firmly on his friend. He had never heard Sora use that tone of voice before; low, serious, monotonous, the kind of voice doctors use when delivering bad news to a patient's loved ones. He was not going to like what Sora had to say.

"The morning after Leon's party a few weeks ago…the one Melodious Nocturne played their first show at? I got up to get a drink around seven and I caught Axel sneaking out."

"Axel crashes on the couch all the time when he's drunk, Sora."

Roxas tried to keep his voice steady, but he knew as well as Sora did that Axel had never before felt the need to sneak out at the crack of dawn after crashing at their apartment. He was usually there well into the afternoon, sprawled on the couch with Roxas as the two bemoaned their mutual hangovers and attempted to piece their nights together.

"I don't think he slept on the couch, Rox, I caught him leaving your room. He also freaked out when he saw me and made me swear not to tell you that he'd been there."

"Why would he –"

"You two left the party together. Kairi saw you sneaking out the back door. She said…she said you couldn't keep your hands off each other."

Roxas stared at Sora. He didn't know what else to do. Stared at his roommate, mind working frantically as he stared at the bright blue eyes looking earnestly back at him.

The hickey on his collarbone. His swollen lip. The way his sheets reeked of cigarettes for days after the party. Axel's shirt.

Roxas leapt to his feet, tearing across the apartment as he dove for the chest of drawers in his room. He dug frantically through the piles of clothing, pausing only when his fingers found the worn, black fabric of the Say Anything shirt.

"Roxas! Roxas, I'm sorry. He made me promise not to tell you Rox, but I wanted to, I swear. Where are you going? Roxas?"

Roxas could hear Sora calling after him as he ripped their door open and flew down the stairs, but he ignored the brunet until the shouts faded behind him. He sprinted the entire four blocks to Axel's apartment, fingers clenching around the shirt as though it were the only thing keeping him on course.

He took the stairs two at a time all the way to the fourth floor apartment, stopping to breathe only when he was directly outside the door. He allowed himself ten seconds to catch his breath before he began pounding on it, one hand muffled by the fabric wrapped around his hand.

"Geez, Rox, you could've just ca…"

Axel's voice stopped cold the second he caught sight of Roxas' face, which Roxas was fairly certain resembled that of a sociopathic serial murderer right now. The redhead pulled the door open the rest of the way and stepped aside, wordlessly inviting the blond in.

"Demyx, could you –"

"Dem, get out."

Axel's voice cut across Roxas' sharply, and the blond in question didn't hesitate even for a second, jumping off the couch and stuffing his feet into mismatched shoes with alarming speed, barely remembering to grab his keys before stumbling out of the apartment with a mumbled "later." Roxas watched him until his back disappeared completely down the stairs, eyes narrowed. He rounded on Axel the second the guitarist was out of sight.

"The morning after Leon's party, I grabbed the first shirt I could find and pulled it on."

Roxas kept his voice low, steady; he was so calm he could have been talking about the weather. Axel's face was paler than the white door he was still standing next to, poison eyes following Roxas' progress as he stalked progressively closer to the redhead.

"Maybe you could explain to me, Axel, why this was the shirt I found."

He thrust the Say Anything shirt hard into Axel's chest, palm flat against the taller boy's stuttering heartbeat.


"You told me nothing remotely interesting happened that night, Axel. You told me that we drank a shit ton of alcohol at Leon's house and then went home. I don't remember you mentioning the part where we went home together, Axel."

The volume in Roxas' voice rose higher and higher with each word until he was screaming in the taller boy's face, hand still pressing the shirt into his chest. Somehow they'd backed slowly up against the door, Axel's eyes wide and panicked like a trapped wild animal.

"You didn't remember…I just figured maybe…"

"Maybe what, Axel?"

"Maybe it was better that you didn't remember."

Roxas dropped his hand from Axel's chest, shirt falling to the floor between them. He took a step back, cocking his head to the side as he studied the redhead intently. Axel stared back at him, breathing heavily, waiting desperately for Roxas' reaction.

"You thought it best that I didn't remember. I don't remember, I don't remember anything. So why don't you tell me, Axel. What happened?"

The redhead closed his eyes and took a deep, shuddering breath, struggling and failing to keep his voice calm.

"We were…we were wasted, Roxas. Drunker than pirates in Tortuga, buzzed on adrenaline and beer."

"What. Happened."

"I don't even remember. You kissed me, or I kissed you, or maybe we both did it, but we were up against the wall in the middle of the party, in the middle of the alleyway, in the middle of your hallway."

I like this subject, Roxas. What else do you think is hot?

"We're…so close to…mmm God, Axel…my…"

"And you just thought it was a god send that I didn't remember this little…discretion?"

"I figured it would be easier."


"God, Roxas, you don't think this is weird? Aren't you freaking out right now? You and your staunch heterosexuality just found out that you hooked up with your male best friend, shouldn't you be absolutely losing your shit?"

Axel's voice was high, anxious, his eyes pleading for something that Roxas didn't understand.

No, he wanted to say. No, I'm not freaking out. I don't think it's weird at all. The only thing I'm upset about is the fact that I don't remember hooking up with my best friend.

