I wish to write a full, complete warning that wasn't clearly specified.
WARNING: This story is rated M for several reasons.
-Lemons, lemons, lemons, Lemonade.
-Contains material related to the Holocaust.
-Contains violence and at times graphic imagery. No gore whatsoever, but know that there is fighting and sad moments.
-Axel's poor behavior in the first few chapters. XD
Complete Summary: Roxas was not an unnatural person, nor did he have some sort of sixth sense like those mediums you see in Discovery Channel specials like "A Haunting." Heck, Roxas barely knew anything about the supernatural past the typical knowledge of vampires and werewolves, and the only things he knew about either mythical beings was what he had gathered from tales that his father used to tell him when he was a child on Halloween, and from some book called "Twilight" that one of his close friends, Kairi, never stopped talking about. So, apparently, vampires are shiny, but that notion totally screwed with Roxas' gamer logic; if it's shiny, it's important. And Edward Cullen was definately not anything of importance when it came to rescuing some princess from some made up land that had references to just about any drug you could think of. So when he found himself being tormented by something called a Preta, Roxas had no idea what he was in for. (Same as the intro at first, I know, but I liked it and I didn't want to get rid of it. hehe...)
End of Author's Note.
The wind is blistering cold. Quite literally, blistering cold. It was a place where no vegitation dared to grow, not even the smallest fern or blade of grass. What purpose would it serve in a place like this? Long eyelashes laced with heavy flakes of snow and ice blurr make it difficult to see, and even past that there is a blinding blizzard. But he knew there was nothing there. There was nothing more than a barren, twisted winter wonderland, despite whatever he could hear, smell, or claim to see, leaving even the smallest glimmer of hope for redemption alive in the coldest of all places in any plane of existence. It was the tactic used here; it makes the damned believe that redemption is close at hand, yet they knew that the amount of time it took to live in this cruel, gruesome place was equivalent to that of taking a small sesame seed out of a barrel full of seeds every hundred years. No one could leave unless the barrel was empty...but it's easy to lose track of time here.
The skin off of his back was cracked and raw, his hands covered in blisters filled with stinging cold snow and pus. He couldn't get away from it, his legs were much too cold, too raw and frozen to make himself come to stand. He found the less painful position to be in here was to lay on his back, the majority of his pain coming from the blisters on his stomach, screaming as the cold wind battered them endlessly. Yet, as excruciating as the pain was that rocked his body at every waking moment, without rest, he refused to cry out. He refused to lament his sorrow, beg for his own redemption, to acknowledge the screams and prayers of those he knew were around him, but also suffered from the exact same afflictions, remaining here until their sentence had been served. He didn't mourn because he knew he was not truly one of them.
But he wasn't born here like the rest of them. He didn't belong here. He knew he didn't belong here. He told himself that over and over again, because to him, he knew it was true. But there was no one to hear him say so, no one that would even care if they could. The Narakas here were blasphemous wenches, theives, whores, gypsies, traitors, murderers... all too concerned with their own suffering. They all believed they didn't belong here, but he knew the truth. Even if he could, he didn't have the spirit, the strength, to make his voice be heard. He was saving that precious moment for another day, another life maybe, to let his voice roll off of his tongue to utter the name of the one who sent him the prayers. Yes, the prayers that he would receive...though he could not see them, touch them, or hear them in the words of the original sender, they were the most precious to him. He kept them close to his heart. It was very hard to find a reason to smile in such a foreboding place, because even cracking the smallest of grins would result in skin splitting to create blisters on the soft flesh of his lips that burned and ached without releif. But he figured the pain was worth it.
Because unlike everyone else here, there was someone, somewhere, on another plane, that awaited his return.
*Week 0, Day 1. Thursday*
It was a late Thurdsay afternoon when Roxas saw him the first time. Thursdays were very important to Roxas; it was the day that his friends Hayner, Pence, Kairi, and Olette got together and went to the local soda fountian and got ice cream. It was a wonder to him that in this day and age that a soda fountian was still up and running, with a huge indoor mall and Super Walmart only a few blocks away, but the little pharmacy had a relaxed atmosphere that he really enjoyed, and the ice cream was well within his budget range. He was pretty sure that it was his most favorite part of this new home, despite the fact that he had not yet seen everything the city had to offer. To locals, it would seem odd to favor a small, rundown pharmacy on a streetcorner among flashy boutiques and commercial coffeshops than something like the indoor mall or other large, more popular or commercial facilities. However, Roxas came from a small town; he was used to the quaintness of it all, and if there's anything he hated more than collard greens, it was change, and that tends to happen when you move from Smalltown USA to the big city. The little pharmacy had that small piece of home that could quench his homesickness.
Kairi's grandparents managed the little pharmacy, so whenever Roxas entered the little store, he was always greeted with warm smiles on aged faces.
"Well, if it isn't the young'ns!" Kairi's grandmother greeted them as she was cleaning a glass behind the ice cream bar.
"Hi Grandma!" Kairi smiled brightly as the group of teens approached the bar, all of them coming to take a seat on the barstools in front of the bar. Kairi's grandmother was very kind, and always greeted them whenever they came to the pharmacy. They had been coming every Thursday for the past few months since school had started, so she knew their orders by heart.
"So, let me guess," Kairi's grandmother chuckled as her gaze shifted to Pence, Hayner, and Olette. "Sundaes for the three of you?"
"Yep!" Pence replied with a huge grin.
"Always!" Hayner said, patting the bar in front of him.
"Yes, please." Olette mumbled timidly. The elderly woman nodded before looking at Kairi. "And a chocolate ice cream cone for you, my dear?"
"Yes please!" Kairi smiled. Then the woman came to look at Roas.
"Last but not least, sea salt ice cream for you, hun?"
"Yes ma'am." Roxas replied, smiling a bit. His taste in ice cream was a bit odd in comparison to his friends, but he couldn't help his love for the salty sweet treat. It was a specialty back in his hometown, and he was overjoyed when he had discovered that the little pharmacy served it here as well. As the woman turned her back to them to prepare their orders, Roxas decided he would go and poke around the store for a while to kill some time.
He strolled around the store a bit, the wooden floors creaking slightly beneath his feet as he came to the magazine section. He was about to pass by until he noticed that the latest issue of Shonen Jump sitting amongst the rather large selection. An amused smile crossed his lips as he stopped and grabbed the magazine, his fingers flipping through it anxiously as he began to read through his monthly dose of manga crack. He wasn't a rabid anime fan, but he did enjoy reading the graphic novels.
"Hey, kiddo, what'cha reading there?"
Just as he was about to start reading the Naruto section, he suddenly felt a presence looming over him. Roxas stiffened a bit, having not heard someone come up behind him. He peered over his shoulder to get a look at who was talking to him. His eyes met a black trenchcoat, but no face. Hello, stomach, nice to meet you.
"Uh..." Roxas blinked a bit, a little annerved. Great, whoever it was, they were really tall.
"Up here, shorty." the stranger chuckled, and Roxas had to strain his neck a bit to look up to meet the stranger's gaze, and he was in for a bit of a surprise. The first thing that jumped out at him was the man's thick, spiky red hair that seem to stick out at every angle, surrounding his triangular shaped face like a firey mane. Roxas had never seen anyone with such bright red hair. He also had bright, almost cat-like green eyes that seemed to be outlined heavily with black eyeliner, and the pale purple upside down teardrop tattoos under each eye. "Are you gonna stand there and gawk or are you going to tell me what you're reading, hm?"
"Oh," Roxas looked back down at his magazine, feeling a bit wary of this stranger who seemed to be staring down at him intently. "It's, uh, Shonen Jump. You know, manga stuff." The stranger perked a brow inquizzitively before he reached over to pluck the magazine away from Roxas to take a look at it himself.