"Are you?" He asked instead. He wasn't sure he really wanted to know the answer to this particular question. Roxas could feel the anger draining from him, replaced with a world-weariness the likes of which he had never fully felt before.

"Shit like this ruins friendships, Rox. I figured it'd be easier to pretend it never happened if you didn't actually know it happened."

Oh. Axel might as well have socked Roxas right in the stomach, the air left his lungs in a woosh that left him breathless and sagging, shoulders slumping as he glanced down at the floor. His eyes found the black t-shirt, pooled at Axel's feet. He suddenly, irrationally, wanted it back. Axel was indeed freaking out about this. He wanted to pretend that it had never happened, had lied to Roxas' face, made Sora lie to him, because he didn't want to face the awkward confrontation that would undoubtedly ruin their friendship, because apparently nothing else could come of this.

"Oh. I see." Roxas said quietly, keeping his eyes trained on the shirt on the floor. "Yes, I suppose it's much easier for you if you just pretend this never happened."

"Wait, Rox, that's not what I –"

"It's fine, Axel. I understand. Shit like this ruins friendships. You made that perfectly clear."

"Roxas, wait –"

But Roxas wouldn't hear it. He ignored Axel's voice, begging, asking him to stay, to hear him out, to just listen. He closed the distance between them silently, expressionlessly, ignoring Axel's fire green eyes and desperate pleading voice, grabbing instead for the door knob and wrenching the door open, pushing the redhead aside effortlessly despite his smaller stature. The taller boy, mercifully, didn't follow him, and Roxas managed to make it all the way down to the street before the gut-wrenching sobs were ripped from his throat.

Freshman year first semester, midterm exams had Roxas so overwhelmed that he shut himself up in the library for two weeks straight. He didn't speak to anyone unless it was exam-related, abandoned his cell phone and computer for days on end, and only left the library to eat, sleep, and attend the necessary classes.

The last month was nothing in comparison to those two weeks. Roxas barely spoke to anyone, class related or not, and only attended classes because his professors had begun threatening to fail him. He sandwiched himself between two girls Axel hated in their sociology class, pointedly refusing to even look in the direction of redhead, for his hair was still inexplicably red, the longest he'd ever kept his hair one color. Not that Roxas cared.

He'd taken to leaving his cell phone in his room, ignoring it until the battery drained. Axel was the only person who'd ever called him anyway, and after Roxas had ignored no less than 104 calls from Axel and deleted a full inbox of unread text messages and unheard voicemails his best friend had finally given up. Roxas wasn't sure which action he'd found more irritating, the constant sound of Axel's personalized ringtone, Say Anything's "Wow I Can Get Sexual Too," or the cold lack thereof.

After a week straight of waking up in a cold sweat from combined fantasies and memories, Roxas had begun staying awake until he passed out from sheer exhaustion. More often than not this meant Roxas didn't sleep at all, and the dark, hooded circles under his eyes and the exponentially growing pile of empty Monster cans next to his garbage were both testaments to entirely too many sleepless nights.

He missed Axel. Missed the drunk phone calls, the all-night video game tournaments, the easy way the taller boy would sling an arm around his shoulders and ruffle his hair and suddenly make Roxas forget why he'd been so mad seconds before. He wanted his best friend back.

Riku found him sprawled on the floor in his bedroom, lost among heaps of dirty laundry, empty Monster cans, and piles of CD jewel cases. The silver-haired boy raised an eyebrow at the sight, arms crossed over his chest as he leaned heavily against the doorframe.

"Get up, Roxas."

Roxas opened one bleary eye and stared at the boy in his doorway, surprised in spite of himself. He and Riku were friendly, they didn't have much choice really, since Riku had become Roxas' and Sora's unofficial third roommate halfway through their freshman year, but Riku had never shown this much interest on Roxas' behalf.

"What are you going to do, wallow in here until you die of a lewd combination of caffeine overdose and sleep deprivation?"

"What do you want me to do, Riku?"

Riku sighed, making no attempt to avoid his exasperation with the younger boy. He picked his way across the room carefully, towering over the blond slumped on the floor.

"Get up. Shower. Eat something that isn't liquid sugar. Talk to your damn roommate, who's been walking around like a kicked puppy since the second you stormed out of here."

"Not my fault Sora's so sensitive," Roxas grumbled, scrubbing a hand tiredly over his closed eyes.

"You haven't said a word to him in a month, Roxas. No wonder he thinks you're mad at him."

"I'm not, but who cares?"

"Sora cares. Unfortunately, the transitive property dictates that now I care, and I refuse to sit here and watch you mope your way through the next six months like a widow in mourning. I'm sorry you and Axel had a lover's spat, get over it."

Roxas' eyes snapped open, blue eyes clear for the first time in days as he glared at the boy hovering over him.

"He broke my heart, Riku. I can sulk for as long as I fucking want."

"Yeah, and maybe you broke his."

Roxas raised an eyebrow at the matter of fact tone, unable to stop the cold snap of laughter from escaping his lips.