"Yeah, just take it from me, it's not like I was reading it at all." Roxas muttered, rolling his eyes a bit at the stranger's crass behavior. It took only a few seconds of the redhead looking over the magazine to snort dissaprovingly and toss the magazine over his shoulder. Roxas blinked, now starting to get a bit annoyed. "I was reading that, you know."
"Ah, but you just said you weren't. Contradicting yourself only makes things complicated." The man said teasingly, and unexpectantly placed a hand on Roxas' head, ruffling his spiky golden locks.
"Don't touch me, dude." Roxas frowned, smacking away the male's hand defensively. Who the heck was this guy?
"My name isn't 'Dude,' " The redhead retorted, his thin lips forming a smug grin as he placed a hand on his hip. "The name's Axel. You might want to remember that."
"I didn't ask." Roxas replied bluntly as he stepped away from Axel, going over to the fallen Shonen Jump and picking it up off the ground, at least doing Kairi's grandparents a favor and putting it back on the shelf where it belonged. All the while, Roxas could feel Axel's bright green eyes following him intently, and as he peered out of the corner of his eye, he confirmed that the redhead was staring, but he seemed to be staring at his hair. Odd. Why stare at his hair when he's got a brilliant mane of his own?
"So I don't want to be calling you 'blondy' all the time, what's your name, delicious?" Axel mused as he licked his lips, his eyes still fixated on Roxas' hair.
"Roxas." he replied, before his eyes widened. Wait...did Axel just call him delicious?
"Rrrrox-ass." Axel purred, his tongue rolling the first part of Roxas' name rather suggestively. "What an odd name. But I guess it suits someone like you, eh?"
Roxas just stared at the male before him, his brow furrowed questionably as he shook his head in slight disbeleif. He came in here for ice cream and now he has some weird creeper hitting on him? And what did he mean by calling him blondy "all the time?"
"Hey, Roxas! Your sea salt is ready!" He heard Kairi call from over the isle, causing the blonde to turn his head in the direction of the familiar voice, breathing an internal sigh of releif. An escape from Axel, greatly appreciated.
"I'm coming!" Roxas replied over his shoulder, then turned back to dismiss the redhead, but was surprised to find that the male was long gone. Roxas blinked in surprise, and looked up and down the isle for any trace of Axel, but he was nowhere in sight. Roxas shrugged, assuming that the redhead had taken the hint and left, so he turned around and headed back towards the ice cream bar.
Hayner and Pence were almost halfway done with their sundaes already, stuffing their faces with the sugary goodness while Olette ate her sundae rather slowly, and Kairi sat patiently in one of the barstools, licking on her chocolate ice cream cone while holding Roxas' sea salt ice cream in her other hand.
"Thanks." Roxas smiled appreciatvely to Kairi, taking the frozen treat from her and sitting himself on the barstool beside her, and began to indulge himself with the salty sweet goodness.
"So, who were you talking to back there?" Hayner asked between another spoonful of whipped cream and strawberry ice cream, though keeping his eyes fixated on the ice cream before him.
"Yeah, I heard you mumbling something about a magazine." Olette chimed in, looking over at Roxas. Roxas swallowed a mouthful of the ice cream that he had in his mouth, taking another long lick before shrugging.
"Some redhead named Axel." Roxas replied nonchalantly. "He was tall, hard to miss. He was kinda weird, to be honest."
"I didn't see anyone over the isle, Roxas." Kairi said. Roxas paused mid-lick.
"He was a skyscraper, Kairi, how could you have not seen him?" Roxas asked, his brow furrowing as he looked at the female beside him.
"I swear, I didn't see anyone, I just thought you were talking to yourself." Kairi chuckled.
"Aw, does Roxas have an imaginary friend?" Hayner teased, leaning over from his seat to shake his spoon in the blonde's direction. "You're a bit too old for that, don'tcha think?"
"I'm serious." Roxas frowned. Axel was so bizzare looking that he was hard to miss. Come on, spiky red hair, as tall as the ceiling, dressed in black? Surely he wasn't making this up, Roxas was sure he saw him!
"Maybe it was a ghost." Pence added in, though his tone was a bit sarcastic.
"Wouldn't doubt it, this place is really old." Kairi smiled, giggling a little.
"Whoa dude, you saw a ghost?" Hayner exclaimed, his eyes widening with interest.
"I didn't see a ghost." Roxas sighed irritably, just shaking his head. "Look, forget about it, maybe I was imagining things or something."
"Whatever you say, Roxas..." Hayner's lips contorted into a snide grin as he directed his attention back to his mound of sundae goodness, the rest of his friends exchanging amused looks with a few muffled giggles here and there. Roxas felt an all too familiar sense of embarassment in his chest, looking down to his ice cream to avert their gazes.
When Roxas first moved in, he found it very difficult to make friends. He was used to what could be called 'Southern hospitality', where everyone knew everyone and newcomers were welcomed with warm smiles and pans of some sort of cassarole made from different types of food that really had no business being thrown together in a dish. But the city had proved to be a different story. He didn't understand why he was being written off so quickly by many, and seemed to be deemed as an outcast before his first week of school even ended. He could see the many differences when he took the time to sit down and compare himself with the typical city kid from his high school. His clothes didn't have little men riding on horses stamped on the chest, nor did he own anything that could be considered upscale apparel. He was content with the screened t-shirts, his jeans, and other clothing that were from less glamorous stores, such as JC Penny or even Walmart. They were clothes, they covered his body just fine, what point was there in spending 150 dollars on a shirt when he could use that money to buy 50 shirts, or several Playstation 3 video games? Hip hop and rap were the most popular genres of music here, but he preferred light rock. These were only a few of the many things that separated him from the rest of them, and it was what made finding real friends among a sea of fake people so difficult. It was then he had met Hayner, Pence, Olette, and Kairi, but he sometimes felt on the inside that he was still 'different' in their eyes, and that he was still being judged, even by them. He was treading deep, uncharted waters, and he didn't want to risk them writing him off like most people seemed to have done.
"You know...I think that I'm just gonna go for the day, I remembered I have somewhere to be." Roxas said after a minute or two of silence, the sound of his voice interrupting the others' conversation, making them turn to look at him as he brought himself off of the stool to stand.
"You sure, Roxas...?" Olette asked, the softspoken girl seeming genuinely concerned. Roxas gave her a small smile, thankful for her concern. Out of his group of friends, Olette was the most accepting, always walking to class with him and hanging out with him, even when the others couldn't.
"Yeah, we just got here." Pence said in a slightly pleading tone as he gestured for the blonde to sit back down. "Kick back, relax for a little while."
"If this is about the whole 'ghost' thing, dude, I was just joking," Hayner chimed in, even he sounding a bit remorseful as he turned his head to look over his shoulder at Roxas.
"Nah, I think I'll pass, I really have to be going," Roxas declined, shaking his head a bit as he went to approach the door. He was guessing that they were all probably sincere, but he felt like it would be a bit too awkward if he stayed, mostly for himself. He didn't want to linger much longer if 'Axel' was still hanging around. He was already annerved about their first encounter.
"Well...we'll see you tomorrow!" Kairi called after him as he pushed the door open, the sound of the bell hanging on the upper door frame chiming as he crossed the threshold, drowning out Kairi's farewell from Roxas' ears.
The blonde heaved a relieved, yet solemn sigh as he began to walk down the sidewalk, his right hand holding his precious dairy treat that he licked away at while his free hand buried itself into the pocket of his jeans as the noisy cars and other pedestrians passed by. He tried not to think too much on his friends laughing about his story, but he still found it hard to believe that they didn't see that redheaded stranger. Now that he looked back on it, there did seem to be something odd about him. Roxas knew what friendly people were like; his hometown was full of them. But Axel seemed a bit more along the lines of 'creepy phsychopath,' at least in his book. But then again, he had always heard that the city was full of many different kinds of kooks, crooks, and oddballs. Maybe this Axel guy was just one of them. Roxas shrugged at the thought as he took a bite of his now melting ice cream. It's not like he had much to go on, the stranger had dissapeared before he could get much out of him.