"You think you look bad, Rox? You should see him. He's lost at least ten pounds, looks like a damn Holocaust survivor. Black eyes that make yours look like a joke; he probably hasn't slept more than a few hours a night in a month. And did you know Axel's hair is really dark brown? His roots are growing in, Roxas. I'm pretty sure Axel could be on his death bed and he would still find bleach and a bottle of hair dye."


"Fuck off, Roxas. You think he hates you because you got drunk and hooked up with him? What, do you think you raped him? Forced him against his will? You're half his size, shrimp. Maybe he was afraid that you'd hate him."

Roxas froze mid-protest, his mouth suddenly unable to form the words. He hadn't considered that possibility.

"Too late now though, yeah?" He whispered, choking on another harsh laugh. Riku eyed him speculatively, lips pursed together as he assessed the blond sprawled at his feet. He nodded once, reaching into his back pocket and pulling out a folded piece of paper. He unfolded the flyer and slapped it down on Roxas' chest, picture side down.
"Think about it. Sora and I are leaving at 10:30."

Riku straightened up and glanced down at Roxas one last time before turning on his heel and climbing out of the mess, closing the door behind him. Roxas fumbled with the flyer pressed against his ribs, pulling it in front of his face and squinting at the words emblazoned across it.

Open Mic Night
one night only, $5 cover

Roxas wasn't really sure what he was doing here. Riku had left the flyer crumpled in his lap, and Roxas sat on the floor for almost two hours, staring at it as though the words would miraculously rearrange themselves into the answer. He wasn't sure what had driven him to haul himself up off the floor and find the nearest clean t-shirt, but still, he was here, hood up and hiding by the bar, nursing a rum and Coke, hold the rum. He owed it to Axel, to the whole of Melodious Nocturne, really, to remember at least one of their shows. It had been a good show too; they knew how to play the crowd until they screamed.

"So, uh, it's 11:55 and we're out at midnight, so this is our last song."

Riku had been right; Axel looked awful. He was pale and gaunt, normally tight jeans sagging off his hips, and the smile stretched across his face didn't quite reach his acid green eyes. Roxas' fingers ached with the urge to touch him, to brush his fingertips across the purple bruises and the purple tattoos staining his cheeks, press his lips against the taller boy's shockingly brown hairline.

"This is our last song, and uh…well, it's dedicated to someone. It's always dedicated to someone, really. It's my best friend's favorite song, and I can't play it without dedicating it to him, because he's the only thing I can think about when singing it, which is stupid really cause the song's about the damn Holocaust anyway…but uh, yeah. He's not here tonight because I fucked up in a major, major way and now he thinks I hate him when really…I've been in love with him since the day I met him. So tonight, and every other damn time I have ever and will ever sing this song, it's dedicated to – ow Zex, what the fuck?"

Zexion, it would seem, had chucked one of his drumsticks, nailing Axel square in the back of his head. He whirled around and glared at the stoic-faced drummer, turning back just in time to see Roxas, who had begun forcefully shoving people out of his way several rambling minutes ago, hauling himself up onto the thigh-high stage. Axel gaped at him.

The stared at each other for a few impossibly quiet seconds; it was as though every person in the room, Roxas and Axel included, was holding his or her breath, waiting. Roxas spoke first.

"You. Dumb. Fuck."

He reached forward and fisted the front of Axel's shirt, dragging the redhead forward until they were nose to nose. Axel's teeth tugged at the ring pierced through his bottom lip and Roxas slid his free hand up the taller boy's jaw, using his thumb to pry the silver from between Axel's teeth. The haunting, piercing, fire green eyes burned into his, still waiting.

"I love you, too, idiot."

Maybe the microphone picked up Roxas' whispered proclamation, or maybe the audience was just so tense they were ready at a moment's notice, but the noise that erupted from them the second Roxas' lips touched Axel's was deafening, louder than anything the amps and the speakers had been blowing them away with all night. Roxas could feel Axel's lips curled in a smile against his own, and when they finally broke apart the sound of their own laughter mixed into the blend of cheers and catcalls surrounding them.

Their foreheads rested against each other, Roxas' hand curled around Axel's neck, Axel's fingers cupping Roxas' jaw. The mic Axel had been clutching now dangled from Roxas' free hand. He didn't remember taking it from the redhead, but pulled away from him and pressed it against Axel's chest, grinning.

"Weren't you about to play my favorite song?"

The audience burst into a fresh round of cheers and Axel grinned back at him, glancing over his shoulder just in time to see Demyx glumly slapping what looked suspiciously like a hundred dollar bill into Zexion's outstretched hand. The guitarist caught Axel's eye and smirked sheepishly, pulling his guitar back in front of him and heading back to the front of the stage. Roxas hopped back down into the pit, a free space waiting for him right against the stage, directly in front of Axel's mic stand.

"Well, he asked so nicely, so…Dem?"

The audience screamed for the thousandth time as Demyx hit the opening chords, but Axel had eyes only for Roxas.

When I watch you
Wanna do you
Right where you're standing.

At some point in the immediate/near future there will be a Zemyx companion piece. They're just too cute to ignore. Almost as cute as Axel and Roxas.

love you =)