Roxas followed the memorized path to the bus stop on the end of the block, and plopped down on the bench with a huff to await the bus that would take him back home to his neighborhood. He leaned back on the otherwise uninhabitated bench, letting his eyes drift to a close as he finished up the last remaining bits of the ice cream, trying to put the past half hour of his life behind him.
Roxas jumped with a start, his popsicle stick that had one last little morsel of sea salt ice cream clinging to it's slippery wooden surface went flying out of his hands and onto the pavement before him. He turned his head to find the source of whomever dared to startle him when he was so close to finishing his treat to find laughing green eyes staring right back at him. It took a few moments to register that the sudden intruder on the bench right beside him was none other than Axel, who seemed to come blantantly out of nowhere. Roxas sat, his mouth hanging open in a surprised stupor. So many different questions ran through his mind at once, most of them being pretty harsh in nature.
"You're speechless?" Axel spoke in a teasing tone as a catty grin curled upon his lips, leaning forward in his seat a bit towards Roxas. "Well, I personally don't blame you. It's not every day I talk to people one on one like this, so you should feel pretty special."
Once Roxas was able to get past the rush of being startled, he felt his hands ball into fists, feeling anger rising within him. How dare this stranger make a fool out of him in front of his friends? How dare he ruin his Thursday and make him drop his sea salt ice cream?
"You wanna know how I really feel, Axel?" Roxas emphasized the stranger's name through his clenched teeth, making the redhead perk up a bit.
"Oh yes, do tell." Axel purred as he propped his arm up against the top of the bench, resting his chin in his hand. "I'm all ears, Roxy."
"I feel like it would be a good idea if you would get lost." Roxas scowled as he turned to face Axel, his teeth still clenched as he spoke through them angrily. But the intended intimidating scowl didn't deter Axel in the slightest, only making him tilt his head to the side questionably.
"But we've only just met!" Axel pouted, the reply only drawing out more anger from the frustrated teen. "And it would be difficult for me to get lost here. I know this city like the back of my hand. I've been around for a very long time, you know."
"No, I didn't know, thanks for sharing." Roxas crossed his arms at his chest. "And I honestly don't care to know anything else. Because of you, I probably lost some of the respect that my friends had for me. You have no idea how hard it's going to be to gain any of it back."
"What, those little brats were your friends?" Axel scoffed, changing his position so he was reclining against the bench with his arms behind his head, allowing his thin form to slink down into the bench a bit. "Eh, who needs them? They're all just a bunch of snooty city kids, right? Besides, they aren't nearly as interesting or hansome as myself, I'm sure you agree."
"Who the heck do you think you are?" Roxas challenged, rising to his feet, unable to be sitting on the same bench as this crazy kook who seemed like he lacked any and all social ettiquette skills. "I don't even know you, yet you're calling me stupid nicknames and think it's perfectly fine to start mouthing off about my friends?" Axel's brow scrunched up as he rubbed his chin thoughtfully.
"Hmm...pretty much, yeah."
"You...! Ugh, leave me alone." Roxas barked as he turned away from Axel, having no desire to maintain further contact with this weirdo and proceeded to make his way back down the sidewalk in an attempt to find another bus stop to place himself while he waited for the bus, wanting to get away as quickly and as soon as possible to leave this entire situation, this entire day, behind him.
For my alerted readers, lemme know how you feel about the changes if you'd like. I felt giving Roxas a bit more character development was nessesary.
Well, ONWARD! Oh, and don't freak if you don't know what a Preta is. You'll find out next chappie.